It’s all about the minor players this time! Sorry for the radio silence for almost two whole weeks, everyone! House of Commentatrix saw some busy times lately, and I figured that most of this feature’s readers wouldn’t be any more or less bummed by a fourteen-day delay in the tenth recap of the second season of February’s single most watched television show! What do you think of that string of prepositional phrases featuring numerals? I am certain of neither its grammatical correctness nor its factual accuracy! Let’s get on with it!
Yay! Our favorite furry black-and-white under-ten-ounces
nut– seed-named friend is back! And on Douglas Stamper’s trail, no less. Through methods I can only assume pertain to secret guinea pig magic and a dash of very good hacker-ing, Gavin has managed to track Doug’s cellphone all the way to Joppa, Maryland, where the poor guy is jumping through just the most amazing getting-into-a-girl’s-pants hoops — listening to Rachel read a very new-agey edition of the Christian Bible. I know it’s new-agey because there are no “thous” or “bestowests” or “Methuseli,” or whatever. It’s all “Apostle Pete” and “Adam and Steve” in that thing, probably.
Also it’s a PAPERBACK.
Puh-leez! I haven’t checked with Jesus or anything, but I’m pretty sure that if you’re reading scripture from a Cliff’s Notes translation that you’re holding with the cover folded back onto itself, you’re not gonna get to go to the big Goop HQ in the sky at the end of your life. That thing is barely more sacred than the Book of Mormon. (LOLOL JK Mormons but still excellent burn though right? High five?!) I’ll take my Bible reading in a KJV and a leather binding for maximum holiness and with a side of 20 minutes of praying on my knees on a tile floor for maximum suffering, thankyouverymuch! No pain no gain passage through the pearly gates, as the old saying goes!
But anyway, who cares? “I just like hearing you read,” Doug tells Rachel. I’m suuuure you doooooo, Doug!
But the mood is quickly ruined when Rachel confesses that Lisa has pretty much moved into the apartment permanently. Doug storms out in a huff, which is just as well because Frank summons him back to Washington ASAP. What Doug doesn’t know yet is that the two of them are in fact also lying sapphicly with each other, as Rachel’s Bible would put it.
When Doug finally gets back to the White House, Frank is like, “Too little, too late, I had Seth handle whatever it was I needed you for.” Subtext: you have disappointed me greatly, and I’m about to replace you in my employee hierarchy and heart, such as it is. This has just not been Doug’s week, you guys. The sibling rivalry theme recurs throughout the episode.
Meanwhile, a hooded male-ish figure (perhaps Adam Galloway in his cool disguise from Episode 9?) lurks outside the Underwood residence with a duffel bag in tow. BUT WHAT’S IN THE DUFFEL BAG, YOU TWO-BIT BOMBER??
It’s almost like he WANTED to get caught!
Later, the explanation is that he had a grudge against Claire because his wife had an abortion without telling him AND that he was the same guy who sent the white powder to the White House all those episodes ago, which as we all remember, was an act cloaked in ambiguity. Cloaked in it, I tell you! So, given that this dude got himself caught soooo easily, I don’t think I’m being crazy to theorize that this “attack,” too, was orchestrated by Claire and Francis. I mean, right? Don’t ask me what their motive might be, unless they really just wanted to get closer to Meechum BUT SERIOUSLY STOP ASKING WE’RE NOT THERE YET! Anyway, let the record reflect that I’m calling this a job by one of those terminal people who do this sort of thing in exchange for, like, money for their family or whatever. Abel Koontz, anyone? Just wait till next season. You guys will see.
And if it turns out I’m wrong, then this will have obviously all been a huge missed opportunity!
Anyway, so Meechum goes to wake up Claire at once, and you can practically smell the Chanel No. 5 wafting off of her when she jolts upright in bed wearing no more than a black negligee. Meechum adorably averts his eyes as he calls her into the panic room.
Oh, and also, Robin Wright directed this episode. Cool beans!
Over at the White House, they are dealing with new repercussions of the trade war with China — the Chinese have sent destroyers to a Japanese island off the coast of Taiwan. Everyone is gathered together in the situation room, I believe is what they call it, and Garrett tries to assure the Japanese prime minister that the US will make everything all better. I think they decide on “communicating,” with the Chinese, then later upgrade that to “negotiating.” Sounds good!
The next morning, Jackie and Remy are canoodling. They are going steady now, I guess. Remy asks Jackie about her punishment tattoo, but she doesn’t seem too forthcoming… YET LOL! Remy really wants to know about it, though, so he begins to employ more… dexterous methods of getting her to talk LOLOL! “You think you can just get me wet and I’ll spill everything?” Jackie asks. LOLOLOL yes, Jackie! That is literally what happens when things get too wet!
Sure enough, it doesn’t take but an iPhone 5S fingerprint scan’s worth of stroking (ew sorry) for Jackie to start talking about all the people she’s killed back in her army days, making this yet another unsettling sex act in a show that is chock-full of them. Let’s just say that on a scale of Frank going down on Zoe while she was on the phone with her dad and that thing that hasn’t happened yet, this moment is definitely on that scale!
Back at the White House, Frank is conferring with his two top boys about what to do about Tusk. Frank decides to go with Seth’s idea to start leaking the big casino money laundering story to the public, much to Doug’s chagrin — they could easily also implicate themselves with this move, after all. The plan turns out to require connecting the third dot, Deepthroat-style, for Ayla Sayyad, who is already digging into Tusk and Feng.
There’s also a funny part where it takes Ayla and her translator friend a quick minute to figure out what the Chinese message means. The friend is like, “OMG, it’s so weird it doesn’t really make any sense but the most literal translation would be ‘Pursue currency?'” Hahaha! Come on. Eventually, though, Wood-dope figures out “Follow the money,” and Dim-stein is like, “That could work…” and then Ayla is off and running with the investigation, cold calling limo services in Missouri until she stumbles onto the one that transports all the Chinese billionaires to Lanagin’s casino! (Actually, Ayla Sayyad is no dope, but I had to make her one for the joke to work!… said every Daniel Tosh-type comedian to justify sexist material!)
Later, Claire and her entourage walk very purposefully toward Jackie’s office, where the two women are set to face off over Claire’s sexual assault bill. It turns out Jackie, being an army vet and all, can’t in good conscience support Claire’s proposal for a civilian oversight in cases of assault. Claire is dumbfounded at first, then goes on the offensive, accusing Jackie of betraying womankind, insinuating some threats, that sort of thing. It’s totally well-dressed blonde vs. well-dressed brunette for a looooong, very tense minute in there.
That night, Claire and Francis have an adorable moment over their cigarette. Yes, it is adorable, dammit! Meechum comes in to say he’s leaving for the night, and Frank comments on how one-in-a-million dedicated “Edward” is, at which point Claire gets a weird gleam in her eye. “You’ve never used his first name before!” she notes. It’s true! But Frank just downplays it. Hmmm. It seems so obvious in hindsight, y’all!
The next day, Claire and Frank get Seth to do some digging, and he figures out Jackie and Remy have been seeing a lot of each other. Seth can’t wait to rush back home and delight papa Frank with the delicious zinger: “She’s been sleeping with the enemy.” Armed with this info, Frank ambushes Jackie in her very own office and tries to bully her into supporting the bill and whipping the votes, as per the huge debt of gratitude she SHOULD feel like she owes him. Jackie is like, “Um, no, I don’t have to do what you say,” and Frank gets mad, yells, storms out and craps all over her relationship for good measure.
Meanwhile, Ayla’s investigations is growing ever closer to the truth, so much so that her paper allows her to go forth with her story. Meanwhile, in world news…
…And you’re all caught up! Let’s get to the important stuff!
Meechum stumbles onto Frank watching some good ol’ American three-way pornography — “just watching,” as he later recounts to Claire in their second adorable moment of the episode — and behaves charmingly embarrassed the way only doe-eyed Meechum can do. Frank, of course, is completely nonplussed. Imagine if you were watching Basic Instinct and your mom walked in during one of those scenes, and instead of futilely trying to hit Eject on the remote or blaming it on an employee error at Blockbuster — someone must have put this VHS in the Little Mermaid sleeve! LOL! — you just calmly kept on keeping on. Maybe even invited your mom to join you in finding out if the naked lady writhing atop Kirk Douglas’s son would kill him with that ice pick in the end. So anyway, this scene between Frank and Meechum is a lot like if that scenario happened to you and your mom and you sort of also wanted to bang your mom.
But I digress. Ayla’s story breaks almost in tandem with Garrett’s press conference to address Chinese/Japanese relations, and every single reporter is like, screw those guys, we want to know about this money scandal! Garrett steps awkwardly off the podium as Frank watches from his office. “Everyone’s fair game now, including me,” he says.
Incidentally, this is a very good bit of realistic Hannity Show racism:
Garrett now demands answers. Frank is all like, “But, Sir, plausible deniability!” but is quickly forced to come clean about the whole thing. Well, almost. He says he doesn’t know the details, but basically there does appear to be a connection between this scandal and the White House. Garrett is worried about how that will make him look as well as the all-but-certain investigation by the Attorney General, while Frank “makes the solemn promise” that he will take the fall for everything if it should come to that. He also seems to try very hard to incept in Garrett’s mind the idea of calling in a special prosecutor but in a DEFINITELY DO NOT DO IT kind of way? It’s very confusing.
Meanwhile, as one relationship disintegrates — Jackie’s and Remy’s, now that she knows about his connection to Tusk, thanks to Frank — another one blossoms — the Underwoods’ and Meechum’s, now that the bomb threat is causing them all to spend so much time together. Claire and Frank are the picture of happiness and charm as they raise their beer bottles in a toast to Meechum’s dedication.
Lastly, Garrett decides to bring in a special prosecutor after all, playing right into Frank’s hand AFTER ALL, ugh, of course, who even knows what that guy’s game is anymore and who even cares? Oh, right, Doug and Seth care. They prep Frank for the upcoming investigation, disagreeing with each other some more, and Frank again takes Seth’s side, undermining Doug in the process. It’s no surprise, then, that after the week he’s had, Doug heads over to Rachel’s again for some read-aloud Dickens, just like his mother used to do, and sure enough, Gavin is again tracking his cell signal all the while.
Gavin calls Rachel’s cell phone (but how did he get her number??), confirming her relationship with Doug and, by extension, the Underwood machine. Dun dun dunnnn! And that was it! What did everyone think?
Until next time, dear reader, when we shall chat about that big icky and that other, smaller icky!