It's time to get back to work. Season 3 of "House of Cards" premieres Friday on Netflix, and trust us, you don't want to be caught unprepared.
If you're a newbie and are just now starting the show, we've got a few essential episodes from Season 1 and 2 that will have you throwing around Frank Underwood quips in no time. There's a few spoilers in this section, but we’re gonna try to keep it at a minimum for you newbies.
If it's been a while since you watched Season 2 (understandable, since it hit the streaming service in February 2014), scroll down for a recap of where we left our most important players. Spoilers abound in this section—you've been warned.
Naturally, you’ll want to start with the premiere, which introduces House majority whip and Democratic congressman Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey); his environmental activist wife, Claire (Robin Wright); drug-using Pennsylvania congressman Peter Russo (Corey Stoll); and ambitious journalist Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara).
This episode is a big turning point for Zoe. After her relationship with Frank gets a little more personal, her professional goals become even loftier.
With Frank’s help, Russo is the running for a new job of his own that puts him in cahoots with Claire.
The hits come fast and furious in the final four episodes of this season, but this one is especially important. You’ll learn just how much Frank is willing to ruin someone else’s life for his own gain.
Frank gets one step closer to his ultimate goal, while Claire is doing some side scheming of her own. Zoe and two other journalists are hot on the heels of a big story.
On the verge of taking on his new role, Frank starts the season off with a bang—and one of the biggest WTF moments of the series so far.
Claire kicks off her story arc for the rest of the season with a big lie that will come back to haunt her.
Frank discovers that President Walker's (Michel Gill) biggest aly has turned against him, opening a huge door for Frank.
Frank and Claire engage in a steamy act that later becomes the subject of a lot of fan fiction.
All of Frank's political dreams are coming true—but we'll have to wait to see how he uses his newfound power.
WHERE WE LEFT THEM:
Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey)
His scheming has finally led him to the ultimate prize—presidency of the United States. His first act is to end the dispute with China that occupied most of Season 2.
Claire Underwood (Robin Wright)
Shows small cracks in her icy veneer after Megan Hennessey (Libby Woodbridge), who also was assaulted by Dalton McGinnis (Peter Bradbury), attempts suicide and first lady Patricia Walker (Joanna Going) thanks Claire for her support—not knowing that Claire has helped end her husband’s presidency. But now Claire's the first lady—how will she use her newfound power?
Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly)
Hacker/FBI informant Gavin Orsay (Jimmi Simpson) informs him that he knows about Rachel Posner (Rachel Brosnahan), the woman at the center of Frank Underwood’s plan that led to Peter Russo’s (Corey Stoll) death in Season 1. While Stamper is trying to relocate Rachel to another hiding place, she smashes his head in with a brick and steals his car. He's most likely dead.
Garrett Walker (Michel Gill)
Has resigned the presidency in the face of impeachment, none the wiser that Frank schemed his way from congressman to vice president in order to eventually overthrow Walker.
Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney)
Testifies against President Walker in exchange for the promise of a pardon from Underwood if he’s made president.
Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker)
Was instrumental in helping Frank gather the votes to ensure impeachment if Walker didn't resign. Time will tell if she'll also be able to get powerful lobbyist Remy Danton (Mahershala Ali) in Frank's pocket as well.