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Television reviews and recaps
'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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'House of Cards' recap, Season 3, Episode 2

The Underwoods are in crisis mode.

Frank is meeting with the top Democrats in congress. He thinks that they're meeting to talk about his jobs program, America Works. In reality, they're confronting him, telling him that it's in the best interests of the party for him not to run for election in 2016.

They cite the fact that he was never elected, and the fact that he issued some controversial pardons in cleaning up the campaign finance scandal at the end of Season 2, as reasons that he is hurting the party.

"They're nervous. They're being impulsive," Frank tells us.

"...if you do run, sir, you won't have our support," the party leaders tell Frank. We've seen what this guy does when his back is against the wall. Uh oh.

Claire Underwood, meanwhile, is in a confirmation hearing. She deftly handles some questions from the congressional panel, chaired by Senator Mendoza.

Despite promising her that he would not actively block her appointment as the United States ambassador to the United Nations...

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'House of Cards' recap, Season 3, Episode 1

"I will not be a placeholder president, Claire. I will win. And I will leave a legacy." -Frank Underwood

"You mean we will." -Claire Underwood

The Adventures of Doug Stamper

We spend the first third of the episode watching Doug Stamper recover from a brain injury, suffered when Rachel smashed his head with a rock in the Season 2 finale. Claire visits Doug in the hospital, trying to see what he recalls from the incident, and to see if he knows where Rachel is. It's important to track her down, Claire reminds Doug. She coaches him on what to say if the police question him.

Doug is eager to get back to work as Frank's fixer, as the first six months of the Underwood presidency aren't going well. Frank makes an appearance on The Colbert Report, where Colbert lists gridlock in Washington and an increased trade deficit among the laundry list of Frank's missteps so far. Frank promises that his New Deal-esque America Works jobs program will jolt the economy. Doug tries to get in touch with...

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