By Ethan Renner
For The Baltimore Sun
4:09 PM EST, February 17, 2014
"The power. The prestige. Those things have a strong pull on someone like me, who came from a small South Carolina town with nothing." -- Frank Underwood
Linda faces questioning from Congress as the final chapter of Season 2 opens. She points to Frank as the reason she left her post in the White House, a move that Frank certainly had to anticipate.
Frank has a sit-down with the bones of Morley Safer for an interview. Safer badgers him with questions, which Frank gives a series of semi-false answers to, still playing the part of the good soldier in President Walker's army.
Safer's bones tell Frank that some could argue that Frank is the reason that Walker is facing impeachment, which Frank also denies. "Morley, I've always liked you. You ask the tough questions ... but do not question my patriotism," Frank tells him. "I serve this nation and my president, not myself," Frank says. Ha.
Walker meets with Linda, who tells him that their counter-spin attack campaign on Frank seems to be working. The president's approval rating is hovering somewhere in the range of George W. Bush's second term numbers, however, and the president wants to take tougher action. "We need to destroy Frank," he tells Linda.
Walker suggests that his team should coordinate with Tusk, get him to admit to his role in the campaign scandal, but to put Frank at the center of it. Walker suggests that he would pardon Tusk down the line, as a reward for his help. He offers Linda her job back in exchange for her help in wrangling Tusk.
Frank is a step ahead of Walker, as usual, and orders Seth and Doug to get him a meeting with Tusk before Linda can get to him. Claire gets a phone call in the wee hours, with news that Megan tried to commit suicide. She flies off to visit her, leaving Frank to maneuver on his own.
Jackie meets with Donald Blythe, trying to convince him to go along with the plan to impeach Walker. Poor, naive Donald seems to think that Jackie is trustworthy, and tels her that he'll go along with her, because she'd kept her promise to work with him. All he asks is that she never become Frank Underwood.
Claire visits Megan, who is heavily medicated. She's still with it enough to call Claire out for using her, though. "You did this to me," she says. Claire maintains that she didn't use Megan, but her words are empty.
Claire returns home and calls Tricia, telling her about Megan's condition. She apologizes to Tricia for putting her family in the position they're in. "You're a good person, Claire," Tricia tells her. Claire hangs up the phone and breaks down in tears, but only for a moment.
Frank meets with Tusk, where Tusk alerts him that Linda was able to get to him first, to offer a pardon in exchange for testimony that would bury Frank. "I have an out. You don't," Tusk tells Frank. "Raymond, think like a businessman," Frank counters. "Walker is a junk bond, quickly depreciating, whereas I can end the conflict with China and keep you in the black." Frank proposes a truce, but Tusk rebuffs him.
Claire doesn't want to leave anything to chance, and orders Frank to try to make amends with Walker. If Tusk won't do business, Claire wants to be sure that they have themselves covered.
So, Frank writes Walker a letter, and includes a signed confession, detailing all of the crimes that Walker has been accused of. This is the ultimate bluff, one that only Frank and Claire would have the guts to try. "I said I would take the fall for you, and now I give you the means to make that happen," Frank's letter reads.
Walker calls Frank and tells him that he isn't sure whether or not to believe Frank. Frank admits to being a liar, but says that's just part of the image that he perpetuates to ensure his political survival. Walker tells Frank that he needs him to whip some votes for him to survive impeachment, as a sign of loyalty. Frank agrees, in word, but we already know that he's playing the other side with Jackie.
Jackie, meanwhile, meets with Remy, to try to enlist his help in burying Tusk. Remy wants some assurance that he'll have a place in the Underwood White House, but Jackie stops short of making him any promises. He wants to go back to blurring the lines of their relationship, but Jackie wants to keep things professional. Remy agrees to help her.
Walker calls Linda and tells her to inform Tusk that their deal is off. Linda is skeptical, but Walker insists. Frank's ploy worked, and Walker is as good as dead. With the deal off, Tusk seems likely to plead the Fifth in his testimony before Congress.
Tusk does exactly that, at first, before turning the whole deal on its head with just two words: "He knew."
Tusk continues to bury Walker with is testimony. "There was a mechanism by which a great many contributions were made over the last ten years," he says. "I orchestrated it, I facilitated it, and the president knew about it." Tusk is arrested, and Dunbar immediately starts working on a plea deal with is lawyers.
"Maybe I'm finished, Frank," Walker tells his vice president in a phone call. "He's in the darkness now. And I'm the only beacon of light," Frank tells us, his goal well within reach, now. "Now we gently guide him towards the rocks." Walker stops short of resigning, but he's merely a step away from that.
Agent Green meets with Gavin, offering him a position with the FBI, as long as he keeps quiet about what he knows. Gavin doesn't like the offer, and demands a meeting with Doug. Doug meets with Gavin, who tells him that he knows about Rachel. Gavin asks Doug for protection in exchange for keeping his secret. Doug agrees.
Doug goes to Joppa to move Rachel. He orders her into a car and tells her that they aren't safe. Rachel thinks that Doug is going to hurt her, or worse, so she makes a break for it, running off into the woods.
"All I've ever done is try to protect you," Doug calls out, while stumbling through the woods, looking for her. Rachel sneaks up behind Doug and clocks him in the head with a rock, repeatedly, and leaves him for dead.
Back in Washington, the House committee recommends that three articles of impeachment proceed to the floor for a vote, another nail in Walker's coffin. Frank and Claire are having a cigarette when Meechum arrives to tell them that the president is summoning them to Camp David, where he will resign his office.
The Walkers and Underwoods meet, where Frank decides to give Walker one last performance. "I can never fill your shoes, sir," he tells the president.
After being sworn in, Frank's first act is to call China, and to squash their military beef. Why is China suddenly so eager to work with Frank? Because he offered them Feng in exchange, nullifying his immunity deal. "The Chinese are right about one thing: Sometimes you have to sacrifice the one for the many," Frank says.
Frank and Claire make their way to the White House, shaking hands with cabinet members and members of Congress. Claire presents Frank with a new class ring, to replace the one he buried.
Claire encourages Frank to take a few moments to explore the Oval Office by himself. Frank steps behind the desk, pushing the chair out of the way. He places the new ring on his finger and confidently places both hands on the desk, before giving it his trademark double tap.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun