Claire makes a bold move to secure the success of her energy plan while Frank finally gets the liver he needs
Credit: Netflix

Finally, Frank Underwood is back. The President isn’t just back to being relatively healthy and, you know, awake, but also back to being sharp and aware of his need for his partnership with Claire. If House of Cards can bring back the old Underwoods, the ones who were despicable people but also charming in their devotion to one another, perhaps the show can inject some energy into this season.

Before Frank gets healthy though, he has to go through quite a bit of turmoil. His hallucinations are becoming more and more surreal, and clearly are tapped into his subconscious, perhaps triggering some guilt he feels about his past sins. He sees Zoe Barnes in the White House as the sounds of a subway platform fill his ears, and then sees Peter Russo in the oval office, a menacing look on his face.

These visions represent Frank on the brink of losing his life. His liver is failing. He’s second on the donor list, but Doug worries that a transplant won’t come soon enough. So, Doug does what Doug is known for doing; no, I don’t mean murdering women in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico. He goes to the Secretary of Health and threatens her, forcing her to bump Anthony Moretti, the man first on the transplant list, giving his spot to Frank. It’s a decision that will come back to haunt him later, but for now, it’s Doug trying to make some sort of sense of all the chaos.

While Frank is closing in on death, Claire is fighting an uphill battle with her energy plan involving Russia and China. There’s worry that the Democrats won’t back the plan in Congress, and that Jackie Sharp, who wields great influence, specifically won’t back the plan. Of course, Claire has the trump card and once again uses the pictures of Jackie and Remy to get exactly what she wants. All the good people on this show are so helpless.

Still, the deal has to be ratified at the G7 Summit and that’s not going to be easy. The plan is for Kathy to head to the G7 as the administration’s representative, but Claire doesn’t trust her to get the job done because Kathy has been opposed to the deal all along. Thus, Claire works her magic and manages to convince Donald Blythe to include her on the trip as “support” for Kathy.

While Claire is on the plane to Germany and the G7 Summit, a kid named Danny kills himself and his liver is delivered to the President; House of Cards apparently has no issue just killing random people off with little fanfare in order to get the Underwoods moving again. Anyway, with Frank going into a 12-hour surgery, Claire has a big decision to make. She can either turn the plane around and head back to be with Frank when he gets out of surgery, or continue on to the G7 Summit and finalize her plan, all while hearing that GOP frontrunner Conway has a good chance of running away with the election because of his partnership with a search engine company.

As for her decision, Claire chooses the Summit, obviously. In a statement prepared for the media, she says it’s because she knows it’s what her husband would have wanted, but in reality it’s because this is a defining moment for her. This energy/bailout plan is hers and hers alone, and everyone else, including Remy, Tusk, and Blythe, are just pawns in her game. She needs to finalize the deal to cement her standing within this political game.

NEXT: Same as the old boss

While all of this is going on, Heather Dunbar is having her own crisis. She knows that she has to confront the issue of her meeting with Lucas Goodwin, but she’s conflicted on what to say about the meeting. On the one hand, she knows she needs to deny it to keep her campaign rolling. On the other hand, if she compromises her ethics, doesn’t that go against the very platform of her campaign?

Ultimately, when she’s questioned by the DOJ, she decides to tell the truth. She says that she did meet with Goodwin, but that all it proves is that she’s honest. Then, she goes off on Frank, on how he’s manipulated the political process and corrupted the oval office. The media tears her apart for attacking a man in the middle of surgery, but could her honesty eventually be good for her? It’s not looking likely, but you never know.

In Germany, everyone seems to be on board with the energy and bailout plan except for Petrov, probably because he is a gross and stubborn man. Claire still thinks she can get him on board, so she arranges a private meeting with him. After Petrov does his best to intimidate her, Claire stands up to him and ultimately gets him to agree to the plan. His worry about drilling in security-sensitive areas is assuaged by allowing joint control of those areas, and Claire’s plan gets approved.

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It’s a huge win for Clair,e and she knows it. That doesn’t mean everything is looking up though. While the President’s surgery is successful, the Secretary of Health sends a picture of Anthony Moretti to Doug. Moretti died while waiting for a liver transplant after being bumped in favor of the President, leaving a family behind, and the Secretary of Health wanted Doug to know exactly what he did. Will all the blood on Doug’s hands eventually take its toll on him?

“Chapter 45” leaves a lot of questions up in the air. When Claire and Frank are reunited, he vows to change their relationship. He says that he’s nothing without Claire and acknowledges how great her energy plan is. He’s back to admiring her intelligence and aggressiveness, but will it last? Can these two join forces and once again take control of Washington? Who knows, but judging by the way Frank stares into the camera with intent at the end of the episode, they’re sure as hell going to try.

Episode Recaps

House of Cards

Ballots, betrayal, and barbecue combine in Netflix’s original drama, which stars Kevin Spacey as cunning congressman Frank Underwood and Robin Wright as his equally ruthless Lady Macbeth. Based on a 1990 BBC serial of the same name.

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