“House of Cards” recap (2.12): Stacking the Lies

Lisa leaves a grocery store, unaware that Doug is creepwatching her the whole time. Wouldn’t you know it? She has car trouble, and there he is with jumper cables. Ick ick ick ick ick.

Rachel waits with concern at the Depression Arms and… here’s “Peter,” who drove Lisa and her groceries back. Lisa offers a glass of water, but “Peter” has to go. Rachel makes up an excuse and rushes out after Doug, who says that Lisa needs to leave now, even though he said she could stay. Doug says he doesn’t need to explain himself, just like Rachel never seems to elaborate on their Bible study sessions.

Rachel has been busy growing a spine, though, hissing at Doug that he just can’t stand it that she might love someone. Doug responds that if she cares about Lisa, Rachel should make sure she’s gone. Lisa comes out to join them and Doug turns back into Eddie Haskell and leaves, chattering about what a good samaritan he is. Ugh.

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And the MSNBC House of Cards cameo lineup is nearly complete: Chris Hayes  interviews Megan Hennessey… And suddenly Jackie Sharp is calling in and it’s all about her and Megan sparring. (I kind of love Chris Hayes for doing this. It takes a confident man to take on the role of knowing when it’s best to step back let the chicks do the talking.)

Jackie calls out Claire on the air for dodging the issue and having Megan fight her battles for her. Dragon. Fight. It is on, y’all. Claire watches, ramrod straight, wondering what to do. Does she call in too? Jackie Sharp stuns Megan into silence by calling Claire disgraceful for running from her battles. Oh, holy crap, the look on Claire’s face. If Jackie Sharp wants an open battle, she may have one.

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Frank hears about Tusk’s subpoena from the Bill the White House counsel and claims to be shocked to learn that Durant has given Feng asylum. That’s going to focus prosecutorial attention on the White House, which Frank pretends to be unconcerned about, what with all the innocence lying around. Bill also wants to talk about the therapy—Oh, if only someone would waive the confidentiality privilege. Frank, wanting Bill to give in, tells him not to. Bill wonders if anyone else might pop out of the woodwork. Frank says no, and plays the wounded lover in saying that the President could just talk to him about these things.

Claire and Jackie sit at the far end of the longest conference table in the free world as Claire tries a little spinning and gilding. Nice try: Jackie knows damn well that Megan has been spouting Claire’s talking points. Claire says she’s ending the fight by withdrawing the bill. She says she wants to sit down with Jackie and draft a new bill and eat humble pie and braid each other’s hair and — Jackie would like to talk about how Frank had Nancy spy on her and use her personal life against her. Claire admits that Frank goes a teensy bit overboard when it comes to supporting his wife. Can they rebuild their trust with Jackie?

And now Claire goes to torment poor Tricia Walker. She tells Tricia that she’s withdrawing their bill so that Jackie won’t attack Tricia next. Holy crap, Claire is so mean and so good at this. Tricia says that now that Feng has asylum, Garrett feels cornered and they’ll have to waive privilege. Claire takes a moment to say “But what about the medication?” just to be a dick, and lets Tricia rush off. We hear Tricia in the distance, exclaiming “Oh, my ears and whiskers!” and wondering where her gloves are.

Frank properly thanks Claire, massaging her shoulders and leaning in to kiss her. She says she can’t live in Murky Towers alone, and Garrett is a powerful enemy. Frank promises that the Underwoods are yet more powerful and that Claire won’t have to divorce a convict. The Underwoods twine together, feeling their six hearts beat in perfect sync.

The Walkers have an utterly different tete-a-tete, Walker pacing and far from his wife, both of them worried and speaking hurriedly. Feng’s asylum puts their backs against the wall. And Walker, still not seeing all the traps and mirrors that the Underwoods have lined up, reasons that waiving the confidentiality of their counseling sessions can only exonerate him. And so what if word of the medication gets out. Sir. Sir? THIS IS A VERY BAD IDEA.

Tricia’s instincts tell her that this is a terrible idea, that their marriage will get spread all over the papers, and something nags at her that maybe something worse will happen too, but when was the last time someone listened to Tricia? Not even Tricia listens to Tricia. Oh, except for Claire. Whom Trica maaaayyy have told about that medication. Larkin prescribed it to Tricia, knowing that the President would also take it. See? Sleazebag.

Tricia argues that Claire is helping them, but Walker, in the smartest thing he’s said on this show, says “Don’t underestimate her.” Damn skippy you shouldn’t. Tricia begs Garrett not to waive privilege. He says he’ll protect them and their marriage. These two are toast.

Gavin meets a deeply crabby Agent Green. Green doesn’t believe Gavin actually has access to the AT&T servers until he offers up Green’s wife’s romantic texts to her chiropractor. REVENGE IS YOURS, CASHEW! Well, well: Green already knew he’s being cuckolded. No wonder he’s such a dickball.

Gavin explains that he’s been given access to millions of people’s phones thanks to Green’s little entrapment stunt and the FBI. He’d like to know how much making that shitstorm disappear will be worth? Gavin has a few suggestions. 1) He’s out from under Green’s thumb. 2) All of his charges are dropped, and 3) all of Brown’s charges are dropped. Parrot out.

Walker is in Terrible Decision Mode, hoping to allow Larkin to testify, but only on the money laundering, which he never mentioned. Bill’s just going to ask Larkin how he would respond to certain questions if Dunbar happened to bring them up. That is a very shady end of a very gray legal gray area. What could go wrong?

Also pretty grey? Durant’s mood. She’s shut out of the situation room just as China is doubling down. Frank assures her it’s temporary. He tells her to look at where they’re headed, not where they are. Frank gives Durant a pep talk as she tries not to punch him in the face. Finally she sighs and decides to stick with him. Frank asks her to walk him through the Presidential briefing—everything that’s going on in China.

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