House of Cards Season 2: We Binge-Watched It — 5 Things You Need to Know (Mild Spoilers)

house-of-cards-season-2Ah, another Valentine’s Day come and gone: Chocolates unwrapped, flowers placed in vases… and a new season of House of Cards binge-watched. Romantic, no?

Netflix dealt another hand of Cards on Feb. 14, unveiling all 13 new episodes of the acclaimed original series at once. Some things about the drama haven’t changed: Frank Underwood is as ruthless as ever, his wife Claire is still devastatingly stylish and the politics are still really, really dirty. But there are some new elements in the series’ sophomore season. If you haven’t yet pressed PLAY on Season 2, here are five (semi-spoilery) tidbits to know while you watch.

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OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW | There’s seamless continuity between Cards‘ Season 1 finale and its Season 2 premiere, picking up quite literally where Frank & Co. left off. But these 13 episodes don’t just revolve around last season’s players: In the new installments, you’ll meet — among others — the First Lady of the United States (played by Joanna Going, Close to Home), Congresswoman Jackie Sharp (Deadwood‘s Molly Parker), who’s got a heck of a withering stare, and not one, but two new press secretaries for the Underwoods.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU | Last season, Lady Macbeth Claire Underwood remained an enigma to us, hardly letting her guard down at all. This time around, viewers will learn plenty more about Frank’s wife, including a traumatic experience from her college years that earns her plenty of media attention in Season 2 — not all of it positive. (And for those wondering if photographer Adam Galloway is out of the picture for good, you’ll get an answer just past the midseason mark.)

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THE RIGHT DIRECTION | Pay close attention to this season’s directing credits: Leading lady Robin Wright tried her hand behind the camera this season, as did Oscar winner Jodie Foster.

NO SMALL PARTS | Frank won’t just frequent Freddy’s BBQ Joint for ribs this season: Freddy himself is one of several supporting characters with their own story arcs, which reveal more than one skeleton in the closet. Who else is getting more screen time? Lobbyist Remy Danton and duplicitous businessman Raymond Tusk, who will likely have you booing at your screens by season’s end.

SHOCK AND AWE | Cards has a knack for being unpredictable, but David Fincher, et al. aren’t messing around this season. Case in point? A gasp-worthy OMG! moment in the season premiere that, if you’re anything like me, will leave your jaw open for a good while. You’ll know it when you see it.

What do you think of House of Cards’ new season — and how many episodes have you binge-watched so far? Sound off in the comments!