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House of Cards 2×05 “Chapter 18” Recap

Francis back-channels with a Chinese billionaire. Lucas uses extreme measures to expose the Vice President. A shadowy member joins Team Underwood.

Sooo… this is an interesting open to “Chapter 18.” By that I mean a threesome sex scene involving erotic asphyxiation transitioning into a Civil War reenactment with actors who are a little too enthusiastic about it (most likely because the Vice President is watching.)

Let’s jump into the recap!

Frank Underwood and Xander Feng

Francis and telecom billionaire Xander Feng, an old business acquaintance of Raymond Tusk’s, meet to discuss a proposal, during which Feng tells Frank that he doesn’t want the U.S. to drop the WTO currency manipulation lawsuit against China, because they want to start getting into open currency but need it to look like they were forced into it by America.

Frank sees an opportunity to loosen Tusk’s reins on the President here, but knows well enough to play it cautiously. He checks first to see if Feng’s (and Tusk’s) desires regarding currency are in line with China’s, by leaking news of the suit to the press. Feng responds by taking the much-needed bridge proposal off the table until Frank gets the suit reenacted.

President Walker, upset with how the negotiations are going – both at Frank, for what Walker views as miscommunication, and at Tusk, for recommending a corrupt business partner as China’s delegate in the talks – calls off the whole thing. This means Tusk loses out on the billions he was about to make along with some of his sway over the President, and Frank has won yet again.

Claire Underwood

Newly minted press secretary Connor Ellis is trying to get Claire to talk more about what she revealed in the CNN interview, stating that the less she speaks about it, the more the press will dig until they find inconsistencies in her story. Claire tells him not to worry because there aren’t any medical records, and the only one who was there was a doctor who has already passed away.

Claire intends to use the interview and the discussion surrounding it as a platform to speak with the Joint Chiefs of Staff concerning sexual assault in the military, and asks the First Lady to help out. Which she does, awesomely, though it’s disgusting that it takes the presence of the First Lady (and let’s be honest, moreso the threat of the President) for these men to take concerns about sexual assault seriously.

Elsewhere, a man named Seth Grayson is poking into Claire’s background, going to wife of Claire’s doctor and asking about the abortion. He is able to successfully get the only copy of a journal recording Claire’s abortion, and then – surprisingly, because I swear he was going to go straight to the press, or try to blackmail the Underwoods – he gives the journal to Claire, saying that it’s his version of a resume for a comm director position. That’s one hell of a way to get a job.

Lucas “In Over His Naive Little Head” Goodwin

Lucas prepares to enact his part of “Heronymous” and his plan. H, real name Gavin Orsay, tentatively tries to convince Lucas to stop, knowing that if he follows through he’ll end up in jail or worse. Seems like this White Collar‘d hacker has a heart of gold, but will it be enough to save Lucas from imminent destruction? Who knows, man.

The FBI guy swoops in after Lucas leaves and punishes Gavin for trying to warn Lucas by torturing his defenseless pet Cashew.

Afterwards, just as Stamper and his FBI buddy planned, Lucas ends up getting caught tampering with the servers, and is arrested for cyberterrorism.

Rating: B+

Memorable Quotes

Frank: I personally take no pride in the Confederacy. Avoid wars you can’t win, and never raise your flag for an asinine cause like slavery.

Doug: Estimated net worth is 50 billion.
Frank: More than Raymond’s.
Doug: By a few billion, but who’s counting?

Gavin: You’ve never faced a hundred years in prison, you self-righteous prick. Most of my friends are locked up and rotting away ’cause they poked the bear one too many times. Why? They wanted to expose government surveillance, the PRISM program, embezzlement, abuse, fucking torture, lies. You’re a journalist? Who gives a shit. We’re fucking soldiers. It’s personal for me now. I don’t have a choice but you still do.

Asshole FBI dude: If you try to bite my hand, I will put you to sleep.

Frank: Did you know that General Longstreet was shot here by his own men in the dark? [now that is some heavy foreshadowing if ever I saw it]

Frank: Stick a knife in its heart and put an apple in its mouth, I won’t shed a tear.

Tusk: …That’s the first time he’s hung up on me in… twenty years.
Frank: Oh. I feel for you. [hangs up] And the butchery begins.