Things have gone to hell in D.C., and not at all according to plan. Frank's at the Department of Justice, meeting with Special Prosecutor Heather Dunbar, who he suggested that Walker recommend to the Attorney General. Problem is, she's one tough nut. He drops a reference to Kim Kardashian, and Dunbar is not amused. I think she might be my favorite character this season. Except for Cashew, that is.
Over at the White House, the loathsome and craven Tricia tells Claire that she's decided to back out of a New York Times Magazine cover story about the sexual assault bill, claiming that all of the increased scrutiny of the administration has complicated things. In truth, she just wants to distance herself from Claire's home-wrecking and baby-murdering ways. Seth suggests that Claire, too, should pull out of the story.
Dunbar has all the pieces nearly put together: The back-channeling with Feng during the U.S.-China summit, the rare-earth refinery, Tusk's energy subsidy, and the Port Jefferson bridge. Frank continues to deflect, believing Dunbar still has nothing to tie him directly to the campaign funds. But wait! She has security footage of Doug at Lanigan's casino and flight records that put him in Beijing the following day. [Insert dramatic sound effect here.]
Doug's not there to defend himself, though; he's at an A.A. meeting talking about his complicated relationship with Rachel. First he likens her to drinking, then his daughter, and then his mother, saying: "This is f**cked up." At least he's self-aware.
The whole situation is affecting his work, too. Frank thinks he's back on the sauce, but Doug won't admit that it's really just the Rachel-sauce sending him spinning. So, he decides to dump his metaphorical booze down the drain: He deletes Rachel from his phone before breaking it to pieces. (Gavin and @HackerCashew, however, have remotely accessed his number, and they can see everything he does.)
Remy's not quite as conflicted as Doug, but he knows the Tusk situation isn't sustainable. Still, he keeps on with his assignment and goes to visit Ted Havemeyer to dig up dirt on Jackie. With zero prodding, Ted gives up that Jackie's the one who leaked the story about his secret daughter. "I'll never forgive her," says Ted, "but I understand why she did it."
Jackie's in California at this point, working her district ahead of the elections and trying to save her seat. Remy drops in on her unannounced and tells her he knows about the Ted situation. He threatens to go public with it if she doesn't implicate Frank to Dunbar. She stands tall, though — not out of allegiance to Frank but because she refuses to be bullied. It doesn't really matter, because Remy's feelings for Jackie won't let him betray her. He tells Tusk that Ted Havemeyer had no dirt to give him.
Anxious Private Megan visits Claire at home, after driving through what looks like several blocks of angry pro-life protesters. (Hasn't it been several months since Claire's CNN interview?) She's on new meds and wearing heels, and at first seems much more balanced than she used to be. Claire wants Megan to become the new poster-child for her bill, but it's clear that all is not right. Later, when Megan does the interview with The Times, she says that Jackie has betrayed her country by refusing to co-sponsor the sexual assault bill. When she returns to Claire's, she's high on media attention, and on a manic upswing. Agitated, Megan spills retiree quantities of pills on the kitchen floor and Claire realizes that she can't rely on her.
A little afternoon solo drinking, however, sets lady Underwood straight. Well, maybe not straight — she gets a teensy bit blotto and drops a goblet on the floor. Meechum comes to investigate the noise and cuts his hand on a piece of glass. Claire carefully bandages him up and invites him to have a drink, or five.
At the same time, Remy's meeting with Frank in a church to offer a truce of sorts. (I've never understood the secret-church-rendezvous in movies. They're big and dark and echoey and full of transepts for eavesdroppers to hide in.) Remy promises to hold back on hurting Frank, but won't go as far actively helping him. "Let the best man win, and if you go down it won't be because of me." Frank knows he's only doing it to shield himself from having to sacrifice Jackie, but it's better than nothing.
Frank comes home to find Claire and Meechum getting crunk. Frank checks on the strapping secret-service agent's bandage and knocks back a bourbon. Then, he sticks his tongue deep inside Meechum's mouth. (I can't decide if this is the most satisfying moment of the season or the point at which it irrevocably jumped the shark.) Claire joins in this little ménage that she has clearly orchestrated. Perhaps the Underwoods have tired of screwing people over, and would rather just screw.
Meechum's not the only one getting his secret serviced. Doug drives over to Rachel's place and hears her heavy breathing through the door. Bizarre creep that he is, he walks around to the side of her apartment building to peep through the shades. Did he not expect to see Rachel buried between Lisa's legs? Confused, horny, and hurt, he drives off.
The next morning over coffee, Claire says to Frank, "You needed that."
Don't we all.