I'm watching the entire second season of Netflix's original political melodrama House of Cards instead of spending my weekend interacting with actual humans, and posting one recap per day. Catch the recap for chapter 20 here.
Let me put on my Carrie Bradshaw voice for a second: If we know the House always wins, why gamble? Frank continues to reshuffle his deck of Cards over and over in the hopes of lucking out in the end, but, as with this metaphor, he's now falling apart.
All bets aren't off yet, though. Frank meets with Chief Whitehall, the leader of a federally unrecognized tribe in Missouri who is understandably put off by a portrait of Andrew "Indian Removal Act" Jackson in Frank's office. His tribe wants official status with the government, and Frank wants to sow a little casino competition in Daniel Lanigan's backyard.
Meanwhile, Lisa shows up at Rachel's apartment because her meth-addict ex-roommate got all crazy on her. "I used to be really deep into that," she says, but I'm not sure I believe her. (I do believe she gets deep into crocheting and appliquéing bird silhouettes on her vintage Dutch bicycle that she rides in ballet flats as she listens to Sufjan Stevens and ponders great spiritual questions.) Rachel invites her to stay indefinitely, and you know they'll be speaking in tongues any day now, if you catch my drift.
Frank heads to Missouri under the guise of attending a fundraiser for the majority leader, but he sneaks off to bully Lanigan and Tusk with his latest move. He's been outmaneuvered, though: Whitehall didn't want to wait two years for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to recognize his tribe. Lanigan re-enrolled them in his own tribe instead, kneecapping Frank's plan in the process.
Frank threatens Tusk and Lanigan with an investigation, but it would implicate the entire party leadership — including Frank. Instead, they offer him a pretty sweet (if still totally corrupt) deal: The money will start flowing back to the Democrats, Tusk will repair his relationship with the president, and Frank will get to enjoy a tasty piece of Japanese steak cut from cattle that's fed beer, massaged, and soothed with soft music. Win-win? Nope — Frank throws his meat into the pool and storms off.
Frank still has one play left: He's continued to push the Long Island bridge project on the president — which he agreed to do in order to get Xander Feng to stop the flow of Tusk's PAC money — but chief of staff Linda Vasquez is making things difficult.
Despite that, Frank manages to get the president to green-light the bridge, but having Feng cut off the money flow isn't enough for him now. He wants Feng to kill the rare-earth refinery project with Tusk, too. Linda resigns in protest and, at Frank's suggestion, the president calls her bluff. She exits gracefully and gives Frank a Civil War-era Medal of Honor. "I've never thought higher of her than I do at this moment," Frank confesses to the camera.
Back at the sad-pad, Rachel digs deep down into her blues-addled soul as she sings a Blind Willie Johnson tune in bed to Lisa, and if there isn't an exposed Edison bulb somewhere nearby, there should be. She confesses that she was a call girl, which turns out to be a major turn-on. As they commence sexing, it becomes apparent that this is the only relationship on this show that doesn't involve some kind of ulterior power play. Aww! (Read: It can't last.)
Back on the Hill, Claire's trying to get a fidgety private named Megan in front of the House Armed Services Committee to talk about her assault by General McGuinness and bolster her bill. Megan's enthusiasm, however, is short-lived. Outside the committee hearing, she starts chain-smoking and verges on a panic attack. When Claire urges her to come inside, Megan reveals that she's addicted to anonymous sex and clearly has many, many issues to work out. Sympathetically, Claire throws her against a stone wall and then hugs her.
Megan isn't her only holdout. Claire also wants Tricia to put pressure on the president to publicly back the bill, but she can't get her mind off of her disintegrating marriage. Claire suggests that they try counseling, but to do it through a minister so that they can call it "spiritual guidance" should the press ever find out. Tricia convinces her husband to get counseling, but he won't lend support to the bill. They go to the home of a dying friend in order to use his house as a cover for their meetings with their new therapist.
All the while, Remy's been on reconnaissance duty, looking for some dirt on Claire. First he visits her former office manager, Evelyn Baxter, who now lives a Starbucks-less life and still holds quite the grudge. Then he locates an assistant of Adam Galloway — Claire's permanently unbuttoned British photographer ex — who apparently knows where all of his sexy bodies are buried.
After the president gives the go-ahead on the bridge, Remy meets up with Tusk and tells him about the bad news with Feng. They mull on their next play, which involves leaking arty photos of Claire in Adam's bed. Tusk's wife, Jean, pipes up: "F*** 'em."
Finally, the voice of reason.