Are Claire & Tom Yates Having An Affair On 'House Of Cards'? Their Relationship Is Much More Complicated
(Spoilers for Episode 10 of Season 4 House of Cards.) Amidst a wonky open-format Democratic National Convention, the First Lady leaves to care for her dying mother Elizabeth Hale, and, surprisingly, Claire takes House of Cards' resident novelist Tom Yates with her for what turns out to be a grief fling — maybe. Since Season 3, Tom is back in the Underwoods' good graces, writing speeches for the couple since they're about to take over the Democratic ticket as President and Vice President, and he's one of the few people who understands their relationship. (See: the very intimate portrayal of their relationship he wrote in Season 3.)
Surprisingly, Tom and Claire share an intimate moment on the plane to Dallas, as she's reading over her acceptance speech for the Vice President nomination, and it quickly becomes clear that a romantic interlude might be in the works. While in Texas, Tom bonds with Claire's dying mother, which earns him a spot in the room as Claire euthanizes her (per Elizabeth's request for the good of the campaign, in a refreshing twist for the homicide-happy Underwoods).
As you may remember, Tom was instrumental in helping Claire stand up to Frank at the end of last season before she left him (well..."left him"). Tom and Claire initially had an icy rapport, with Claire feeling jealous of his intimate friendship with Frank, and resentful that Tom was all up in their business while working on a book about Frank's flopped AmWorks plan. He reminded Claire that she used the word "hate" to describe how she and Frank need each other to be successful, which finally motivated her to push back.
Fast forward to the end of Season 4, though, and Claire's recently deceased mother leaves her all alone in Texas while Frank is in the White House dealing with a faux national security crisis to stall the DNC. All alone except for Tom, that is. She takes his hand and leads him to one of approximately two billion bedrooms in her mother's huge estate, where the pair have sex and share a sweet morning together, before heading back to D.C.
Although Claire remains guarded around Tom, he continues chipping away at her walls, and she continues to be caught off-guard by his perceptiveness. In those vulnerable moments, he feels like the first character in a long time who Claire might actually lose control of herself around as a result of caught feelings. There's also something deeply tender about how gentle he is with her while she's so skittish with him, which feels very atypical for House of Cards' typically insincere romances.