'House of Cards' recap, Season 2, Episode 12

  • President Walker is no longer playing well with Frank Underwood.
President Walker is no longer playing well with Frank Underwood. (Netflix )
February 17, 2014|By Ethan Renner | For The Baltimore Sun

"Exile. I've managed to isolate the president from everyone, including myself." -- Frank Underwood

Special Prosecutor Dunbar visits with Dr. Larkin, the reverend who served as the Walker's marriage counselor, and threatens him with a subpoena, but the minister refuses to divulge anything that the Walkers discussed with him.

In the Oval Office, President Walker meets with Frank. Frank comments on the punching bag that he gave Walker as a gift. The president mentions that Floyd Mayweather had recently been in for a visit, and explained that the key to his success was his calculated ability to counter. Well, he's right. Mayweather is a tremendous counter fighter.

"When I look at this now, I don't see friendship," Walker says of the gift Frank gave him. "I see calculation. You set me up, Frank," the president says. He's finally on to him. Frank denies Walker's accusations, but the president is ready for a fight. He accuses Frank of having his eyes on the presidency in 2016. Actually, sir, I think he's thinking a little sooner than that.

The president rightly states that it was Frank's idea to turn over the travel logs that has placed him in the crosshairs, and that without Frank's back channel work, no one would have ever been able to tie the White House to China or the casino. "You can't dodge and duck like Floyd," Walker tells Frank. "I've learned your moves now." Walker tells Frank that he's going to freeze him out from this point forward, and that he doesn't want to hear from him again.

Claire starts doing some back channel work of her own, working Tricia. She tries to convince her to talk some sense into her husband, but Tricia is too preoccupied to help. Claire and Frank are left to scheme on how they could leak to the press that the president is taking medication to battle anxiety. The Underwoods are ready to go to war.

Claire's life is about to get more complicated as well, after Jackie reads the hit piece that Claire planted against her in the New York Times. Jackie vows to bury Claire.

Frank tries to round up some allies in case of a showdown with Walker, so he turns to Cathy Durant. After some typical truth-bending, he virtually comes clean with her and admits that he's been plotting Walker's downfall. He tells her that she stands to benefit should he end up as president, and coerces her into helping him one last time.

Durant arranges to have Feng transported to the United States for a meeting with Dunbar. Feng is hiding out from his government, fearing that corruption charges would lead to his permanent disappearance. Durant and Dunbar offer him immunity from prosecution and a permanent safe haven in America, should he provide his testimony.

"You want your freedom and fortune. We want information," Durant tells him. Feng folds, giving Durant and Dunbar what they need. Tusk is going to be forced to testify before Dunbar as well, and he huddles with his lawyer army to determine a strategy.
Doug travels to Joppa and arranges for Lisa to have some car trouble. He gives her a fake name, and goes back to the apartment with her, where he sees Rachel. Doug speaks to Rachel privately and tells her that he needs Lisa gone. It seems Doug wants to regain his grip on Rachel.

Frank meets with the chief White House counsel, who accuses him of orchestrating Feng's immunity deal. Frank denies that, of course. The counsel also wants to know whether or not there might be any more surprises coming, specifically related to the Walker's marriage counseling. Frank denies that as well.

Megan is making a live television appearance, serving in her role as Claire's mouthpiece, when Jackie calls in to ambush her. Look, I'm just sitting behind a keyboard here. I know very little about how live television works. But would any of the events that have taken place on live television on this show ever be allowed to happen in real life? I doubt it.

Anyway, Jackie schools Megan in a debate, and goes on the offensive against Claire. She calls Claire a disgrace and a coward, and accuses her of hiding from the press. Claire tells Seth that she's going to the Capitol to face off with Jackie.
"I'm not here to pick a fight, Jackie. I'm here to end one," Claire tells her. Claire tells Jackie that she will withdraw her bill, for the sake of peace with Jackie. Jackie remains skeptical as Claire apologizes for what she and Frank have done to her, and asks for a clean slate.

While in town, Claire visits Tricia as well, and tells her that the bill has been pulled. Her real reason for meeting her, though, was to get Tricia to make mention of the president's anxiety medication in a somewhat public area. That way, when the Underwoods leak that information, they'll have plausible deniability.

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