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House of Cards 2×03 “Chapter 16” Recap

Photo: Netflix

Photo: Netflix

Tension rises between Francis and Raymond Tusk as the situation with China deteriorates. A battle in the Senate pits Francis against the Republicans.

Frank Underwood

“Chapter 16” opens with President Garrett Walker practicing a speech. Christina, who’s now working in the White House alongside Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez and Walker, proves to be very useful – a fact which does not escape Francis Underwood’s notice.

Raymond Tusk is still around, anxiously poking at Frank to do something about the China issue. Frank reasons that Walker needs to focus on domestic issues first, because if the government shuts down due to the Republicans and Democrats battling it out, nothing can be done to help Tusk’s interests in China at all. He then suggests giving the Republicans what they want – a raised retirement age – thus avoiding a government shutdown and making the White House look like heroes. Tusk reluctantly agrees to the plan and goes off to convince Walker to play ball. For someone who’s supposed to be “the most powerful man in the free world,” Walker seems way too easily controlled.

Frank, in turn, meets with Senate Majority Leader Hector Mendoza, who thinks he might be able to get the Republicans to play along, save for Curtis Haas who “wants to see the Democrats suffer.”

With Hector’s help, Frank is able to sway Curtis Haas into agreeing to the deal – but predictably, Curtis gets cold feet and backs out at the last minute, forcing Frank to work his magic and get the amendment vote passed in his favor.

Lucas Goodwin and Janine Skorsky

lucas

Desperate for someone to listen to his story, Lucas has taken to stalking Christina Gallagher around Washington. Christina tells him in no uncertain words that she’s trying to put Peter Russo behind her, so if he ever contacts her again she’ll call the police, and let Frank Underwood know exactly what Lucas is saying about him. Back to square one, dude.

Or perhaps back to square zero, because Lucas’ little foray into the Deep Web last episode has pinged on the Secret Service and Doug Stamper’s radar. Luckily for Lucas, they still have no idea who it was that made the forum post, but still, Stamper orders a Secret Service agent to track that person down and destroy all inklings of Underwood conspiracy theories before they get any bigger.

Back at work, Lucas is finishing up an article when his computer completely freaks out, glitching and fritzing oddly until a giant picture of Zoe Barnes’ face is placed on his computer screen. Looks like you just got hacked, Lucas! Congratulations, your job offer as been accepted. Later that night, Lucas plans to meet with his hacker-with-a-weird-sense-of-humor, and instead is delivered a special iPad that gives him further instructions. This hacker has a flair for the dramatics. I like it.

Lucas tracks down Janine and, telling her about his encounter with the hacker, tries to convince her to come back and work with him again. Janine’s found a new, comfortable job as a teacher in Ithaca, and doesn’t want to leave her mother or this new simple life.

Still alone in his crusade, Lucas follows through with the hacker’s instructions, and officially meets with him later at the hacker’s apartment. Drumroll please… it’s Liam McPoyle from Always Sunny! Dude looks different without the bathrobe. He’s called Heronymous Bot here, and is some sort of genius hacker guy the FBI have been trying to catch for years. Finally Lucas gets a lucky break.

Rachel Posner

rachel

Rachel’s been set up at a new job at a call center in Maryland. She pauses work to call up Lynchburg Children’s Hospital, asking to speak to Cheryl Posner – Rachel’s mother. When Cheryl answers, she sounds desperately hopeful, asking Rachel not to hang up on her, but Rachel’s boss walks by and Rachel is forced to end the call.

On the bus ride home, a friendly woman asks Rachel about the music she’s listening to, and offers her a pamphlet on her church joking that it has really great music. Rachel says she isn’t religious, but reluctantly ends the conversation – this is probably the first person who’s been nice to her for no reason in a long, long time.

Stamper pays Rachel a visit at her apartment to warn her about Lucas’ digging, and tells her not to talk to or go anywhere she doesn’t have to. He notices the church pamphlet she threw in the trash, and orders her to tell him any time someone tries to contact her. Even if it’s something as innocuous as a flyer, Doug? Yeesh, paranoid much.

Perhaps just to spite him, and perhaps out of curiosity, Rachel ends up going to the church meeting, which does indeed have good music. After the meeting, Rachel and the woman from the bus, named Lisa, strike up a friendship.

Claire Underwood

cclaire

Claire unfortunately doesn’t have much to do in this episode, but she does interview a semi-smarmy looking Connor Ellis for a press secretary job. He’s confident and does his research thoroughly, so Claire likes him almost right off the bat – and when he suggests Claire and Frank do a joint interview to up their popularity, she tells him she’ll strongly consider taking him on for the position.

Rating: B

Memorable Quotes

Frank: There are two types of presidents: doormats and matadors. Which do you think I intend to be?

Claire: Francis faints at the sight of blood, he’ll never let them break the skin.

Janine: I’m sorry, Lucas, I’m sorry that night how I reacted. I’m sorry you lost your girlfriend. I’m sorry the world is this fucked up, I really am. but I can’t help you.

Laura: “Ladies”? He’s a pig.
Jackie: Give him time, he used to have two middle aged white guys at his side. Now he’s got a black guy and a woman twenty years his junior.

Lucas: Why did you contact me?
Heronymous: Because you’re desperate. And I’m not fond of authority.