“House of Cards” recap (2.3): The Temptation of Rachel

 
 

Lucas—Hey! In clean clothes!—walks into some sort of tech room at The Herald to ask more about cyberwarfare, like, oh, let’s see, just at random, how someone could get through a firewall. The double-verification text pops up on the tech dude’s phone, which Lucas yoinks. Lucas makes an excuse and immediately runs to get Bosch the code. Bosch is into The Herald’s  system now, and gives Lucas a meeting location. Lucas sneaks the phone back in and now he has to listen to a long explanation of firewalls, because punishment for theft comes quickly.

Frank is getting scolded by the President about Curtis Haas being recalcitrant and now the State of the Union address needs to be rewritten. Frank says he can turn this around. Tusk has already whined that Frank bullied him into supporting the compromise and he, Tusk, never wanted it. Frank takes the opportunity to stick a kebab skewer just between Tusk’s third and fourth ribs, but he’s not down yet. Frank soothes that this won’t be a problem, but the President accuses Frank of biting off more than he can chew with Congress. Fighting words, sir. President Walker warns Frank not to humiliate the administration and dismisses him.

You’re damn right it’s time for an aside. Frank ticks off Tusk and Lucas as his major dangers, then says that the higher you get up the mountain, the more dangerous the climbing is going to be.

Doug is at Rachel’s place to bother her again. She says no one has been looking for her, and Doug says he’s here to make sure it stays that way. Uh-huh. Here to make sure by staying near her a whole bunch. Oh, and he doesn’t want her to go out or speak to people when she doesn’t have to. Rachel burns her hand on her sad microwave dinner and Doug gets her some ice. (Hey. Rachel’s freezer lights up. Does your freezer light up?) Rachel is not interested in Doug’s attempts to nurture her for some reason.

Doug, who cannot leave things alone, finds the Jesus pamphlet and gets all weird and tells Rachel to let him know if ANYONE contacts her. Then he storms out. And then everyone who has ever been a parent or had a parent or been in a relationship where someone is too controlling laughs and laughs, because of course what Rachel does the second Mister Harsh Rules walks out the door is pick up the Jesus pamphlet she previously had no interest in and give it a newly thorough look.

Jackie Sharp, incognito in a hoodie and jeans, walks into a tattoo parlor to continue work on a linked chain of poppies on her side. The artist warns that that’s a lot for one session, but Jackie wants it. She lies down to take the pain, clearly as a penance. I think Frank might need to worry about what those other poppies were for.

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In Murky Towers, Claire wakes up alone. Frank is already up and dressed, going to intercept Mendoza. Frank says he needs to prove what the Vice President can do. Claire says, “Don’t prove it to them; prove it to me.” And then she flicks out her dragon tongue to clean a little shaving cream off Frank’s face.

Frank is in with Mendoza who says Haas has him “by the teabags.” Bleaargh. Mendoza is suddenly scared that Haas has enough support to knock him out of the Majority Leader position. You’re just thinking of that now?! Frank is all pissed that Haas would back out of a handshake and is not interested in the symbolic gestures that Mendoza is willing to offer up.

Out in the hall, Frank is using his old Whip skills like nobody’s business, calculating which Republicans he can get to turn on their own party and who he can get to abstain. Frank and his cronies break out their call list and decide to go Medieval and look for obscure rules they can use. Uh-oh.

Frank is on the phone promising funding for VA hospitals in one district while another crony walks in with the news that Moriarty is on board with another funding favor. They have the numbers they need.

Mendoza gets tipped that the Democrats are poaching votes. They need to delay to figure out what the hell. 49 hours until the recess.

Frank practically skips into the Senate to take his seat and get all Vice Presidential.

HoC 13 Photo by Nathaniel Bell. Image courtesy of Netflix

Time to speed up the quorum call. Dang, this makes legislating look exciting. Frank presses for a faster roll call while the Republicans all remember sudden lunch dates and hair appointments and hightail it out of there.

Oh, no, the quorum is not there. At a nod from Frank, Minority leader Erickson directs the Sergeant at Arms to issue warrants for the arrest of all absent Senators who are not sick or excused.

Claire watches the news reports and asks her new (maybe) publicist Connor why he’s pushing for a joint interview. He hands her a copy of the South Carolina joint interview—that’s three times this thing has come up, so we can only guess at what horrors it will unleash—and says that the kind of intimacy they showed in it will buy the Underwoods a lot of flying under the radar. Claire tells him he isn’t hired yet, but he’s on the way.

In the halls of Congress, there is a lot of knocking on doors, some of which are blocked. Hector Mendoza marches into the Democratic cloakroom to register his pissed off-ness. Hector says he has his people flying out on planes and trains and on a boat and with a goat, but Frank points out that the Sergeant at Arms is good at his job—plus, seriously, today must be a hoot for him—and also that Frank doesn’t really need that many Republicans to turncoat. And he also points out that this would be an excellent way for Mendoza to show Curtis Haas who’s really in charge.

Frank says Mendoza can have his Senate back as soon as the deal they agreed on rematerializes. He’s to pick his six best actors.

Mendoza takes a moment to whack Haas on the back of the head for not toeing the party line, then is awesomely carried into the Senate chamber in handcuffs. Delightful. The six Republicans who are carried in all claim to be coming in under protest.

HoC 14Photo by Nathaniel Bell. Image courtesy of Netflix

Haas threatens to filibuster the main bill and finds out that he’s already been spanked in the fine print of the agreement, so good luck with that. Quorum is present, role is called; Haas stands in front of Frank looking impotent.

Rachel shows up at the church meeting that the pamphlet mentioned. She’s uncomfortable at the Jesus singing that’s happening, but relaxes into it.

…But oh, my, after the meeting, here’s that girl from the bus. She’s Lisa. And there are cookies and cake inside.

You know, in case Rachel wants to come in for some sugar.

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Tusk congratulates Frank on being a miracle worker, then lies that he was boosting him with the President all along. Oh, man, Tusk isn’t even going to get hit with a train. He’s getting slow-bled.

Frank knows he has the upper hand now. He calls Tusk out on being two-faced, then immediately says he’s forgiven. Claire smiles some dragon steam at Frank while Tusk feels his blood run cold. That fear is a good instinct, Mr. Tusk. Listen to it.

Lucas shows up at a very dark, very tall building. Parrot Bosch offers Lucas some wine, then aims a camera at Lucas and demands he state his name and the date and verify that he’s neither law enforcement nor an informant. Bosch tells Lucas that the FBI has been tracking his posts, which seems to be news to Lucas.

HoC 16Photo by Nathaniel Bell. Image courtesy of Netflix

Bosch is being very careful and also is maybe a little bit of a drama queen. He also has a guinea pig as a pet? Fine.

Bosch tells Lucas he contacted him because of Lucas’s desperation, then goes back to watching the State of the Union address, in which the President is just passing on that same bullshit lie about entitlements, to great applause. (No this isn’t just convenient news timing—Bosch set the time for this meeting to coincide with the address.)

Tusk watches too, with a little whiskey to smooth over his fear. Claire smiles beatifically in the audience. And the Speaker of the House lets Frank now that he has the support he needs.

Frank reminds us that he’s just three feet away from the Presidency.

Everybody ready for some political mayhem and/or Rachel making out with Lisa? Me too. Let’s hope things move quickly.

See you next week.

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