We just wrapped an intense 13-hour binge-watch of the third season of House of Cards. If we're yawning, it's because we've abandoned sleep for the sake of Netflix. It's certainly not because the new episodes were boring. Trust us.
Before we get into all that, though, it's time to stop reading now if you don't want to see spoilers. We repeat: SPOILERS AHEAD. If you haven't watched season 3 in its entirety, just bookmark this page and read it later. No blaming us if you see something you weren't expecting.
Speaking of things you weren't expecting, this season included many twists and turns. Beer pong. Pussy Riot. Frank getting the shaft from his party leadership. Remy and Jackie reuniting. Dunbar ruling. Pulled press credentials, sexism galore, and post-jog coitus. It's a lot to take in, but let's look at some of the highlights, shall we?
1. Stamper is alive. Lo and behold, Underwood’s right-hand man managed to survive that rock to the head. Cue a premier episode devoted to his recovery, physical therapy, and eventual relapse via hypodermic needle administered by a prostitute.
2. Claire and Frank get it on. Funny how we never see these two copulate unless a third party is involved. Nice to see Claire take the wheel, though.
3. Freddy joins the unemployment line. Who else gasped with dismay when they saw the rib guru in the America Works job-application queue? Underwood later hooked him up with a groundskeeper gig, but still.
4. Frank and Tom get handsy. Frank’s biographer alluded to his male-escort past when he was first introduced, but it never occurred to us that it would result in a near hookup in the private residence. No wonder Meechum was jealous.
5. Claire goes off-script. We’d count Michael Corrigan’s suicide as shocking, but as soon as we saw Claire’s pashmina we knew the gay rights activist was a goner. More unexpected were Claire’s defiant accusations against that creepy Petrov, which lit the fuse for a major blowout with Frank and eventually led her to fall into the trap laid out by the Russians. So long, Madame Ambassador.
6. Gavin pretends to be HIV-positive. The hacker’s plot to gain Lisa’s confidence by faking a positive diagnosis was outrageous, or, as he put it "fucked up." For her troubles, Lisa was rewarded with ownership of the beloved Cashew. Missed that little guy.
7. Stamper kills Rachel/Cassie. Would season 3’s final episode be similar to season 2's? It started that way, but then evil Stamper decided that grave needed filling after all. He turned his van around and was next seen shoveling dirt onto the poor girl’s corpse. Awful.
8. Frank lets Claire have it. The President unleashed some powerful venom at his wife, grabbing her face and ordering her to shape up. It was ugly to watch, and didn’t exactly go as planned…
9. Claire leaves Frank. No, the First Lady won’t be going to New Hampshire. Fingers crossed she files divorce papers and then joins the presidential race herself.
10. Donald Blythe is Vice President. Hilarious, but really? Donald?