Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chapter 14 Season 2 – House of Cards Episode Summary 2.1

Frank Underwood kills Zoe Barnes
House of Cards Chapter 14 Episode Summary: House Representative Frank Underwood learns that Zoe Barnes has unearthed Rachel Posner leading to his possible involvement in the death of Peter Russo.  Janine Skorsky becomes convinced that Frank Underwood’s support of a sham candidate was all part of his plan to become Vice President of the United States.  Claire Underwood devices a strategy that will put Gillian Cole in her mercy.

House of Cards Chapter 14 Recap: Francis and Claire Underwood return from their run and find Doug Stamper there anxiously waiting for Francis.  Stamper apprises Frank of Zoe’s investigation that led to the discovery of Rachel Posner, the prostitute who was with Peter Russo the night of his DUI arrest.  He also learned from Christina Gallagher that Zoe had been looking into Roy Kapeniak.Continue reading...

Stamper deals with Rachel straightaway with a demand for her to quit her job and leave with him that night.  The exigency of her departure is not groundless for Zoe has come to speak to her again.  Zoe learns that the young waitress had left in the middle of her shift and is nowhere to be found for she has nothing but a PO Box for her address.  Lucas Goodwin and Janine Skorsky had hit an impasse with their leads leaving Rachel as the only person who could uncover the truth about Peter Russo.  Zoe believes that the young woman has knowledge of a more serious crime than Peter’s DUI.  Meanwhile, Stamper had already prepared a place for Rachel in Joppa, Maryland where she is to disappear.  He arrives at her apartment to find her unprepared and hostile to the departure.  She threatens Stamper with a knife and demands that he allow her to keep the new life she has made.  Regrettably, he overpowers her.  Rachel Posner has no other choice but to leave with Stamper.

Congressman Frank Underwood offers House Representative Jackie Sharp his position as the Whip, since he will soon assume the Vice Presidency.  Jackie is a war veteran serving only her third term in congress.  The offer to serve in the Leadership comes as a surprise even to her given her lack of tenure, but Frank is determined to name Jackie as his replacement.  Frank meets with President Garrett Walker, Speaker of the House Bob Birch, and House Majority Leader Terry Womack to discuss his replacement as Whip.  The two most senior members in the caucus, Howard Webb and Wes Buchwalter, were put into consideration, but Frank does not approve of the candidates.  He instead suggests a wide-open race that will allow the caucus to pick his replacement.  Womack supports his recommendation with the argument that the winner will gain the respect of the caucus after having fairly won the race, but Birch is in disagreement with the strategy.  Womack manages to convince Birch to approve of the open race with the condition that neither Birch nor Underwood can endorse a candidate.

The imminent confirmation of Frank’s assumption as the Vice President of the United States leads the Secret Service to begin preparing his security detail, but Frank refuses to receive the service reserved for a Head-of-State until after his confirmation.  He would like to savor the last days of privacy.  Moreover, he refuses to reside at the Naval Observatory during his term and insists on staying at his townhouse despite the necessity to build the security infrastructure that will ensure his safety.  His last request as an incoming Vice President is the promotion of Edward Meechum from Capitol Police to Secret Service regardless of his lack of training.

Claire learns from her lawyer, Oliver Spencer that Gillian Cole insists on going to court despite the recommendation of her lawyers to do otherwise.  She calls her bluff and agrees to go to trial regardless of her lawyer’s advice to woo Gillian into a settlement.  This is because Claire has been working on a different strategy.  She managed to track down David Applebaum, the doctor who impregnated Gillian.  Moreover, Claire had informed Mrs. Applebaum of Gillian’s existence and condition leading the scorned wife to make a scene that embarrassed the mistress of her husband.  This is only the first step in Claire’s strategy to get Gillian in a bind.  Soon, Gillian arrives at CWI after Claire refused to return her calls.  She has come to speak to her about the cancellation of her Blue Cross insurance that was to provide her health coverage up to a year after her termination.  Gillian learned the termination of her health coverage from Blue Cross.  Its reinstatement will require the approval of her former employer.  Gillian informs Claire of the medication that she can only get through her HMO.  She is surprised to learn that Claire is aware of the medication.  Ostensibly, all the consultation with Dr. Larson about post 40-pregnancies was only part of the scheme in gaining knowledge about Gillian’s condition.  Adding to her surprise is Claire forging her signature on a consent form.  Soon it becomes clear that the misfortunes she encountered including the incident with Mrs. Applebaum are Claire’s doing.  Gillian threatens to expose her underhanded tactics in court, but Claire is not intimidated for she knows that Gillian’s unborn child will die without the medication only she can provide through her approval.  Claire guarantees the death of the unborn child if Gillian pursues the trial that will expose Claire for what she truly is.  Ironically, Claire offers Gillian CWI in exchange for her cooperation.

Frank schedules a rendezvous with Zoe.  Lucas Goodwin finds the request portentous, but Zoe is confident of her ability to deal with Frank Underwood.  Moreover, she sensed that Lucas’ disapproval stems from his knowledge of her affair with the congressman.  She pursues the meeting with Frank and sets the meeting place at Rock Creek Park.  Meanwhile, Lucas meets with his reluctant source, the cop who once helped him expose police officers involved in drugs.  The same cop gave him Rachel Posner’s arrest record and intimated that only a person of authority could have expunged Peter Russo’s arrest.  Lucas assumes the involvement of Police Commissioner Barney Hull in the cover-up, but believes him only a pawn to a Congressional Leadership’s scheme.  The power of the people behind the cover-up causes the cop to refuse Lucas further help.  He, however, gave him the police report on the apparent suicide of Peter Russo.  Lucas immediately conveys to Zoe the fact from the police report that Russo was found on the passenger seat instead of the driver’s seat of his car.  Zoe dismisses the insinuation and meets with Frank at Rock Creek Park to ask questions about his support of Peter Russo including her supposition of his involvement in the cover up of his DUI arrest.  Notwithstanding her dismissal of Lucas’ insinuation, Zoe confronts Frank about the police report that placed Russo in the passenger seat of his car where he was found dead.  Frank informs Zoe that Russo was found halfway out of his car showing that he must have had second thoughts about committing suicide, but was too late.  Frank had spoken to the commissioner about leaving this shameful fact from the police report.  Zoe is not convinced, but carelessly shows her incredulity.  She admits to have thought of Frank’s involvement in Russo’s death.  Frank vehemently denies his involvement and struggles to persuade Zoe into believing by confessing his hand in the DUI cover-up and the business with Kapeniak.  Moreover, he admits his assumption of the vice presidency and lures her with access to the Oval Office.  She imparts their conversation to her friends convincing Janine of Underwood’s involvement in Russo’s death.  Zoe, on the other hand, is skeptical of Janine’s theory.  The lure of access to the White House has gotten to her.  She is incredulous of the theory that Frank Underwood supported a sham candidate he knew would self-destruct in order to clear the way for Vice President Jim Matthews to resume his governorship.  Matthews resigning his position as Vice President leaves it open for Frank for the taking.

Zoe later receives a text message from Frank asking her for a fresh start.  She agrees to meet him at the Cathedral Heights Metro Station and finds him on the platform where construction is underway.  Zoe accepts Frank’s request to start their relationship anew beginning with the purging of their previous communications including his contact record on her phone.  She, however, continues to ask him about Peter Russo’s suicide claiming that her trust in him relies on learning of the details of his death.  Zoe makes him aware of her knowledge of Rachel Posner’s presence at the McNeely Cancer Institute fundraiser, the event Peter Russo attended the night he fell off the wagon.  She asks him of his hand at having the prostitute bump into Russo at the fundraiser, but Frank fervently denies knowledge of it.  Zoe insists that Rachel has been acting under Frank’s orders and asks him of the young woman’s whereabouts.  She claims that her inquiries and his honesty in answering them will protect them both from other people’s investigation.  She eventually confesses that her insistence stems from wanting assurance that her role as Frank’s pawn did not lead to someone’s murder.  Frank finds her notion ludicrous causing him to walk away, prompting Zoe to follow him.  Little did she know that he had planned that act as well as he timed it exactly as the train arrived on the platform.  Frank Underwood pushes Zoe Barnes onto the incoming train where all witnessed her fall, but none saw her murder.  Frank arrives home after taking the life of Zoe only to find that his wife has prepared a cake for his birthday.  News of Zoe’s horrific death reaches Lucas Goodwin and Janine Skorsky.  Janine is certain that Zoe’s death was no accident and is already preparing her departure when Lucas arrives.  She has decided to forego the investigation into Frank Underwood for fear of her life.  Janine has received pornographic photos of Zoe that Frank took to impart his awareness of her participation in Zoe’s investigation.  Lucas begs her to stay in order to help him bring Frank Underwood to justice, but Janine, who has not known fear before, is horrified of the man soon-to-become Vice President.  Claire learns of Zoe Barnes’ death from the morning news.  Although the police have ruled her horrific death an accident, Claire appears to believe otherwise.

Jackie meets with Frank after reading through the files he has on her, Webb, and Buchwalter.  She comes to a realization that Frank had chosen her over the two senior house representatives, because he could not find anything damaging to her.  She, however, wonders about the qualities Frank found in her that made him certain of her aptitude as Whip.  She learns that it is her ruthless pragmatism.  Jackie, as a war veteran, expertly and efficiently obliterated villages that housed innocent people in accordance with orders from higher authority.  In other words, Frank chose her for her ability to do what is needed.  Her service background, clean history, and photogenic appearance add to her good qualities.

Next House of Cards Episode Summary: Chapter 15
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