House of Cards | Chapter 1
Written by: Beau Willimon
Directed by: David Fincher
Francis Underwood bursts out of his house after hearing a crash and a screeching car fleeing the scene. He and his bodyguard, Steve, find the dog of his neighbor lying on the street whimpering in pain. He puts the dog to sleep with his bare hands stating his distaste for useless pain.
Later, he and his wife, Claire Underwood, celebrate the New Year at the White House with their host President-elect Garrett Walker and a slew of top politicians and aides.
Frank and Claire Underwood return to their house looking forward to an announcement that will propel Francis’ political career. Moreover, his appointment will ensure a generous donation from SanCorp to Claire’s foundation.
Francis meets with Linda Vasquez. She tells him that the President is no longer nominating him as Secretary of State with the excuse that Congress needs Francis. Despite deliberately choosing Michael Kern over Francis for Secretary of State, Linda asks Francis for his support. After thinking through her request, Francis expresses his continued support for the President.
The disappointment of being passed over looms over him that he chooses solitude as he gathers the strength to deliver the unfortunate news to his wife Claire Underwood.
Francis Underwood returns home hoping to avoid his wife only to find her waiting for him, incensed at his avoidance. Claire Underwood claims to be more upset of his evasion than the loss of the SanCorp donation.
Early that morning, Claire finds her husband smoking a cigarette by the window where he spent the whole of last night thinking of a solution to their predicament.
Claire informs her office manager, Evelyn Baxter, that their foundation will no longer be receiving a donation from SanCorp. Even without the donation, Claire is adamant in expanding their charity work internationally. The lack of funding, however, forces them to let go some of their staff including those who have been with the organization since its establishment.
Evelyn, aware of their lack of experience or knowledge for Claire’s proposal to build wells in Africa, becomes even more discombobulated at hearing of Claire’s plan to hire new people to help with their international efforts. Evelyn completely disapproves of letting go of the pioneers of the organization to make room for new ones, but Claire remains resolute and unyielding.
Zoe Barnes a young reporter for the Washington Herald who is stuck covering trivial “human interest” stories, pays a late-night visit to Frank at his home. She offers to be Frank’s undercover mouthpiece in the press in exchange for the elevated profile that she would gain from breaking substantive stories.
Claire plans to get the Holburns to make a sizeable donation to CWI, which she can arrange in exchange for tickets to the Jefferson Ball.
The day of the inauguration has arrived and just a few rows from the president’s podium stand Francis and Claire Underwood. With Francis’ assurance, President Walker makes education the keystone of his administration.
All essential dignitaries attend the Jefferson Ball along with some privileged friends such as the Holburns, who could not thank Claire Underwood enough for procuring those tickets to the exclusive event. Given his recent nomination, Senator Michael Kern enjoys being surrounded by opportunists as a riled Francis looks on.