“House of Cards” recap (2.7): Everybody wants

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Doug has manifested in China, pretending he flew there on a plane. Both negotiators dive right in, with Feng revealing he knows Doug has been at the casinos and Doug revealing that he knows Lanagin is a front for Tusk. They couldn’t do this over the phone? Doug wants the money to stop flowing to Republicans, and Feng delays on his counterproposal. He suggests that Doug appreciates the beauty of his gardens. Doug says “People like you smell flowers. Some of us have to pull the weeds,” which is pretty much the perfect summation of Doug’s job. Except sometimes the weeds get murdered, and sometimes you pluck a flower and keep it in a ratty little apartment in Baltimore.

Feng asks Doug to stay as his guest so Feng has time to think. I am concerned that Doug will get a last-minute plane ticket home from China and have to take a middle seat in Coach across half the goddamn globe, which could push him over the edge from Evil Minion straight into Berserker.

Feng wants Doug to relax and enjoy the beauty, implying that there will be sex workers at his disposal, like any good host would. I hope Doug brought his own plastic bags.

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Back at Murky Towers, Frank texts with Doug as he finishes getting ready for dinner. He wants Doug to stay in China until he has answers and for Doug to refrain from getting quintuple blow jobs long enough to call Lanagin and get him to D.C. Fortunately Doug’s thing isn’t oxygen deprivation, so he can multi-task with some phone calls.

Frank has a chat with Seth. He would like Seth to know that the Underwoods are private people, and he compliments Seth on his initiative on reaching out to the widow of Claire’s doctor. And then Frank leans forward and in his silky I-will-cut-you voice asks Seth just what the fuck he is up to. Seth immediately reveals that he was hired by Remy, who is looking for all the dirt he can get.

Seth is hammocking his power players, attaching to one so he can get his other side hooked to the next. He says that Tusk just has money, but Frank has power, and power is what he’s after. Frank likes that answer, but is not so dumb as to blindly accept it. Seth offers to cease contact with Remy, knowing that Frank will instead try to use Seth to find Tusk and Remy’s weak spots.

Tricia Walker walks into the Oval Office, where the President is meeting with Christina. Walker seems to be getting more reliant on Christina, and wow, does Mrs. Walker hate that. They’ll be bringing wine to dinner at the Underwoods, but NOT ANY WINE THAT CHRISTINA RECOMMENDS. Any wine that Christina recommends is getting thrown straight onto the White House lawn.

Back in China, which is also full of light fixtures that don’t throw light more than a few inches. Maybe they’re all made by Tusk? Doug is sleeping in his clothes and two women come into his room. One begins to kiss him, which is just rude: The man is severely jet lagged. Doug gets up and moves away, asking the women to leave. How sweet to be loyal to the woman he’s essentially keeping hostage. Well, except for the one waitress. Doug leaves her a creepy message, just to keep the magic alive.

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Ayla Sayyad has added up a few billionaires and buttonholes Seth to ask about a backchannel to China and what the hell with the White House suddenly pushing rare earth subsidies during an energy crisis. She wants to know whether the Vice President knows Tusk. Dang, that woman can report. Stick to taxis, Ayla, and only catch them in well lit, well populated locations!

In the Presidential limo, Walker ignores his wife and focuses on President Stuff until Tricia finally brings up the problem that Christina is trying too hard to be helpful. And, um, might want to bang her husband. Walker dismisses it, saying Christina is a good aide and he’s not moving her to another position. And then he cuts off the discussion just a little too quickly.

Dinner at Murky Towers is over, and Freddy is accepting the compliments for his ribs. Everyone compliments Freddy on his newspaper article too, and Freddy is delighted by all the new business. The President refuses a slice of pie, and now Mrs. Walker thinks he’s keeping in shape for his new floozy. Tricia has some Pie of Defiance while the Underwoods dragoncuddle about jogging together. Walker interrupts his wife once, twice, and then on the third one, has a slice of pie after all. Frank and Claire caress each other with their heat vision while they use their claws to delicately trace the cracks in the Walkers’ marriage.

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Claire’s Congressional bill is ready: The Countering Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces Act of 2014. Or CSAAFA, for not-very-short. Jackie’s Congressional confidante Lauren says the bill will cause a shit-storm during mid-term elections, but it’s a good bill for a good thing. Jackie’s spider senses are tingling, though, and she wants to hold off on getting co-sponsors. Lauren takes off and Jackie calls Remy, then hangs up. She starts to read the bill.

Frank shows the President his model battlefield and gives him some more of the Underwood bourbon stash. The President is relaxed enough to ask Frank to call him by his name when they’re in private.

Tricia confides in Claire about her marital troubles, confirming for us that her instincts are the absolute worst. Tricia asks Claire how she and Frank stay twined in such perfect dragonlove, and Claire explains that the couple that murders together—oh, um, it’s just good communication. Claire counsels Tricia that the White House is temporary, (particularly for you, duckling), but marriage is forever.

Feng meets Doug at his outdoor breakfast nook. Feng brings up the fact that Doug refused his prostitutes. Which feels like some rude hosting, but Feng explains that in China it’s rude to refuse a gift the first time. Doug wants to know what Feng wants to stop airlifting Hefty bags full of money to the Republicans, and Feng says he wants the bridge. You know, the one that Feng himself yanked away a few months ago. I am very impressed with Doug for not flipping over the table and screaming “Are you KIDDING me?!” He must really be jet lagged.

But, yes, Feng’s allies want that bridge, and Feng needs to avoid another corruption trial and also getting disappeared. Bridge first, then the money junkets stop.

In Claire’s office, Connor is bailing on his job. Claire gives him the “you’ll be missed” speech and immediately calls Seth to put out a press release with a positive spin. Welp, so long, Connor! Don’t let the door hit you! And let’s hope you’re getting paid enough to not mention Claire’s shaky abortion timeline to anyone!

Hey, Freddy is hitting the big time. He’s being offered a family restaurant chain and a retail barbecue sauce with his name on it. $95,000 up front, then a share of the profits. If only Freddy knew someone with a shrewd and skeptical legal mind to look out for him.

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Back at Murky Towers, Dan Lanagin is waiting, wondering how the hell they make the lights only glow inward and whether that would be a good thing for the area right around his slot machines. Dan inexpertly pretends he doesn’t know Tusk or Feng, then skips to the part where Frank offers him something in exchange for not pulling station wagons full of hundred-dollar bills up to Republican campaign offices, leaving the doors unlocked, and sauntering away with an elaborately casual air.

Frank offers a direct line to the White House, which, when added to a nickel, will get you no cups of coffee and a pull on a nickel slot machine. Dan wants some tangibles: Money, houses, cars. And he’s not happy about being let in through the back door, thanks. Interesting: Dan Lanagin is the anti-Seth. Frank keeps up with his whole White House Ties line, and Dan points out that as a Native American, handshake deals with the federal government do not have a huge appeal for him.

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Lanagin does not want Frank’s influence or his respect. He’s out. Upstairs, Claire hears a crash and comes down to see that Frank has upended his miniature battlefield. Frank says “It’s not broken, I can fix it,” meaning everything, and Claire comes over to dragonspoon him and suggests a run to burn off steam. The Underwoods are just coming down in their ninja running gear when Doug materializes.

Frank chastens Doug for not calling him before his flight took off—for Chrissakes, Frank, cut the man some slack!—and Doug says he was worried his communications were being monitored and also he kept having to pull sex workers off of him. Short conference: Lanagin no; Feng maybe.

The Underwoods are running in the complete goddamned dark. Do dragons get too sensitive to light because they spend so much time in caves? Is that what’s going on with the lighting on this show? The Underwoods are the darkest shadows in the darkness of Washington, D.C., running as hard as they can. But running together. Towards what, we don’t know.

We’ll find out next week.

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