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House of Cards 2×04 “Chapter 17” Recap

A terror scare at the Capitol traps Francis with a resentful Donald Blythe. Claire gives a live interview that rocks the media.

You know what time it is? It’s recappin’ time.

Frank Underwood

Oh hey look it’s Remy! I was wondering where he’s been all this time. The ambitious Sancorp businessman (what even is his job, by the way, besides following Frank around the city?) approaches Frank and tells him Raymond Tusk got him a few extra votes as a peace offering. Frank has a little under three hours to keep his sure votes secure and to scrounge up a few more, so he, Remy, and Jackie jump right to work, with Remy and Jackie teaming up to convince people who are on the fence, to fall on their side. (Is it just me, or do I sense sparks between these two?)

Frank’s main target is Donald Blythe, the education bill dude who took the fall for Frank last season, only to realize he’d been manipulated sometime between then and now. Well, at least he figured it out, right? Blythe is obviously unimpressed with Frank’s attempts at getting his and his constituents’ votes, and refuses to help him. You go, guy.

While this is going on, a White House secretary rips open an envelope and white powder spills all over her – anthrax spores?! Security is called and the building is quarantined until the potential threat can be investigated, which leaves Blythe and Frank trapped in a small room together for a long, long while. Frank might end up missing both the vote, and his upcoming interview with Claire – but at least the extra time gives Frank a chance to try and change Blythe’s mind by “appealing to his heart,” via his ailing wife who has Alzheimer’s.

This also doesn’t work, because Blythe is smart enough to not fall for the same trick twice. He’s disgusted with Frank for trying to use his wife against him. It finally takes Jackie with an awesome speech to convince Blythe and his people to vote for the package and avoid the government shutdown. I love her, man.

Claire Underwood

Claire, meanwhile, is prepping with Connor Ellis for the her joint interview with a fictionalized Ashleigh Banfield. Among the questions Banfield will be asking, is “why don’t y’all have any children,” which is so rude. Maybe she can’t have children. Maybe she doesn’t want children. Maybe she did want children but prioritized her and her husband’s climb to power, and possibly also threatened to withhold medical care from a pregnant woman and now feels kinda bad about it. Or maybe it’s none of your goddamn business, Banfield.

Predictably, Claire ends up having to do the interview on her own – and it’s a shocking, emotional interview where Claire discloses the fact that she had an abortion. Though the pregnancy had happened during the Frank’s initial campaign trail, and she and Frank had discussed following through with it before deciding instead to focus on the campaign, Connor warns her that saying any of this on air would be a grave mistake. So Claire tells Banfield that she has the abortion because her pregnancy was a result of rape, talks about the college boyfriend – McGinnis – who assaulted her, and why she didn’t speak up about this before.

Claire takes a break from the interview, which is interrupted when a woman calls in who says she was also assaulted by McGinnis, and wants to share her story but is afraid to use her name. Claire speaks with her, and convinces her to go public with her story.

Lucas Goodwin

Lucas and Heronymous (whose name is ridiculously hard to type out over and over so I’m just gonna call him H) make plans to breach some place that “looks like Fort Knox wrapped in a bunker” and access the servers there. The plan requires Lucas to go in stealth mode, which is why it has an 80% chance of failing because that gangly mofo doesn’t look like he can do stealth for shit.

Later, H meets with his real boss where he reveals himself to not actually be H at all, but an undercover agent named Gavin who’s working with Doug Stamper and Doug Stamper’s White House buddy that I can’t remember the name of to thwart Lucas’ investigation into Frank, which is a move we all expected. Except for poor sweet, gullible Lucas, that is. Dude’s gonna end up in jail forever.

Rating: A

Memorable Quotes

Frank: Is this Raymond’s way of extending an olive branch? Two votes is a twig. It’s not a branch.

Jackie: [to Remy] You’re late to the party.
Frank: Think of Remy as the guy who shows up with a six-pack after the liquor stores close.

Frank: At the very least, enjoy the free coffee.
Blythe: I don’t drink caffeine.
Frank: Then decaf.
Blythe: Still has caffeine.
Frank: Well, enjoy the free oxygen.

Blythe: A flatline will send a louder message than life support. [damn]

Blythe: Half of zero is still zero.

Claire: He said, “Don’t be sad, sweetheart. He made the world a better place, but sometimes that comes at a price.”

Jackie: They’re not taking me seriously.
Remy: Because you’re not Frank.
Jackie: You mean because I’m not a man.
Remy: No, I mean Frank. They’re used to being offered something. Ask them what they want.

Jackie: I tried some [of your wine]. It tastes like piss compared to what we have in Napa. The sort of piss that belongs in Paul’s waste treatment plant. We have a possible terror attack, and you’re holding out your plates for more pork. You should be ashamed of yourselves. In my caucus, people are rewarded for good behavior, not trading their votes for ransom. When we walk in there I expect the both of you to vote yes without a moment’s hesitation.
Thank you for your change of heart. [JACKIE YOU BADASS]

Claire: At the time I felt I was somehow at fault. I knew I wasn’t. But I just didn’t want to be stared at. I didn’t want to be known as the girl who got raped. And when I got pregnant, I wasn’t going to drop out of school. I wasn’t going to let this man ruin my life. So I made a choice. I ended it.

Claire: I hate lying.
Connor: Did he do it?
Claire: Yes.
Connor: Then don’t feel bad.

Woman: I’m a private. He’s a general.
Claire: And my husband is the Vice President of the United States. We will protect you, I promise you that.