Episode Summary: President Garrett Walker begins interviewing candidates for the vice presidency and becomes annoyed at the unlikely the candidates. Unknown to him, Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez and House Representative Francis Underwood have agreed to present hopeless candidates in order to make Frank look like the best candidate for vice president. Meanwhile, Janine Skorsky uncovers a conspiracy theory pegs House Representative Francis Underwood as the mastermind.
Chapter 12 House of Cards Recap: Christina Gallagher meets with Paul Capra to speak about him taking over Peter Russo’s seat in the House of Representatives. The offer surprised Paul only because he thought Christina had asked to see him to speak about Peter, who had only been deceased for a month. Christina’s behavior puzzles him for the woman opted to miss their friend’s funeral. The woman has chosen to bury herself with work instead of grieving.
News of the senior official of the Shipbuilder’s Association, Paul Capra, meeting with Christina Gallagher reaches Janine Skorsky of Slugline. Janine immediately calls Mr. Capra to get confirmation on rumors of him taking over the seat Peter Russo left vacant. Moreover, she asks him about his involvement in the closing of the Philadelphia Shipyard and learns that the Shipbuilder’s Association was not consulted about its closing. Janine brings up the fact that the late Congressman Russo did not offer a testimony to the BRAC commission and discovers from him that a politician with more power than Congressman Russo forced him to refrain from testifying. Janine shares her discovery to Zoe Barnes and names Frank Underwood as her suspect. She realizes that Congressman Underwood began his association with Peter Russo right after the closing of the Philadelphia Shipyard. She also confronts Zoe with her speculation that Frank Underwood is her source. Zoe does not confirm nor deny Janine’s conjecture, but she agrees to speak to Frank about the information she gathered from Mr. Capra. She confronts Frank about Janine’s conjectures and he, as one would expect, denies all of it. Frank denies pressuring Peter Russo into closing the Philadelphia Shipyard. He instead admits to advising him into trading a losing hand for a winning one. According to Frank, Peter made allies out of enemies after allowing the closure of the shipyard. Zoe feigns being satisfied with Frank’s answers, but decides to investigate further. She finds connections between the McCuddin Air Force Base, the stepping down of Majority Leader David Rasmussen, and House Representative Terry Womack stepping up as the new House Majority Leader. Zoe suspects Womack as the politician who pressured Russo, because the McCuddin Air Force Base that is in Womack’s district remained open at the expense of the Philadelphia Shipyard. Zoe has imbibed Frank’s lies enough to convince herself that Janine’s conspiracy theory is incorrect.
President Garrett Walker along with Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez and Congressman Francis Underwood interview House Representative Tabitha Lonnergan, a candidate for the soon-to-be vacated vice presidency. They find the woman utterly jejune and decide to cross her off their list as a viable replacement for Vice President Jim Matthews. President Walker is irked with the candidates Linda and Frank had presented him, which is what the two had planned all along. They intended to put the President in a position to find Frank as the most viable candidate to fill the seat of the vice president. Linda speaks with the President only to learn that he is considering the multi-billionaire Raymond Alan Tusk as his new vice president; she did not have the opportunity to recommend Frank Underwood as an option. Linda fills in Frank of the President’s decision and receives the same reaction she had upon hearing of his plan. Duplicitous Frank Underwood, however, decides to approve of the President’s choice of tapping a proven and down-to-earth businessman as his new vice president. He refers to the President’s strategy as bold and exciting. Frank learns that the President has already vetted Raymond Tusk before when he considered him for Secretary of the Treasury. The only hindrance now is Tusk’s reluctance to accept the nomination. The President confides to Frank of sending his representative to speak to Tusk prompting Frank to volunteer his services.
Doug Stamper provides Frank the research he has on Raymond Tusk. He wonders whether Linda had purposefully intended to send Frank to St. Louis in order to allow her and the President to continue their search for a viable vice president without Frank’s interference. Frank believes that Linda has nothing to do with it despite her betrayal with the State Secretary nomination. Frank arrives at the modest St. Louis home of multi-billionaire, Raymond Tusk, where he is to stay as he tries to convince the businessman to accept the President’s offer. The smell and sound of sizzling bacon wakes Frank at two in the morning. The two begin an early morning conversation in their pajamas about Frank’s habit of knocking on wood with his ring. Frank explains that his father taught him that habit. It was supposed to help harden one’s knuckles for a fight with an extra benefit of knocking on wood. He considers the mannerism a mixture of preparation and luck. Their conversation leads to Frank’s father who is a failed peach farmer. Frank confesses that his father was better at giving advice than following it. The call from China causes them to postpone their conversation in the morning at Raymond’s office.
As per their agreement, Frank arrives at Tusk’s office and speaks to him about the President’s desire for Raymond to become his vice president. He would like to know the cause of his hesitation to accept it. Frank finds that Raymond is deflecting to answer a simple question of whether or not he wants to become Vice President of the United States. He worries that Raymond is inclined to say no or that he desires to be wooed to accept the offer. Raymond asks Frank to allow him a few minutes to finish his meetings and proposes they resume their conversation away from the office. Frank finds himself bird watching in the woods with Raymond Tusk and tries to fish for the reason for the man’s hesitation to accept the vice presidency. He speculates whether the President’s opposition to nuclear power is the reason, because Raymond does own a nuclear power plant. Raymond once again deflects the question. At dinner, Frank tries to get an answer from him again and learns that husband and wife work as a team. Jean Tusk brings up the blind trust should Raymond accept the vice presidency. She does note that the blind trust inadvertently unburdens them from a great deal of stress of managing a multi-billion company. The Tusks want to know why the President wants Raymond to become vice president. Raymond then turns the table and asks Frank whether he thinks he should accept the President’s offer, but Frank is as good as he is at deflecting the question. He then asks Frank whether he would accept the vice presidency, but Frank uses the same argument Raymond employed and manages to avoid having to answer the question.
At midnight, Frank receives a call from Doug informing him that the President lied to him about not knowing Raymond Tusk personally and of only meeting him once at a fundraiser. Walter Doyle was able to catalog all the events Raymond and the President both attended. Moreover, Raymond Tusk was a major stockholder of Pioneer Airlines, a company where the President used to be the CEO. Early that morning, Frank Underwood confronts Raymond Tusk about the charade. He conveys to him of having discovered that he was not sent there to vet Raymond and learns that it is the other way around. The President considers Raymond Tusk as his trusted adviser. Moreover, he learns that Raymond advised the President not to nominate Frank as Secretary of State. He is aware that Frank has made himself incorrigible since then with Kern, the teachers’ strike, and Matthews. Raymond attributes all of those problems as Frank’s doing. He, however, have come to see that Frank is effective in attaining goals. This efficiency will be of value to Raymond and the President. Moreover, with Frank as vice president, the President has a man that straddles between the Executive and the Legislative branches of government. Despite the benefits of having Frank serve as vice president, Raymond’s favorable recommendation depends on Frank’s ability to return the favor. Frank rejects agreeing to return the one favor Raymond wants of him, but Raymond gives him time to consider. Upset at having been played, Frank confronts Linda about the possibility of her lying to him about her knowledge of the President and Raymond’s relationship. Linda maintains not knowing of their relationship and argues of not benefiting from lying to him. She informs him that the President still wants to meet with Frank to get his evaluation of Raymond Tusk, one they already know to be a farce, but Frank agrees to attend the meeting. Frank must figure out a way to force Raymond to come crawling to him for he will never agree to become beholden to him. He believes that Raymond’s weakness is his fortune. Frank wants to create an illusion that it is in danger and he must do so in a week’s time. His estimation of Tusk is that the man is more concerned with the loss of his life’s work than the loss of money.
Gillian Cole speaks with Claire Underwood about a request from the PR Office of SanCorp to send a film crew to shoot footage of their filtration project in Botswana. Gillian becomes suspicious of CWI’s relationship with SanCorp aware that the same company fought against them on the Watershed Bill. Claire informs her that SanCorp was the one who helped them get their filters out of South Sudan. Gillian is against doing business with a company that is against everything their organization stands for, but Claire finds that their relationship is harmless. Soon, Claire receives a peeved call from Remy Danton after receiving a complaint from the PR team regarding Gillian Cole’s lack of cooperation. Gillian rejected SanCorp’s request to have its crew film their filtration project in Botswana. Claire prepares to reprimand Gillian for opposing her only to learn that the woman took the day off due to illness. On Gillian’s return, Claire accuses Gillian of feigning illness to avoid having to deal with the consequences of rejecting SanCorp’s request. Claire reprimands her for her actions, but Gillian argues that the filtration project is hers and she can make the decisions without consulting Claire given that she had promised her autonomy on her projects. Claire argues that the filtration project would not have been possible without SanCorp’s help to which Gillian contends that Claire did not consult her about the deal with SanCorp. Claire disputes that Gillian works for her organization, but Gillian refutes this given that their agreement is an affiliation. Claire refutes this claim, because the contract Gillian signed did not specify an affiliation. Gillian’s claim is based merely on a good faith understanding that Claire is no longer honoring. Claire states that the good faith understanding they had was dissolved the moment Gillian disobeyed her. Claire orders Gillian to take a leave of absence equivalent to her termination if she refused to return.
Janine pursues her conspiracy theory and speaks with Christina about it unaware that Frank Underwood had put Doug Stamper on alert. He believes that Janine asks the right questions that could uncover the truth. Doug interrupts the conversation between Janine and Christina, ending it abruptly. He offers the ruse of protecting her from harassing questions from the press. Christina returns to the office. She finds herself having to go through Peter’s things for a document and finally finds herself grieving for the loss of Peter Russo. Meanwhile, Janine is convinced even more that Underwood was behind the closing of the Philadelphia Shipyard after the incident at the cafeteria with Doug and Christina. She was able to establish more connections in her theory. Janine found that the Education Bill went to the floor shortly after Womack rose to become the House Majority Leader. Zoe was pivotal in the success of Underwood’s Education Bill, because she leaked Congressman Donald Blythe’s education bill that is far left of center. Then there is the Kern article that Zoe also leaked. Janine finds that the link to all those events is Zoe. Frank Underwood has been using the young journalist to his end and Janine finds that they must uncover what Underwood’s goal truly is. She urges Zoe to speak to Roy Kapeniak about the Kern article.
Lucas Goodwin offers to drive Zoe to the airport to see Kapeniak and confronts her about his suspicion that Zoe was sleeping with Frank Underwood to get ahead. Zoe confirms his suspicion upsetting him more than one would expect, because Lucas has fallen in love with her. Zoe arrives at Roy Kapeniak’s neighborhood and learns from his neighbor that the man was evicted and left. His stripper girlfriend, Echo, however is still in town. Zoe arrives at the strip joint where Echo works and learns from the stripper that a man claiming to be a congressman came to see Roy about the Kern article. The congressman was Peter Russo. Peter convinced Roy to declare that Senator Michael Kern wrote the editorial that expressed an anti-Israel sentiment. Zoe tries to inveigle Echo into officially making the statement, but the stripper refuses to do so. She returns to Washington D.C. and shares her discovery to Janine. Both of them are now certain that Underwood was behind all of it. Regrettably, none of them has hard proof of Underwood’s role in those events. Zoe knows him as a dangerous person to fight against and fears of him learning of their awareness of the truth. Janine argues that the only weapon they have against Underwood is to uncover the truth about him to the public. They must find information and evidence that connect Underwood with the death of Peter Russo. Zoe believes that the key lies with Christina Gallagher. She informs her that Peter convinced Roy Kapeniak to speak to her about the editorial Senator Michael Kern supposedly wrote. Peter was acting on someone’s orders. She asks Christina if she remembers any strange events around the time of the inauguration, specifically on January 24.
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