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Chapter 6 is the sixth chapter of the first season, as well as the sixth episode of the series in general. It aired on February first, 2013.

Synopsis

Francis strikes back at the striking teachers. Claire is caught off guard by a deathbed confession.

Plot summary

The National Teachers’ Strike endures for almost a month incensing the public enough to cause the White House to panic.  Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez speaks with Representative Frank Underwood to inform him of President Garrett Walker’s decision to modify the education reform bill in order to appease the teachers.  Frank, however, is reluctant to concede to the demands of the teachers and pleads Linda to give him a week to end the strike without compromising the bill.  Frank finds himself in a tight spot where failure would mean losing favor from the President, a predicament he could not afford to happen. 

Claire Underwood invites Edward Meechum inside the house for a cup of coffee and insists on him leaving his post despite his reluctance.  Meechum acquiesces to the woman’s invitation.  Soon after, a brick is thrown at the Underwoods’ window.  Meechum gets in trouble when Frank imparts his displeasure at the bodyguard leaving his post and using his weapon at a residential neighborhood.  Frank demands Meechum’s termination and the reinstatement of their former bodyguard, Steve.  The Underwoods learn that Steve is suffering from a stage four pancreatic cancer and not just a gall bladder infection.  Meechum, a former marine and D.C. cop, finds himself in danger of being discharged after making two errors in judgment in connection with the brick incident.  He reaches out to Frank Underwood accepting responsibility and pleading mercy.  Meechum believes that a word from the powerful congressman to Captain Cardiff will help save his job.  Francis, however, refuses to do the bodyguard a favor.

Zoe Barnes is at a bar having drinks with the owner of Slugline when Frank gives her a call.  Frank wants her to write about the brick thrown at his house and wants her to name Marty Spinella as the person behind it.  Meanwhile, Frank and Doug Stamper are hard at work at a campaign assigning blame at Spinella.  Frank becomes frustrated at the smear campaign against Spinella when Claire comes up with the perfect sound bite.  Claire calls Spinella’s leadership as disorganized labor.   Soon everyone on the news begins calling Marty Spinella’s union leadership disorganized labor and blames the union leader for the violence.  With everyone pointing fingers at him, Marty begins to figure out a way to combat the blows thrown at him.  Marty argues the lack of evidence proving that a teacher threw the brick at the Underwoods residence.  His media consultant recommends making this statement with the addition of assigning blame to Congress.  Marty is hesitant to use this argument for he is reluctant to stoop to Frank’s level.  He believes that the issue with the brick will disappear, but his public relations team thinks otherwise.  They remind him that the support for the strike has dipped, because of the incident.  Marty maintains silence over the issue believing that Frank Underwood expects him to respond.

Congressman Peter Russo speaks with Frank to convey his desire of becoming governor of Pennsylvania.  He asks him for his help claiming over a month long sobriety.  Frank is unsure about Peter, but the young congressman argues about his success at seizing opportunities stating the fact that it is the reason he was elected in Congress.  Frank expresses his admiration of Peter’s determination and agrees to help him.  He speaks to Claire about Peter’s ambition and asks her help with the campaign.  Frank tasks Claire with putting together a bill that will create jobs on Peter’s district, one that will buy the support of the shipbuilders.  Claire, already buried with her international projects, rejects her husband’s request.  Frank pleads for his wife’s help and Claire considers it.  In exchange, Claire eyes having Catherine Durant sort out the issue of getting CWI’s water filters through Sudanese customs.  Frank promises to speak to Catherine.

Adam Galloway hears the news about the brick and calls Claire to check up on her.  Claire appreciates the concern and begins the dialogue about their failed affair.  Adam finds that there is no need to speak about it.  He is fine with Claire’s rejection and believes that they can remain friends.  Claire does not think it possible, but at the same time does not want to lose her friendship with Adam.  Later, she pays Steve a visit at the hospital genuinely expressing her concern for the dying bodyguard and apologizing for Frank’s absence.  She explains that Frank is caught up with the teachers’ strike, which he truly is.  In fact, Frank and Doug had just hatched up a plan after Doug found foams that look like bricks.  Frank instructs Doug to procure a large number of these foam bricks.  Soon, people protesting against the teachers’ strike begins throwing the foam bricks at Marty and his crew causing the teachers to retaliate with violence.  The scene that showed teachers throwing punches at the people that threw foam was caught on tape.  It becomes a public relations nightmare for the teachers union.  Marty’s team suggests going on a live debate against Frank Underwood on CNN.  Marty is hesitant about the debate knowing Frank’s adeptness with the platform, but he agrees with the last resort.  Meanwhile, Frank is extremely confident of his winning the debate that he urges his wife to come with him to the studio to witness him burying Marty.

The debate ensues and Frank reproaches the teachers union for the strike that cost the taxpayers $2 billion.  Marty assigns blame on Congress, holding it responsible for the strike after it threatened the teachers’ ability to negotiate as a union, their job security, and livelihood.  Frank then brings up the issue of the brick thrown at his house, but Marty is prepared with a counterargument that stated the lack of evidence that the violence is related to the strike.  Moreover, it allowed Marty to express his condemnation of the use of any form of violence or intimidation.  Frank retorts with Marty’s inability to control his union and speaks of disorganized labor.  Marty, however, is prepared and easily dismisses the criticism.  He instead segues to Congress’ failure to fulfill its promise of providing better education for the children.  Frank unprepared to deal with the issue circles back to the issue of the brick and uses Claire as a last resort.  He demands an apology from Marty for the brick incident claiming the terrifying ordeal he and his wife suffered.  Marty acquiesces and provides a sincere apology without claiming responsibility.  More than that, Marty expresses his disgust at Frank’ decision to use her in order to win the debate.  Frank begins to sweat bullets and makes the mistake of claiming that there is not a U and I in the word education digging a deeper hole for him.  Frank is mired in a flawed vowel game he started embarrassing himself even more.  Frank’ failed debate becomes news as the media replays his laughable vowel game repeatedly on various media platforms.

Frank takes a break from the teachers strike after the disastrous debate.  He speaks with DNC Chair Patricia Whittaker about Peter Russo instead, but even she could not help but comment about the botched debate.  Frank recommends Peter as the gubernatorial candidate for Pennsylvania.  Patti is disinclined with his recommendation knowing that the young congressman of the 1st Congressional District of Pennsylvania does not have a donor base or the infrastructure to win the election.  Frank vows to personally oversee Peter’s campaign and raise funds for it if DNC agrees to provide initial funding for the campaign.  With no other acceptable candidates in sight, Patti accepts Frank’s recommendation.  Frank informs Peter that the DNC Chair has approved his nomination as the gubernatorial candidate and that the DNC has agreed to provide $4 million in start-up funding.  He tells him that they are to announce his candidacy in August, but the campaign will start that very day.  Frank, however, demands that Peter attend AA, because his sobriety is the biggest hurdle they have to jump.  Peter rejects the idea of attending AA meetings, but Frank makes it his one requirement otherwise he withdraws his support.  Peter acquiesces and Frank assigns Doug as his sponsor for his chief of staff has been sober for fourteen years.  Frank also arranges a meeting between Peter and Claire.  Claire discusses the plan to pass a Watershed Act for the Delaware River making use of the 1,100 acres of land made available by the closing of the shipyard.  The plan is to create thousands of jobs through the development of the land.  Peter’s role is to speak with the representatives of the districts that the watershed will affect and to take on the environmental legislation with the help of his and Claire’s staff.  Peter leaves a voicemail message to Christina Gallagher informing her of having taken the first step to sobriety.  His call is in fact part of the AA program where alcoholics are asked to reach out and make amends to the people they have hurt.  He, however, confesses the real reason for his call.  Peter is still in love with Christina and misses her terribly so.

With the teachers’ strike still in progress, President Walker reproaches Frank for allowing it to endure.  He orders Frank to gut the bill in order to put an end to the strike.  Frank argues that they must not concede to the demands of the teachers union, but the President has lost confidence in him after the disastrous debate.  The President orders him to gut the bill, but Frank continues to refuse and claims that President Walker has allowed fear to cloud his judgment.  Surprised with Frank’s defiance, President Walker allows him to keep the bill intact and Frank gains the respect of the most powerful man in the world.  Despite this win, Frank still needs a solution to end the strike and he spends the rest of the evening at the office with Doug listening to the police radio of a crime they could use for their campaign.  He ponders about karma and decides that a good deed might soon pay off.  Frank decides to speak to Captain Cardiff about giving Meechum his job back.  True enough, the next morning they hear of a drive-by shooting on the police radio.  Meechum drives Frank to Zoe’s apartment in order to instruct her to tweet about the death of Tyler Davis, an 8-year old Washington D.C. boy.  A stray bullet from a gangland shoot-out struck the third-grader at Vernon Baker Elementary that was out of school due to the teachers’ strike.  Frank rushes to be at the side of the deceased boy’s grieving mother when she speaks to the press.  He uses the interview to blame the boy’s death on the strike and calls for an end to it.  Moreover, he makes a statement conveying that the end to the strike is at Marty Spinella’s hands.  Marty arrives at the Capitol to meet with Frank believing that they are meeting to negotiate.  Frank confesses of having lied to him for he has no intention of working out a compromise.  Marty prepares to leave when Frank hurls insults at him.  Marty just shrugs off his insults, but Frank shows him the brick thrown at his house.   Moreover, he divulges that Doug Stamper threw it and that he had instructed Claire to distract his security.  Frank comes within inches from Marty’s face when he confesses to having arranged the supposed attack against him.  Marty throws a punch at Frank hard enough to cause him to bleed, which is exactly what Frank had hoped.  Frank threatens to press charges for assault of a United States Congressman, which is a felony, if Marty does not end the strike immediately.

Claire Underwood accepts Steve’s request for her to visit him again at the hospital.  She leaves her office and continues to find the homeless man that has encamped in front of it.  She looks at him and he in turn flicks an origami made from the twenty-dollar bill she gave him before.  Claire arrives at the hospital and learns the reason for Steve’s text message.  Steve takes the opportunity to express his loathing for Frank Underwood and his fantasies of being with Claire.  Claire comes in defense of Frank and discloses his proposal that promised her freedom from boredom.  Frank was certain that she would accept that instead of asking he simply put the ring in her finger.  She declares that Frank is the only man who understood her.  He finds him a man who knows how to take what he wants, a quality she admires.  Claire then performs a hand job on Steve embarrassing the man enough for him to ask her to stop.  Later that night, she informs him of having visited the dying bodyguard again leaving out the details of her visit.  She finds no need for Frank to pay him a visit, but she informs her husband that they are to pay for his funeral. 

Credits

The following characters appeared in this chapter.

Main Characters

Recurring Characters

Trivia

  • ...
Season 1 Episodes

101. "Chapter 1"
102. "Chapter 2"
103. "Chapter 3"
104. "Chapter 4"
105. "Chapter 5"

106. "Chapter 6"
107. "Chapter 7"
108. "Chapter 8"
109. "Chapter 9"
110. "Chapter 10"

111. "Chapter 11"
112. "Chapter 12"
113. "Chapter 13"

See also: S1S2S3S4S5

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