House of Cards returns for itsFriday, and the it looks like the Netflix version of Washington is in for a bumpy fall.
As fans know, due to sexual misconduct allegations, Kevin Spacey won’t return as Conniver-in-Chief Frank Underwood. The network has been mum about how exactly Frank will be bumped off, but he has plenty of enemies, possibly even including his wife, now-President Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright.
But it’s been awhile since we tuned in to the Underwoods and their anything-for-power lives — season 5 came out way back in May 2017. So here’s a refresher before you watch the new season:
Let’s get frank about Frank: Previews for the new season show Claire crying mascara-runny crocodile tears over Frank’s death, but when the fifth season ended, he was alive and just as manipulative as ever. As scandals mounted, he’d resigned from the presidency and Claire was sworn in as the first female president. But even in those first historic days, she wasn’t his puppet. Frank demanded a public pardon for himself and cohort Doug Stamper, and Claire agreed as long as he left the White House and made it appear they were broken up. He followed through on his part of the promise, but Claire didn’t pardon Frank or Doug in her speech, and then rejected Frank’s sure-to-be-furious call. It’s a good thing he died, because the next time he saw Claire wouldn’t have been pretty.
Take the fall: Before resigning, Frank pushed secretary of state Catherine Durant (Jayne Atkinson) down a White House stairwell to prevent her from testifying against him — and probably also just because he felt like it. Durant’s condition is unknown going into the final season.
On-camera crash: In a truly creepy scene, Frank is seen watching live webcam footage of Underwood operative LeAnn Harvey (Neve Campbell) as she frantically tries to drive away from a deadly pursuit. Frank doesn’t watch the final moments, but it seems apparent he had Harvey’s car run off the road, and she’s likely dead. Chalk up one more for the Underwood body count.
Drama for Doug: Things just keep getting worse for Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly). The Underwoods pressure him into taking the blame for Zoe Barnes’ murder. He’s killed before, but Zoe wasn’t one of them. How will Doug fit into a Claire-led administration? Without Frank, what does he have to lose?
Killer sex: Claire learned that her lover, writer Tom Yates (Paul Sparks), had continued to write his tell-all manuscript, which includes all the dirty details about the Underwoods’ crimes. She seduces and kills him mid-coitus in Mark Usher’s house (fall of the house of Usher, anyone?).
Mark it: Speaking of Mark Usher (Campbell Scott), he seems sure to be a major fixture in the final season. He was introduced as the campaign manager for Frank’s opponent, war veteran Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman), but struck a deal with the Underwoods. He’s smart, wily and used to playing both sides.
Not-so-plain Jane: Jane Davis (Patricia Clarkson) will likely play a large part in the final season as well. Davis was introduced mid-season as the Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, but soon proved herself much more of a player than her ho-hum title might suggest. She has Middle Eastern connections and began to make herself useful to Claire, but she definitely has ulterior motives.
Extra, extra: Journalist Tom Hammerschmidt (Boris McGiver) is still alive, and still Woodward-and-Bernsteining his way through the coverage of the Underwood administration. Frank and Doug have been feeding him information via birthday cards, and he’s persistently digging into the death of his former co-worker Zoe Barnes. (Man, it seems like forever ago that Kate Mara was on this show.)
To discover out just how much blood can run through the Underwood White House, tune in Friday (Nov. 2) when House of Cards’ final season premieres on Netlix.
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