“House of Cards” recap (2.11): Things You Can Kiss

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Feet slap on wet steps as investigators march through a storm cloud of reporters and into the Capitol. Frank testifies on his “polite dinner conversations” with Lanagin about money laundering anything but money laundering. Frank gets more Southern and folksy when he testifies. Why, he wouldn’t know a money laundering scheme from Adam’s out ox! And speak about a super PAC? My stars, never! Frank whips on a seersucker suit and drinks a tall, cool glass of lemonade as he fans himself and offers around a plate of collard greens.

Meanwhile, Tricia Walker backs out of a joint interview with Claire. You know, just until the scandal dies down. Claire quietly vows to eat Tricia’s liver first. No, wait—to eat most of her liver, then let it regenerate, then eat it again. Oh, dear. Tricia is being a coward on such a small scale, and she’s going to go down so very hard for it. Tricia says she’ll help… somehow… quietly.

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Back at the deposition, oh, Shesus, everyone is saying “backchanneling” one million times again, like it’s that Bloody Mary game, only they think that if they say “backchanneling” enough times Feng will appear in the mirror. Frank dances the sidestep like crazy. He seems to be managing some pretty good plausible deniability, which I guess is the good thing about everyone switching tacks halfway through: It makes real motives hard to latch onto.

Seth walks with Claire. He doesn’t want her big interview to happen; the interviewer is powerful enough that they can’t dictate questions. Claire wants to refocus attention on her bill, but Seth is pretty sure an interview right now will hurt Claire and the bill. Claire wonders if a new target might be useful. Oh, holy balls, it’s about to get real. Real scary, that is.

Frank is still being special prosecuted, and he’s just wrapped up his story about the bridge. Oh, ick, the investigative team has talked to 194 members of Congress. Not enough massages and aromatherapy candles in the world to counteract that. Frank deftly gets the chief prosecutor, Heather Dunbar, to spill that Bob Birch gave her some useful testimony. Frank tells us that Tusk could have bought Birch off easily.

Ms. Dunbar, with a little prodding, neatly outlines the whole mess, then tops it with a picture of Doug, fully manifested at Lanagin’s casino. Frank stonefaces while he tries to figure out his next move.

Doug is testifying in his own way, talking to a 12-step meeting about Rachel. He says she feels like alcohol when he was drinking—something he can’t put down until he has too much… She’s like a daughter… She’s like his mother… Doug speaks for all of us when he says the situation is fucked up. Yikes, Doug. Yikes.

Frank’s counsel is stalling the special prosecutor, saying Frank can’t answer everything right away because of, um, national security. Ms. Dunbar warns Frank that he isn’t insulated. Frank walks down the Capitol steps past throngs of reporters. He can’t stand the indignity of it all. “When you’re fresh meat,” he says, “Kill, and throw them something fresher.” RUN, EVERYONE, RUN.

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At the end of his meeting, Doug meets Fitz, who offers to be his sponsor. Doug, ever the charmer, takes Fitz’s card and leaves without saying goodbye.

Remy rides with Lanagin, who is in a state because auditors are all up in his stuff. And Lanagin is pretty sure that Tusk is throwing him under the bus. Remy outlines the situation: Should Lanagin find himself under a multi-passenger vehicle and quietly kiss some wheel, he and his family gets taken care of. If Lanagin dodges the bus, takes a plea bargain, and rats out Tusk, his family gets nothing.

Lanagin says Tusk must be afraid or Remy wouldn’t be there. Remy says it’s Lanagin who’s panicking; thus the don’t-be-stupid visit. It’s not in the frame or ever referred to, but I bet Lanagin’s dog is still really happy about that day when it got to jump in the pool and eat a $400 cut of meat. I bet some days it just lies on its back, half-dozing in the sun, making little swimmy movements with its feet and drooling at the memory. The reason all dogs are filled with such hope is that they whisper to each other about days like that.

Back in the international human crisis, Walker says he put a carrier group near Okinawa—not so close as to invite direct conflict, but near enough for the Chinese to hear the whoomp whoomp whoomp of dicks being swung. The Secretary of State will inform the Chinese ambassador and some wonk worries about our stockpile of Sumerians. Meeting over.

Walker and Frank stay behind. Frank minimizes the danger, but Walker is freaked out about how long it’s taking. Walker notices Frank fidgeting with the spot where his ring used to be and Frank admits that he buried it. Walker is lightly weirded out, and he hasn’t even heard about Augustus Underwood. Frank deflects by telling the President how tired he looks. Walker leaves and Frank gives in to stress for just a moment. He feels as exposed as the soft skin where his ring used to be.

211HoC 3Photo by Nathaniel Bell. Image courtesy of Netflix

Frank wants to know where the hell Doug is and is not amused to hear that he’s in a meeting. Frank fidgets at the spot where his ring used to be. Oh, and Remy sent his watch back, the one with the Churchill quote engraved on it. No message, just the watch. Frank wants Doug.

Remy is in California, rivaling Doug in his manifestation frequency. He’s visiting Jackie Sharp’s one-time friend and sponsor, Ted Havemeyer. Havemeyer, having lost everything, is selling his house and moving. But, to be honest, he’s bearded and relaxed and seems way happier than he did in Congress. Remy lies that he wants to hire Jackie as a lobbyist if she loses the election. Remy says he’s looking for a killer instinct. Speaking of which, what exactly did she do to Congressman Havemeyer…?

Doug, having been found and forced to teleport in, says that he paid for his ticket to Lanagin’s casino in cash and was very careful. (Except for getting caught on camera clear as day and banging that waitress and leaving her his 10-year chip…) Frank can’t believe that Doug has slid all the way to mostly effective from omnipotent, and asks Doug if he’s drinking again. Doug accepts the blame for everything ever, but Frank isn’t done and reminds Doug that if they fail, they’ll die in a cage. I think Doug may be Frank’s Cashew. Frank reminds Doug that he already gave him a second chance 14 years ago. (Really? 14 perfect years of evil and the slate never gets wiped clean? Those are some high employment standards.)

Doug says that nothing is more important than his work for Frank, that he can handle this, and things will be different. Frank, having thoroughly screwed with Doug’s head, gives him a third chance. Doug is grateful, because Stockholm Syndrome. Serves him right.

211HoC 4Photo by Nathaniel Bell. Image courtesy of Netflix

Frank sends Doug to find Remy. Teleportation chase scene! *BAMF!* *BAMF!* *BamBAMF!* Trust me, it’s very exciting. Doug says he’ll take responsibility with the special prosecutor, but Frank says they both will. They’ll meet with Dunbar tomorrow.

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