“House of Cards” recap (2.13): Tumbling Down, Clawing Up

The House Committee decides to bypass debate and recommends Articles of Impeachment proceed straight to the House floor. Daaaammmn

Frank and Claire share a cigarette by their favorite window and Meechum arrives with a bit of quiet news. Frank hugs Claire, full body with their tails twining, like they always do when they win.

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Frank has been summoned to Camp David to accept Walker’s resignation.

When the Underwoods arrive, Frank kisses Tricia Walker with fake concern. He still goes through all the motions because it can’t hurt him to do so, and besides, it helps to smooth over all those tracks. Frank pretends he’s still ready to fight for the President, but Walker says it’s better to step aside with some dignity. It’s better for the nation. Frank blinks at that last statement, wondering what it could mean.

No need to gloat, so Underwood keeps up the humble act. “I could never fill your shoes, Sir,” Frank breathes, meaning that there is no way his feet could ever be held by something so small and flimsy. Walker gives Frank his letter and confession back. Frank looks to us, then tosses it into the fire. No point in leaving a loose end lying around. (Psst. Frank. There’s a loose end lying happily in the back seat of Doug’s car with her partially clothed girlfriend.)

Walker makes his announcement as dozens of reporters try to figure out when he got so grey.

Walker says that Frank Underwood will bring virtue, experience, and courage to the Oval Office. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. Walker, drained of his life force, says that serving as President has been an honor, and he still has faith in the country. Good luck with that, because now Frank is on deck.

Frank raises his hand to take the oath as Claire holds the Bible, just as she always knew she would.

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The National Security team is already at Camp David, ready to brief him on China. Frank wants Beijing on the phone—there’s a new President in town, and he thinks they’ll want to talk. Seth is making an announcement that the Chinese and American fleets are both standing down before the reporter gaggle has even had time to freshen their steno pads. That’s some quick action. Ayla notes that that was pretty quick work on Walker, too. (Loose end! Loose end!)

Oh, hello, Feng, the Justice Department is here, and they would like a word. His asylum has been revoked. Oh, man, Xander Feng is going to get straight-up executed. Durant says this diminishes the integrity of the State Department and Frank says it’s worth it for peace. And, presumably, for his own peace of mind. Frank likes things tidy.

…But the world insists on being untidy: A chopper flies over Doug’s body, lying in the woods.

(It’s possible that Doug isn’t dead, but he sure doesn’t seem to be blinking. If this were a two-season show, I’d assume he was dead. But House of Cards has been picked up for a third season, and this world is more interesting with Doug in it, so hmm…

On the other hand, if Doug is dead, that means that Green is the only person who knows that Gavin is out there, and that Gavin has a good idea of what Frank was mixed up in. That’s a hell of a loose end too.)

Seth introduces the President and First lady as they walk into the halls of power. Frank shakes hands, then twines his arm with Claire, as they do when they are especially happy, full of triumph and blood and dragon love.

Nearly a year has passed since we started this season and it’s almost time for Frank’s birthday again. I have a feeling that Meechum will be giving the Underwoods some more of that excellent whisky. Claire, though, had a new ring made to replace the one Frank buried. We all know that Claire made this happen, that she’s the reason he’s controlling the country instead of in jail, but she tells Frank to be glad for what he’s done. And to take a few moments for himself.

The Oval Office door thuds shut behind Frank as he walks in and takes a deep breath. He shoves Walker’s old chair out of the way and puts on his new ring. Frank rests his hands on the desk and leans forward in a power position, the way he would to lean forward to chew you out or maybe come right across it and strangle you. Frank breathes for a few moments, just to get used to how that much power feels.

And then Frank raps his fist on the desk, strengthening it for the next fight.

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Good season, eh? I don’t know how the Underwoods could go higher next season, so I look forward to them spiraling sideways into crazy. In the meantime, let’s hope that Heather Dunbar gets her own amazing show and that Jackie Sharp keeps honing her awesomeness and that Tusk’s birds fly around his prison window all day every day, just to show him what freedom looks like.

And lets hope that Rachel and Lisa are running fast. And that they’re making out while they can. As should we all be.

Now give your knuckles a rap and get out there.

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