Sunday, 1 February 2015
Chapter 20 Season 2 – House of Cards Episode Summary 2.7
House of Cards Chapter 20 Recap: Friends of a Better America releases issue-based attack ads against President Garret Walker’s administration discouraging voters from supporting his candidates in the midterms with a long-term goal of enacting a Republican takeover. The attack ads with an estimated worth of $25 million dollars came from Super PACs whose source remains unknown. Vice President Frank Underwood believes that identifying the source is the only solution to combating the damaging attacks against President Walker’s administration. President Walker, however, assigns blame on his Vice President and himself as well for not following Raymond Tusk’s advice to keep Frank in Congress.
Frank Underwood enlists the services of Walter Doyle to uncover the source of the Super PAC that funded the attack ads against the current administration. Walter identifies Democrat supporter turned traitor, Dan Lanagin, as the culprit. An Ernst & Young report showed Lanagin allotting at least $18 million in donations, not a cent of which went to the Democrats. Lanagin’s betrayal surprised Frank Underwood. He comes to a realization that Raymond Tusk must be behind it, because Lanagin’s casinos are located in Missouri, Tusks’s home state. Tusk, known for not making political contributions, must be funneling money to Lanagin. Frank sends Doug Stamper to Kansas City to find proof that will support his speculation. Stamper spends two hours at the OTB section of the casino catching the attention of the security team who informs their owner, Dan Lanagin. Lanagin identifies him as the Vice President’s Chief of Staff. He instructs his men to keep an eye on the man without raising alarms. Doug Stamper leaves the casino with the cocktail waitress and spends a night with her in the hope of assuaging his sexual urge for Rachel Posner. He later reports to Frank of his observations in the casino, particularly the wealthy Chinese clientele it accommodates. As Stamper had guessed, Frank finds the evidence thin, which is why he had instructed Doyle to investigate further the Chinese clientele.
The morning’s reproof from the President caused Frank to work on winning his approval. He surprises the President with a punching bag placed at the Oval office, making light of the argument they had where Frank expressed his distaste of the President’s propensity to use him as a punching bag. The gesture charmed the President enough for him to apologize to the Vice President for his imputation. A dinner invitation from Claire Underwood furthers the plan to beguile the Walkers. First Lady Tricia Walker speaks about Christina Gallagher on their way to the Underwoods. Claire’s insinuations have made the First Lady suspicious of Christina causing her to compete with the young staff member. Moreover, she expresses her perception about the young woman’s ingratiating attitude towards her, suspecting it as a façade to hide her attraction to the President. President Walker finds her concern and request to have Christina relocated ludicrous. He rejects his wife’s plea to distance himself from the young aide.
A reporter from The Sun learns of Vice President Francis Underwood’s secret hideaway, Freddy’s BBQ Joint, and decides to write a personal interest story about the BBQ joint’s owner. Freddy got the recipe that satiated Frank Underwood’s appetite for about twenty years now from his deadbeat father. The ribs that have become popular due to The Sun article is about to impress the President of the United States soon. Claire Underwood has tapped him to cater the dinner with the Walkers. The dinner ends and the President personally praises Freddy’s succulent ribs. Moreover, President Walker mentions having read the article that mentioned Frank’s allegiance to Freddy’s BBQ Joint. The article attracted business to the shabby rib joint serving scrumptious ribs and caught the attention of a company offering to turn Freddy’s BBQ Joint into a restaurant chain. The company is offering Freddy a lucrative deal and a considerable amount of money for the use of his brand. By dessert, the tension between the Walkers becomes apparent causing the Underwoods to kindle it with their seemingly perfect relationship. The First Lady’s envy of the Underwoods relationship fills the room suffocating the President into becoming curt towards his wife. The palpable hostility between the Walkers secretly delights the Underwoods. Tricia falls into the trap and confides her marital problems to Claire.
Frank Underwood attends the meeting about the sexual assault bill Claire Underwood instigated with the shocking revelation of her rape. She shares of the First Lady’s approval of the early draft of the bill House Representative Elaine Brooks is sponsoring. Frank instructs House Representative Jackie Sharp to find formidable co-sponsors of the bill. The congresswoman willingly accepts the task, but later instructs her right-hand, Lorrie Tate, not to disseminate the draft of the Countering Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces Act of 2014 (CSAAFA). She plans to break the promise she made to Frank Underwood of providing him a list of co-sponsors ultimately stalling the bill. Meanwhile, Connor Ellis and Seth Grayson fight for the Underwoods approval with their conflicting media strategies. Connor recommends the media blitz approach that uses a blanket strategy to obtain a large number of supporters. Seth argues against the media blitz and suggests enlisting Matt Bai of The New York Times Magazine to become the bill’s single, long lead who will gain them the supporters in the key demographic. Seth’s suggestion gains the Underwood’s approval.
Ostensibly, Seth is working for Remy Denton. He was hired to investigate further Claire’s abortion with the ultimate goal of uncovering dirt on the Underwoods. He reports that Claire was truthful in her claim. Remy becomes upset at the length of time Seth is taking to uncover the secrets the Underwoods have buried, but Seth is confident in his abilities. Even though the man works for Raymond Tusk, Remy’s ire does not rattle Seth. In fact, he manages to have Remy procure an agreeable job offer for Connor Ellis in order to allow him to further his investigation without interference. Soon, Connor Ellis tenders his resignation unaware that the magnanimous job offer from SpaceX was Seth’s doing. Seth then divulges his association with Remy Danton to Frank Underwood revealing the purpose of his insistence to join the Underwood’s staff. Remy hired him to uncover damaging information about the Underwoods. Despite his blunt honesty, Frank remains suspicious of Seth Grayson’s intentions and change of allegiance. Seth claims that power entices him more than money. He has come to believe that Frank possesses that power after seeing his work on the entitlement reform. This pleases Frank Underwood. He orders Seth to retain his association with Remy that they may remain a step ahead of Tusk.
Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez shows Frank the proposal that will counter the attack ads against the administration. Frank is disinclined to support Linda’s pitch that asks the leadership for considerable funding for the strategy that will neutralize the damage done to the administration’s reputation. News of Doyle’s discovery distracts him from Linda’s proposal causing him to agree to support her at the meeting where she is to make the pitch. With Linda out of the way, Frank deals with the illuminating proof of Tusk and Lanagin’s betrayal. Doyle managed to uncover Xander Feng as the owner of the planes that transported the wealthy Chinese businessmen to Lanagin’s casino. Feng has been sending clients to Lanagin’s casino since 2005. The revelation prompts Frank to call Raymond Tusk.
Tusk, who is with Dan Lanagin, receives Frank’s call. He denies funneling money to the GOP Super PACs, but insinuates his hand in stacking Congress. The revelation of Tusk having controlled the House of Representatives stuns Frank Underwood. Frank threatens him with the exposure of his political contributions, but Tusk is not concerned, because the reports will reveal everyone’s guilt. Moreover, Tusk alludes to his plan of dethroning the Democrats in Congress. Meanwhile, Doug Stamper is on his way to China to meet with Xander Feng with the ultimate goal of stopping the flow of money to the Republicans. Speaking in behalf of Frank, Doug offers Feng favors in exchange for his cooperation. Feng treats him as his guest at his mansion where Stamper is to stay until he gets an answer as per Frank’s instructions. Moreover, he is to summon Dan Lanagin to Washington D.C. for an in-person meeting with Frank Underwood. Dan agrees to meet with Frank at his house to hear what the Vice President has to offer. Frank offers him a direct line to the White House giving him influence over federal gambling legislation. Dan Lanagin’s exorbitant contributions made possible with Tusk’s financial support have already bought him influence. Frank’s offer is ambiguous and pales in comparison to the support he receives from Tusk. Frank fails to entice Dan into accepting his offer and instead creates hostility between them. He takes his anger on the diorama he painstakingly assembled.
Ayla Sayyad of the Wall Street Telegraph uncovers the rare earth elements refinery in China co-venture of Raymond Tusk and Xander Feng. She is working on a story that reveals the undue influence in the White House of one of the wealthiest men in America, Raymond Tusk. The revelation of a wealthy entrepreneur with strong ties to the White House working with a notoriously corrupt Chinese diplomat raises ethical questions. President Walker’s administration pushing for rare earth subsidies during the height of the energy crisis adds to her suspicion. Ayla reaches out to Seth for an interview with Vice President Francis Underwood to obtain verification of her suspicions unaware that the Vice President’s Chief of Staff is in China to negotiate with Feng. Two young Chinese women wake Doug Stamper to provide him carnal pleasure. He rejects their advances and orders them to leave his room. Their sexual advances, however, ignites his longing for Rachel enough for him to give in to the impulse of calling her. He meets with Feng the following day to negotiate a deal. Feng, who had previously withdrawn the financing of the Port Jefferson Bridge, now asks for its reinstatement. Ostensibly, his allies were displeased with his refusal to finance the bridge. They have become a threat to his business and his life. Stamper returns to the U.S. with the alternative solution to the Tusk problem.
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