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'House of Cards' recap, Season 2, Episode 7

"Presidents who obsess over history obsess about their place in it, instead of forging it." -- Frank Underwood
President Walker and his party are the target of some attack ads, designed to sway voters before the 2014 midterm elections. While the source of the funding for the ads will remain a mystery for a while (as if), Walker wants to find out where the money came from and put a stop to them, so that the blue team will fare well both in 2014 and in 2016. 

Walker gives Frank a verbal beating, ripping him for everything from botching relations with China to not handling the House. Forgive me, but, did I miss something? The China thing, sure. But Frank secured a pretty impossible bipartisan piece of legislation that prevented a government shutdown. But, who am I to let the facts get in the way of a good story? 

"Give me more than excuses, Frank. You're better than that," Walker tells him. "If you need a punching bag, I will stand here and take the punches, as I have done time and time again, since I swore my oath. But I would much rather get back to work, as you've asked me to do," Frank counters. "Dismiss me, or keep swinging, Mr. President."Walker sends Frank out, but trouble is brewing. Frank gets his hands on some information that seems to indicate that Tusk is the one funneling money to fund the attack ads, shock of shocks. 
Frank dispatches Doug to Kansas City to the casino that Tusk is using to launder his donation money, and sends the president a punching bag as a gag gift. While Doug makes small talk with a waitress at the casino, Frank and Walker have a much friendlier chat than their last one. "The presidency is a great and precious thing. Loneliness is the price," Frank tells Walker, as the president turns wistful. 

While Doug goes home with the casino waitress, we see Remy and Jackie after the two have had another sexual encounter. "This doesn't happen again unless it's leading somewhere," Remy tells Jackie. 

While Claire and Frank enlist Jackie to try to rally support for Claire's legislative project, Connor and Grayson duel over what the best strategy might be to start building support for it in the media. Connor and Grayson sounds like it should be one of those USA or TNT lawyer shows with the really snappy dialogue, doesn't it? After that meeting, Grayson secretly meets with Remy on a park bench. It seems that Grayson is a double agent, working for Remy to try to bring down the Underwoods. Grayson asks Remy to orchestrate a job offer for Connor so that he can get him out of his hair, as well.

Doug gets word to Frank that the casino money is largely coming from friends of Feng, and he flies to China to confront Feng in person. Meanwhile, Frank calls Tusk and learns that Tusk has been using his money to influence members of Congress. So, in reality, the people that Frank thought were in his pocket, have belonged to Tusk all along. "You cannot bully your way back to the table, Raymond, just as you cannot buy the keys to Congress," Frank says. "Best of luck keeping your majority in the House," Tusk fires back. 

Frank decides that he has to keep what he has learned about Tusk to himself. We see, however, that a reporter at the Wall Street Telegraph has started to connect the dots between Feng and Tusk and is following the money trail. Doug, meanwhile, arrives at Feng's house to try to convince him to stop the money flow to the Republicans. Frank orders him not to leave until he has the answer he wants. 

Frank arranges for a meeting with Grayson, where he reveals that he believes that not all is what it seems to be, with Mr. Grayson. "What exactly are you up to?" he asks. Grayson folds, perhaps a little too easily, and tells Frank that Remy hired him to dig up dirt on the Underwoods. Frank wonders why Grayson cam clean with him so quickly. "I want to work for a man like you, not sail a yacht. Money doesn't interest me," Grayson says. Frank decides to keep Grayson on board. He could use someone like him on his team, for now. 

In the complicated relationships portion of our program, Tricia Walker shoots some verbal daggers at Christina during a meeting with her husband, clearly sensitive to the possibility that the two of them might be involved, thanks to Claire. Later, privately, Tricia asks Walker to relocate Christina. Meanwhile, in China, Doug turns down advances from two women that Feng sent to his room, then calls Rachel, and leaves her a short voicemail. Follow your heart, Douglas. 

The Walkers and Underwoods share a meal at the Underwood residence, consisting of Freddy's ribs, some wine and pie. Tricia seems jealous of the relationship that Frank and Claire have, and Claire, the shark that she is, seems to pick up on the tension between the Walkers, stemming from their earlier conversation about Christina. 

Elsewhere, Jackie is looking for ways to stall Claire's legislation, as she sees it as an issue that will distract from more pressing matters that her party is facing before the midterm election. Jackie may owe her new job to Frank, but she isn't afraid to defy him, as we see here. We also see that she's considering continuing her burgeoning relationship with Remy. 

The Underwoods decide to divide and conquer, as it comes to the Walkers, as they each take a Walker aside and ply them with alcohol. Frank gets the president to loosen up and shows him his model civil war set, which the president shows more interest in than anyone has ever shown in another person's weird hobby item. Claire, meanwhile, starts playing marriage counselor to Tricia. "The White House is finite. Your marriage... is for life," she tells her. Oh, those Underwoods are gunning for the top spot, aren't they? 

Doug meets with Feng and Feng says that he'll stop the money to the Republicans when Frank delivers him the Port Jefferson Bridge, that they had previously discussed in their back channel negotiations. Feng had been against the bridge before, but now he needs it to placate some of his powerful allies, or face serious trouble. 

Thanks to an article in The Sun, Freddy has seen a big boost in his business, and he has a discussion with a man representing a company that wants to turn his shop into a franchise, including a retail line of barbecue sauce. "The Sun article put you on the map," the man tells Freddy. "Let's fill up that map with Freddy's BBQ joints." 

Frank has a meeting with Dan Lanagin, Tusk's casino crony, at his home. Frank tries to convince Dan to cut off the money and offers some vague promises of influence over gambling legislation, should he comply. Dan has no interest in that, though. "Unless you can offer me more money than Tusk, and I don't think that you can, there's little left for us to talk about," Dan says. 

After Dan leaves, Frank turns over his war model in frustration. "It's not broken. I can fix it," he tells Claire. The two go for a run to burn off steam. 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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