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Sunday, February 22, 2015
Chapter 23 Season 2 – House of Cards Episode Summary 2.10
House of Cards Chapter 23 Recap: Rachel Posner informs Doug Stamper of having allowed her friend Lisa Williams to live with her. Stamper forbids the arrangement despite Rachel’s protests. He ends the discussion and leaves abruptly after receiving an urgent text message from Vice President Frank Underwood. Stamper arrives at The White House too late to brief the Vice President of a situation involving China. Seth Grayson received a higher security clearance to allow him to do Stamper’s job due to the absence of the Vice President’s Chief of Staff.
The Prime Minister of Japan reaches out to the President of the United States for help in preventing China from unlawfully seizing one of Japan’s territories. China had sent two destroyers in the waters near Yonaguni Island, a land mass near Taiwan that Japan owns. Vice President Francis Underwood speculates that the move is a consequence of the trade war against the U.S. China begins bullying its weaker neighbors having failed to force the United States to agree to their demands. Prime Minister Oshiro asks President Garrett Walker to send his Seventh Fleet to the contended territory as a display of force between allies. Frank Underwood recommends a different approach wherein the President foregoes sending the fleet and instead simply condemns China’s intrusion, but President Walker needs a strategy that will cause China to retreat. Their first strategy is to buy off China, which failed and further strained the already precarious relationship with the Asian superpower. Japan, however, is anxious to repel China. It has begun preparations in deploying destroyers to Yonaguni Island. President Walker can only instruct State Secretary Durant to request Japan to hold off until he has spoken with Beijing. Of all the problems President Walker need to address, he confides to Frank that his marital problem remains the toughest of them all. He does note that marriage counselling and the dismissal of Christina Gallagher did help smooth things with his wife.
The Secret Service stationed at the Underwoods town house notices a white male in a hooded sweatshirt carrying a duffel bag suspiciously closing in the residence. Police accost the suspicious prowler, but the man leaves the duffel bag and flees. Edward Meechum wakes Claire Underwood to bring her to the safe room. News of the bomb threat at his house reaches Frank Underwood causing him to leave the emergency meeting with the President’s permission. Secret Service apprehended the prowler and identified him as former Marine, Andrew E. Kelly. The young man carrying explosives claims responsibility for the white power sent to the Capitol several months ago, but the Secret Service believes that the target of his recent threat is Claire Underwood given the abortion his wife enacted without his knowledge. With Claire’s insistence, Frank returns to the White House, but demands on having Meechum watch over his wife in his absence. Meechum’s dedication does not go unnoticed. He later speaks to Frank, but catches him watching a pornographic video. He makes no judgment of the Vice President and Frank finds no shame in Meechum catching him. Meechum furthers his loyalty with a request to become Claire’s full-time bodyguard until the death threats subside, an entreaty both husband and wife appreciate. Frank and Claire toast to Meechum’s loyalty and service.
Remy Danton and House Representative Jackie Sharp continue their sexual relationship. He notices the tattoo on her upper body and learns that Jackie likes the pain of the needle. The pain helps relieve the guilt of having killed many people during her Army service. Her motivation to feel pain troubled Remy. She later meets with Claire Underwood to inform her reluctance to co-sponsor the Countering Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces Act of 2014 in its current form. Jackie opposes the proposed civilian oversight. Claire mistakes Jackie’s opposition as a move to disassociate herself from the Underwoods following the Galloway scandal that recently dominated the news. Jackie makes it clear that her opposition is rooted in her principles and belief in the importance of the chain of command. In fact, she will not only withdraw support, she will actively oppose the bill if it gets to the floor. She, however, is willing to compromise. Jackie proposes a military commission to review the internal mechanisms, but Claire insists on the exigency of reform, one that Jackie’s proposal will not fulfill. Jackie ends the meeting and recommends resuming it on her return from a campaign tour in California. She hopes Claire would have reconsidered by then, but Claire is determined of her unwillingness to compromise. She speaks to Francis about Jackie’s intransigence and of her need for the Whip to support the bill. Claire believes that the Galloway scandal ruined her, denying her any influence she has in Congress.
Frank sends Seth to speak with his former secretary, Nancy Kaufberger. Nancy now works for Jackie after she assumed Frank’s position as the Whip, but remains loyal to Frank. With some urging, she intimates of Remy Danton’s late-night meetings with Jackie. Seth informs Frank that Jackie literally may have been sleeping with the enemy. Frank Underwood waits for Jackie Sharp at her desk until she arrives from a hectic campaign tour in California. Jackie remains adamant of her opposition to the bill leading Frank to order her to support it, but the House Representative remains unfazed. Frank insinuates his knowledge of her affair and alludes to Tusk’s sponsorship of the attack ads against her, which Frank made disappear. Jackie summons Remy to her office and accuses him of keeping the knowledge of Tusk funneling money to the GOP from her. Remy continues to deny having any knowledge of his client working against the Democrats and accuses Jackie of refusing to believe that she is working for Frank Underwood. Moreover, he argues that it would not have made a difference even if he did have knowledge of it, because he will have honored their agreement to separate work from their relationship. Jackie wanted him to make an exception. She is appalled that Remy would have watched her lose without making an effort to help her win. Jackie suspects Remy of having used her to get information on Frank Underwood, but Remy becomes insulted with the accusation and denies it.
Frank discusses strategy with Stamper and Seth, one that would ultimately ruin Raymond Tusk. Stamper could not find anything that will meet their goal leading Frank to pursue his contingent plan of publicizing the casino without leaving trails of their involvement. He assigns the task to Seth, which alarms Stamper enough to oppose the decision. Frank, however, derides Stamper for his failure to find damaging actions from Tusk. Seth proposes using Ayla Sayyad to break the story given her awareness of the connection between Tusk and Feng and her zeal to uncover the nature of their business. Soon, Ayla receives an envelope containing an Adohi Casino Player’s Rewards card with a note written in Chinese telling her to follow the money. She begins calling limo services and learns that the Missouri Bus & Limo usually provides a luxury bus for Adohi’s twenty clients flying from Beijing. Ayla surrounded by her superiors calls Daniel Lanagin unaware that the casino owner had invited Tusk to join the call. She ingenuously asks about his casino’s involvement in using foreign money to influence political issues through Raymond Tusk and provides evidence of Xander Feng sending Chinese executives to Adohi Casino. Her claim causes Lanagin to become defensive and for Tusk to hang up the phone. Tusk immediately calls Frank and accuses him of leading Ayla to him. Frank vehemently denies his claims, but instructs Stamper to work with Doyle to seal any holes in his denial. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Telegraph discusses the consequences of insinuating a money-laundering scheme that involves Raymond Tusk, a prominent figure worshipped by many of their readers. The sentiment from the financial newspaper’s executives is for Ayla to forego pursuing the story until she provides irrefutable evidence of corruption. Tusk calling the Telegraph soon after their call with Lanagin and specifically requesting to speak with the owner, Mr. Maxfield, provides further proof of his association with Lanagin. The Telegraph reconsiders publishing Ayla’s controversial story and breaks the news in time with the President’s press conference about the possibility of sending the country’s seventh fleet to aid Japan if China refuses to leave its territorial waters. President Walker is hopeful of a peaceful resolution stemming from China’s compliance. He, however, is unprepared for a bombardment of questions surrounding the freshly published article on the Wall Street Telegraph suggesting graft and corruption in Congress and the White House. Vice President Underwood delights in watching President Walker falter at the press conference, but admits to the fear of the uncertainty of its ruinous effect extending to him. In fact, Ayla Sayyad mentions him in an interview as a possible key player in the corruption.
The troubling news of money laundering in the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government prompts the Attorney General to investigate. President Walker’s legal counsel informs him of his guilt by association and advises him not to discuss the matter in his absence, but the President decides to speak with Frank privately. Frank is hesitant to discuss it without the President’s lawyer, but President Walker lividly orders him to divulge all the details of the matter they once before both agreed to keep from the President. Frank confesses to have dealt with Feng, who guaranteed the end of the flow of money to the GOP upon the approval of the Port Jefferson Bridge project. President Walker becomes enraged at learning the direct link to him, but Frank is certain that his lack of knowledge about the deal will save the President. Frank suggests appointing a special prosecutor to make the investigation tilt in their favor, but rescinds the suggestion. The President is exceedingly disinclined to follow Frank’s advice. President Walker blames Frank for putting them in this perilous situation. Frank returns home and confides to his wife of doubting the strategy he set in motion. Moreover, he is relying on President Walker’s ire towards him to ensure that he will go against his recommendation. Frank had rescinded his proposal for the President to recommend the appointment of a special prosecutor. President Walker bent on opposing Frank decides to ask the Attorney General to appoint Heather Dunbar as special prosecutor to investigate the money-laundering claim. He does so against his lawyer’s advice to wait for DOJ’s move, because he believes in showing his innocence with the willingness to resolve the issue proactively. Frank once again successfully manipulates President Walker into doing what he wants. Stamper assures him of having done background checks on potential witnesses and found nothing that will hurt Frank, while Seth recommends making off-the-record calls supporting the investigation. Stamper later confronts Frank about compromising his authority over Seth when he contradicts him in front of him. He reminds the Vice President of his importance to the team. Stamper believes himself to be Frank Underwood’s failsafe. Frank begins to doubt Stamper’s competence and informs his Chief of Staff of his dwelling on office politics at a time when their careers are on the verge of ruin. Stamper seeks comfort in Rachel. Afraid of losing her, he agrees to let her friend stay at her apartment. He asks nothing in return other than for Rachel to read to him. Rachel reads A Tale of Two Cities at Stamper’s request. Later, she receives a call on her phone mistaking it for Stamper unaware that it is Gavin Orsay. Gavin says nothing.
Raymond Tusk rides late at night in his Buick to see his lawyer. He scolds Remy for allowing Frank to make enough damage to them and reminds him that the effect will hurt him too. Tusk, however, believes that his company will survive despite receiving the ire of the public, but Frank will not. He wants Remy to ensure that public opinion ruins Frank Underwood. Remy proposes working with the Republicans, but Tusk believes that both parties are now under scrutiny. He recommends going after the leadership that they may turn on Frank to save themselves. Tusk puts a target on Frank’s chosen one, Jackie Sharp. The thought of betraying his lover disturbed Remy Danton.
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