Episode Summary: Frank Underwood returns to the military school where he spent four years of his life as an adolescent for the unveiling of the new library named after him. His friends at the barbershop quartet whom he thought could not attend the event surprises him with a harmonious rendition of Dixie that interrupted his speech. Frank becomes an honest person during his brief stay at The Sentinel that he dismisses Remy Danton when the man begins to talk politics unwilling to sully the purity of the school or the fond memories of his past. Moreover, he conveys his deepest thoughts to his close friend, Tim Corbet.
House of Cards Chapter 8 Recap: Congressman Frank Underwood is at an event at the Sentinel, the premiere military college in South Carolina he attended. The event is a precursor to the official naming of the school’s new library that is to be called the Francis J. Underwood Library in recognition of the funds he was able to obtain from SanCorp Industries. In fact, Remy Danton is there to represent SanCorp Industries with the hope to talk business with Frank. Remy conveys SanCorp’s disappointment with Claire Underwood’s rejection of their donation to CWI. Moreover, the company is displeased with the Watershed Bill, because it places numerous restrictions on drilling to a state where majority of its land sits atop the Marcellus Shale. Frank dismisses Remy reluctant to discuss business that night. He would rather think fondly of the memories from his stay at the Sentinel despite his claim of having been hazed, broken, and nearly expelled from the prestigious military school. However, the one thing he misses most is the Riflemen, his barbershop quartet friends who are not in attendance. Imagine his surprise when he hears the faint sound of men singing Dixie and the emergence of the Riflemen in the middle of his speech. Frank joins his friends in the song and continues with the performance of the Marines’ Hymn delighting everyone at the event.
Frank and his friends decide to sneak inside the old library just as they used to when they were adolescents, while Claire has a drink at the bar of their hotel. Remy, who is staying at the bridal suite of the same hotel, invites Claire up to his room much to her consternation for the man’s hubris. The encounter gave Claire the urge to call Adam Galloway. Their conversation becomes very personal when Adam asks her for the reason why she and Frank do not have children. Claire makes it sound that it was a mutual decision, but Adam sensed the hesitance in her voice enough not to believe her. She confesses of having thought about having children, but argues not regretting having them. She learns that Adam does not want children as well. In fact, the idea of the man performing a father’s duties is so out of character that it made her laugh. Meanwhile, the Riflemen continue their cavorting inside the dilapidated old library where they act like children. They have the best time of their adult lives. Later, Frank is with Tim Corbet and admits having wondered whether the school made them who they are. He confesses that the library is a sham built solely on favors. Frank could not care less about the library, but would like to think that the time he spent at the Sentinel did. In particular, the time he spent with Tim and the experiences they had together. It is unfortunate that Frank and Tim lost touch despite the seemingly intimate relationship they had in the four years of their stay at the military school. They went their separate ways and led different lives with Frank going on to law school and Tim joining the army. Both men are now married and Tim even has children, but both believe that they meant something to each other. The two men fall asleep in the library. The young cadets are already outside with their morning march when Frank wakes up to Claire’s phone call. Frank leaves his friends at the school’s cafeteria to get some shut-eye at his hotel before the ceremony.
Peter Russo visits his mother at the nursing home to inform her of his plan to run for governor that he will be announcing soon. He thought it best to warn her, certain that details of his sordid past will be in the news soon after his announcement. His mother, however, could not care less about his political ambition or his children that she refuses to look even at their photos. If Peter cannot even get the support of his mother then his dream of becoming a governor is just a chimera. He decides to pay a visit to Paul Capra, his close friend and senior official of the Shipbuilder’s Association, whom he betrayed. Peter receives an angry reception from Paul’s wife who wants his husband to get him out of their lives for good. Paul, however, ends up having drinks in a bar with Peter after hearing that he has a plan to fix the shipyard. Peter apprises Paul of the Watershed Bill that he believes will bring jobs to Pennsylvania, but the jobs it will bring is not even half of those they lost from the closing of the shipyard and will take at least two years to start. Nevertheless, Peter plans to speak about the bill at the community meeting with the hope of getting the support of the shipbuilders despite his betrayal that cost them their livelihood. Moreover, he has lured Paul into speaking to him with his apology only to ask the influential shipbuilder for his support given his bid to run for governor. Paul becomes disgusted at the politician after hearing his ulterior motive. The sight of Christina Gallagher sitting on the stoop of his childhood home is a welcome respite from the consecutive rejections he received that day. He, however, tells Christina to leave certain that tomorrow’s meeting with the shipbuilders will be hostile, but the woman insists on being on his side to provide moral support. Christina witnesses first-hand what Peter meant as a livid woman rebukes him for the uncertainty of the bill he is sponsoring and the inevitability of her inability to support her family. Having heard enough, the attendees of the community meeting angrily walk out of the auditorium until only Peter and Christina are the two people left. Peter realizes that the people in his district do not want empathy. Paul and his family are shocked to see Peter in their living room waiting for them scaring Paul’s wife and his children. He asks Paul to help him, but Paul continues to refuse. Paul attacks Peter when the he refuses to leave and they end up in a brawl where Peter ends up the loser. Peter may have lost the brawl, but he wins the fight when Paul comes to a realization of the pointlessness of their altercation that he soon decides to give his support. Peter brings his proposal to a local bar instead of an auditorium and with Paul as his endorser, the people begins to listen. Peter tells them that the closing of the shipyard was an inevitable event that could have been forestalled, but not for a long time. He tells them the hard truths. His proposal is not anywhere close to what they deserve and that there is no one else in Washington who will give them any thought but him. The proposal is better than nothing and that is all they will get. The people give Peter their support believing that he is the only one who can provide some help. He and Christina drop by the nursing home in spite of his reluctance the previous night to have the love of his life meet his cantankerous mother. Mrs. Russo, although indifferent to Peter’s success as a politician, shows pride at learning that he won the fight that caused the bruises on his hand and face. Moreover, she is candid enough to acknowledge Peter and Christina’s sexual relationship. Armed with renewed confidence from gaining the support of the shipbuilders, Peter commands the orderly into submission forcing him to fix the light and the air conditioner in his mother’s room immediately.
The group of people around Frank at the ceremony is of a very different class from those surrounding Peter. They listen as President Higgins sing Frank Underwood praises for his success at attaining a Harvard Law degree and becoming one of the youngest state legislators in the history of South Carolina. The Sentinel could not be more proud for having an alumnus that is a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Congress much more a House Majority Whip. President Higgins believes that the values the military school instills in its students allowed Frank to succeed in his career. His success is then the benefit of the school that now has a newly built library in his name. The crowd applauds at the unveiling of The Francis J. Underwood Library. Frank stammers as he deviates from the speech he prepared opting to provide a more personal note on his stay at The Sentinel. His speech seems to be addressed to Tim and not to the crowd as he comes to a realization of the meaning of his time at The Sentinel. Frank believes that harmony is what made the four years of his adolescence the fondest experience of his life. It may have been brief and temporary, but its effect is lasting. His fumbling yet genuine and heartfelt speech surprised everyone including Claire, who appears to have been brought to tears by it. Frank bids his friends farewell as they part ways with empty promises of keeping in touch with each other. Frank spends a few more minutes at the school that gave him so many fond memories. The moment passes as soon as he turns his back and walks back to his car with Doug Stamper, who with his urging informs him of Peter’s success with the shipbuilders.
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