House of Cards
Chapter 17

Episode Report Card
Kelsea Stahler: A | 12 USERS: A
The White Stuff

The episode opens on Remy, who has been commissioned by Tusk to help Frank hurry up and get the damn retirement age bill passed. Tusk wants it out of the way so he can focus on China, because Tusk is obsessed with that topic. But Frank's plate is pretty full, as Connor has set up a live TV interview for the Underwoods as a sort of test as their potential press secretary. She worries about having to answer questions about their lack of children -- which, as we saw earlier this season, is a sore spot for her -- but Connor assures her that the question will be quick and painless. Fat chance, Mrs. Underwood.

On the trail to garner votes, Frank brings Remy into the equation with Jackie. As Remy suggested, Jackie is incensed about including this shark of a lobbyist on her team, especially as he's taken down her causes in the past. Frank, however, knows he needs Remy, so he insists that Remy is "the guy shows up with a six pack when the liquor store is closed." He's the wheel greaser. Jackie reluctantly agrees and Frank asks to use her old office for old times' sake (see: to appear more humble and thus, more likeable) while he attempts to butter up an enemy from last season: Donald Blythe.

But this last minute move does almost nothing for Frank: Blythe is so disgusted with him that he won't even accept a cup of coffee. Frank burned him last season with the education bill and he's not going to fall for his tricks again -- for once, Frank's magic spell has worn off. What's worse is that Blythe's coalition is comprised of 28 and votes and Frank desperately needs at least a fraction of them. Because Blythe is no longer blinded by the Southern charm, he vows that Frank won't get anything from him. He does somehow stay for the four-dollar bottle of Pellegrino that Frank offers up, though, so we know this storyline is going drag itself out.

Over in Gavin the Hacker's ridiculous apartment, Lucas is learning about what deep hell he's just gotten himself into. In order for Gavin to help him out with the phone records, Lucas must first drop a device into the FBI's data center so that Gavin can access the entire network. And while Gavin is right that Lucas can easily get a tour of the facility by saying he's writing about Chinese cyber terrorism, thinking that this gawky conspiracy theorist can smoothly infiltrate the FBI is absolutely bonkers. How Lucas doesn't see this as a trap is a complete and total mystery.

While Frank is working on Blythe, he gets a lucky break -- yes, lucky -- when an aide opens an envelope full of white powder. We're not supposed to be concerned about where this envelope came from, but the result is that the Capitol goes into lockdown just an hour before the bill is supposed to go to a vote. It's clear he's going to miss the vote -- as well as his interview with Claire -- and he's not very hopeful that it will pass. Yeah, that's what happens when you burn bridges, Frank!

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House of Cards




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