House of Cards: S2E7 “Chapter 20”

4.3 Overall Score
Story : 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Plot: 3/10

Walkers being played by the Underwoods | Raymond Tusk plays dirty

Slow plot development | Treatment of journalism industry by the series | Doug's useless romantic side plot Slow plot development | Treatment of journalism industry by the series | Doug's useless romantic side plot | Seth easily won over

We start off episode 7 with a TMZ-worthy political-attack ad that’s driving democrats in government insane. The ad hits Whip Jackie Sharpe, congressmen Terry Womack and Bob Birch, President Walker and even our antihero Frank Underwood. Apparently, $25 million was dropped in the making of this ad, funded by super PACs (political action committees) and it has the republicans stamped all over it. More surprisingly, if you peel back the layers, you’ll find Raymond Tusk.

Frank sends his first man, Doug Stamper to Kansas City, Missouri, to Daniel Lanagin’s casinos to investigate.

Doug can’t find anything and instead “House of Cards” treats us to what it believes to be deliciously grimy, but in actuality is just increasingly boring, aimless side plot of Doug philandering with easy women because he can’t have Rachel. Honestly, who cares? We do find out that Xander Feng owns the planes flying in a ton of Chinese tourists ready to gamble their money on Native American reservation casinos. Connect the dots and you’ll find a money trail from Raymond to Xander and Xander to Lanolin, which then gets donated to the super PACs that are out to destroy the Democratic party.

Any way, Frank offers the president a punching bag to say sorry for challenging his authority earlier in the episode, but really it’s just a way to snake himself into the president’s good side. They laugh and Walker opens up about his marital troubles. On the other side of the spectrum, the first lady is desperately seeking Claire’s advice on how to save her marriage from collapsing (an idea planted by Claire), and both Walkers are being severely played by the Underwoods. They invite the Walkers over for dinner. Freddie’s magic-pleasing ribs are on the menu, served on fine china with “gourmet sides” (whatever that is … probably truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese).

We find out that the new PR guy, Seth, is working with Remy and Tusk to dig up dirt on Frank. This potential enemy is watered down to oblivion when Seth eventually sides with Frank’s power over Raymond’s money.

And power really is worth more than money as we’ll eventually find out, but both have the capabilities of getting real dirty in getting what they want.

“You cannot bully your way back to the table, Raymond, just as you cannot buy the keys to congress,” Frank tells his nemesis, who laughs on speakerphone while playing catch with wads of hundreds with Lanolin (not really, but you get the idea).

Frank retaliates by yet again manipulating the press and feeding Zoe’s tamer stand-in, Ayla from the Wall Street Telegraph, exactly the information he wants her to have.

Ayla receives a mysterious package with Chinese characters that read “follow the money” and she pulls some deceptive phone calls and does just that. It’s that journalistic moment of “Holy shit, I’m on to something. I’m so great,” but unfortunately it’s all coming straight from Frank as an extension of his PR office, but what does Ayla care (or know)? It’s a great, career-building clip.

Meanwhile, Jackie Sharpe is playing her own game and wont give Claire and Frank the immediate approval they desire on the sexual assault in the military bill. She’s stressed because she’s fighting her feelings for Remy. It’s wrong but feels so right, but wait shouldn’t I be doing my job?

It’s not news that everyone is getting played in “House of Cards,” and these jabs always tend to be more personal than political on the political drama. We’ll see how far Frank goes to sit on the Iron Throne (Game of Thrones premiered last night and I have thoughts) and how harsh Raymond is willing to retaliate. Spoiler alert: It involves a bird.

 

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Author: Claudia Marina View all posts by
Journalism student at the University of Florida. Sally Draper is my spirit animal. I love writing about TV and how it affects culture. Occasionally I watch bad TV, but reviews make it better.

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