House of Cards (2013–2018)
11 user 21 critic

Chapter 39 

Francis and Claire's relationship reaches a critical point. Doug catches up with his past.


James Foley


Michael Dobbs (based on the novels by), Andrew Davies (based on the mini-series by) | 4 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Spacey ... Francis Underwood
Robin Wright ... Claire Underwood
Michael Kelly ... Doug Stamper
Elizabeth Marvel ... Heather Dunbar
Jimmi Simpson ... Gavin Orsay
Nathan Darrow ... Edward Meechum
Rachel Brosnahan ... Rachel Posner
Paul Sparks ... Thomas Yates
David Eichenbaum David Eichenbaum ... Abbott Vaughn
Lester Holt ... Lester Holt
Monica Sanchez ... Consuela
Ava Del Cielo ... Bianca
Diane Villegas ... Maria
Eli Goodman ... Wayne
Juanita Trad Juanita Trad ... Manager


Francis and Claire's relationship reaches a critical point. Doug catches up with his past.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




TV-MA | See all certifications »






Release Date:

27 February 2015 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The confrontation between Doug and Gavin is the first scene in the series shot with a handheld camera. See more »


Claire Underwood: Tell me what you see.
Thomas Yates: Somebody who's lost. But I don't know, maybe it's all for the best. I'd rather imagine who you might be, than who you actually are.
See more »


The Sun Is Shining Down
by JJ Grey & Mofro
See more »

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User Reviews

"No. It's you that's not enough"
3 September 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Season 1 ("Chapters" 1-13) was fantastic, with the only slight disappointment being the still good "Chapter 8". The second season ("Chapters" 14-26) was almost as good, though the second half, from "Chapter 19" onwards, of it was better and more balanced than the first. Season 3 ("Chapters" 27-39) was a little less even and the Russian-themes episodes are understandably divisive, but it was never less than solid and like the second season it got better in the second half.

After the improvement to the season's quality from "Chapter 33" onwards and two outstanding previous episodes that saw 'House of Cards' (a brilliant show at its best that deserved an infinitely better final season instead of the disgrace of one we got) back on form, Season 3's finale "Chapter 39" was very solid with many great things. At the same time it disappointed a little as well, with it being the weakest episode since "Chapter 32". For a season finale one does sort of expect something a little bigger than this.

It does start off a touch on the odd side, with a visual and music style that jars in feel with the production values and music of the rest of the episode. Maybe there could have been more tension in places, the Frank and Claire subplot is the better executed one by quite some way especially the latter stages. Doug's was intriguing, with the final scene being the high point of it, but doesn't have the same amount of momentum.

The ending also felt abrupt, have always thought that it is a danger for season finales to end this way in case there was a sudden cancellation and there wouldn't be more seasons (that has happened with some shows, like for example 'The Borgias').

"Chapter 39" however looks stylish and has a lot of class, with a few symbolic (but not heavy-handed) shots like Claire closing the door on the campaign. On the most part the music complements well. The direction is sympathetic yet alert enough to still make the episode engaging. The dialogue is still dark, intelligent and sharp, especially in the latter stages of the episode, and the story is compelling enough if not perfectly done. The acting from all is excellent, with powerhouse turns from Robin Wright and particularly Kevin Spacey.

Frank and Claire's scenes, individually and especially together, are handled beautifully. Their scenes really deliver on the intensity, particularly when and from when Claire realises that she had really not gained anything from them trying to make each other stronger and no longer thinks they're equal and want the same thing. Their confrontation, showing anger and defiance, blisters. Their relationship has been very interesting this season, we saw a different side to it and we also saw a more sensitive side to Frank. The writing for Frank has yet to put a foot wrong, he is someone you don't want to mess with and is as ruthless as ever.

Concluding, very good episode but had potential to be much better considering it was a season finale. 8/10

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