10:09am PT by Etan Vlessing
'House of Cards,' "Chapter 31": Frank Wages War on Congress
To mark the debut of House of Cards season three, THR will be breaking down the biggest moments from each episode every day through March 11. Read the previous breakdowns: Chapter 27, Chapter 28, Chapter 29, Chapter 30.
President Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is plunging in the polls and pushing America Works to wage war on his rivals. He's raiding FEMA and its disaster relief funds for jobs to blow Heather Dunbar's (Elizabeth Marvel) presidential bid off course.
Frank's advisors says unemployment is no natural disaster. FEMA warns people will die during hurricane season. Congress is outraged. All in a good days work for Underwood.
Meanwhile, Heather, appearing on The Meredith Vieira Show, brings the husband of gay rights activist Michael Corrigan (Christian Camargo), now imprisoned in Moscow, to her side. She's trying to get Underwood to support LGBT rights after he dodged Ayla Sayyad (Mozhan Marno) on the issue in episode four.
Meanwhile, Remy Danton (Mahershala Ali) urges ex-lover Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker) to marry her boyfriend as she fake-runs to be Frank's running mate. Americans like candidates with a family, he insists. Really? Remy wants no marriage. He's still lust after Jackie. She knows it.
And Heather starts negotiating with Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), still glum over not being installed in the White House, to join her campaign. Mole? Saboteur?
Back at the White House, the Telegraph sends bureau chief Kate Baldwin (Kim Dickens) to replace Ayla. She tells Seth Grayson (Derek Cecil) she'll put the beat down on the president.
Moscow also wants to take a punch. Ambassador Claire's resolution at the U.N. is in tatters. So she uses toilet stall diplomacy to warn Russian ambassador the U.S. will raise a stink with sanctions if Russia sells arms to Iran.
Back in the Oval Office, an embattled Frank has another epiphany: hire Monument Valley video game reviewer Thomas Yates to pen a biography to sell Americans on his Congress-thwarted America Works program.
"If you can convince me to be silent princess with just a hundred words, imagine how many millions you can convince with this book?" Frank tells a bemused Thomas.
Oh, and Frank and Claire's estrangement meets a new milestone, as it's confirmed they've been sleeping in different bedrooms for quite some time. Just as well, Russian president Viktor Petrov (Lars Mikkelsen) invites the Underwoods to Moscow, with Corrigan to be released during their diplomacy.