Claire deals with an environmental crisis, and heat from the Shepherds
After asserting herself more than once in the season 6 premiere, President Claire Underwood begins the second episode doing the very same thing. She’s flying on Air Force One, and she’s on a call with Governor Olmstead of Ohio. Claire wants him to declare a state of emergency for some unknown disaster, but Olmstead balks at the idea. He says it’d be ridiculous to overreact and create a panic, but what the president wants the Ppesident gets. She reminds Olmstead that he would have handily lost his election if it wasn’t for the Underwoods and their shady election business, and that little reminder is enough to get him to concede and declare the emergency. “That was textbook Frank, wasn’t it?” she says with disgust to the camera, but she knows she’s been dealt certain cards with Frank’s death and that she has no choice but to play them.
The disaster turns out to be environmental, as there was an explosion at some sort of plant, and chemicals may be affecting the water in Belmont, Ohio. While Annette and Bill vent their frustrations to the vice president about Claire still not signing the bill that would loosen the regulations on corporation (it looks like Usher and the Shepherds have been a cohesive unit for awhile), Claire visits Belmont. She tours the contaminated area and hears one particularly terrifying story about a child who started to bleed from the nose and ended up in the hospital after drinking the water. Claire’s newly installed press secretary—on the president’s orders—makes sure to mention that Arcas, the company whose plant exploded, is owned by Shepherd Unlimited. Claire purposely gets their name dragged into this disaster; it’s an easy point for her to score.
After another flashback to the young version of Claire, this one showing her mother shaming her for not “doing as she was told” with the boys (it’s the very height of victim blaming), we’re back to Belmont, and the political and personal sparring between Claire and the Shepherds begins again. Annette is in Belmont helping with the recovery, and when Claire shows up and starts talking about corporate responsibility and regulation, the tension is palpable. Both women try to score political points for the media gathered, so Claire removes her hand from Annette’s when she attempts to raise it in a show of solidarity between government and private business.
This feud isn’t going away any time soon. Even cable news has latched on to it, with CNN discussing Claire’s “recoiling” from Annette. Tom Hammerschmidt makes his first appearance of the season, sitting on the panel discussing the recoil. He’s not so interested in that though, and would rather be talking about the fact that he has it on good authority that Frank Underwood was going to be indicted before his death and that Claire was going to pardon him, but not before getting a divorce in order to remove herself from the drama.
Of course, Claire is the president now, so there’s no chance of the drama going away. In fact, “Chapter 67” sees a lot of potential enemies and problems rearing their heads. While the premiere saw a president fully in control of her message and, for the most part, the people around her, the second episode shows that there are a lot of people who want Claire Underwood to fail miserably, and sooner rather than later. One of those people is Doug, who manages to steal his therapist’s cell phone and call the U.S. Attorney to announce that he’s recanting his statement about killing Zoe Barnes. “The case that’s going to change your life is the prosecution of Claire Underwood,” he assures her. Man, Doug Stamper really loves Frank, even though the man can’t control him anymore. But perhaps that’s about to change, as we’ll see later on. (Recap continues on next page)