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Sunday, March 8, 2015
Chapter 26 Season 2 – House of Cards Episode Summary 2.13
House of Cards Chapter 26 Recap: Former Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez faces the Judiciary Committee to answer questions regarding President Garrett Walker’s competence given the news of his use of mind-altering medication that opened his decisions to incredulity. Linda stands by the President and reveals Vice President Frank Underwood as the reason for her resignation, but the House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans alike already support the President’s impeachment.
Vice President Frank Underwood agrees to an interview with CBS News and passionately shows his support for the President despite the Democrats’ betrayal, led by House Majority Whip, Jackie Sharp. Morley Safer, however, reveals rumors of a falling out between President Walker and Vice President Underwood after the President learned of his ambition to run against him in the 2016 elections. Vice President Underwood denies the rumors and humbly expresses his wish for the President to choose him as his running mate. Morley presents the scenario of the Vice President taking over the presidency given the impending impeachment and conviction charges against President Walker, but Underwood vehemently resists entertaining such thoughts. His humility and concern for the President becomes suspicious as Morley uncovers his involvement in putting the President in a precarious situation that seriously threatened his office. Morley goes on to insinuate Underwood’s guilt in the political maneuverings where he is certain to benefit. Vice President Underwood insists his patriotism with an assertion of his service to the President and the country, and not himself.
The rumors of their falling out are true as President Garrett Walker privately accuses his Vice President of deceit. Moreover, he and Linda are working on a whisper campaign to prove Frank’s duplicity and megalomania. However, President Walker believes the campaign will not be enough to destroy Frank. He proposes seeking the help of Raymond Tusk where the entrepreneur admits to the money laundering that involved Frank Underwood. Tusk will receive a presidential pardon in exchange of his confession. President Walker asks Linda to do his bidding with a promise to reinstall her as Chief of Staff. The President will be at Camp David during the negotiations allowing him to deny involvement. Meanwhile, Frank has predicted his next move. He instructs his staff to schedule a meeting with Tusk before the Judiciary Committee hearing.
Linda meets with Tusk to relay the President’s proposal, but receives incredulity from the mentor who distrusts the treacherous protégé. He doubts the President’s ability to protect him if he agrees to implicate himself in order to prove Frank’s guilt. Linda trusts that the revelation of the truth will bring Frank to justice, but Tusk does not share her idealism. Tusk believes that ingenious Frank Underwood will figure out a way to evade incarceration. True enough, he receives a package from Frank containing a peach and a ticket to Puccini’s Madame Butterfly during his meeting with Linda. Tusk claims the package came from his wife. Later, Tusk arrives at the special presentation of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and speaks secretly with Frank Underwood fully aware that the perfidious Vice President had summoned him to make an offer. Tusk, however, has only come to gloat at receiving the promise of a pardon from the President, one Frank cannot offer. Frank, however, believes the President will barely survive the attacks he received even if he manages to endure an impeachment trial. He threatens Tusk with the consequences of consorting with a man without political capital especially one in danger of conviction. Tusk’s pardon will become worthless should the court find the President guilty. However, his aversion to Frank causes him to take the risk. Frank appeals to Tusk’s business sense, aware that relying on the troubled President’s pardon goes beyond the entrepreneur’s better judgment. Moreover, he vows an end to the conflict with China if he becomes President, certain that he can repair the damage he instigated. Frank lures Tusk with the promise to work together. Tusk appears determined to refuse Frank’s offer, but does not explicitly refuse it.
Frank arrives home only to receive Claire’s panicked demand to ensure his escape from conviction, one he cannot provide assurance given Tusk’s steely indecision. Claire reproaches her husband for his inability to secure their future claiming that she had done her part, while he has failed. Frank believes that the only guaranteed way for Tusk not to implicate himself and consequently Frank is for President Walker to withdraw his request. Frank types a letter to President Walker on an Underwood typewriter he received from his father relaying the significance of the portable machine. Frank’s father had wanted him to build an empire just like the typewriter manufacturer that bears their name. In his letter, he confesses to have coveted the presidency. He, however, claims to have aimed to give his support to the President ever since he took office, foregoing his ambition for another time. He imparts his sincerity by entrusting to President Walker the story of having witnessed his cowardly father’s attempted suicide, one he burdened Frank to do for him. Frank refused to pull the trigger knowing very well that his drunkard father lacked the courage to do so. He regretted not having done so for it was he and his mother who received the wrath of his spineless yet violent father. Frank vows not to put President Walker in the same position his father put him. Moreover, he enclosed a signed confession to the crimes President Walker is accused of, but claims them to be false. Frank gives the President permission to use his signed letter of confession to save himself thus fulfilling his promise to take the fall for President Walker and proving his loyalty to him.
Seth Grayson calls Claire Underwood in the wee hour of the morning to inform her of Megan Hennessey’s suicide attempt. Claire rushes to be with Megan only to receive contempt from the distressed former Marine. Megan regrets calling in to support Claire’s claim of McGinnis’ sexual assault and blames her for her worsening mental state. She has come to a realization that Claire Underwood only used her for personal gain. Megan has since become a pariah and has to resort to heavy doses of lithium to alleviate her pain. Claire returns to Washington D.C. disturbed at the devastating effect of her betrayal and political ambition to the ingenuous former Marine. Notwithstanding the conflict between the Walkers and the Underwoods, she confides Megan’s condition to First Lady Tricia Walker. Claire appears to show genuine concern for Tricia given the first family’s predicament. She apologizes for her part in the fiasco that led to the Walkers’ scrutiny, particularly her marriage counseling recommendation. Tricia, however, does not fault her for it. In fact, the First Lady insists that the counseling helped her marriage. Tricia finds Claire a good person and thanks her for her concern. Claire is overcome with guilt after receiving kindness from the people she intended to ruin. She breaks down in tears.
House Representative Jackie Sharp divulges to Congressman Donald Blythe her strategy to keep the Democrats’ control in Congress. Jackie believes that voting for the impeachment is the only way to keep the House majority, because support of the troubled President will only earn them incessant criticism from attack ads. Donald’s immediate agreement to her strategy surprised her. Ostensibly, Donald has not forgotten Jackie’s assertion of not being Frank Underwood when she asked his help in preventing a government shutdown with the passing of the entitlement reform. She has proven her claim and promise to help pass Donald’s stimulus package thus earning his support. Jackie warns him that Frank stands to benefit from their strategy for the impeachment allows him to assume the presidency. Donald, however, finds this a lesser evil than losing majority of the House to the Republicans. Jackie has turned the tables and has wielded the power of her office to make the otherwise unruffled Remy Danton unnerved and pleading for protection. Jackie offers protection from prosecution in exchange for an undetermined service. Hesitant to accept blindly, Remy continues to believe that he has other options. He has deluded himself into believing that he is worth more than he is, but betrays himself when he agrees to cooperate.
President Walker receives Frank Underwood’s letter at Camp David and immediately calls Frank after he and Tricia has read it. The President remains incredulous of Frank’s sincerity, but Frank’s admission of his treachery causes the President to believe him. Frank claims the persona he has assumed allowed him to elicit fear and respect, but asserts that it is not his true self. He hopes the letter proves his sincerity, but President Walker wants proof in the form of whipping votes. Frank believes they can weather impeachment, but House Majority Whip Jackie Sharp presents an obstacle. He recommends taking on the Senate. The President instructs Frank to continue his work, but cautions him from perceiving his approval as a sign of reconciliation. President Walker then calls Linda to instruct her to rescind his offer to pardon Tusk. He argues that Linda was correct in her assessment of the risk involved with the offer, but Linda recommends that they must continue with it given that they had already made the offer. Regrettably, the President is determined to withdraw the pardon and uses Linda’s desire to resume her job as the President’s Chief of Staff to force her cooperation. Linda calls Tusk, who disappointedly suspects that Frank Underwood once again was able to manipulate President Walker. Tusk’s lawyers recommend that they revert to the original plan of invoking the Fifth Amendment. Unfortunately, Remy Danton has volunteered to testify before Special Prosecutor Heather Dunbar. Tusk perceives that Remy has received protection from prosecution and has decided to turn against him.
Frank begins courting senators to their side beginning with Senator Michael Kern, who is understandably disinclined to come to the President’s aid after President Walker revoked his nomination for State Secretary and showed no support for the beleaguered senator after accusations of his anti-Israel sentiment surfaced. Frank agrees with Kern’s refusal to support President Walker and adds that he would have defended him, but confesses that he would not have nominated him as State Secretary for he was better off as Secretary of Treasury for his aptitude in economics. Frank insinuates his desire to become the President and the reward Senator Kern will receive when it materializes. Kern reaches out to the Republican leadership to call publicly for the impeachment of President Walker.
Tusk faces the Judiciary Committee and invokes the Fifth Amendment, but later decides to incriminate President Walker in the money-laundering scheme. Tusk divulges of the President’s knowledge of the mechanism that allowed large contributions to the political action committees, whose legality Tusk contends remains within the boundaries of the law. Tusk admits to have orchestrated and facilitated the mechanism. Furthermore, he reveals of President Walker’s knowledge of the scheme. Tusk’s damaging testimony before the Judiciary Committee left no reason for Dunbar to hear Remy’s testimony. Dunbar rushes to take Raymond Tusk in her custody where she and Tusk’s lawyers agree to make a deal in exchange for a plea. News of Tusk’s testimony reaches the public causing outrage and protests demanding President Walker’s resignation. Moreover, China released a statement condemning the President for dealing with corrupt businessmen behind its back. President Walker remains silent in Camp David and offers no response to Tusk’s damaging testimony. He confides to Frank of the looming feeling of having lost the war. He finds that impeachment is inevitable, and the horrors a trial will bring to his family unbearable.
Agent Nathan Green undervalues Gavin Orsay’s demand for the U.S. Attorney to drop the charges against him and Barrett Brown with an offer of a job at the F.B.I.’s cyber terrorism division causing the hacker to demand a meeting with Doug Stamper. Orsay divulges his knowledge of Rachel Posner’s whereabouts and his possession of Stamper’s text messages before he destroyed his cell phone. Stamper, however, asserts that he does not respond to extortion unlike Agent Green. Orsay has come to speak to him to ask for his protection given his distrust of the F.B.I. He uses his knowledge of Stamper’s secret to his advantage. Stamper rushes to Rachel’s apartment and takes her away. He informs the young woman that someone has uncovered her whereabouts and her connection to him. Rachel fears for her life and asserts that no one has contacted her. She has come to believe that Stamper has taken her to kill her. Rachel manages to escape into the woods, but Stamper follows right behind. She hides in the darkness of the woods and attacks Stamper with a rock that she repeatedly bashes on his head. Rachel then returns to the car and flees, leaving the severely wounded Stamper in the woods.
The House Representative from Alabama recommends bypassing debate in the Judiciary Committee. The committee votes on the Articles of Impeachment to the full House and recommends that the Articles of Impeachment proceed to the House floor. Soon, Frank receives word that President Walker has summoned him to Camp David where the President informs him of his decision to relinquish the presidency that the nation can start to heal. President Walker returns Frank’s letter to him, which Frank immediately burns. Soon, President Garrett Walker gives the official announcement of his resignation. With praises of virtue, experience, and courage from the exiting President, Francis J. Underwood becomes the 46th President of the United States. Newly installed President Frank Underwood immediately reaches out to President Qian of China. Soon after their conversation, naval vessels from both China and the U.S. vacate Japanese waters. The deal was made at the expense of Xander Feng whose political asylum in the United States has been revoked by the new President of the United States despite the unconditional and permanent clause in the contract. President Underwood was able to rescind the asylum, because the initial paperwork has not been processed allowing the U.S. government to claim him as a threat to national interests. Feng is to return to China immediately where his execution is certain. State Secretary Cathy Durant, however, warns President Frank Underwood that the move diminishes the integrity of the State Department, but Frank argues that peace is more important than integrity. Stamper lies in the woods close to Camp David within earshot of Frank’s helicopter that leaves for the White House. Frank arrives at the White House troubled at the absence of his Chief of Staff, Doug Stamper. He delegates the search for Stamper to Seth Grayson and Nancy Kaufberger for he and Claire Underwood are to take the ceremonial walk to the Oval office as the new President and First Lady of the United States. Claire Underwood presents her husband with a gift, a replica of the class ring he buried in Spotsylvania. She then gives her husband a few moments alone in the Oval Office to relish having inveigled the presidency. Frank Underwood assumes the highest office in the land.
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