“House of Cards” recap (2.8): Yes, Rachel and Lisa Kiss in This One

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Remy Danton reads news about China and the bridge deal on his phone while apparently on a stakeout. He meets Evelyn Baxter, who is nervous to see him. Evelyn is Claire’s office manager from last season — the one Claire fired for showing concern about the mass layoff.

In the Veep’s office, Frank is meeting with the leaders of a Native American tribe and — whoopsie! — someone didn’t think to take down the prominently displayed picture of Andrew Jackson. Frank gets himself into a big photo op nonetheless.

Back in Rachel’s apartment, The Depression Arms, Rachel gets ready in the morning and continues to not own many decorative items. A knock on the door interrupts her routine. Just as we’re all bracing for Doug, it’s Lisa! Rachel opens the door and Lisa is posed in the doorway looking extra sad.

28HoC 1Photo by Nathaniel Bell. Image courtesy of Netflix

Remy plies Evelyn with coffee as she talks about her own bummer situation. She’s not getting a lot of work. Remy dangles a job possibility while plying her with Starbucks. And then he lightly mentions that he and Claire had a falling out and Evelyn opens up like a sardine can. She immediately — like within seconds — hints that Claire isn’t always loyal to Frank. Well, maybe, if you’re going to use human mortal standards, but that’s hardly fair.

Rachel and Lisa share some coffee and some real talk. We break in on their conversation with Rachel wondering if “she” threatened Lisa. Lisa quickly segues into mentioning that she, Lisa, used to be pretty heavily into drugs. Not the cute stuff; meth and heroin. (Wait, aren’t those opposites? Can you really get into both at the same time? It seems counterproductive.) Lisa gets up to leave, but Rachel says she can crash there. You know, just for a few days. And then Rachel texts Doug.

Frank, tidying his re-hung Andrew Jackson portrait, and Linda Vasquez are arguing, which makes sense given that he suddenly seems to have completely flip-flopped on China. Also Vasquez can’t help but notice that he suddenly loves that bridge so much he’s picking out curtains with it. She’s suspicious, and none too soon. Frank tries throwing a series of political buzzwords at her: “Jobs! Infrastructure! Deficit reduction!” And yet he does not sell her the bridge. Frank fabricates a promise that he’ll back off, then leans back to assure us that he absolutely will not. Doug materializes to comisserbitch about the bridge, and Frank reveals that he is pushing to get that Native American tribe officially recognized so that they can break ground on a casino, presumably to suck money from Lanagin’s. Dang. That is some high-level counter-punching.

In Claire’s office, Megan, the caller from Claire’s interview, is nervous. As we all would be if we’d been brought in for a little chat with Claire, the First Lady, and a sitting congresswoman. Megan says maybe talking about her assault more in the open would help her. Claire says hey, no pressure, oh, and the Congresswoman wonders if Megan can come and talk to the Armed Services Committee, with a media event afterwards?

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Tricia Walker wonders if they should throw Megan into all that, the cameras and all, and Claire says they need to trust that she really wants to do this. The person Claire wants assurances from is Tricia: Will the President back them? Ooh, Tricia thinks he might be awfully busy and won’t want to get involved. (And isn’t that one of the most realistically D.C. moments of this D.C. show? Yes, people who actually volunteer to get shot at for the comfort of the rest of us are getting raped by their own colleagues and have almost no recourse, but, hey, awfully busy right now, plus that issue makes us uncomfortable. Maybe next legislative session, or next year after we nail down National Dairy Product Week?)

Tricia also says she and Garrett haven’t been communicating well — or at all. Claire says she and Frank have been there too, and it helped to see someone. Tricia is worried about exposure on account of her husband is the President of the United States and all, but Claire says no need to worry because instead of a therapist she and Frank went to a swamp hag minister. Unlicensed, but so good and confidential, and wouldn’t Tricia like to go to this person Claire is recommending? Tricia won’t take the bait, but Claire leaves it there in case she’s hungry later.

Jackie Sharp, working late as always, lets Remy in. She wants to know where all the money pouring into the Republican party is coming from. She’s losing in her district. And even if she manages to pull a win out, if the Democrats lose the house, she loses her position as Majority Whip and everything that she worked and spiked a dear old family friend for.

Jackie would also like to know if Remy is upset about the way their last hookup ended. She explains that she’s never been with anyone for more than six months. Congresswoman Sharp is a rolling stone. She’d like something more with Remy, but only if they have clear boundaries and keep their professional lives professional, because setting those guidelines up before banging each other silly always works out perfectly. Remy says they can talk about that happening when a phalanx of guards and administrative assistants don’t know he’s there.

Remy walks out and Jackie takes a moment to get at tad less emotional and way, way less turned on.

28HoC 3Photo by Nathaniel Bell. Image courtesy of Netflix

Frank slithers in to bug the President about the bridge he just said he would stop bugging the President about. Walker barely looks up from his papers with his “not now.” The President thinks the bridge is more of a midterm thing and also that Frank is obsessed with the bridge, just like Linda Vasquez mentioned. Frank turns to us and snarls that Linda is a “back-stabbing, vomit-inducing bitch” and we all fall in love with House of Cards all over again. And then we note down that combination of hyphenates for later use.

Walker asks what the hell with the bridge talk all day long, and Frank mentions that he’s been backchanneling with the Chinese even though the President specifically ordered him to stop backchanneling and we all begged everyone to please stop saying “backchanneling” after that one episode where they said “backchanneling” like eleven million times. The President is royally pissed, but Frank says he’s been doing all the, um, dorsal tunneling just for him and P.S. he didn’t want the President to know about it because what he’s doing is so shady that the President shouldn’t be connected to it, which is exactly what every boss wants to hear.

Frank says they’re in no danger as long as they end their conversation right now, which I am totally using during the first ten minutes of every meeting from now until the end of time. Walker says he feels like he’s losing control of his administration and I wonder at his tense.

Frank says that he, Linda, and Mrs. Walker are all looking out for him and the President spills like a BP project, immediately letting Frank know that he and the Missus are on the rocks. And then he asks Frank if Claire said anything to him about how Tricia feels, because no matter how many smart business suits we put on or well-researched appliances we buy, we are all still always in the eighth grade, trying to figure things out and wondering if someone else got any inside information passed to them in a note during English class.

Frank soothes that the most difficult job on earth would take a toll on any marriage, and you know what would help? Frank’s goddamned bridge project. The President, totally worn down, says he’ll take another look at it. Frank calls the President “Garrett,” because humping his leg right there in the conference room would be gauche.

At the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Doug is trying to speed things up for getting the Ugaya tribe recognized quickly. Would money help cut through that administrative red tape? The Bureau representative says it’s first come, first served and there are a kazillion applications ahead of them and Doug is all “Did you not hear me say money?” The Ugaya chairman says that Lanagin disenrolled them. Oh, man, that’s harsh — that would mean that not only would the disenrolled members lose out on casino benefits, they could lose Federal benefits and tribal jobs. The Bureau rep says the Bureau doesn’t want to get involved in inter-tribal conflicts, but Doug Jedi mind tricks him and says they totally will.

Doug manifests to Frank — presumably while that last meeting is still going on — and says it’ll be about two months. Lanagin knows what’s up and wants to meet. Frank sends Doug for an excuse to go to Kansas City so he can meet with Dan on the sly. I guess Frank can’t say “Because RIBS, that’s why!” with Freddy’s right there in town.

While he’s at it, Frank swoops in to ask Jackie how things are going. She says “terrific,” then gives him the shadiest look you’ve seen since your mom caught you trying to sneak cookies when you were three.

Tricia is trying — and failing — to get the President to give one single speech to try to cut down on military assaults and suicides. But, gosh, he’s awfully busy. Tricia complains that she had to schedule a meeting to see him and she doesn’t want to lobby her husband when he gets home. Garrett does exactly the right thing as President and exactly the wrong thing as Tricia’s husband and ends his talk with her and shows the next meeting in.

Tricia needs someone she can really trust to talk this out, but instead she calls Claire. Claire makes sure Frank knows who’s calling, then goes to get the number of that helpful man of the cloth, Dr. Thomas Larkin, and how is she just rattling off a real phone number like that? 202-251-6258. Oh, would Tricia like Claire to call ahead and prep him? RUN, TRICIA, RUN! Claire says “We’ll see” to Frank and then the two of them curl up with their tails around each other, nostrils gently smoking.

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Remy is talking to a young photographer who wants to turn color theory on its head. Funny thing: she used to work for Adam Galloway! Heavens to Betsy, what a coincidence — the same Adam Galloway who had an affair with Claire last season. Uh-oh. Remy asks to buy all of the young abstract photographer’s pictures at once. Hahahahaha.

Frank’s plane lands in Kansas City so he can speak at Womack’s Fundraiser/Excuse for putting on a trench coat and a fake beard and shinnying down a hotel drainpipe to go talk to Lanagin. While Frank drones on, surreptitiously dabbing spirit gum on his face as he does so, Seth talks to a reporter from The Times who wants an interview with Claire. Seth also takes time to backstab Connor again because what the hell, he needs the cardio.

Seth is just promising a one-on-one with Claire when — AIEE! — Ayla has ninjaed up behind him and wants to talk about Frank visiting Industrial Tusk. Is he going to visit him again? Seth says no, not mentioning the part where the only reason Frank would willingly visit Tusk at this point would be if Frank thought Tusk’s grave needed more urine on it.

Frank finishes his speech for Womack, then signs a few autographs and nails a photo op all while muttering with Seth about a potential blind spot.

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