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Chapter 39

Season 3 Chapter 39

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Production number

Running time

Original airdateFebruary 27, 2015

Nielsen rating

Written byBeau Willimon

Directed byJames Foley

"Chapter 38""Chapter 40"


Chapter 39 is the thirteenth episode and the season finale of Season 3 of House of Cards. It aired on February 27, 2015, along with the rest of the third season.


In the midst of the Iowa caucuses, Frank and Claire must confront hard truths about each other.


The episode begins with us seeing Rachel's new life. She works multiple jobs, and goes by the name Lisa. She pays for another fake identity, Cassie Lockhart. Doug finds Gavin in Caracas, assaults and interrogates him on his boat in search of Rachel's whereabouts, which he discovers to be Santa Fe. Doug then acquires a beat-up white van and tracks down Rachel. Using chloroform, he incapacitates Rachel, ties her up, and puts her in his van. As he is driving, Rachel wakes, and apologizes for hitting him in the head with the rock, and (potentially) leaving him for dead. (in the Season 2 finale). Doug remains cold towards her until they arrive at a remote location in the New Mexico desert. He digs a hole using a shovel he bought in Santa Fe, and returns to the van, this time to kill and bury Rachel, however, before Doug does anything further he stops to listen her kind words. Seemingly dissuaded from his original grim objective, he gives her some water and food, and points her in the direction of a town 20 miles away. Doug begins to drive off in the opposite direction, but ultimately decides against his choice, it is strongly intimated (but never shown) that he hits Rachel with his van, killing her, he is then shown burying her in the grave he dug.

Meanwhile, after Claire brought up the point of how she and Francis were lying to each other on Air Force One, she quickly retracts it as they begin their descent into Iowa. They continue campaigning during the day (as does Heather Dunbar), but at night, Claire demands that Frank "fucks" her roughly. Frank begins to choke her, but quickly stops, as Claire knew he would. She returns the next day to Washington and Frank remains in Iowa to secure the vote, hoping that his wife will return for either his concession or winning speech, but she refuses all his calls, saying that she is sleeping. Claire attempts to go for a run, but the leader of her security detail says that running will draw attention to the fact that she is not Iowa to support her husband. As a result, she has some of the Secret Service agents bring up Francis's old rowing machine.

Francis wins the vote in Iowa, and afterwards, returns to Washington to confront his wife. He meets her in the Oval Office, and says that he will absolutely need her to come out to New Hampshire the following day. Claire lights a cigarette, and says that their marriage has been unfair to her—sacrificing her goals for his—similar to what happened in Chapter 4, Season 1, when Claire was angry about not being allowed to accept donations from SanCorp, due to them wanting something from Francis. He retorts by saying that they achieved the presidency together and that he has consulted her on every decision he made. She responds by emphasizing how it is every decision he makes; Claire's goals were not at the forefront, such as her job at the United Nations. Instead of asking that Francis fire her, she says that what disgusts her more is that she needed him in order to be hired—the dependency on someone else.

She then brings up what happened in the hotel in Iowa, and how Francis was not able to give her what she wanted. He then becomes furious, saying that she cannot have a husband who is both constantly proving his manhood and one who is an equal partner. He believes she is being selfish, as she is not focused on the campaign. Claire states that they were not making each other stronger, that while Francis was becoming more powerful, she was now powerless. Francis is confused by this; he thinks Claire is saying that being the First Lady is not enough—she responds that he, Francis, is not enough. They leave the office at odds, as Francis says that Claire is irrelevant without him, realizing that he was a fool to marry her if she could not "play second fiddle".

The next day, as they are preparing to leave, Claire says that she is leaving Francis.


Season 3 Episodes

301. "Chapter 27"
302. "Chapter 28"
303. "Chapter 29"
304. "Chapter 30"
305. "Chapter 31"

306. "Chapter 32"
307. "Chapter 33"
308. "Chapter 34"
309. "Chapter 35"
310. "Chapter 36"

311. "Chapter 37"
312. "Chapter 38"
313. "Chapter 39"

See also: S1S2S3S4S5S6