What to Remember Before Watching ‘House of Cards’ Season 5

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Frank Underwood has no intention of ending up a one-term president. Having long ago manipulated his way to the Oval Office, Frank (Kevin Spacey), the ruthless politician at the center of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” spent the show’s fourth season on the campaign trail — with his steely wife, Claire (Robin Wright), as an unlikely running mate. Among the new obstacles thrown into his path to absolute power were an ISIS-like terrorist organization known as “ICO,” an assassination attempt that left him critically wounded and a worthy rival for the presidency in the charismatic, media-savvy Republican Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman). When the season ended, the election was still three weeks away.

But you could be forgiven for having forgotten all of that. It’s been nearly 15 months (and one exhausting real-life American election cycle) since Netflix released a new batch of “House of Cards” episodes. To jog your memory before Season 5 arrives on Tuesday, May 30, we’ve put together a cheat sheet on where the show left every major player at the end of Season 4.

Frank and Claire Underwood

From left, Paul Sparks, Jayne Atkinson, Robin Wright, Kevin Spacey and Derek Cecil in the Season 4 finale of “House of Cards.”David Giesbrecht/Netflix

The Underwoods’ marriage looked doomed at the beginning of the season, but it really started to turn around after Claire blackmailed Frank into making her his running mate. By the finale, they were working as a team again. When an American ICO cell kidnaps the innocent Miller family and demands the release of their leader, Yusuf al-Ahmadi (Farshad Farahat), the Underwoods attempt to divide and conquer. As Frank negotiates with the terrorists in the War Room, Claire has Ahmadi transported to a government safe house in Virginia, where she talks him into ordering his followers to release the hostages. The terrorists do release the captive mother and…

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