Thus begins Episode 7. That lovely attack ad, by the way, is one for which the Republicans, er, I mean the “Friends of a Better America,” have apparently paid $25 million. Garrett is worried, as is the rest of his cabinet. He wants to know where the money is coming from. Umm… gee, where do you think, bud? I could have told you Raymond was involved in this even before Frank figured it out a couple of scenes later.
Nevertheless, Garrett yells some of his latest disappointments at Frank before dismissing him, which, even though it sort of is Frank’s fault that things have escalated this far, shame on Garrett for sanctioning it all, you know? “I should have kept you in the House, like Raymond suggested in the first place,” he says, making Frank visibly grit his teeth. I love how even when Garrett has so-called regrets about roads not taken and whatnot, his reasoning is never his own but always based on stuff someone else said.
How this guy could run a lemonade stand, let alone a country, is beyond me.
Meanwhile, Frank’s investigator guy does some digging and learns that one Mr. Daniel Lanagin, Missouri casino owner and known Democratic supporter, may have flipped sides. Frank naturally suspects Raymond, who has never made any political contributions per se, of funneling money through Lanagin’s casino. He immediately sends Doug over there to investigate.
When Doug arrives, he meets a pretty waitress, whom he bonds with over their mutual recovering alcoholism and of course, his agenda of gleaning dirt on Lanagin’s casino. After they have sex, he calls Frank and tells him what he’s learned: that three or four times a year a bunch of rich Chinese guys fly into Kansas City and spend millions at a time in the casino. Hmmm. No direct link to Tusk yet, but it does bear further investigation.
Before Doug leaves, he tells his one-night stand that he “had fun last night,” to which she responds, “No, you didn’t. You were thinking about somebody else.” Because this show operates in a universe where Magical Brown People are alive and well, apparently.
And Doug is not the only one who got lucky last night! Jackie and Remy are also still knocking the proverbial boots these days, in a “string of consecutive one-night-stands” capacity, which doesn’t sit well with Remy. He gives Jackie an ultimatum: “this doesn’t happen again unless it’s headed somewhere.”
Daaaaaaaaaaamnnnnnn, Remy! Give a girl a glass of water and a warning before you get all intense and swoony like that! Also, kudos on flipping the tables on GENDER by being the first dude ever to withhold sex until you get what you want. I can’t even imagine what godlike moves you are working with, if you can say a thing like that with a straight face!
But alas, Jackie appears to be the only red-blooded lady watching this who doesn’t instantly throw her panties at Remy’s face.
Later, Garrett receives a tongue-in-cheek present, apropos of his earlier attack on Frank.
And of course, Garrett being Garrett, he finds this impossibly amusing and adorable instead of a blatantly catty gesture that a normal person would see through immediately.
So I guess now that they’re Reunited (And It Feels so Good), Frank and Garrett wander through the White House at night, drinking scotch and waxing emo-sophical about the loneliness of the presidency.
Ugh. OK, let’s check in with Claire, who is steps closer to rolling out her bill about sexual assault prevention reform. Except she will have to first figure out her Co-Communications Directors Dilemma. You see, Connor and Seth are not working well together, as per the master plan. Seth, true to form, is undermining Connor at every turn and generally coming out on top. Soon enough, it will be time for the axe to come down on poor Connor, which makes me wonder, What was even the point of introducing this character in the first place? Just to create the minor complication of one more person knowing some of the Underwoods’ secrets? Not super impressed with the individual pieces this season, guys.
Anyway, so Seth has a secret meeting later with… guess who? REMY!!! It turns out Seth’s whole deal was that he was hired by the Raymond Tusk Machine to dig up dirt on Claire, except when Remy asks him what he’s found, Seth says that the abortion and everything else checks out, so I don’t even know anymore. Remy tries to give him an envelope full of cash, but Seth is like, “I don’t take half-pay for a job half-done.” Whattt? A traitor with a conscience, I guess? He tells Remy to create a cushy job offer for Connor, then leaves for who knows what parts.
Back at the White House, Frank gets confirmation via text message from Doug that it is none other than Xander “Erotic Suffocation” Feng who owns the plane that has been flying people into Kansas City 38 times since 2005. GASPGASPGASP! In an even bigger twist, it turns out that Raymond, through the front of Lanagin’s casino, has been buying political sway this entire time, having only recently defected to the Republicans when it became clear that Frank would not help further his personal interests.
Doug goes to Beijing to get in-person confirmation for these very accurate suspicions. Feng neither confirms nor denies Raymond’s involvement in the whole thing, but when Doug asks him to stop giving money to the Republicans, Feng says he’ll think about it and invites Doug to stay overnight to “appreciate the scenery,” AM I WINKING HARD ENOUGH?!!!
Doug rejects the prostitutes, however, and leaves Rachel a voicemail instead while staring intently at a picture of a lonely fisherman, which I’m sure Means Something, because there’s usually a lesson attached whenever a painting gets screen time on this show.
Back in the States, Frank and Claire discuss their upcoming dinner with the Firsties. “What should we serve them?” asks Claire. “Cyanide,” quips Frank, har har. He’s really focused on his new hobby, see, of creating Civil War model replicas. It’s basically the analog version of his video gaming pastime from Season 1, and Claire even says as much.
Later, Frank meets with Seth Grayson to assess what his deal is. Seth comes clean about the fact that he was hired by Remy to find incriminating information about Claire but quickly assures Frank that he doesn’t intend to give anything to the other guys. He wants to be where “the real power in the White House” is. Frank seems impressed and tells Seth to find Remy’s/Tusk’s “blind spots.”
Finally, it’s time for the Walker/Underwood dinner. And, you guys, believe me when I say it’s a major douche chill, this dinner, but only for the most superficial, manufactured reasons like Tricia’s dramatic paranoia about the state of her marriage and the fact that Garrett refuses dessert initially.
Later, Claire and Frank decide to exploit this weakness by dividing and plying with alcohol — scotch for the men, red wine for the ladies, naturally. Tricia asks Claire what her and Frank’s secret is, and Claire is like, “We’re honest with each other,” which… yeah, I mean, you’ll get no arguments from me on that front. “We don’t sweep anything under the rug, except for the bodies, LOLOL!”
Over in Beijing, Doug asks Feng what it is he wants in exchange for cutting off the money to the Republicans. Turns out, Xander wants the Port Jefferson Bridge back on the table, because “some allies want it built, and if they don’t get it, they will become my enemies.” It’s all very cryptic for now.
Meanwhile, Ayla Sayyad, the only journalist in DC who isn’t dead, imprisoned or otherwise intimidated into submission, starts to find connections between Feng/Raymond and Frank. Also, Connor tenders his resignation to Claire, not before making sure she knows how much more money he will be making and how much more appreciated he will surely be at his new job. Claire is like, “OK, byeeeee!”
Lastly, Frank meets with Daniel Lanagin at his house and offers him a direct channel to the White House in exchange for stopping the flow of money through his casino, but Lanagin is like, “Nope.” He’s in it for the money, you see, and it’s unlikely Frank can top Raymond’s offer. Frank even lets loose with another classic line from the Underwood Cultural Sensitivity Manual: “I am just like you, Dan!” but somehow Lanagin resists his overtures and sticks to his decision. Now Frank is mad and smashes his Civil War masterpiece-in-the-making. “It’s not broken,” he tells Claire. “I can fix it.” Get it? JUST LIKE HIS PREDICAMENT! Then the two of them go for an angry run and the episode ends. Another blah one, if you ask me.
What did you guys think? Is it only a matter of time before Frank gets out of this pickle because he has no actually worthy opponents? Will Garrett and Tricia continue to make dinners awkward? Will Remy Montague and Jackie Capulet decide to just throw caution to the wind and go for it?
Next week: two good men become collateral damage of the Underwood agenda. It’s going to be good!