House of Cards 2.08: What’s Your Matsusaka Beef, Man?

Oops, sorry, guys! I told you last week that this episode would be about two good guys who fall victim to the Underwood machine, but I was wrong. That’s the NEXT episode. (I really promise this time!) This week is just more wheeling and dealing, pretty much. Let’s talk about it!

Frank’s new thing right now is trying to avoid losing the House to the Republicans in the fast-approaching midterms. To do this, he needs their funding to stop, as per the events of the last episode that hopefully you all can remember because I’m not planning to recap a recap, you know?

So Frank has not one but two irons in the fire this week. First, he wants to create leverage over Daniel Lanagin by arranging for an as-yet federally unrecognized Missouri tribe to be made official under US government, thus empowering them to compete with Lanagin in the casino business. This plan gets off on the wrong foot, however, when Chief Whitehall sees a Jackson portrait hanging in Frank’s office. “Will Andrew Jackson be joining us?” he quips humorlessly. “A terrible oversight,” Frank says before awkwardly putting Doug on cleanup duty yet again.

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That famous Underwood cultural sensitivity, you know? It makes for a more-awkward-than-usual photo op:

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The other avenue Frank pursues is the Port Jefferson bridge, which Feng asked for in the last episode in exchange for stopping the flow of funds. This one, too, meets an obstacle right away, and that obstacle is named Linda Vasquez, who refuses to even bring it up with Garrett. Frank is forced to back down for the moment. “Why does everything have to be a struggle?” he asks the camera. Come now, Frank. This is literally your first real struggle of the season.

Meanwhile, The Enemy aka Remy stakes out Claire’s ex-office manager from the Clean Water Initiative. Evelyn, if you’ll remember, was unceremoniously fired for deigning to express doubt about Claire’s decision to let go of half her staff; she handled all the firings, then promptly got the boot herself. Evelyn is supremely disgruntled, so it’s quite clear why Remy is seeking her out.

He “bumps into” her on the street and takes her out to a luxurious cup of Starbucks coffee, and that’s not an exaggeration, as Evelyn says she hasn’t been able to afford one in a while on her meager new salary. Aw. When Remy offers that maybe she might be a good fit for his own firm, Evelyn not-so-subtly implies that Claire might not be as “loyal” to her husband as everyone thinks.

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Elsewhere, Rachel’s boobs are making some coffee. And THEY are certainly not complaining about being too poor for Starbucks.

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Suddenly, a knock at the door! Remember: Rachel doesn’t have visitors or friends or people who know she exists, pretty much, so she’s spooked at first, but it’s just her new friend Lisa, needing to get away from her crazy meth-head roommate for a while; Lisa herself is a recovering meth and heroin addict, she confesses. Rachel tells her she can stay with her, then texts Doug to let him know. Later, Rachel confesses she was a call girl, and the two grow closer. These two! Finally a relationship on this show that’s sincere and root-worthy! We shouldn’t get too attached to it, is what I’m saying.

Back in Washington, Claire and her team meet with Megan Hennessey to prep her for speaking in front of the Armed Services Committee about her assault by General McGuinness. Megan’s testimony will be good for Claire’s bill, but Megan seems skittish and, as it turns out, quite unstable.

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Late at night, Jackie summons Remy to her office to talk about work, ostensibly, but then their conversation grows more personal. It’s obvious she misses him, and she agrees to try to give their love a chance, under the condition that they will not let their personal relationship affect their professional one. Remy leaves practically as soon as he arrived, which… sure, but THEN Jackie is left alone and makes just the most inexplicable O-face:

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OK! I guess Remy’s sex moratorium from the previous episode really served its purpose!

The next morning, Frank approaches Garrett directly about the bridge. Garrett is like, “It’s not the right time.” Eventually, Frank is forced to admit that he’s continued to back-channel with the Chinese against Garrett’s orders, and that the bridge is the key to stopping the money flow to the GOP. He doesn’t give Garrett all the details in order to “insulate” him. “There are things a president can’t know,” he says. Garrett is livid that Frank disobeyed him but soon deflates when Frank acts as sounding board for his marital problems. It turns into a real bro moment.

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Later, Frank goes to Kansas City to meet with Daniel Lanagin, and he’s real smug about it, but when he arrives, Raymond is there as well. Once the paperwork comes through for the Ugaya tribe, Lanagin’s casino won’t be able to handle the competition, Frank tells them. Lanagin informs Frank that, actually, he will just give the Ugaya re-enrollment in his own tribe, which is what they really wanted to begin with. Having been double-teamed by Lanagin and Tusk, Frank visibly deflates. He threatens to get the government to investigate them, but it’s a bluff and they all know it; if Lanagin/Tusk get investigated, Frank will be implicated for the nine years of quietly accepting their money prior to them giving it to the GOP. Raymond tells Frank that if he helps him mend his relationship with Garrett, he and Lanagin will redistribute the funds back to the Democrats where they belong.

For once, Frank is speechless, and just in time for dinner. Lanagin adds insult to injury — “[you’re] not my vice president” — then offers him a two-hundred-dollar-a-pound steak, which Frank very theatrically flings in the pool for Lanagin’s dog to chase after. “Dogs are so predictable, aren’t they?” he says before storming out. OK, pretty good parting shot! But you still lost this round, Frank.

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So now the bridge is Frank’s last hope; he asks Doug to set up an off-the-books meeting with Garrett. Linda gets wind of it, though, and cancels it, which prompts a huge fight that quickly devolves into an embarrassing pissing match between the two of them. Phrases like, “You wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for me!” are thrown out on both sides, basically. Linda goes to Garrett one last time and attempts to sway his decision, but Garrett shuts it down. “I’ve heard your advice, and I don’t need to hear it again,” he tells her. Poor Linda.

Offscreen, she resigns from her position, and coached by Frank, Garrett calls her bluff, so that’s that, I guess. Linda then pays Frank a good-bye visit and gifts him with an antique Medal of Honor — the first one awarded to a Hispanic American. “I’ve never thought higher of her than I do at this moment,” Frank tells us. “She lost, but she played to win.”

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After a lot of assurances from Frank, Garrett decides to move forward with the Port Jefferson bridge. Doug calls Feng to let him know, but adds one of Frank’s own demands to the deal: Feng is to dissolve his partnership with Tusk in the refinery project.

Lastly, armed with the scoop from Evelyn, Remy locates Adam Galloway’s assistant and somehow procures a compromising photo of Claire. He then meets with Seth to gloat about how much more stuff he’s found in two days than Seth has in two months. From there, it doesn’t take long for Remy to figure out that Seth has defected to Team Underwood. “You’re nothing; you’re a parasite,” he says. “So are you, just in a nicer suit,” Seth retorts.

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Remy takes the photo of Claire to the Tusks, who decide to go ahead and pull the trigger on the very juicy story that will surely emerge. The episode ends with Frank and Claire getting separate calls from Doug and Seth alerting them to this breaking news.

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Impact-wise, I’d say it’s probably somewhere between the Lindsay Lohan bang list and the Schwartzenegger love child.

Also in this episode:

Doug’s checkup on Rachel and Lisa turns superweird when he breaks into their place and takes a nice long sniff of the bedsheets. Get a grip, Doug!

Megan gets a crippling panic attack right before she has to speak to the Armed Forces Committee. Claire bullies, then comforts, her.

Coached by Claire and Frank, respectively, Tricia and Garrett use a dying friend’s home as a decoy for their secret marriage counseling. Their therapist is also a reverend, that way they can pass it off as “spiritual guidance” if the media ever find out.

What did you guys think? Pretty good cliffhanger ending? Do you like Jackie & Remy but love Rachel & Lisa? Next week: Adam Galloway is back and looking more like a middle-aged Swiss-watch model than ever before!

 

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About Commentatrix

First-wave millennial.
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12 Responses to House of Cards 2.08: What’s Your Matsusaka Beef, Man?

  1. collin0truckasaurus says:

    How was none of this episode about how fucking creepy and NOT OKAY it is to take a picture of someone you just slept with without his/her permission?
    Am I wrong about this? Is this a thing that you are all okay with?

    • Commentatrix says:

      Did I miss that?? How did I miss that?

      • collin0truckasaurus says:

        They didn’t obviously state that he took the photo without her permission but she’s sleeping, right? I kind of just assumed especially because that photographer is a creepo anyway.

        • Commentatrix says:

          Ohhh, you’re talking about Adam & Claire! Well, maybe he did it without permission but then showed it to her and she was cool with it. Yup! That explains it! Episode logistics: consistent!

  2. Claire bullies, then comforts, her.

    I still haven’t watched any of this show, but based on your recaps, that seems like the perfect succinct summary for this character.

  3. flanny says:

    That reminds me, guys. Did we ever get the complete list of Lindsay’s conquests? I checked InTouch a week or so ago and some names were still redacted!

    • No! And I’m guessing it’s partly because it didn’t get as much of a reaction as they clearly wanted it to. I mean, who was really all that shocked that a celebrity had (allegedly) slept with a bunch of other celebrities? I kind of automatically assume that everyone in Hollywood has boinked everyone else.

      • flanny says:

        I dunno, two different people e-mailed me about it when the story first broke. That’s a pretty decent reaction. (I just want to make sure my precious Jude isn’t on the list, even though I don’t trust the list/Lindsay’s ability to remember who she slept with/anything written on a discarded piece of Scattergories paper.)

        • Oh yeah, people definitely talked about it (myself included, obviously)–I just meant that I don’t think they got as much traction out of it as they expected to, by teasing out the names.

      • Commentatrix says:

        I heard somewhere some names wouldn’t be revealed because the men in question are married? What I don’t get is, why would that matter though? Like, unless they’ve been married ever since The Parent Trap came out… when did InTouch suddenly get respectful of people’s feelings? Obviously it’s because maybe those “names” are paying a lot of money to keep their identity hidden, so I guess we’ll never know! But I like to imagine that Topher Grace is on there, if only to round out the list of ’70s Show cast members Lindsay has allegedly boned. I like to think Lindsay is nothing if not thorough!

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