The sixth and final season of “House of Cards” drops on Netflix Friday.
And it’s significant because Kevin Spacey, who portrayed the show’s protagonist, Frank Underwood, isn’t on the new season at all. In 2017, Netflix fired Spacey from “House of Cards” after multiple men accused him of sexual misconduct last year. The final season lets Robin Wright take the lead as Claire Underwood, and introduces newcomers Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear.
The political thriller also marks the end of Netflix’s first original series. In March 2011, Netflix began acquiring original content, beginning with”House of Cards.” Spacey, Wright, and executive producer David Fincher attracted a lot of attention for the series, which debuted all 13 episodes of the first season in February 2013.
Since the show has so many seasons, it can take a while to catch up on a lot of information you’ll need going into season six. So we dove into the show’s previous seasons so you know what is going on during the final season. Even though Frank Underwood is dead, things don’t look good for Claire on season six.
Here’s everything you need to know about “House of Cards” before watching the sixth and final season:
Frank Underwood is dead.
Although it’s not clear how he dies, or if he was murdered. Frank survived an assassination attempt during the fourth season that left him in critical condition, so his death could be a result of complications. But based on the show’s history, our guess is murder.
Frank’s wife, Claire Underwood, is the president of the United States. And it’s not going well.
Claire, who was Frank’s vice president, took the presidency at the end of the fifth season, because Frank resigned in disgrace after a damaging article about his questionable tactics was published.
The trailer for season six suggests that the nation is not happy with Claire as the president of the United States so far.
Claire had her late husband buried in South Carolina, next to his father.
Frank made it very clear to Claire and the audience that he hated his father as well as his hometown. In one scene from the show, Frank pees on his father’s gravestone.
In a teaser for season six, Claire visits Frank’s grave site, revealed to be in his hometown of Gaffney, South Carolina, right next to his father’s.
“When they bury me,” Claire says, “it won’t be in my backyard, and when they pay their respects, they will have to wait in line.”
Claire and Frank always had a complicated marriage — but at the end of the fifth season it was worse than ever.
The Underwoods constantly cheated on each other though they were (mostly) honest with each other when they did. But over the course of the the series they fought and stabbed each other in the back, figuratively. For a huge chunk of the series, the marriage was only held together for their political gain.
The fifth season finale ends with Claire taking the presidency. Though furious with him, she promises Frank that one of the first things she’ll do is pardon him for the crimes exposed in an article that forced him to resign. And this was all according to a plan Frank orchestrated himself without telling Claire about it.
But by the end of the season finale, Frank is agitated, because his wife hasn’t pardoned him yet, and likely won’t.
Frank Underwood died with a lot of blood on his hands. But Claire has some on hers, too.
Over the course of the show, Frank kills multiple people, arranges to kill people and attempts to kill people who are in his way. Frank staged Congressman Peter Russo’s murder as a suicide, pushed journalist Zoe Barnes in front of a train, and more. The show hasn’t made it super clear if Claire is aware of everything Frank has done or arranged, but she definitely knew her husband well.
Toward the end of the fifth season, Claire poisons author, speechwriter, and on-and-off lover Tom Yates. He plans on writing a novel based on his relationship with Claire, so she poisons him, and he dies while having sex with Claire. Claire’s current vice president Mark Usher knows about it, because he takes care of getting the body out of the White House.
Doug Stamper, who was Frank’s right-hand man for years, also killed someone.
Doug’s storyline throughout the first few seasons centered on his obsession with former sex worker Rachel (played by Rachel Brosnahan from “The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel”). On the third season, Doug tracked her down with a new identity in Texas. He killed her, and buried her in the desert.
Doug could be the one of the people to bring the Underwoods down by giving tips to journalists.
Doug is also a murderer, but he’s got a reason to want revenge on the Underwoods. He knows a lot about what Frank’s done, because he helped orchestrate a lot of his misdeeds. Last season, the Underwoods forced Doug to take credit for the murder of journalist Zoe Barnes, who Frank pushed in front of a train as it was approaching a subway station at the beginning of the second season. So he has a reason to want revenge, and he’s also terrified of Claire.
Former editor-in-chief of the Washington Herald (where Zoe worked) Tom Hammerschmidt wrote the article that forced Frank to resign, and on the sixth season he’ll likely continue his efforts to prove Frank killed Zoe. And there’s a chance Doug could be crucial to Hammershmidt’s investigation. In the past, Hammerschmidt has made it clear to Doug that he doesn’t believe he’s the one who killed her.
Frank pushed Secretary of State Catherine Durant down the stairs at the White House. If she survives, she could be instrumental in exposing the Underwoods as well.
On the fifth season, Frank pushes Catherine Durant down a staircase at the White House, and frames it as an accident. He does this because she planned on giving a testimony about Frank at his impeachment hearing that would be incredibly damning.
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