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    Death of Zoe Barnes 
  • The subway murder had so many variables, how could Frank know that they would have been followed by the murderee behind the fence out of sight entirely? How would Frank have known the timing for the train, and how did he go through the faregates undetected. Surely a man with sunglasses and a mask appearing when a reporter died would give the police something.
    • The Washington Metro has fairly accurate digital signs that say when the next train is coming. If Frank got on the Metro at a different stop and got off at the stop where the murder occurred, he would just seem like any number of passengers, nothing distinctive about him for the police to zero in on. All this assuming he's caught on camera, which he wasn't.
  • In real life, would Frank so easily be able to get away with this? I have a feeling he wouldn't because one would think the police would get suspicious as to the timing of when Zoe fell in front of the train, or what she was doing at the end of the platform where there was construction and no one would be boarding or exiting.
    • Cops generally don't go out of their way to classify deaths as homicides unless they really have to, otherwise it could turn into an unsolvable crime, waste detectives' time, and hurt the clearance rate. There are weird things about the death, but there's no suspect and no motive and if they could find either (and presumably didn't if Frank was capable of covering his tracks), there's plenty of reasonable doubt. And if even the best cop ever did get a whiff that Frank Underwood, the future vice president of the United States, may have been involved in some way, shape or form, you can bet that they would first inform their superior officer who would promptly advise them to keep their mouth shut.
  • It just occurred to me that Zoe's death, and in turn, Russo's death, would fall under the trope of a Revealing Cover-Up, if they happened in real life. Think about it: most of the biggest political scandals in American history have seen the only indictments or convictions come from the coverup of illegal activity, rather than the illegal activity itself (look at Watergate, for example). Partly, this is because the obstruction of justice laws are so broad that they can be interpreted to cover almost anything. Sometimes it's because the real evidence was destroyed in the coverup, and so the only evidence left is for the coverup. Finally, when confronting a defendant who they feel is guilty but without enough evidence to convict, a jury will search for some lesser charge like obstruction to nail them on.
    I think if the events of the show happened in real life, provided that they could link Frank Underwood to Peter Russo's death, the FBI would investigatenote  and this is what I think would happen: they might not be able to secure any forensic evidence that proves Frank is guilty of murdering Russo, but it's possible that a determined FBI investigator would be able to find evidence he covered up Russo's death: this could include the cover-up of Russo's DUI arrest in the first episode, Frank's involvement in Russo's campaign for the Pennsylvania governorship, Frank's Chief of Staff Doug Stamper taking up a sudden interest and stalker-like obsession with the prostitute that Russo was seen with before that radio interview, and the suspicious death of a freelance journalist named Zoe Barnes, who happened to have an acquaintanceship with Frank, and was investigating Russo's death.
    Like with Russo's death proper, the FBI might not be able to find any evidence to solidly prove that Frank Underwood shoved Zoe Barnes in front of a Washington Metro train or at the very least ordered someone to kill her, but they would probably be able to prove he covered up her death, which could include Janine Skorsky being sent nude photos of Zoe very shortly after Zoe's death (which pretty much any investigator would say was evidence of blackmail). And after that, it's possible that an FBI investigator could prove that the arrest of Zoe's former boyfriend Lucas Goodwin for cyberterrorism charges was all a set-up done to get Lucas out of the way, which would probably result in Gavin Orsay and Nathan Green being indicted.
    • All that is possible if you could find an investigator who could be motivated into doing it. Officials in the federal law enforcement agencies - FBI, ATF, DEA, CIA - investigate what they are ordered to investigate. They have very little spare time to pursue a hunch if their office director tells them, "Sir, we need you to work on this case, not that one". You would need a US District Attorney or the Attorney General himself to have a MAJOR hard-on for a case as major as this one for it to be investigated as thoroughly as described, and it would be impossible to hide such a major investigation from Frank, who would have no trouble shutting it down (to put it another way, the Attorney General would have reason to think Frank was a double-murderer, it's just that he'd be unable to prove it as Frank would pretty much has the authority to silence any investigations into him; if this had been somehow been tied to the money laundering scheme later on, there would be a much different story).
      • I thought about it again, and I think this sort of investigation by the Feds would likely unfold in this way if the politician in question was someone like a governor or a city mayor.
      • In short, the Attorney General and possibly the Feds could assume that Frank is a double-murderer, it's just that he's basically untouchable because he's Vice-President. Now if it were President Walker who thought that Frank was involved in Russo's and Barnes's deaths, I think that he probably could've sanctioned the Attorney General or the Director of the FBI to investigate Frank and they would've probably reported to him.
      • A president ordering his attorney general to investigate members of his own administration would be like playing Russian Roulette with five bullets. There is almost no way that could end with him coming out looking good. It would be impossible to keep quiet and is guaranteed to dig up more dirt than he would like to reveal. But more importantly, while we the audience knows of the connection between Underwood and Barnes, nobody else does besides her two colleagues. Nobody in law enforcement has any reason to suspect that Underwood had anything to do with Barnes' death.
    Alternatives to killing Zoe 
  • Hypothetically, instead of killing Zoe Barnes, couldn't Frank have issued gag orders against her, Lucas, and Janine? Or was murder pretty much the cleanest and most efficient way to silence her?
    • Given the seriousness of the allegations against him that would be extremely risky. Especially since there is no benefit to national security or anything like that in such a gagging order; the charges against him would paint him as a menace to society who is willing to endanger the entire country, topple the government and possibly murder a man just for the sake of his own ego. He has to get people to enforce this gag order and that requires hinting at the truth, which even as corrupt a place as (this version of) Washington D.C. would find abhorrent and crazy.

    Zoe blackmailing Frank 
  • In the first ep, why was it a humongous gotcha moment that Underwood was checking Zoe Barnes out? That isn't really enough dirt on someone to blackmail them into anything.
    • In real life, it probably would. Any picture of an older, married politician appearing to leer at a young woman who is clearly wearing a thong would get some attention, even if it was only with the more gossipy newspapers. With Frank's ambitions, it's definitely not the kind of headlines he needed at that moment. Plus, Zoe's determination to see Frank likely roused his curiosity and he let Zoe in just to see why she would go to such lengths just to get a private meeting with him outside of Capitol Hill.
      • Speaking of this, did a nice analysis of Frank and Claire's marriage, and noted that if the Underwoods lived in the real world and real Washington DC, and news of their double-affair scandal broke (Frank with Zoe Barnes, Claire with Adam Galloway), Frank would be treated by the news media as secretly gay, turned on by women only when he can use them for a pure power play.
    • In the commentary for the episode, David Fincher says that the scene is based on a photo that appeared to show Barack Obama looking at a woman's ass, when in reality he was turning around to help someone down the steps. If that photo got as much attention when nothing untoward was happening, imagine how much time Underwood would have to waste dealing with that.
    Russo, you couldn't tell your girlfriend? 
  • Why didn't Peter Russo confide to Christina Gallagher in Chapter 4 that he was being blackmailed when she was basically on her way out the door. She was on her way out the door anyway.
    • Simple: For Russo to explain to Christina that he was being blackmailed, he would have to explain to her what he was being blackmailed with (driving under the influence with a prostitute) which would be admitting that he lied to her the first time, and explain who is blackmailing him. Even if she forgave him for lying to her and betraying his constituents, he'd be dragging her into his mess and inevitably into Frank Underwood's crosshairs (i.e. Every congressman's worst nightmare), resulting in Christina becoming another pawn for Frank to use in his scheme. Saying anything could only make things worse.
    Licking balls 
  • So... in the first episode, DID SHE lick his balls?
    • I think yes?
    Peter Russo's death 
  • How would Russo's death be thought a suicide if he was sitting in the passenger seat of the car?
    • With all the alcohol in his bloodstream and no sign of anyone else there. The police would probably draw the conclusion that Russo had left his engine running and switched seats to get comfortable. Or had got in the wrong side turned the key from there.
      • Which we saw he could easily do. The car was one of those where you just push a button, and Frank easily forced Peter's hand on to the button.
      • I have that same car, and the engine won't start if you aren't pressing the brake.
      • Frank explained to Zoe that the passenger door was open and that Russo was halfway out, having changed his mind but losing consciousness and dying before he could escape the fumes. Presumably, the cops could have come to the same conclusion.
    • Anyone here ever seen the classic film noir Double Indemnity? There's a great scene where Barton Keyes talks about all the actuarial categories for how often people commit suicide and the methods they use to do so; statistically, no one - ever - committed suicide by jumping off the back of a moving train. That statistical anomaly alone, in that case, supports his skepticism that the others had the whole story. Apply that logic to Russo's death: How many people who've committed suicide by sitting in an idling car in a closed garage EVER were found in the passenger side seat instead of the driver's seat? I'll bet the real-life answer is pretty close to 0.

  • Frank meticulously wipes away all of his own fingerprints from the crime scene, but he's also trying to make it look like a suicide. If the police dusted the car for fingerprints, wouldn't they notice that the door handles and the steering wheel had been wiped? That would be a big indicator for murder.
    • It depends if they even bothered dusting after the autopsy. Plus there's no obvious signs of a struggle or forced entry. You have a drunk and depressed congressman in one hand. In his car, in his garage filled with carbon monoxide in the other. Plus the paramedics probably contaminated the crime scene with their prints trying to get him out too.
    • You would think the death of someone as important as a Congressman, even one low down with a history of drinking and womanizing, would at least trigger an automatic investigation, no matter how plausible suicide is, wouldn't it?
      • It probably would if it weren't for the fact that the police chief was indirectly linked to his death. The chief has every reason to downplay what happened to Russo as a suicide, because the moment a murder investigation is opened, it's only going to lead back to him releasing Russo from custody. Which of course, could then lead to him being investigated by Internal Affairs, and subsequently cost him his job, if not, him being arrested as an accessory to murder for covering up Russo's previous DUI arrest.
      • It would have to take a lot of pull in higher places than the DC Metropolitan Police Department. I'd imagine that in real life, Russo's death would be investigated by the FBI. Look under the folder pertaining to Zoe Barnes's death for more information.
    Lack of cameras? 
  • Why does Russo's parking garage have no cameras? You know, the better to protect all those shiny luxury BMW cars and Mercedes-Benzes from theft? And to guard against the occasional murderous congressman?
  • The Peachoid subplot. Am I the only one who thinks that Frank getting dragged into it seems off? The teenage girl who died got into that crash because she was texting while driving. I don't mean to sound heartless here, but that's her own damn fault. It's a bit of a stretch for a congressman that just kept it up to be blamed.
    • Take into account Frank's mood throughout this episode: He's frustrated, not angry. He knows he can solve this in the minimum amount of time. His rival and opponent down there in Gaffney is just using this as political ammunition to score cheap points, if he can drag it out long enough. The point isn't the Peachoid. It's showing (and us learning about) Frank in his home constituency and his attitudes and actions whilst there. Aloof, annoyed and viewing it as a step-back from dealing with bigger fish to fry back in Washington like the teachers' union. Like the military school episode, we find out a bit more about how Frank became Frank.
    • Obviously, everyone vaguely sane realizes that trying to blame Frank for that borders on Insane Troll Logic. But there are a lot of manufactured controversies working along similar lines. You only need a handful of "concerned citizens" stupid enough to actually believe it (and even that is optional), after that organizations and news outlets will just pick it up because it hurts a candidate they don't like. That's what happened here. The show uses such a non-issue, because that forces the audience to root for Frank. Between the ridiculousness of the accusation and the smugness of his opponent, you inevitably want Frank to succeed.
      • Frank pretty much says that him having to go down there over this is pretty silly. It's Stamper who convinces him he has to go down- he's thinking of Frank's next re-election campaign for Congress next time that comes around because he knows that Gaffney will use it against him next time that comes around. It doesn't have to be true- it just has to sound like it's true.

    Walker's pardon offer 
  • Why did Walker rescind his pardon offer from Tusk?
    • Frank convinced Walker that he could whip the votes away from impeachment. Walker was convinced that he had to call off having Tusk confess or he'd lose Frank, and with Frank his only shot at not being impeached and losing his presidency.
    Rachel and her girlfriend 
  • 'Gay girl meets future girlfriend while out recruiting for her cult-ish church.' The first part of that sentence doesn't fit with the last part of that sentence.
    • Whether or not "cult-ish" is a fair description of the church, your Headscratcher assumes all Christians are anti-gay. They are not.
    • I don't think the church was meant to be read as cultish once it was shown. Instead, I think it was meant to come across as a non-denominational liberal church more concerned with teaching "Jesus/God is love" and "acceptance of all." I think it was suppose to be a non-judgmental community environment for Rachel.
    • The part where Rachel's future girlfriend starts talking to her and hands her a flier seems cult-like at first, since she seems to only be talking to her so she can recruit her, but I think it's actually just a plot device to get her involved with Rachel. Or maybe she just recruits Rachel because she has a crush on her, and doesn't usually go around giving fliers to random people on buses. Alternately, it would make sense for a cult-like church to be flexible about things like that so they can recruit people who've been rejected by mainstream churches, but we just never saw much cult-ish-ness — who knows.
    Frank, Claire and Adam 
  • Why wouldn't Frank immediately guess that Claire had gone to Adam Galloway when she got mad at him and left? They were open about their outside dalliances and he had to know that she wouldn't be mad enough to be anything less than discreet and wouldn't cause a scene by completely disappearing. Adam, who knew he had to keep their relationship low profile, would seem like the obvious place for her to go with exception of maybe her parents if they were still alive. Was Frank just testing Meechum's discretion and ability to track down people (or find someone who could)?
    • If Frank was testing Meechum's skills, that would make the most sense.
    The three-way 
  • What was the moment between Frank, Claire, and Meechum about?
    • Claire giving her bisexual / maybe Armored Closet Gay husband a present.
    • Yeah, but what was the point of it plot-wise? It just came off as a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment . It wasn't out of nowhere, but it was never mentioned again, didn't really serve anything aside from confirming Frank's bisexuality and the episode could happen without it and no one would notice. And after that Meechum lost any attention the narrative was giving him and just became your standard bodyguard which means getting in Underwood's double bed was the only purpose he was serving (aside from making background). Not that he's that interesting to begin with, but come on.
    • The writers were probably trying to link the Underwoods' moral failing with sexual debauchery. Here are two extremely amoral people who will kill people to get their way. They must also have threesome sex with random bodyguards as well then! Sexual debauchery = moral failing! It is the same with Xander Feng when he was introduced in the show while having asphyxiation sex with random prostitutes. Then again, this is quite a common writing method used by writers
    • I tend to disagree with the above. If anything the show uses Frank's non-heterosexuality as a humanizing trait. Outside of his calmer moments with Claire, his scenes with his male lovers tend to show him at his most empathetic.
    "Bad, for a greater good" 
  • One of the show's taglines is "Bad, For a Greater Good" (describing Frank). What greater good? Does he actually have any goals other than power for its own sake?
    • Thought of this during the "killing the dog" opening monologue. Clearly meant to establish Underwood who believes he does "unpleasant things" for "necessary" reasons, but as far as I can tell Underwood has no actual reason in mind for anything he does other than "getting more power". What is his ultimate vision?
      • As far as the dog goes, that was (in his mind, at least) for the greater good; pretty much everything else he does it for legacy, revenge and power.
    • In season 3, the two main bits of actual policy Frank deals with are pretty noble: Peace in the Middle East and a New Deal-like jobs program. While one could argue he's just doing those things to show that he's doing something, those are still pretty laudable goals. Maybe a case of the writers realizing they needed to have him do more actual work like things?
    • Frank is a tyrant. This "greater good" nonsense is just bullshit straight and true. What he wants is what all tyrants want: power, and more power to himself.
    • Thomas Yates illustrated it in his unfinished biography of the Underwoods: they have no offspring other than their legacy. In Chapter 8 of season 1, Frank ponders how much something like a library named after him is worth. For him, a library is so little for so much work. But crafting a lasting legacy like America Works and peace in the Middle East is immeasurably more valuable to him.

    The judge who can see through the fourth wall 
  • In Chapter 30, Justice Jacobs, with his Alzheimer's, appears to be able to hear Frank breaking the fourth wall. Normally time appears to be stopped while he's talking like that, is Frank in fact a low level reality warper?
    Why pardon Walker and Tusk? 
  • In Season 3, we find out Frank went and pardoned the people who took the fall at the end of Season 2—including Raymond Tusk! And it cost him dearly in the polls. So what could've possessed him to pardon his enemies in the first place?
    • There was an implicit agreement that when Tusk implicated Walker in the finale of Season 2, thereby leading to impeachment proceedings and his resignation, that Frank would protect him. To not do so would be foolish since Tusk easily could have done the same thing to Frank. It's better to lose approval ratings, which can be rebuilt, than face impeachment himself.
    • Frank based his decision on what happened the previous time a president stepped down because he was facing impeachment: In 1974, then-Vice President Gerald Ford became President when Richard Nixon resigned due to being implicated in the coverup to the Watergate scandal. One of Ford's first acts as President was to pardon Nixon.Elaboration  Ford pardoned Nixon because he knew that putting Nixon through an impeachment trial would cause the country a great deal of embarrassment, not to mention take up all of the country's attention.

      Frank is in a slightly different situation, since he bribed, schemed, and murdered, to get to the Oval Office: he is aware that his first term is running on borrowed time, as it's merely the remainder of Walker's term. Since he doesn't have the widespread popular support that he would have gotten if he'd gone the normal way and ran for office on the Democratics' ticket in 2012, Frank doesn't stand a good chance of getting re-elected. That's why Frank and Claire are so adamant on getting America Works and the UN ambassadorship off the ground so early. They want to leave a legacy, and they want America Works to be successful so that Frank will have stable ground to stand on for re-election. All that, on top of dealing with talks with Petrov and Russia, would be almost impossible if the country was preoccupied by Walker's impeachment trial.
    Zoe Barnes's career before joining The Washington Herald 
  • Yes, I know this fictional, but, in real life, wouldn't Zoe Barnes need to have a very decent reporting career with no blackmarks before she could even go to work at a major Washington newspaper like The Washington Post (which the Herald is a stand-in for)? As far as I am aware, I don't think the Post would be hiring someone like her. Or does The Washington Herald have different hiring standards compared to The Washington Post?
    • Papers throughout the country have been struggling to stay above water for the last few decades, especially since having to play catch-up with the latest online news sources. One of the ways they've been doing that is buying out veteran reporters and hiring fresh twenty-somethings who cost less. Throughout the first season, Margaret Tilden, the Herald's owner, is seen to be well aware of this and more than willing to give in to the times, unlike Tom Hammerschmidt. We don't know much about what Zoe Barnes did before she joined the Herald, but a reasonable route is that she probably went to a well-respected local journalism school in the DC area (Georgetown, Maryland, GW, etc), interned at the Herald, wrote some interesting enough (or at the very least, very well-written) articles in her school paper, got some contacts with people in the Herald (Lucas Goodwin would be a good bet. Zoe could have even had a contact in the form of Janine Skorsky, given Janine's agenote ), which was enough to eek her way into the paper at the right time.

    Stamper's killing of Rachel Posner 
  • In real life, wouldn't Stamper show up on someone's radar by taking a leave of absence to travel to the west coast to kill Rachel Posner? Someone on Quora said, "The president's Chief of Staff would never be able to sneak away to straight-up murder someone without ending up on someone's radar."
    • At this point, he isn't officially Chief of Staff. They only want it to announce it after the Iowa caucus, so that media speculation about his sudden re-appearance in Frank's service can't distract from that election (which is the reason Doug can't attend the press briefings). Also, right before an important caucus it's unlikely that any media outlet would spend too much time wondering where the Chief of Staff went for a day or two, or even expend resources to track and follow him. It's not a position that gets much scrutiny. And if some other agency, like the FBI, tracked him remains to be seen.
  • However, is it possible someone could eventually pull two-and-two together if someone saw Doug with Rachel?

    About Frank and the previous VP 
  • The scheme of season 1 is: Frank manipulates Russo's campaign for the Pennsylvania governorship, then manipulates him into dropping out of the race and kills him, while also convincing the VP to run for his old office, which he'd done so by having Matthews accompany Russo's campaign tour. My question is: was Frank aware that Matthews resented being Vice-President before the events of the series or not?
    • Matthews was a "tell it like it is" politician and really didn't do much to hide his feelings. It wouldn't take a master of manipulation like Frank Underwood to see that Matthews would rather be back in Pennsylvania.
    Presidential term limits and Frank Underwood 
  • I am aware that the 22nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights - passed in wake of FDR's four term presidency (the result of World War II breaking out) - limits a sitting President to two terms in office. Now, Frank ascended to the Presidency partway through Walker's term. My question is: Frank obviously is able to run for reelection in 2016. Would he still be able to run in 2020 as well or would the 22nd Amendment stop him from doing so? (The question is: would the 22nd Amendment interpret the remaining years on Walker's term in office as Frank's first term or not?)
    • I think that Frank probably could run in 2020 if he wins in 2016. Like the fact that Frank's reasons for pardoning Walker and Raymond Tusk may have been based on the reasons Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon after Nixon's resignation, you have to look at the history books. Specifically, Lyndon B. Johnson could have ended up as President for just over nine years if he'd not withdrawn from the campaign in 1968.

      To elaborate, Johnson became President in 1963 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He basically served out the remaining 14 months of Kennedy's term, then he won reelection in 1964. Thus, Johnson's first term as an elected president did not begin until January 20, 1965. Thus, he could have run for reelection in 1968 had he not chosen to drop out in response to controversy over the Vietnam War. Thus, officially, those remaining 14 months of Kennedy's term did not count against Johnson, so Johnson could have served two full four year terms.

      This means, Frank Underwood theoretically could end up being President from October 2014 to January 20, 2025. Walker's first term in office was almost halfway complete, so in theory, those last approximately 26 months on Walker's term theoretically might not count against him in regards to the two-term limit. I say theoretically because of another real life case: Nixon stepped down less than halfway through his second term in office. Thus, Gerald Ford served out the last 29 months of Nixon's term, and thus he would have been eligible to be elected in his own right only once - in 1976, which he lost to Jimmy Carter. So, unless Underwood has some manipulation tactics up his sleeve, it could be possible that he will only be eligible to be elected in his own right for 2016, and will have to leave office in 2021.
    • If Underwood served 26 months of Walker's term, he's only eligible for one term of his own. That's more than two years of the original president's term which automatically disqualifies Frank from seeking another under the 22nd Amendment. Pretty cut and dry.
      • So Frank should have perhaps waited until Walker's original term was halfway done before he manipulated Walker's downfall?
      • If he was looking to serve two full terms of his own, yes. But whether that was practical is something he would have to take into consideration. Orchestrating the resignation of the U.S. President isn't exactly easy and once the ball got rolling it would be hard to determine when exactly Walker would resign.
    Doug Stamper's obsession with Rachel Posner 
  • Is it just me, or am I missing something about why Doug Stamper develops stalkerish tendencies towards Rachel Posner? I get it that it's partially because she was used as a pawn in orchestrating Peter Russo's fall from grace and Stamper doesn't want her to spill to anyone. But why does he keep Frank in the dark about this? Is he concerned that Frank would probably not be happy with him if he found out?
    • Doug's relationship with Rachel started out as him telling a whore to keep silent. But he eventually became a much bigger part of her life: getting her a respectable job, a new apartment, and some semblance of a normal life. It's more than he would have given any other person. Rachel greatly appreciated it in a much more human way than Frank would have. She saw him almost as family, something that Doug hasn't really felt in a very long time (it's not clear if he's been in contact much with his brother Gary or Gary's children). The reason Doug keeps his obsession with Rachel a secret is because it's just that: an obsession. It's something that is beyond Doug's control and when Doug is beyond control, he is a danger to himself (i.e. his alcoholism) and to Underwood.

    Weird Donald Blythe question 
  • Is Blythe somehow related to Bill Clinton? Or is that just a freak coincidence that his last name happens to be the same as Clinton's birth name (William Blythe)?

    Another Zoe Barnes death question 
  • I don't know if this is plausible, but would Zoe still be alive if she'd kept mum to Frank about what she knew of his shady business deals?
    • Zoe had gotten out of Frank's control before. Who's to say she wouldn't again? The only good Zoe could do for Frank was to shut up, so it was safer for him to make that permanent.

    About the Michael Corrigan subplot 
  • Chapter 32 has Frank travel to Moscow to deal with the imprisoned gay rights activist Michael Corrigan, who hangs himself rather than be released. Obviously, the situation clearly wasn't handled well, but is Frank more responsible for the United States' mishandling of the incident or is Claire?
    • Was it mishandled? If one thinks that it's best to get Corrigan home under any circumstances, even if the humiliating statement has to be read, both Frank and Claire handled it as well as it could be handled. Even when Corrigan refused the easy way out, Frank successfully negotiates with Petrov to have him released anyway, and Claire did reason with him pretty well. That he would commit suicide was fairly obvious for the audience, but only because we know to expect Rule of Drama, you can't really blame Claire for not anticipating that. And if you were talking about the press conference afterward, then the biggest mistake was them not coordinating with each other (which was the whole point of that scene). The way it played out, they watered each other's statement down. Whether you think Claire or Frank were right really depends on what issue you consider to be most important at this point.
    • So, both President and First Lady pretty much handled it as well as they possibly could, and the only issue was a lack of coordination that caused the subsequent issue post-Corrigan's death? I'm just trying to interpret if Frank was onto something with his remark, "You wanna know what takes courage? Keeping your mouth shut, no matter what you may be feeling. Holding it all together when the stakes are this high."
    • The mishandling of Michael Corrigan is really manifested in one specific spot: Claire's public and poorly-judged criticism of President Petrov. Right in front of him, no less. That is not how a good diplomat should behave (remember what Mendoza said when he rejected Claire's nomination? "The position you're being considered for requires calm, cool diplomacy. What concerns me even more than the military comment is your demeanor. Is this what we're to expect from our ambassador? A hothead?"). If anything, her admonishment of Petrov in public is not only a big foot-in-mouth moment for Claire, but it probably has the opposite effect of whatever she and/or Frank were trying to achieve: it strengthens Petrov's influence within Russia, because if he can play his cards right, he can spin the aftermath of Corrigangate and make himself look like a pillar of dignity while simultaneously depicting Claire as a hysterical First Lady who doesn't know what she's talking about, and depicting Frank as unable to keep his wife on a leash. If there was anything that Frank could have salvaged from Corrigan's death, Claire killed it big-time, further straining relations between Russia and the US, which pretty much starts a chain of events that causes the First Couple's marriage to in time, crumble.
    • I think Melissa James Gibson (the writer of "Chapter 32") wanted us to sympathize with Claire and Michael Corrigan but there really isn't any reason to. In the first episode of season 3, Claire watched potentially dozens of innocent bystanders get killed by a drone strike and she seemed fine. Corrigan commits suicide, and Claire suddenly finds her morality. With such a selective morality, I see no reason to sympathize with Claire whatsoever as much as I find no reason to sympathize with Corrigan. Says quite a lot about the writers of the series, really. On Michael Corrigan's side of things, he was just delusional so there was no reason to sympathize with him there. He died as a martyr achieving absolutely nothing. As for ruining Middle East peace, everyone else already talked about it so no point discussing it. One interesting point is how Claire squarely placed the blame of the homosexuality law on Petrov. However, Petrov passed the law simply because it was popular in Russia (that in fact is true, both in the show and in real life). Thus, Claire didn't just insult Petrov. She insulted the whole of the Russian populace and anyone who supports Russia's anti-homosexual laws. Even if Russia was a democracy (it's not), the law still probably would have passed. So apart from a selective self serving morality and complete diplomatic stupidity, Claire also had quite a self serving selective view of democracy and dictatorship. Frank was right, "I should never have made you ambassador".
      • If Claire had kept her mouth shut, and waited until they were back in the United States before criticizing Petrov, things wouldn't have taken such a fiery nosedive?
      • Of course it wouldn't. It was stated quite clearly quite a few times that Petrov was pandering to the domestic audience with the whole homosexuality law and to not look weak. Why would it matter to him if he gets denounced outside the country? He still looks good because he forced Claire to say something she didn't want to in Russia and he still gets the deal he and Frank worked on. Claire was just being an idiot.
      • So, the only thing she proved was: Mendoza was right to question whether a hothead like Claire should be a US ambassador.
      • If anything, it just occurred to me, Frank also kinda had some mishandling of that press conference too because he sided with her, saying "I need to be with my wife" as opposed to trying to say something to soften the blow.
  • This might be related to Corrigan, but it might not, but thinking about Corrigan made me think about events that happen a few episodes after the Corrigan episode: does Frank or Claire even think that Claire is the wrong choice for an ambassador? In Chapter 35, the next time the Underwoods were dealing with a crisis involving Russia, Claire basically allowed the Russians to dupe her into sending special forces into an ambush. That episode and the Corrigan episode, pretty much all solidify Mendoza's opinion that Claire isn't a worthy UN ambassador and certainly not ready for higher office, and yet at the same time, Claire can't take an objective view of herself and she's blinded by her own ambitions (almost as much as Frank is). And, I don't know if anyone realizes it, but Frank spent almost the entirety of Season 3 bending over backwards trying to keep her happy— eventually leading to the deaths of the Special Forces operators and possibly another button that destroyed their marriage.
    No anti-nepotism laws? 
  • So, I get it that in real life, Frank could never appoint Claire as ambassador because Claire is his wife and the laws passed in the wake of JFK appointing Bobby to the attorney general prohibit a sitting president from appointing a family member to public office. In the House of Cards universe, though, could it be reasonable to assume that that part of the Postal Revenue and Federal Salary Act of 1967 didn't pass?
    Lucas, you couldn't go out and buy another computer? 
  • This MarketWatch article said that it was probably not a smart move for Lucas Goodwin to launch an online hacking campaign against the VEEP from his computer at work, with firewall and all (then again, I know he's not thinking straight ever since Zoe Barnes died). It posited: wouldn't it have made more sense to Lucas to buy a new laptop from an electronics store in cash and then hack Frank's records while operating on public Wi-Fi somewhere, so it would be harder to trace him?
    • Lucas had to be told what the deep web is. He's a desk reporter, not a hacker. The most sophisticated thing he's probably ever done with a computer is use a dropbox. I doubt he'd have the foresight to use what computer experts would consider common sense security measures. On the other hand, if it were Gavin going after Frank, this would be different.
    "I did not have sexual relations with that journalist....Zoe Barnes" 
  • So, Chapter 22 deals with Frank and Claire each having to deal with the press after Raymond Tusk strikes back at Frank by leaking to the press Claire's affair with Adam Galloway, and Freddy's criminal past. Obviously, the Second Couple is able to resolve the issues, albeit at great cost. But then I thought about the entire affair Frank had with Zoe Barnes during season 1. And, this is admittedly hypothetical, but if the press, or Tusk, ever managed to find out about Frank's affair with Zoe, either during the affair or after her death, what would Frank's response tactic be?
    • "Read my lips- I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
    Was Russo's death really necessary? 
  • As great as it was from a narrative point of view, why did Russo have to die? I get that he needed VP Matthews out of the way but Russo's campaign was completely in the toilet by that point. He was not going to be get elected. Frank could just do exactly what he did with a disgraced and jobless Russo as he could with a dead one.
    • Possibly. But remember what Russo was doing when Frank picked him up? He was at the police station confessing that he had been drinking and driving a few months ago. Russo was trying to absolve himself of his wrongdoings and accept his punishment. If left alive, the moment he sobered up, Russo would have probably been all too glad to go to every mainstream media network and late night talk show to say that Frank was a blackmailer and a liar, which would have rendered Frank politically impotent in both the public eye and in Congress. This could have possibly led to Frank being impeached (can they even impeach Congressmen for being duplicitous like this or not?) or at the very least being basically being voted out of office through losing the next set of elections. It would be even worse for Frank because, as you said, he wants Matthews out of the way, and I think Walker certainly wouldn't even remotely consider Frank as a replacement Vice-President if he knew that Frank wasn't trustworthy.
      • Russo would probably need some extra witnesses to support his claims that Frank had blackmailed him into being loyal to him in exchange for not going public on the DUI business, like Rachel Posner, (since I think she'd be able to testify that she was sent on Doug Stamper's orders) and possibly Christina Gallagher. But, yeah, Frank's rationale for killing Russo is so that he wouldn't talk.
  • Weird question, which someone actually mentioned in a Facebook group, "why couldn't Team Underwood try doing what the Corleones did in The Godfather Part II to get Senator Geary in their pocket (trick the person they want on their side into thinking he's killed a prostitute while on drugs, then blackmail them to keep the incident covered up, maybe with some assistance from Olivia Pope)?" It's not my question, since, I think it's a bit too ludicrous to be possible, there are too many problems that would arise.
    • That plan is way too complicated in the digital age and there are too many ways for it to go wrong. Killing a prostitute is still a murder and that's a project unto itself. Depending on the timeline, Russo would have to have the wherewithal to know to call Underwood to help him cover it up and given Russo's general emotional instability, most likely he would have killed himself rather than live with such a huge lie.
    Was Rachel's death really necessary? 
  • Since the question has already been asked regarding both Peter Russo and Zoe Barnes, I might as well ask if Rachel Posner really had to die or not. I get it that she was involved in Russo's downfall and death, but it just seemed to me like her death was kinda unnecessary.
    • However small of a chance there was that she would talk about Russo and her involvement with Underwood's plans, there was still a chance. But more importantly, she was the target of Doug's obsession for coming on two years now. Her murder was a personal matter for Doug. Since he could never possess her and he couldn't function with the knowledge that she was out in the world somewhere, he decided to get rid of her once and for all.
      • Of course, even though I ask this, I'm one who kept thinking that Rachel at points was like a "Trapped by Mountain Lions" subplot and the writers killed her off so we could firmly focus on Washington.
    How far Frank's scheming would get him in real life 
  • I know that this is a show and sometimes breaks from reality are necessary to create an entertaining plot or advance it, but how far would Frank's scheming get him if reality existed? I mean, one Washington Post op-ed pointed this out, but I don't know if its merits are true.
    • In real life, in order for Frank's scheming to get him as far as it did, there would have to be absolutely zero room for error, and the odds of that being the case are a million to one. Note how many politicians have had their careers ruined by mistakes smaller than any of the hazards Frank faces with his plans. Additionally, his manhandling of legislators and other political figures, while effective, would start to rub even his allies the wrong way as eventually this tactic would come up against someone immune to his threats (and that does happen in season 3). Not to mention, Frank has an insatiable ambition from the start, so in real life, it would be impossible not to see that. Maybe not early on in his career, but eventually the party leadership would probably start to tire of Frank and engineer their own strategy to place him in a sinecure position where he wouldn't be a bother to anybody. Frank may not be happy about it, but he's not going to burn the house down if it doesn't further his goals.

    Remy Danton getting pulled over 
  • There's a scene in what I think is Chapter 35 where Remy is pulled over by the police. Am I the only one to think it's kinda odd that the cop doesn't recognize Remy, or is the job of White House Chief of Staff so low-key that no one puts a face to the person in that job?
    • If you ask the average American to name off the top of their head who the current White House Chief of Staff is, most likely no one would be able to, let alone recognize their face.

    Dunbar's Dirt on Claire 
  • This is a question that someone asked in a Facebook group for the show, which I'm reposting here: in season 3, Heather Dunbar's campaign cannot find any dirt on Claire, other than that journal with the information about her abortions. The question is, if Dunbar's campaign could dig up that journal, why couldn't they dig up the former staff members of Claire's non-profit from season 1 that she had fired, including Gillian Cole, the pregnant staff member? I would think that would somehow come up given how recently that happened.
    • In exchange for dropping the lawsuit and reinstating Cole's health insurance, Claire gave her complete control of the non-profit. But it certainly would be realistic that handing over the non-profit would include signing an ironclad nondisclosure agreement. Barring that, Cole also is a true believer in the mission of the nonprofit, so slinging any dirt about its founder and former director would jeopardize its future.
      • She might not speak ill, but in theory could Dunbar's campaign just take her words out of context? I think that there've been quite a number of real attack ads that were nabbed by fact checkers for taking quotes out of context.
  • Related question: in theory, why didn't Dunbar consider using the stuff that Raymond Tusk had used in his battles against Frank in "Chapter 22"? I mean, I sometimes think that in real life, if a presidential candidate's wife slept with another man, that might be material that would show up in an attack ad.
    • Because all of that is old news. If Dunbar started bringing up an already stale scandal from over a year ago, it would be obvious what she's doing, even to the viewer and it would seem like a petty and clumsy attack by a desperate candidate. Not to mention, Underwood weathered those blows before. There's no reason to think he wouldn't weather them again.
      • Frank did hire Freddy as a groundskeeper. I imagine that must have been kept very quiet so that none of Frank's rivals would notice?
      • Hiring an out-of-work (black) friend as a groundskeeper is a form of nepotism that would probably just make Frank look more sympathetic.

    Rachel burning through money 
  • In Season 1, and I think it's after Russo's death, Doug Stamper gives Rachel $10,000 (plus an extra "tip"), then within weeks, she is out of cash and demanding more money from him and a place to stay. From what we see of her, she doesn't look like an addict or anything. What did she do with that money? I know some of it would have to be used to purchase food and other necessities, but it seems odd that she'd burn through $10,000 in a few weeks.
    • DC isn't a cheap city to live in, and the life of a prostitute (even a "classy" one) is not one that is conducive to financial security. If she had a pimp, I'd be surprised that she held on to that ten grand for as long as she did.

    You couldn't use a shell corporation, Mr. Tusk? 
  • The thing about the money laundering scheme in season 2 is that it seems kinda off: I mean, did Tusk really need to enlist the help of casino owner Daniel Lanagin to get foreign money into the elections? In the show, Chinese stooges working for Tusk and Xander Feng gamble at Lanagin’s casino. They throw away millions at the tables, and Lanagin then moves their money to the super PAC as a political donation. Isn't that the worst possible way to do it? 'Cause that's leaving a lengthy paper trail of airline flight itineraries, security camera footage, and casino employees in on the scam. Why not just use a shell corporation established in the United States to launder foreign money?
    • The scheme seemed to aim more for opacity rather than complete clandestinity. You can have paper trails for the flight itinerary and surveillance video, but under light scrutiny, all of this could be explained away as tourists legally spending their money at the casino. Losing money at a casino doesn't leave a receipt (or if it did, one would have to already know who the stooges are to prove that their loss was intentional) so there wouldn't be any one-to-one correlation between the alleged income and the money spent. The flaw in the plan came when someone who knew of the plan tipped off the media, who shone enough of a spotlight on it that it would eventually collapse. But in a court of law, if everyone stuck to their stories, it is doubtful that the state would be able to definitively prove that anything illegal was going on.
      • Yeah, it's like the scheme was dying to be discovered. And whoever tipped off the media really needed a tougher nondisclosure agreement.

    The Pussy Riot cameo 
  • In Chapter 29, real members of Pussy Riot, specifically Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, along with Tolokonnikova's husband Pyotr Verzilov, make cameo appearances as guests at a White House state dinner in Russian President Viktor Petrov's honor. Now, in real life, I know that Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina served 18 months in prison for performing a song that criticized Vladimir Putin. I know it's just a cameo and whatnot (and points to the series creators for putting that music video of theirs in the credits), but am I the only one who thinks that in real life, Miss Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina probably wouldn't be allowed to attend a White House state dinner with Putin, partly because they might be inclined to make a toast similar to the one they make in the showYou know, like ?
    • There are three ways the Pussy Riot cameo could be interpreted: 1) it shows any opposition in Russia that Frank is amenable to all forces in Russia, not just Petrov. 2) It also panders to liberal interests in the United States, assuring them that the US is not completely soft on Russia. 3) Barring everything else, it's Frank's subtle way of keeping Petrov on his toes. Petrov is used to being able to do whatever he wants because everyone in the room is intimidated by him. With Pussy Riot being brave enough to openly criticize him such as they did, Petrov has to squirm to keep a straight face knowing he can't control them.

    Frank and Tusk question 
  • In Chapter 12, when Frank is told that Walker is considering Raymond Tusk to replace Matthews as VP, he seems to react with disgust and incredulity at the decision, and he points out that Tusk would alienate the public if he held a public office. Is his concern that Tusk would alienate voters genuine or is it Frank acting stunned that he's not Walker's first choice?
    • Probably a little of both. Tusk is a businessman, not a politician, so he is not the ideal candidate for being vice president. But more importantly, Underwood just found himself a step behind for once in this series. It's a hit to both his political ambitions and ego.
      • I asked this question, curiously enough, because I keep thinking for some odd reason that you could substitute "Donald Trump" in Tusk's place and leave Frank's remarks unchanged, and it would still sound effective, because Frank's concern sounds very similar to things I've heard some real people say are the reason that Donald Trump is the least ideal candidate for President in the real-world 2016 race (that's even under Hilarious in Hindsight on the YMMV page).

    The feasibility of America Works 
  • Having watched all of season 3, I've wondered, would legislation similar to America Works be even remotely plausible in real life?
    • Assuming that America Works could be drafted in a form that would sustainably provide jobs to a sizable portion of the underemployed, the only way to fund it would be to completely reconfigure social security. Because social security has been something of a sacred institution for the last seventy years, touching it in any way would be incredibly unpopular, especially among the elderly voting bloc, which happens to be the most reliable voting demographic. Compounding the unlikeliness of America Works taking off is the natural resistance of Congress to make any meaningful change in the way government functions. The resistance does seem to be based on Obamacare.
    • Someone on IMDb suggested something interesting: America Works could work, depending on how Frank decides to implement it. If such a thing existed it sure would be best if it were used to revive industries we've lost or are losing to foreign trade. And that is not a knock against foreign trade, but there are a lot of things America could do better, quality wise, and there is a wealth of knowledge that's been lost in the real world to outsourcing overseas (Examples: There are very few steel mills, we lost textiles decades ago, we won't even let Americans answer phones for customer service at call centers, etc.). But on the flip side of that, and this isn't meant to demean those that are unemployed, how much we would notice a less than 10% job increase among our population? If that is the amount needed to reach total employment, presumably spread across countless industries and skill levels (even if skewed to some degree toward unskilled labor), would it change our current issues which still include stagnant wages, inflation, shrinking middle class, high personal debt, a housing market too inflated for most to buy into, increasing rent, etc.? Frank even proposes around $500 billion in funds to make it happen, which is more than we ever spent on the financial bailout in 2008. Amworks could be a "jobs-for-all" program or a program that includes jobs that require special skills and part of that job will train a work force in the technical skills needed that we currently have to fill with people out of the country. There are many possibilities so its certainly an interesting concept but its success is context specific, otherwise it's really just welfare if it can't be built upon.

    America Works and pensions 
  • This was noted by another IMDb user: but in Frank's speech where he outlines America Works, apparently pensions appear to be in the list of things on the chopping block. Is Frank seriously saying that people aren't entitled to the pensions they worked towards and contributed to over their (decades-long) careers? Money taken from their paychecks and set aside for their retirement, Frank's proposing to just take that away? How could that be a SERIOUS suggestion/plan? Even if Frank just meant the government old age pensions, that's still seriously messed up, especially for people with disabilities or handicaps, or people currently living off that pension - so his plan is to take 65-100 year-old peoples' pensions away and force them to work as Wal-Mart greeters until they die? What happens when they have a stroke/whatever on the job and they have to be hospitalized with their ZERO health insurance, since I remember Medicaid is also on the chopping block, and apparently Americans think universal healthcare is communist?

    So Gavin lives? 
  • This is something I saw on IMDb: So knowing that Rachel is alive, Doug tracks Gavin down, gets the information from him and then leaves him alive after giving him a death threat. But it would seem, at least as the IMDb poster put it: isn't Gavin Orsay more of a threat than Rachel Posner ever could've been? Rachel was a homeless hooker. Who would've believed her even if she wanted to go say something about Peter Russo? What proof did she have that Doug paid her to sleep with Peter and get him drunk? She seemed disinterested in Russogate. However, Gavin seemed very interested in Russogate - he took it upon himself to try to blackmail Doug about Rachel. He tricked Doug into unlocking his passport, even tried to use extortion to get his friend's release. He showed that he was cunning and an opportunist. Yet Doug let HIM live? What Doug did to Rachel was probably more for his own sanity and getting rid of what he believes is the cause of his relapse into alcoholism (and thus kept him from being the loyal number 2 to Frank), rather than truly taking care of loose ends, but letting Gavin live seems far more detrimental, considering what Gavin has proven to be capable of. So is this oversight or are the writers setting up a potential plot thread for season 4?

    How much did Rachel really know about Frank's role in Russo's death? 
  • Tying into an earlier question about whether or not Rachel Posner's death was necessary: how much did she know? That in and of itself begs the question as to why Frank was so concerned about her as to spend two whole seasons trying to get rid of her (and when Doug did it, I think it wasn't "get rid of the last link connecting Frank to Russo's death" and was more "get back at her for striking me over the head with a rock"). If I remember correctly, all Rachel knew about was Russo got pulled over for a DWI, and then she got bribed into silence. I don't think she ever put it together that Russo had been blackmailed or killed by Frank, or at the very least, never found out about Frank's involvement (unless there's a conversation I missed). Zoe Barnes did (and got killed for it), Lucas Goodwin did (and ended up in jail), Janine did (and went into hiding to lie low), and Tom Hammerschmidt suspected it just enough to outright ask Frank if he killed Zoe and Russo during that one-on-one interview in Frank's office. Yet three of those four remain alive, albeit silenced (for now), and Rachel who really didn't know anything and didn't care to know is the one that just HAS to die. Even if she did put it all together at some point later on, wouldn't her credibility be flushed down the drain the minute somebody from Frank's party dug up the fact she was a former prostitute? If I were Frank and I were in this situation, I think I would probably be more worried about three reporters with education, college degrees, and journalism credentials behind their names than I would be some hooker who I think probably didn't see much beyond a john being hauled in for a DWI.
    • Rachel doesn't know everything, but she is the first thread to be pulled that would unravel the mystery of Russo's death. She was there at the beginning and she picked up details here and there in between. All it would take would be for her to reach out to a journalist, to let slip something that would pique somebody's curiosity, or got to the cops if she feels scared enough. Considering how scared she was much of the time, it would only take a little bit more desperation or courage for her to find somebody who could do something for her. Frank and his cohorts could head off anything she said, but it would definitely throw a wrench in anything Frank would try to do since now he would have to deal with being associated with a prostitute.

    Does Frank lie to the fourth wall or not? 
  • Don't get me wrong. Frank's fourth-wall breaking stuff is what makes the show so great. But I wonder, considering Frank's use of lies and deceit to get his plans done, is there a point in the show where it seems like he's lying to us when he breaks the fourth wall?
    • The things he's said to the fourth wall would have brought him ruin so many times throughout the series. There's no point in lying to us and it's plainly obvious that he doesn't care how we feel about him, only that we know why he does what he does.
      • I've always interpreted his fourth-wall-breaking speeches as not "really" happening in the story, but rather being symbolic of his inner thoughts. As such, they can't be literal lies, but can certainly express his delusions.

    Strange how much faith Frank had in Doug 
  • Clearly Frank wasn't going to let Doug back into his inner circle until he took care of Rachel Posner, but geez, in the meantime Doug could've done so damage, and he did! He went to Dunbar! Doug had more dirt on Frank than Remy Danton or Seth Grayson ever could but it seemed like he kept getting shut down. Isn't it a bit out of character for Frank to not be concerned about this?
    • At this point in the story, Underwood has almost run out of friends. Doug was his most reliable and effective subordinate and while he did flirt with switching over to Dunbar's side, Doug rejected a million dollar deal and handed over his blackmail material to Underwood. That's quite the gesture of loyalty, something that Underwood couldn't afford to reject.

    Zoe's phone 
  • Another one off IMDb: shouldn't Frank be haunted by the possibility that Zoe Barnes' phone may have, even by pure luck/divine intervention, managed to stay intact when she was hit by the train? Yes, he asked her to delete the messages, but of course that doesn't really mean anything when they are presumably still recoverable off the device (just because you deleted something from a phone does not necessarily mean it's gone forever). When she fell, what happened to the phone? Was it destroyed? Did it land somewhere near the tracks? Did the police bag it? I mean, considering the whole plot with Gavin Orsay, I would think the old phone would come up if it linked her to Frank assuming it was still intact (plus, if it were intact, I think the cops might check the records regardless of whether or not they think her death was an accident). There is a lot of data you can pull off that thing.
  • Furthermore, couldn't the texts Frank exchanged with Zoe be traced back to him eventually? All those incriminating texts they sent back and forth were sent from Frank's personal phone — not a burner phone like the various criminals in Breaking Bad use, but Frank's own, personal device. Considering how hard it was in real-life for Barack Obama to keep his Black Berry (which is heavily monitored), it's unlikely that the government somehow missed Vice President Frank Underwood's text-swollen phone of reckless skullduggery. Even if he deleted the messages, they'd still be recoverable since nothing is ever permanently deleted, right?
    • The phone of the majority whip isn't of the greatest interest to the likes of TMZ or the Huffington Post, so no journalistic organ is going to exert themselves much to delve into those texts. While you can erase texts on your phone, there is a record stored in the carrier servers. It is not clear if they are stored indefinitely, but that is what Lucas was trying to get with his association with Gavin. And even if the police wanted to check for those records, they'd have to know that the texts existed once. A regular beat cop looks through a phone (assuming it survived being run over by a train), he's not going to be suspicious that there were erased texts. More likely, even if he is suspicious, the detective would tell him that it looks like a suicide so it's a suicide, let's not turn it into a murder.

    Which real-life Presidents does Frank Underwood take influence from? 
  • This is more open-ended than other questions, but, which real-life president do you see the most of in Frank? For the record, I know Lyndon Johnson is typically the go-to answer considering Frank's got a portrait of him and, like Johnson, his habit to understand and exploit his opponents' weaknesses. But, does Frank take influence from any other real-life Presidents?
    • Theodore Roosevelt. He's a strong-minded, goal-driven, progressive with a conservative streak (Ex: his squashing of the teachers' union). Creating a large government work program bears similarities to Roosevelt's Square Deal policies and like Roosevelt, Underwood believes in ruling through his force of will.
    • Seems to vary to me. Season 4 draws heavy comparisons between him and Nixon, then later makes the comparison between the Underwoods and the Clintons almost anvilicious before the season finale turns them into Bush and Cheney. I think the overriding theme here is that Frank represents the worst aspects of every modern president with few if any of their positive qualities.

    The cameras at the station where Zoe was killed 
  • I know there are other folders pertaining to this but I wanted to start a new folder rather than tack this on to other folders: how could the Washington Metro Police legitimately think Zoe's death was an accident or suicide? Why didn't they see any CCTV footage that would incriminate Frank? Even if the "push" itself wasn't captured, it's not like Frank beamed to that location behind that wall, right? So there would have been video material showing Frank (or at least someone looking like him) walking there before the incident, and then walking away afterwards. At the very least, the MTPD would be putting out a "Have You Seen This Man?" picture of some sort on the news, adding "This person is being sought for questioning as a potential witness/person of interest in the death of Zoe Barnes. If you've seen this man, please notify the Metro Transit Police."

    And I say this because I've been on the Washington Metro myself (the real life one, not the Baltimore Subway-poorly-disguised-as-a-Washington-Metro-stop one). There are plenty of security cameras in the stations, mostly to discourage people from loitering or doing illegal clandestine stuff like drug deals and muggings in "blind spots" like the spot where Frank pushed Zoe from. To me, I don't think Frank could've shoved Zoe in front of a train, or at the very least, not made it to and from that part of the platform, without being caught on at least one or two camera feeds, and as I said, even with his Paper-Thin Disguise, other people and cameras would have seen him leaving the scene (even if these people were all busy rushing towards where Zoe was hit, they might remember when questioned by the cops, "You know, I saw this guy in his fifties wearing a fedora hat and glasses walking away shortly after the impact, acting like he was completely oblivious to the chaos on the platform. I only got a glimpse of him, but I'm pretty sure he looked a wee bit like that that new guy Frank Underwood that they're swearing in as Vice-President."), both on the platform and also at fare control. Not to mention that the way Zoe fell and screamed before the train hit her should have suggested to any earwitnesses and eyewitnesses that she didn't jump or fall in front of the train on her own free will, right?

    Frank's caution or lack thereof when meeting with Zoe 
  • When Frank meets with Zoe after being selected as replacement VP to discuss her doubts about Russo's death, he barely bothers to check if this diligent and suspicious reporter might be recording him. He also agrees to meet her in a public park, mere hours before he pushes her in front of a train. So, to recap: Frank Underwood met with Zoe Barnes, a reporter who in many circles has been known for breaking huge stories about shady politics, on the day she died, in a public place. Forget whether Zoe was recording their conversation or not. Shouldn't Frank have held the meeting elsewhere, like, say, his house? What if someone in the park just happened to take a picture either of him or which accidentally caught him and Zoe conversing in the background? Now, we don't know if maybe someone did take a picture, maybe not, but this leaves the possibility that there will be irrefutable evidence of the future vice president meeting with a political journalist who, unknown to anyone at the time, had implicated him in Russo's death. And call me cynical, but I think such a photo would potentially link Frank to Zoe's death considering it happened just hours later, even if all that could be proven was that they'd met (hey, the tabloids would have a field day with such a picture). Then Frank's carefully orchestrated plan gets another wrench in it. I don't think that's a risk Frank would want to take - meet with someone you're planning to kill, in a place where you don't know if someone will take a picture that shows you two meeting

    The success of the Russo scheme 
  • Is Frank really a big schemer or did his entire 'getting himself to become VP' operation in season 1 rely entirely on blind luck? To recap: Frank props up Russo and then tears down his campaign as a plan to leave the Democratic party without a candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, forcing Matthews (who resents being sidelined as the VP) to run in Russo's place. Frank then pretends to be shocked when Walker offers him the position of VP, which was his plan all along. Ignoring the part of the plan that makes it look as though Frank Underwood is just terrible at choosing gubernatorial candidates, the machinations Frank set in motion to kill Russo's candidacy (and then Russo's life) seem to be more like blind luck to me:
    • 1. Frank's plan to conquer Pennsylvania by proxy came in two parts: first, getting Russo sober, and giving him a good watershed bill to run on. Once those two things fell apart, Peter's candidacy was finished, and the murder is the next and last step of the plan. But hold on — didn't Frank have no idea whether the water bill was going to fail? He actually asked Claire to help save the bill, but she went behind his back and torpedoed it, because she's the one person he clearly can't manipulate at least not easily. And if we're supposed to think that this was secretly part of Frank's plan, then why did they argue about it in private?
    • 2. Even if Frank was counting on Claire betraying him as part of his plan, what if Claire had decided to actually do what he'd asked her to? The bill would've passed, Russo becomes governor (unless that drunken radio interview did completely torpedo his chances altogether), Matthews would've stayed in the White House, and Frank would've been stuck as House Majority Whip. Wouldn't Frank need to try something else to make a power play?
  • The Watershed Bill was an attempt to curry favor within the administration. If it worked, Underwood would raise his position as a valuable power player. If it failed, Russo would fall and Matthews would swoop in and go back to being governor. But the failure of the bill wasn't exactly necessary for Russo to fall anyway. Rachel simply seduced him, got him drunk, and humiliated him on the radio. Russo's campaign was fragile to begin with, so in any event, Underwood would get rid of Russo and become VP. The reason why he is so upset with Claire is because she undermined him when they were supposed to be partners in this whole endeavor.
  • Frank's plan for Russo to become Governor of Pennsylvania was genuine; he honestly wanted him to get it, albeit for selfish reasons. But the goal was that Russo would be bad at it, make unpopular decisions (because Frank is ordering him to), and pressure the sitting Vice-President (who is increasingly sidelined over the remainder of the term) to want to return to his old job and kick this incompetent newcomer out when Russo was up for reelection. Meanwhile, Frank curries favor with the President, proves himself to be a Hypercompetent Sidekick who excels at every task, and gets himself in the position that the current Vice-President wants to retire and Walker seriously eyes Frank as his replacement running mate when he's up for reelection in 2016. So, in a way, everything went exactly as planned, but waaaayy ahead of schedule, because Russo went off script and tried to get out from under Frank's thumb, plus personal issues and other matters intervened. So, Frank gambled that he could convince Matthews to retire immediately - unprecedented, but doable- if he managed to get Russo to publicly humiliate himself as soon as possible, and in turn he was currently on good enough terms with Walker (and had soiled the other potential candidates) that he might be suggested as VP after all. In other words, Frank's original Evil Plan would not have seen him become Vice-President until season 4 / 5; Russo forced him to move up his timetable.
    • This show hides such huge details in a few words of dialogue for the reader to figure out. Frank's original plan wasn't to force Matthews out, become Walker's second-term VP, then succeed Walker as President in 2020. He never planned on Russo winning the Pennsylvania governorship. The core of the plan was always to sabotage Russo by baiting him into relapsing. This is seen when when Frank tells Doug to deploy Rachel. Frank says, "We have to accelerate things." And Doug replies, "Isn't it too early? It's almost 2 full months until the election; it gives them way too much time to vet someone." Meaning that Russo's relapse was always the plan. However, they originally planned on doing so much closer to the election: make sure Russo was the only viable Democratic nominee right up until a few weeks before the election, getting Russo just a couple weeks from winning, then blowing him up by pulling the trick with Rachel & drugs and an interview, while Frank also has Zoe publish the dirt he has on Russo's past. That way, the Democrats would be left with no option but to tap Matthews into the race, as nobody else would've even been vetted, let alone had the name recognition to win. That original plan, however, would've only worked with the passage of the Watershed Bill, because Russo wasn't a viable candidate without his old shipyard buddies backing him. When the Watershed Bill failed, and Russo had a meltdown and threatened Frank, Frank was forced to move forward with their planned sabotage earlier than anticipated. Which - by necessity - also required Frank to very carefully convince President Walker and Matthews that Matthews was the best candidate to replace Russo; it simply would've been much easier had they been able to carry out the original plan, with Matthews truly being the only possible candidate.

    Why was Walker chosen for President in the first place? 
  • It's struck me that the show never explained this very well, but why was Walker the Democrats' nominee in the 2012 elections? After all, he didn't have an Obamacare package or any major draw- policy or personality wise - that would make him get elected.

    Furthermore, Walker was prepared to scrap the education bill when it got in the slightest bit risky, wanted to keep things in general at peace with everybody and just keep things around the status quo when from my analysis, if there's one thing the Democrats love, it's change, and Walker strikes me as the polar opposite of that (and even Frank, who is quite right-leaning for a Democrat, proposed America Works- which is a job growth investment, something that is typically a free market (Republican) policy, like with what Donald Trump wants to be a priority during his presidency if elected, whilst Bernie Sanders- on the other side of the spectrum, wants to focus on raising the minimum wage, auditing and/or changing Wall Street's presence etc., and he is a pure leftie and left-wing, which is what the Democrats lean towards of course. Then again, knowing Frank, the Democrats typically want government to have more economic power and nationalize more things, thereby government in more sectors and more political power to governments, which Frank naturally thrives off).
    • If you looked up "Safe Candidate" in the dictionary, you'd see Walker's face. He is a moderate, a centrist even, who appeals to independents. After being in the minority for over a decade, the Democrats picked the most electable candidate possible, even if he isn't the most liberal. Superficially, he is easy on the eyes, poised, has a patrician voice, young but not too young, older but not too old, white but with an easily pronounceable last name. In terms of party politics, Walker lacks a distinct vision of his own, relying on insiders and experts to make his decisions, which makes him ideal with lobbyists and special interests. I doubt he won the election in a landslide, but it was probably by a safe margin.

    The media priorities over Claire's sex assault accusations 
  • So, the most decorated general of the Strategic Command is accused as a rapist on national television by the Second Lady and....the whole congress goes about its business with the Chinese delegation. Why isn't there a bigger media response to Claire's accusations? It strikes me that if the Second Lady or hell, even the First Lady, outed a very decorated general as the one who sexually assaulted her years ago, there should be a media firestorm surrounding her.

    The removal of Mendoza from the scene 
  • This question is more meta than anything, but what was the exact reason why Hector Mendoza was written out of the show? Part of me thinks there were scheduling conflicts with his actor, but were there other reasons?
    • It probably was a scheduling conflict. Story-wise, it didn't seem like there was much for Mendoza to do for the rest of the season. Frank's antagonists were either foreign principals (like Petrov) or party-insiders (like Heather Dunbar). Given how much we know of Mendoza, he doesn't appear to be a formidable opponent against Frank if Frank were to win the primaries, so it might have been easier just to dispense with Mendoza.

    Is Claire analogous to Lady Macbeth or not? 
  • Is this a fair assessment to consider Claire the equivalent of Lady Macbeth? Part of me says no, because if I remember it right, Lady Macbeth held most of the power in their marriage. She was the one who pushed Macbeth to kill Duncan and rise to the throne. In the Underwood marriage, Frank and Claire are equals. Most of the time, Claire doesn't even need to push Frank, he is ambitious all on his own.
    • The Pitch for the series was, in so many Words, "What if Richard III was married to Lady Macbeth?" aka, what if we take two of literatures greatest villains, and have them team up and tell the story from their Point of View. The fact that Frank isn't acting like Macbeth is the whole Point.
    • The finale for season 4 puts Claire pretty firmly in the role of Dick Cheney to Franks' George W. Given that the popular perception - and really, reality - of Cheney was the puppet master behind Bush, it's not a terrible modern analogy to Lady Macbeth.

    What's Doug in it for? 
  • Doug does some of the exceptionally unimaginable deeds that Frank needs done, like the role he had in the entire Russo plot, or disposing of Rachel. However, there's something about the way Michael Kelly plays him, and the way Doug acts, it's like he carries a permanent death sentence with him that Frank is indefinitely postponing, yet Doug stays completely loyal to him instead of trying to consider the possibility to free himself from Frank, and maybe be a bit more outgoing like his brother Gary. But I don't recall there being many nice words to Doug from Frank's lips, despite different writers and directors throughout the show. Despite knowing almost nothing we know enough that Doug isn't motivated by the money he gets. So, I have to wonder, what stems Doug's undying loyalty to Frank?
    • We've seen how Doug is without the direction given by Frank. Without a cause, without somebody to serve, Doug is aimless and succumbs to the chaos of his vices. There were moments of intimacy (with his physical therapist, the waitress in Missouri, and disastrously, Rachel), but they were fleeting and ultimately empty. He seems confounded by his brother's family life and when idle, Doug spends a lot of energy just trying to stay emotionally functional. Part of this is the result of Doug devoting so much of himself to Frank for so much time, but the damage is done. As we've also seen, it's not even a devotion to Frank in particular. He did try to serve Dunbar. He is a soldier at heart and without his work, Doug doesn't know what to do with himself.
    • It's most likely a form of Addiction Displacement. It doesn't have to be another substance. If you've ever known any recovering alcoholics or other addicts you'll know they can often get obsessed with particular causes or their jobs, especially if they believe that focussing on that thing was what helped them overcome their addiction. It's something that AA and other rehab groups watch out for as, while it can be helpful in the initial stages of treatment, it can become destructive in the long term if left unchecked with the addict becoming a fanatic (it's also unhelpful for the addict's long term prospects in that, if the cause ever goes away, the addict may lose his or her motivation and relapse). It's implied that Doug no longer attends AA other than taking Russo in season 1 and the one time he goes in season 2 to talk about Rachel. On that second occasion the guy who speaks to him afterwards seems to have spotted that Doug is having this problem.

     Vicktor, are you in love? 
  • For the life of me I can't figure out why Claire asked this. I would maybe sort of understand if Viktor had just began a new romance, but I'm not sure that's ever actually stated. It's only stated that he's recently divorced. It feels like a tasteless thing to ask a recent divorcee. But that's a moot point because Viktor states that Claire seems to always ask foreign politicians if they are in love. It seems like a rude/intrusive question to ask someone you don't know very well and have a semi-professional relationship with unless it's known that they are newly in a relationship and even then it's iffy. I don't understand it from a writing standpoint, because there were other ways to indicate Petrov was divorced. Or from a characterization standpoint, I can tell in the scene Claire is supposed to be coming off as charming and a good hostess, but it's a left field question that feels inappropriate and a weird question to have as standard dinner party banter. What am I missing?
    • From a writing standpoint, I think they were trying to set up Claire's eventual (temporary) separation from Frank at the end of the season.
    • It's Claire's style of interaction, to quickly give the relationship a personal slant and then use that intimacy to get what she needs. If someone asks you "Are you in love?" and you want to conversation to continue cordially, you're going to have to answer it. Once you do, you'll be divulging all sorts of things and before you know it, you feel like you can trust this person since you've shared so much together.

    Lucas's suicide note 
  • I understand that Lucas wrote that suicide note before he carried out his assassination attempt, possibly because he expected to be killed. He even points out all the various crimes he thinks Frank committed (including Russo and Barnes's murders). But we're talking about the President being shot here. While the FBI does launch an investigation (even talking to his former boss to get evidence), I would think, since it's the President who was targeted, wouldn't it be a wise idea to even consider the possibility that the things Lucas says in his notes could be true?
    • Not without proof. All he had were, what appeared to be, a large number of coincidences. Now consider the number of conspiracy theories that surround any U.S. President based upon coincidences. Frank also has really good publicity. What media outlet or government agency is going to investigate the accusations of a nutcase when the target of that investigation would be a sitting President who's just been wounded in assassination attempt? Anyone who does so would be committing career suicide.
      • At the very least, it did persuade Tom Hammerschmidt to look back at the cyberterrorism charges that had put Lucas away to begin with (which arguably started this sequence of events that led up to the shooting), and that led him on a trail that allowed him to identify everyone who had had their careers ruined by Frank's manipulation. I'd imagine that once Hammerschmidt's article comes out, there will undoubtedly be A LOT of public pressure to get a Justice Department inquiry opened up into Frank's activities. We'll have to wait until season 5 to find out.

    Frank should have been given top priority on the liver transplant list 
  • Frank gets shot by Lucas Goodwin, and he needs a liver transplant. He was the third name on the recipient list and he was in critical conditions, yet the doctors and the health and human services staff, nobody wanted to break the law or do something that goes against work ethics to take the President to the top of the list even though they had the power to modify the recipient list. So, at this point, an ordinary citizen has the same equal right to live as the President of the United States. And Doug had to threaten that one person to get one of the names bumped. I just wonder if this would happen in real life, when a VIP is in urgent need for an organ transplant, and that VIP is the President of the United States. I mean, shouldn't it be ruled a concern of National Security if Frank wasn't bumped up to first in line?
    • Put it another way: I think in real life that the Government is well above the law, and there's absolutely zero chance that in real life, a sitting President lying on his deathbed will be left waiting while there are people ahead of him getting viable liver transplants. Besides, it's an unambiguous fact that the wealthy and powerful get special treatment under the law. If this was Bill Gates or Larry Page or Raymond Tusk, they'd be bumped to the top of the list as well. The President? It's not even a question that any reasonable person should be asking. They should be bumping him without Doug needed to push the matter along.

    Why does the donor list person capitulate to Doug so easily? 
  • I'm wondering why the lady in charge of the liver transplant list so easily gave in to Doug's request to bump Frank to the top of the list when he threatened to terminate her. I mean, I would think that if this happened in real life, she refused to budge and Doug got her fired, she'd be going to the media and telling them what Doug said he would do (fire every replacement until he got what he wanted).
    • Because everyone would react the same way: "We don't care; you should have just given the liver to the president!" She has good ethical reasons for adhering to the priority list, but she's in a publicly indefensible position. Holding her ground would accomplish nothing, losing her job in the process, and the period of turnover might jeopardize recipients already on the list.

    How could Leann open Underwood's safe deposit box with one key? 
  • I thought that in most banks, you need two keys - your own key and the bank's own guard key - to open a safe deposit box. Do South Carolina's banks not use guard keys?
    • This is the same bank that allowed Meechum to leave with the box itself instead of putting the contents in a bag or a briefcase. So there's that.....

    Why does Frank hate kids? 
  • This is a question that really has made me wonder about those two asides where Frank says it - first after being bumped by Russo's kids, and later on seeing Conway's family.
    • Kids are all the things that Frank doesn't like: they're chaotic, they're messy, they require a lot of attention, they're expensive, they're not intellectually stimulating, and they don't respect him.

    Claire's gun control campaigning 
  • In that one scene where Claire shows off illegally obtained guns that were used to commit murder, she brings up the gun used by Lucas Goodwin from the assassination attempt. But wouldn't there be a better impact statement if she described the gun as "the gun that shot my husband/the President" instead of "the gun that killed Edward Meechum"? I'm just saying that I think notoriety is key here: while Meechum was killed, he was, in the eyes of the public, just another Secret Service agent; Frank, as POTUS, is more known to the public.
    • Meechum's name and photo were all over the news in the wake of the attack. While Frank is higher-profile, the man who died saving him is a very powerful symbol as well.
      • Why not say both? "And this is the gun that critically wounded my husband, your President, and killed our dear friend Agent Edward Meechum"?
    • I interpreted the phrasing as a calculated show of humility, paying lip service to the idea that the death of a person is more important than the wounding of a person, even if the former is a grunt and the latter is the President. It's consistent with the way that politicians make a big show of respect for any serviceperson killed in the line of duty.

    Couldn't Frank use Conway's New Years 2013 video to attack him? 
  • Is it me, or did anyone else think "Frank could have used this to to politically attack the Governor" for the December 31st New Years video that Conway posted on his site? Conway says things about 9/11 happening with perfect timing or something to that effect to begin his military career, and later used to launch his political career. Why didn't Frank even try to take advantage of that video? That could have cost Conway some support.
    • Conway's comments weren't caught on camera, so it would just be Underwood's word against the word of a decorated war veteran.
      • If he said similar remarks elsewhere, perhaps....

    The nationality of Conway's wife 
  • This is minor compared to others, but I keep wondering, would Conway's wife being British help his campaign or hurt him? Just saying 'cause I don't know if voters would worry that a First Lady with British origins might influence Presidential policy in ways of thought that are not wholly American, but still...
    • They didn't say that she wasn't a naturalized citizen. And there is not one of the first lady's official duties to be consulted on presidential policy. A candidate's wife would more likely be judged on her appearance and personality than her political views.
      • But her nationality would matter in some cases? I mean, if this was the Cold War and she or her family came from the Soviet Union, I think people would look at her differently.
      • Relations between the US and the UK are nowhere near as hostile as those between the US and the USSR. Hannah Conway's nationality would be a minor curiosity among the public. Hell, considering the US public's fascination with Prince William's wedding, Hannah's Britishness might add an air of Camelot-like mystique to Conway's image.
      • Since when have the US and UK had any kind of hostile relationship. The 'Special Relationship' may be somewhat overblown, but the two countries are still generally well disposed towards each other.
    • Consider that in the real life 2016 election, the republican nominee is also married to an immigrant, and that caused him virtually no problems until after he had already clinched the nomination, and as of this post remains to be seen whether or not it will have any real impact on whether he wins or loses. If anything Conway's marriage might win him a few points with progressives and the left in general; given that he has a happy, love-based marriage with an immigrant, it would help dismiss perception of him being a jingoist. Not that being married to an immigrant dismissed that notion for the real life nominee, but as far as we can tell from the show, Conway didn't run his campaign on jingoistic, xenophobic, anti-immigrant policies like his real life counterpart did, nor is there the implication that he's been married multiple times like his real life counterpart has, nor is the apparent perception or implication that his marriage is based on money, like his real life counterpart's marriage is perceived. General point being, for all the writers probably thought it was outthere for the republican nominee to be married to an immigrant, reality once again proved stranger than fiction.

    Conway's social media usage 
  • So, in his videocast in Chapter 46, Conway says he'll be 100% transparent by making every text, message, photo, and video on his smartphone accessible to the public. Is it me or would Conway need to be really careful about what he says on that phone? Just saying 'cause in the real 2016 race, we've seen Donald Trump come under fire on multiple occasions for some of the things he's said on his Twitter feed, and I doubt Conway would be able to afford that sort of backlash....
    • He made every text, photo, etc on THAT smartphone accessible. It's not outside the realm of possibility that he has another phone for important stuff.
      • What I'm getting is: hopefully Conway is a little less foot-in-mouth than Donald Trump is (call me crazy, but Conway isn't the kind of person who would Tweet bad things about those he dislikes).
    • In one scene, Conway borrows a staffer's phone to make a personal call to Frank. As the above troper noted, he probably only uses his primary phone for things he doesn't mind being made public.

    Frank's hallucinations 
  • While he's in surgery for the liver transplant, Frank hallucinates being attacked by the ghosts of Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo. One thing I have to ask is, why does Zoe have short hair in the hallucinations, when she had shoulder-length hair during the eleven months she was involved with Frank? I know that the real-life explanation is that Kate Mara cut her hair short for another project, but I would think Frank's visions of Zoe would have her with long hair rather than short hair....
    • There seems to be some weird blend of Frank and Claire mixed into the respective hallucinations of Peter and Zoe. Zoe has Claire's short hair, and is wearing a dress similar to the one Claire wore to the State of the Union (which a big deal had been made of; though it also kinda looks like an outfit that Zoe wore in season 1), and Peter does Frank's double ring-knock.

    Underwood-Underwood 2016 
  • Nepotism aside and the other legal issues/conflicts of interest aside (that were documented on the main page), I have to wonder, wouldn't another problem with the Frank as POTUS/Claire as VP ticket be that the two nominees hail from the same state? I know that Claire is from Texas, but she most likely votes in South Carolina; and I thought there was a law that prevents running mates from both being from/living in the same state, which I think was a problem with the George W Bush / Dick Cheney ticket in 2000.
    • It may be a problem, but it's not illegal. The Constitution says that members of the electoral college may not vote for candidates from their own states for both president and vice president. So the nine South Carolina electors would have to vote for either Frank or Claire but not both. If the margin of victory was close.... But Claire may still be a resident of Texas, since it's not like either of them want to live in Gaffney. Or she can re-establish residency in her home state, which is what Cheney did.

    Naked Pollyhop guy? 
  • What was the point of having those shots of the Pollyhop guy dancing shirtless in his office to music on his headphones during that montage in Chapter 47? Feels like a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment to me.
    • It's been established that he is a genius in the field of computer and information sciences. Geniuses throughout history have exhibited eccentric behavior. This scene provided a framing device for the montage of his program working and gave his character some memorable traits.

    "You're a motherfucker, Mr. President" 
  • This is something I want to ask: why do a lot of fans (at least on IMDb) seem to think Freddy's outburst in season 4 was uncalled for? I think Freddy was justified, to the point that I see a couple different interpretations of how Freddy views Frank:
    • 1. Freddy has never LIKED Frank. He made that clear before in a conversation with Remy. It's because he knows what kind of person Frank is, having spent a lot of time watching him in his restaurant, overhearing his conversations and seeing his rise to power.
    • 2. Furthermore, there's Frank's comment about ribs from that scene. Frank probably never intended it to be a slight, but for Freddy it was a sign of how Frank only saw him as a servant. Freddy was willing to work in the service industry, but he wasn't the sort to take dirt from people and didn't appreciate being made to feel like a second-class citizen. Frank's attitude was that of a master to a servant rather than one man to another. That also set Freddy off.
    • 3. Remy's comment to Tom Hammerschmidt about how everyone touched by Frank Underwood has seen their life ruined perfectly describes Freddy. Freddy had his life completely change when he developed a relationship with the President. He got to know the President well based on how often Frank ate at his restaurant and how open and honest he was with Freddy. Freddy learned through this that Frank wasn't a good guy, but an evil manipulator with few positive qualities. However, Freddy isn't stupid, so he probably kept a close eye on Frank, fulfilling the whole "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer" saying that Sun Tzu popularized in The Art Of War. Soon after, since his bond with Frank grew, he naturally got drawn into the spotlight as a result of Frank's battles with Raymond Tusk. As a result, he lost his restaurant, lost his son, and most importantly, lost his dignity. He finally snapped because he was so angry with himself at "selling out" to Frank and working for him. Frank may see Freddy as a friend, but always treated him as hired help, and Freddy couldn't take it anymore. It's one of the few humanizing moments of Frank Underwood, in that you sense he did truly care for Freddy and was hurt that he lost that friendship, but I'm not surprised, with all that had happened, that Freddy didn't want anything to do with Frank anymore.
    • 4. I've read about restaurant owners who have the sort of wealthy customer that eats at their place all the time, and begins to think he is the owner's friend. Subsequently, they begin to abuse the relationship, such as making them open early, stay open late, come into the kitchen to make friendly "suggestions". This person in particular can be a hindrance and downright annoying. That describes Frank. "I appreciate your patronage, Frank, but I don't owe you my life" is probably how Freddy feels. Frank possibly doesn't see Freddy as a person, but a tool. An ear to bend, a prop for company when he's feeling lonely, a person to cook him ribs when he feels like it. It's a one-sided relationship. Yes, Frank got him the job in the White House, and Freddy did the job and did it well. Does that mean he has to spend all his energy being thankful to him? Absolutely not! He can still be angry about the way he's treated. He is entitled to his feelings.
      • Not to mention that Freddy had, on a previous occasion, told Frank directly that he didn't particularly like running a rib joint. When Frank decided to offer him a job he assumed that Freddy would like to work in the kitchen and was surprised that he chose to work on the White House lawn instead. Sadly, Frank is too preoccupied with his own perspective on "how are people useful to me" to recognize and value this choice that Freddy made to do something different. So later when Frank's first thought for a send-off is "ribs", he isn't merely seeing Freddy as a servant, he is defining Freddy by the parameters within which he first categorized him. Frank is demonstrating that he only has a relationship with his own image of Freddy, long since codified, thereby denying Freddy the right to grow, to change, even to have a say in his own damn identity. What Freddy rejected was the idea of being defined as a static, two-dimensional caricature in the mind of the President.
    • 5. I personally think that Freddy may have lost respect for Frank due to disgust at Frank's political maneuvering. Most of Frank's close associates, aside from Doug and maybe Meechum, are sickened by him, to the point that when Tom Hammerschmidt comes around asking them, they jump at the opportunity to get a chance to speak their true feelings about Franknote . Freddy has been witness to some of Frank's behind-the-scenes scheming. So while I suppose some might assume he has no political awareness to influence his opinion of Frank, I'd say that Freddy's revulsion isn't strictly personal.
    • 6. That photo of Frank's father with KKK members did become public knowledge. So I wonder if Freddy may have also lost some respect for Frank because Calvin Underwood was affiliated with the groups that committed unspeakable things against people like Freddy or his ancestors.
    • 7. Somewhat related: I think that instead of saying that he should be respected because he's the President (because how the hell was that supposed to make the situation better?), Frank should've reminded Freddy that he went out of his way to get Freddy the job at the White House purely to help him out.
    • 8. Freddy is supposed to be a symbol of the typical American voter. As smart as Frank is, he can't ever win over the public in the general election. He tried repeatedly, through America Works, and other programs, but at the end of the day Frank is just a suspicious and unlikeable person. He's President without ever having a vote cast for him, has problems dealing with the gas crisis, always has new scandals that he is addressing one after another (his and Claire's falling out and trying to cover that up, the Russian diplomat Milkin's asylum matters, the KKK photo leak, etc.) The college girl that Frank was talking to when Lucas Goodwin shot him was another example of that rage. So while Freddy is not totally blameless in how his life ended up, he certainly never asked for Frank to get involved in his life and is now arguably worse off for the interaction. Much like America in a way, as Frank has interrupted the governing process and is now starting a war just to help himself out. At the end, Freddy and Frank cannot reconcile. Frank and Claire realize they can't win votes through being likeable. The situations parallel each other.
    Conway on the phone: Honest, or full of shit? 
  • On the phone, did Conway actually speak the truth about how he felt about his military service? Or was he just acting to buy time? I don't think they make it clear which way Conway was going with those statements. I know they leaked to the press and Conway had to deal with the fallout. But do you think he was telling the truth of just buying time and lying?
    • Considering what Conway told Frank at the new year's party, that his military service was primarily a way to build clout for a future career in politics, I really doubt that Conway has any regrets about his service.

    That homeless woman 
  • I'm kinda baffled by that homeless woman with the shopping cart that Tom Hammerschmidt runs into outside what used to be Zoe Barnes's apartment. Why does she go "WHORE!" when Hammerschmidt shows her a photo of Zoe?
    • Well, she's crazy.

    Conway's use of Pollyhop 
  • One thing I've wondered with the Pollyhop stuff is, if a presidential candidate was known to be using it to manipulate search results so that voters only see positive coverage of his campaign, would it be enough to sink his campaign? (I personally think it would. The only reason it isn't is Conway's 100% transparency pledge with his personal phone, plus his viral videos)
    • The law is always a step behind technology. It's unclear if there are any campaign laws on the books that prohibit this sort of collusion between a candidate and a search engine company. It could be construed as the equivalent of a newspaper running positive stories about a candidate, which wouldn't be illegal and since there are multiple search engines on the internet, there can be no claim of monopoly. After the Citizens United decision, corporations have been granted the same status as people in elections, so weirder things have happened.

    Doug's courting of Laura Moretti 
  • I might have missed something, but, what would motivate Doug to take an interest in and form a relationship with the widow of the man he had bumped to save Frank's life?
    • I'd guess a combination of genuine remorse for what he did and Doug's inherent stalker like tendencies once again rearing their head. Doug seems to just to find certain women and fixate on them, as he did with Rachel.

    What's the bigger story? 
  • Is the bigger story "Frank Underwood, possible double-murderer" or "Frank Underwood, President Corrupt"? This pertains to Tom Hammerschmidt's investigation. When Dunbar slips by his house that night, and he lets her in on what he was doing. As they are talking it over, she says "I don't think Frank's a murderer," and Hammerschmidt agrees. So I'm like, yes, Hammerschmidt is trying to expose Frank for all his abuses of power in the White House and in years prior and it in part has to do with what happened to Lucas Goodwin, but wouldn't uncovering the fact that Frank may have murdered two people (or least covered up their deaths) be equally important to the story here? Even with no direct proof tying Frank to either Zoe's to Russo's death, there's probably evidence implicating him in the cover-ups to either crimenote  and that would be as much of a story as Frank being a corrupt politician would be.
    • Frank being a double-murderer would be the bigger story, but Hammerschmidt isn't interested in what the bigger story is, he's interested in the truth. The irony here is that in truth, Frank is a double-murderer, but Tom's got a bias against that since he went over the evidence already and found nothing concrete, and has a personal bias to write it off as absurd. He found real evidence of the other crimes, though, so he's more concerned with publishing that truth of that compared to devoting time to uncovering something he's already dismissed as the ravings of a mad-man.

    War would not work 
  • Frank wants to bring up "war" and "terror" to brainwash the American people. Does he think he is George W. Bush, circa 2002? This election cycle, both conservatives and liberals have steered away from foreign wars (for different reasons) which is why we see the fading support for establishment candidates like Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz.
    • It's very different when an American family is kidnapped in the American heartland by people affiliated with a foreign enemy. Compounding that is the fact that they executed one of the hostages live on the internet. That doesn't have the same weight as 9/11, but it does bring national security back to the forefront of American politics. More importantly though, it'll make people forget about the Underwood scandal that's bubbling. AKA, a Wag the Dog scenario.
    • It should be noted that while the show includes parallels to real life events, the 2016 political climate in the show stems from an alternate history that seems to diverge from ours at some undefined time between 9/11 and 2008. As a result, the American public of the show has different priorities and attitudes than those that exist in real life. For example, there are few references to the Iraq war in House of Cards, suggesting that it may have been more successful and short-lived than in real life. Another example is that the show's US appears to have a much bigger energy problem and greater dependency on Russian oil than in reality.
    • It is worth noting that this mentality isn't necessarily something the writers could have reasonably predicted; the real life 2016 election cycle has been extremely unorthodox, defying predictions from many political pundits even during the heat of it. The show was written and shot considerably in advance of that, so can be forgiven for misreading the political climate. It's also debatable how true the OP's assertion really is - Hillary did end up winning the democratic nomination, though the reasons for that are varied and her hawkish foreign policy stance has been as much a hindrance to her with progressives as it's been a boon, and many of the least hawkish Republicans were relatively quick to drop out, with only Kasich lasting for any substantial length of time. Trump's message on foreign policy was/is considerably less consistent than Cruz's, but it's no less hawkish and militaristic; if anything it's moreso given his comments to the effect of being open to the use of nukes. So, really, we ended up with the two biggest warhawks on both sides being the nominees; that almost certainly wasn't the deciding factor among the democrats but it may well have been among the republicans. Also worth mentioning that while Cruz and Trump are deeply establishment in reality despite having a public perception of being anti-establishment, the two most standard establishment politicians on the right, Kasich and Jeb, were, again, among the least militaristic, hawkish, and fearmongering in the republican primary.

    Frank's CNN debate with Marty Spinella 
  • Back in season 1, I wonder, did Frank throw the CNN debate against Marty on purpose? It seems like such an out-of-character thing at that point in the series, for him to flop so badly that he ends up being the subject of YouTube remixes, and just after scenes where both Marty and Frank acknowledge that Frank has beaten Marty in past debates and will probably win this one. Frank bombs so is it supposed to be some kind of insurance to make people feel bad for him if he's forced to tell the public that Marty assaulted him (in the event that Marty refused to go along with Frank after the punch)?
    • I don't think Underwood intentionally bombed the debate. It was an early stumble on his part, getting overly confident and trying to be clever in his takedown of Spinella. The upside of it was that Spinella felt safe enough to meet with Underwood privately, leading to the Wounded Gazelle Gambit.

    Why campaign in South Dakota for the general election? 
  • I was confused as to why both the Conway and Underwood campaigns held rallies in South Dakota for the general election. South Dakota hasn't voted for a Democrat since 1964 and is one of the most reliably red states there is. It would be a complete waste of resources for either campaign to spend any time or money there. I realize that Frank is a relatively conservative Democrat and Conway is a relatively liberal Republican, but it still seems far-fetched that the state would be in play and the candidates fighting over its 3 electoral votes.

    Was Meechum's death necessary? 
  • Watching Lucas Goodwin's assassination attempt, Meechum is mortally wounded but not before killing Goodwin. But I'm wondering, why would he be killed off? So far I can only think of a few possible reasons for Meechum to die instead of only be critically wounded:
    • From a character standpoint, you have to notice that Meechum had some level of innocence and naivety that almost none of the other characters had. Meechum's innocence wasn't the kind that Frank could exploit or manipulate (although he obviously did do it when he first met Meechum). It was the kind that Frank could use as a sort of conduit to let his own hair down and have a little bit of carefree fun, which ties together scenes like the one in season 2 where Frank practices the ceremonial Orioles first pitch with Meechum roleplaying as the catcher, or that scene prior to Meechum's death where Frank traced an outline of his hand on the wall (consider that Frank looks pretty saddened when he finds out a few episodes later that said outline has been painted over).
    • Consider the gun control bill that the Underwoods proposed after Frank recovered. It's designed to create an atmosphere divisive enough to weed out potential running mates. However, consider that scene where Claire is showing the press corps a number of illegally obtained firearms that had been used in homicides, which she says is proof of the need for more stringent background checks. But among the guns Claire shows and lists off, is the one that Goodwin used in the assassination attempt. And she never mentions how the gun was used to wound Frank. Part of me thinks that the scene was meant to suggest that publicly, the Underwoods were trivializing Meechum's death for political gain, which is something that's actually pretty common among real-life politicians.
    • From a narrative viewpoint, there can't not be significance in the fact that travel records that Meechum had doctored were what led Tom Hammerschmidt to evidence of Frank's corruption. Remember that when Hammerschmidt was in Zoe Barnes's neighborhood, he stopped in at that pizzeria and the TV was broadcasting Frank's speech from the spot where Meechum died. During the speech, there was a big photo of Meechum to the left and behind Frank, and in frame. The owner, upon glancing at the TV , said "I've seen that dead Secret Service guy come by quite a lot for coffee. I know that because I'm good with faces." (though not in those exact words) So now Hammerschmidt had something that suggested that Frank could have made visits to Zoe Barnes' apartment when he was Whip. This got him to the travel logs; the travel logs in time led Hammerschmidt to evidence that suggested a possible tie to Lanagin; that led him in time to Remy and Jackie, and then to Walker and other people who'd been ruined by Frank's manipulation.

    Death By Car Fumes? 
  • Can you even commit suicide this way with modern cars? Especially given the fumes had to fill up the entire garage. It wasn't a pipe in the window affair.
    • As long as the car didn't run out of gas or shut itself off (some cars do that now, I can't think of any that did a few years ago though) there's no reason for it not to work. The space Peter Karouso was in was pretty small as is, and it's not implausible that it would fill up over the course of a night. It didn't really need to fill up either though; there just needed to be a level of deadly gases present to kill him.

    The travel logs 
  • I may have missed something, but how did Tom Hammerschmidt get access to Meechum's travel records?

    Lucas's release 
  • So what is the "Rule 35 order" that got Lucas Goodwin released into WITSEC? That part seemed kinda confusing.

    Surely the public isn't gullible, right? 
  • Would the public really not realize that this entire ICO matter was all a major diversion tactic to get focus away from Tom Hammershmidt's article? I mean yes, another war on terror, an American executed by radicalized Americans on American soil, sure, it's scary and it causes panic and obviously moves discussion away from some political manipulation the President may or may not have done. But still, how is the public not going to see through this? I mean, colluding to force the former President to resign and inherit his spot can't be written off as mere politics. That's a serious accusation that would severely taint Frank and likely cost him the election.
  • Furthermore, using a war as a diversion seems like it wouldn't last too long. I mean, say people are going to focus on the war. How long can this war last? And how are the White House staff going to dodge questions about the article? They can't just say stuff like "we have more important matters to attend to". Because that would, in time, show people he started a war to move attention away from the controversy and would actually incriminate him.

    Doug's use of the glass to threaten Seth 
  • Why didn't Seth just use either of his free hands to move the glass or grab Doug's face or anything else, rather than wait there without moving to slowly and bizarrely suffocate? The scene looked good, maybe effective at showing how unhinged Doug is, I suppose, but did Seth suddenly forget that both of his hands are still free to claw at Doug's face?
  • Furthermore, why would Seth continue working for the White House after that? I mean, if Doug did that to me, I'd be filing a police report accusing Doug of battery. That or telling other White House colleagues about what happened.
    • Where else can Seth go after burning down his bridge with the White House? He'd be out of a job and now has a big target on his back from the Underwood administration. He doesn't quite know the extent by which Stamper will protect Underwood and the administration (i.e. murder), but this glass incident is a taste of what he's willing to do. There really is nothing to be gained everything to lose by bringing in the police.
    • It'd be entirely Seth's word against Doug's; there isn't actually any real evidence that Doug did assault Seth. Yeah, there's some broken glass, but it's a bit of a stretch to say that's enough to warrant anyone believing that it happened. Glasses break all the time, it doesn't mean anyone's throat's getting cut. So even if Seth did go to the police, Doug couldn't get into any hot water and Seth would probably just position himself in relative opposition to Frank (not a happy place to be in.)

    Claire's Gun Bill 
  • What exactly was Claire's failed gun bill trying to accomplish? The laws she seemed to be proposing are already in place. First off, in most states, firearms purchases at gun shows require full background checks and all gun sellers at shows must hold a FFL license which means they can not sell you a gun unless you pass a background check. The "gunshow loophole" is a myth, a blatant lie. Gun show purchases are no different from buying a gun at a store. Second, she mentioned gun purchases on the internet as being a way for people to buy guns without a background check. This is a lie as well. You can buy a gun online but the store can not legally ship it to your home. Instead, they must ship it to a dealer with a FFL license (gun store) and that store cannot release it to you until you pay the FFL transfer fee and pass a background check for the state that the gun is being received in.
    • The bill was never intended to pass. It was proposed with the intention of thinning out the potential list of vice presidential candidates who would pose a challenge to Claire at the DNC. Because of the assassination attempt, it was understandable that Frank would be for gun reform. So, it already makes sense they would push this bill. However, the Democratic Party leadership, knowing how hard it is to even speak about gun legislation, got him to "compromise", accept a gun advocate as his VP candidate to balance out an anti-gun Supreme Court justice (and in exchange, support the legislation). But they are still Democrats: the potential list of NRA-approved acceptable VP candidates would be rather short, and Frank eventually made it untenable for the leadership's candidate to stay on the ticket, opening the road for a semi-open convention, and thus, Claire's VP nomination.

    Frank trying to get a second full term? 
  • I know enough about the Presidency to know that because Walker resigned before the mid-terms, Frank served more than two years before the 2016 election and because of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, could only run for one additional term in office. Now there hasn't been anything in the show to contradict this. But in season 4, when discussing his plans for Catherine Durant, Frank tells her in a patronizing way that if she just waited, he'd support her running in 2024. But Durant doesn't immediately tell Frank, "Frank, I wouldn't have to wait until 2024, you can't run in 2020." So is Frank going to try to get the 22nd Amendment repealed or what?
    • I'm guessing Claire's gonna make a run in 2020 but he doesn't think she can pull it off.
      • That would explain one of the scenes where he's talking with the leadership about who to tap as a VP running mate. Frank says that they need to vet someone who will be capable of stepping up if Frank doesn't survive the full length of the term. The fact that Frank says 2024 instead of 2028 is like him suggesting that he may have doubts he makes it to January 20, 2019 (since the Twenty-Fifth Amendment loophole says that a Vice-President who becomes President more than halfway through an unexpired term can be elected to two full terms in his or her own right).

    The Underwoods and gun control 
  • Watching "Chapter 47", Yates comes by the White House to help with speechwriting. Claire is pulled out of the meeting due to the news of Brockhart's resignation. And Yates asks LeAnn, "Does she [Claire] actually give a shit about guns?" That's a good question actually: do the Underwoods genuinely care about gun control or was that arc entirely about weeding out potential running mates who could challenge Claire at the DNC? I say this because I would think, as the target of an assassination attempt from an illegally obtained firearm, Frank probably would be in favor of gun reform of some kind.
    • As far as the assassination attempt is concerned, the thing which they'd most likely be concerned about is how far it set them back and generally slowed their progress, what with Frank's following health issues and Claire having to pull the strings from behind the scenes by herself rather than the amplified power of the two of them working together. Getting caught up in individual issues more than just for show would only be creating obstacles for themselves in the future, which they definitely don't need, nor is it something they really do anyway. For example, Francis (being a bisexual man who is, by all indications, intentionally in the closet) could benefit from increased tolerance of LGBT people, particularly ones in power, which would allow him to be both out and in power, meanwhile Claire (from just being a woman, but especially from being someone who had at least one abortion herself) would be someone who it'd be normally pretty likely to personally support legislation legalizing or, failing that, lowering the limits on, abortion.

    Will Conway's big secret 
  • During season 5 it's hinted that there's some fishy about the heroic act that earned Will Conway his Purple Heart in the Iraq War. Conway refuses to talk about the mission, the guy he rescued clearly wants to say more than he was allowed, and the Underwoods are trying to find out the truth so they could use it against Conway in the election. But neither they nor the viewers ever find out what exactly Conway was hiding. The Underwoods manage to win the election through other means, after which Conway disappears from the show altogether. It doesn't seem likely Conway will play any significant role in the story in the future, nor will his secret have much impact anymore since he already lost the election. So what was the point of this whole subplot?

    How is Claire getting out of this one? 
  • The amount of people killed off the last 2 seasons with no recourse is puzzling. Frank was careful with Russo's murder, making sure not to leave fingerprints on the steering wheel, etc. And with Zoe, he was in disguise and they had no public ties. But by the end of season 5 they are paying people to run a strategist off the road, killing a well known novelist that had been publicly hanging around for months, and more. Then in season 6, they murder a reporter that's been digging into the Underwoods for years in a deli with a worker who clearly knows the guy didn't try to rob him or Hammerschmidt, a lady that's been living in the White House residence winds up dead, the former Secretary of State is shot and killed in broad daylight, the ex-President who hasn't been in the White House in months shows up in a fit of rage and dies, and on and on. Then the big payoff after 6 seasons is that Claire murders a guy in the oval office who was closer to the Underwoods, both privately and publicly, than anyone and who was cited as the source for a damning article about her. How does Claire get out of this one?
    • Claire would have a hell lot of trouble explaining Doug's death. It would have serious media attention (Janine comes in) and Claire would get tons of backlash for igniting a war with Russia. Not to mention, the Shepherds or at least Annie would be working to take Claire down. Mark Usher could end up in office, but since he left the White House mid season and lacked interest in the job, it’s not so likely. On another hand, maybe Claire comes out on top. However given all that’s against her, the Underwood legacy could potentially fall and she may end up behind bars, working quietly in the private sector, or just living off anything she has which is quite a lot (parent’s money, retirement plan?, Frank’s inheritance, savings, etc).
      • And somehow not a single person in Congress will impeach her. They were gonna impeach Walker, who was so popular and likable that he cleared 70+ million votes, but they won't follow through with someone with no experience whose ticket didn't win the popular vote? And Usher even tells us that everyone in Congress hates her, both parties even.


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