Warning: Do not keep reading if you haven’t watched up through “House of Cards” Season 2, episode seven. Tuesday’s (Feb. 25) episode: “Chapter 20.”
Where we are:
After six episodes of Frank Underwood and Raymond Tusk dilly-dallying around, fighting over the president like kids squabbling over a toy, something finally happens with some actual stakes and consequences in the world of the show. Hallelujah, praise the lord.
What’s happens? A Republican super PAC gets $25 million anonymously and uses it to attack the president, Underwood, Jackie Sharp, Terry Womack and Bob Birch. The midterms are coming up and the GOP is gunning to take back control of the House, which Underwood, et al cannot abide. If that were to happen, Sharp, Womack and Birch would all lose their leadership positions and Underwood would see a significant drop in his power in Congress.
Who’s behind it? Raymond Tusk, of course. There’s a Kansas City-based casino where Xander Feng and his cohorts come to gamble. It’s owned by a Native American tribe led by Dan Lanagin, who is also aligned with Tusk. It’s a whole big web of rich people who Frank now has to capitulate to, lest they keep funneling money into the GOP super PAC.
What does Feng want? The Long Island Sound bridge, which Frank previously had the president stop fighting for at Feng’s behest. Frank’s mighty angry at having to now find a way to convince the president it’s a good idea, but he doesn’t have any choice at this point.
It’s a little irritating that Tusk didn’t think of a move like this before now. Presumably he was a bit blinded by his friendship with President Walker and too busy being all hurt that Frank is Walker’s new favorite boy. But you gotta hit ’em where it hurts — the money, their offices and their power. ‘Bout time, Tusk.
But wait! There’s more!
What else has Tusk been up to? Planting Seth Grayson into the Underwood staff. Turns out the scheming Seth is on Tusk’s payroll, sent to the Underwoods to unearth whatever he can about Claire’s life to discredit her sexual assault/abortion story.
Grayson doesn’t have anything yet and rejects Remy’s payment (which — right out in broad daylight without even being sly, what the heck, Remy? You are smarter than that). However, Grayson runs right back to Frank to spill the beans. He doesn’t want money, he wants power and the Underwoods have more power than Tusk.
Grayson does use Remy/Tusk to get Connor Ellis out of his way, though. He arranges for a lucrative private-sector job to come knocking on Connor’s door and Connor leaves Claire’s employ.
Meanwhile, Remy and Jackie Sharp are continuing to hook up. Remy is genuinely interested in her, while Jackie is playing things pretty close to the vest. You can tell she rarely lets anyone in, but maybe Remy can break down her defenses.
But something else going on with Jackie is that she’s acting very weird about Claire’s sexual assault bill. The show hasn’t revealed yet what her issue is, but Jackie seems to have a problem with it. Hmm.
Claire, meanwhile, is busy blowing up the Walker marriage. Her little Christina bomb she planted in Tricia Walker’s head last episode comes to fruition when Tricia confronts the president and asks to have Christina moved to another office. He refuses, because his wife sounds kind of insane and desperate, plus we don’t actually think he’s sleeping with Christina.
When Tricia tells Claire what happened, Claire shuffles the Christina thing aside (because it was merely a crowbar to wedge in between the Walkers) and then says that maybe the Walkers’ problems aren’t actually about Christina. Oooh, she’s good.
Frank is also doing his part, getting into Walker’s good graces at every step, including sending him a heavy bag as a bit of an inside joke/apology. You can tell Walker thinks he and Frank are real friends, which almost makes you sad for Walker.
Finally, Freddy has been approached to franchise his rib shack for $95,000 up front and a potential to earn more if the franchises are successful. We have a horrible pit in our stomach regarding Freddy. Knowing this show, this will not end well.
Frank: “If you need a punching bag, I will stand here and take the punches, as I have done time and time again since I swore my oath. But I would much rather get back to work, as you have asked me to do.
Walker: “You are out of line, Frank.”
Frank: “Dismiss me or keep swinging, Mr. President.”
Freddy: “In this joint, I’m the president, vice president and the Congress. He’s just another customer. A loyal one, though.”
Claire: “What should we serve the Walkers?”
Claire: “I’m saving that for dessert.”
Frank: “A slice of pie is good for the soul.”