Saturday, February 22, 2014

HOUSE OF CARDS - Season Two - Chapter Twenty Five

PLOT SUMMARY:  Special Prosecutor Heather Dunbar (Elizabeth Marvel) has been tipped off on the First Couple's therapy and interrogates staunch hold-out Reverend Thomas Larkin (Tom Galantich).  President Walker (Michael Gill) confronts Vice President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey): he knows Frank set him up on the marriage counselling.  Frank celebrates the fact that he has isolated the President. When confronted by Secretary of State Catherine Durant (Jayne Atkinson), Frank argues that she has as much to gain by Walker's removal and manipulates her into offering Xander Feng (Terry Chen) asylum in exchange for confirmation on the money laundering scheme. This alienates Durant from the President and puts her firmly into Frank's camp.  That the President was proscribed anti-depressants becomes public and congressmen start calling for impeachment. When subpoenad by Dunbar, Tusk (Gerald McRaney) pleads the fifth amendment. The Walkers hold a press conference to defend their marriage and getting therapy, while Frank publicly supports them.

Meanwhile, Majority Whip Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker) pressures Megan Hennessey (Libby Woodbridge) not to support Claire Underwood's Bill, manipulating her into thinking that Claire is making Megan take the heat on the issue. Claire adopts false humility and drops the Bill, offering to negotiate with a cynical Jackie.  Claire then tells the First Lady (Joana Going) that she dropped the Bill because of Jackie, but they fall out anyway. The Underwoods then ask Jackie to whip the vote for an impeachment to avoid a mid-term catastrophe.

Elsewhere, Hacker Gavin Orsay (Jimmi Simpson) blackmails Agent Green , the FBI-White House liaison,  into dropping the charges against him and Lucas Goodwin. And on the personal front, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) pressures Rachel Posner (Rachel Brosnahan) to get rid of her lover and room-mate Lisa Williams (Kate Lyn Sheil) which she does. 

COMMENTS:  Great, great pure political episode, with the Underwoods' long game paying off and a superb cliffhanger on whether Jackie will accept their offer (I'm assuming yes.)  I'm assuming the payoff for the increasingly conflicted Stamper, however, might be in season three.  I love that we've seen Claire play the game as well as Frank, and that her cynical use of the sexual harassment bill was just a ploy all along -  something to give up to Jackie in reconciliation. I can't help but think that this kind of detailed political writing is what you get when Beau Willamon is back as the screenwriter.  The only disappointment was not seeing anything of the the suspicious Gavin. 

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