Political Animals: 16 Hours

I was a little scared as this episode of USA’s Political Animals got going. There was a development in the sunken Chinese submarine plot that felt a little bit too 24-ish. Thankfully, the show recovered with flying colors, delivering simultaneously one of the most satisfying and most anticipation-inducing episodes so far in the mini-series. And good timing, too, seeing as next week is the season finale.

There are a number of notes in the plus column for this episode, named “16 Hours” for the timespan in which the episode takes place (give or take a flashback or two). I think, for a change of pace and a slice of fun, I’m just gonna list them in bullet form. Here goes:

  • Bud punches out Vice President Collier! Okay, let me back up. You’ll recall from last week (or you might not. if you don’t, check out our review of that episode, “Lost Boys”) that we saw a break-up that led to TJ’s first suicide attempt. That break-up was with a married congressman who refused to come out of the closet. When the Vice President wanted to make sure a certain vote went his way, he used some CIA contacts to get some dirt on said congressman (his affair with TJ) and demanded that said congressman vote said way or be very publicly forced into the bedroom, living room, foyer, or whatever other room the closet happens to be in. To avoid this shame, the congressman broke TJ’s heart and went back to his wife. When Bud (TJ’s father and former President of the United States, for those just joining us, also, the guy on the far left [or the far right, if you're looking at this picture in Hebrew]) finds out about this little backroom deal by the VP, he’s more than a little nonplussed. He arranges a meeting between himself, VP Collier (Dylan Baker, Spider-man 3, center) and President Garcetti (far right), halfway through which he clocks Collier in the jaw for being a mega-douche and threatens to “wipe his existence from the faith of this earth” if he ever harms the Hammond clan again. Now, I gotta say, I was impressed with how well Collier can take a hit. He didn’t even fall over. But still, Bud is a bad-ass. Game, set, pwnage.
  • TJ finally had a sub-plot that didn’t involve doing drugs, sleeping with somebody he shouldn’t, stealing money, or otherwise doing dumb stuff. Granted, this was largely due to the fact that he was in a slight coma following his overdose from last week’s episode, and therefore didn’t do much of anything. That was a nice change, though.
  • Dougie and Susan Berg (Carla Gugino) got busy. This is an interesting development since, up until this point, the pair of them have resented the living crap out of each other. They need each other, and hate each other for it. But Elaine trades Susan a violation of her reporter’s integrity and writing a puff-piece about TJ claiming he had an allergic reaction to some anti-biotics for being the only reporter present as the Chinese crewmen from the submarine are brought ashore, which gets her and Dougie on a plane, all alone. After an off-the-record truth telling session, spurred, inspired, and instigated by a bottle of strong wine, the two find they have more respect for one another than they realized. Plus, Dougie thinks Susan Berg is pretty foxy (and who can disagree? I mean, did you see Sin City? phew!) and his fiancee is kinda stuffy and oppressive…
  • Or is she? Across the country, Dougie’s fiancee Anne and Elaine’s mom scope out the house for TJ’s inevitable hidden stash of narcotics. They find a bunch of stuff that they promptly toss in the trash, but one item they decide to hold onto: it’s TJ’s MJ! Oh yeah, Anne gets blazed with her future grandma-in-law. And while they’re high, Mrs. Barrish reveals to Anne that she knows Ann’s bulimic (finally! thank you Lord something finally happened with that). Anne denies it, of course, but you can see she’s clearly affected by being ousted so suddenly and without any restraint on Grandma Barrish’s part. We’ll see what factor that plays as Dougie makes his decision between Susan and Anne.
  • To wrap it all up, Elaine (Sigourney Weaver, Alien), who kinda sat in the background for some of this episode, successfully navigated some Chinese hardliners threatening to force the submarine’s nuclear reactor go boom if the US tried to make a rescue attempt, VP Collier’s whining, and the President’s mixed feelings of resentment and pride, resulting in the successful rescue of the Chinese Navy soldiers trapped underwater in a radio-active metal tube.

In spite of their success, things are definitely about to go nuclear on Political Animals, following the events of these “16 Hours.” Dougie’s gonna get torn a new one by more than a few women in his life, Elaine’s resignation to announce her run for the presidency is probably gonna go public, Ann’s bulimia will become an explosive issue, and who knows what the crap the fallout of TJ’s overdose and Bud’s oval-office brawl is gonna be. I can’t wait. If you can’t either, put the season finale of Political Animals on your calendar. Next Sunday at 10 p.m. While your at it, be on the lookout Monday for Sights and Soundz’ recap, as well. See you there!

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About Paul

Editor-in-Chief. Art lover. Audience member. Husband. Father.

Posted on August 14, 2012, in TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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