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Television reviews and recaps
'House of Cards' recap, Season 3, Episode 8

There's a storm coming, Mr. President.

After raiding FEMA's disaster fund to finance America Works, Frank finds himself in trouble when a massive hurricane threatens 12 states. In response, Congress offers to replenish the fund, and then some, but as long as Frank won't use the funds for America Works purposes again.

Frank is reluctant to sign what would probably be his pet program's death warrant. He asks his cabinet to try to scrape together some funding from their departments, but if they can't he will accept Congress' offer, even if it means the end of America Works.

Meanwhile, in Iowa

Heather Dunbar is on the campaign trail promising to raise the minimum wage, among other things, and her campaign seems to be gaining steam. Doug suggests that she meet with Jackie Sharp to discuss a plan for what to do when the storm makes landfall.

Heather suggests suspending their campaigns and encouraging donations to the Red Cross. She suggests making a joint announcement and appeals to Jackie's...

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'House of Cards' recap: Season 3, Episode 7

Things are strained between the Underwoods after their Moscow trip. We flash forward to the couple renewing their wedding vows a month later, but even then, things seem different between them.

Frank chalks this up to their fight, where they said things that can't be unsaid to each other. He opens up about all this to Tom, the author writing his book, one night. 

I don't like this one bit. The best part of this show is Frank and Claire, united and wreaking havoc. 

"I can't believe we've become this," Claire says.

"We're not a team at the moment," Frank says, after embarrassing Claire in a cabinet meeting. 

Doug and Gavin

Gavin meets with Doug and tells him that he has found Rachel in New Mexico using traffic cameras and asks for his passport. Doug tells him he'll give it to him only when he delivers an address. 

When not monitoring Santa Fe traffic cameras, Doug is hanging out at a going away party for his physical therapist. That party turns in to a sleepover. 

Killing Social Security

Frank...

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'House of Cards' recap, Season 3, Episode 6

Frank and Claire are on their way to Moscow to meet with President Petrov, have Michael Corrigan released and to put the Jordan Valley discussions back on the table.

Frank is using the flight to work on his book, and stressing over the talks with Petrov. Claire asks him to relax, and shows him the Northern Lights outside Air Force One's window.

After they arrive, Frank and Petrov get to work while Claire goes to personally oversee Michael's release. That plan hits a snag when Claire asks Michael to read a ridiculous statement, apologizing to Russia for breaking their laws and for being himself.

The statement, Claire says, was a condition of his release. Among other things, the statement says, "I regret my part in exposing minors to nontraditional sexual attitudes."

Michael refuses to read the statement. Claire tells him that he doesn't have to believe the words, he just has to say them. Michael still refuses. Claire tells him that they will drag him back to the United States if they...

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'House of Cards' recap, Season 3, Episode 5

Frank resorts to some unconventional methods to get America Works up and running, firing the head of the Department of Homeland Security, temporarily taking over that position himself, essentially, and trying to declare unemployment a national emergency under the Stafford Act, which would allow him to redirect funding for his program in a legal way.

Frank enlists D.C.'s mayor to help him stage a stunt. He goes to the FEMA chief and orders him to drain a disaster relief fund to free up some cash for America Works, which the mayor will formally request after declaring a state of emergency in Washington.

D.C. will be the proving ground for Frank's radical plan. If it works there, Congress will have no choice but to fund the program nationwide.

The campaign trail

Heather Dunbar begins her quest for the presidency ... on "The Meredith Vieira Show"?

The venue might be questionable, but her plan is sound. She enlists John Pasternak, the husband of Michael Corrigan, the American protester...

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'House of Cards' recap, Season 3, Episode 4

Frank's bold suggestion that the solicitor general publicly admit responsibility for a drone strike that left an American citizen injured might come back to bite him, we learn. 

Heather Dunbar has designs on the presidency, Jackie Sharp tells Frank, which makes her presenting Frank's argument to the Supreme Court interesting, to say the least.

If she wins, she protects the power of the office she might hold one day. If she loses, she publicly humiliates a potential opponent. This seems like a miscalculation on Frank's part.

Frank tells Remy and Jackie that Dunbar's candidacy needs to end before it begins. "... if we can't knock her out, we have to figure out another way," Frank says.

Frank thinks that way is to offer Dunbar a spot on the Supreme Court, taking over for Justice Jacobs, who has Alzheimer's. Frank gives her roughly ten seconds to consider his offer, and she accepts. Her confirmation will only be a formality, he assures her. That was too easy.

Claire runs the U.N.

Claire...

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'House of Cards' recap, Season 3, Episode 3

Russia's President Petrov is visiting Washington for a summit on the Israel/Palestine conflict in the Middle East.

Within minutes of meeting Frank Underwood, Petrov tells him that he rejects his proposal for peace in the Jordan Valley. Oh, this is going to be a long visit.

Undeterred, Frank offers Petrov a surfboard as a gift, noting that he's heard that Petrov took up surfing recently. Petrov is not impressed by the gift, and reiterates that he has no interest in working with the U.S. in a joint peacekeeping effort.

While Frank is hosting Petrov, Claire and Secretary of State Cathy Durant are meeting with Israeli and Palestinian representatives. They are skeptical of Frank's ability to get Russia on board to aid the U.S. in peacekeeping efforts, and Palestine is not pleased with the entire process, feeling that their seat at the table in these discussions was an afterthought.

Claire and Durant then meet with the Russian delegation that has accompanied Petrov on his visit, hoping to...

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