T.J. spends most of the episode unconscious, thanks to the sedatives his doctors give him while the five pounds of cocaine leave his body. Bud and Elaine take turns at his bedside. Elaine begins to wonder if maybe they haven't put their political ambitions ahead of their family. Bud reminisces over a brief moment of happiness in the White House when he found 8-year-old T.J. playing the piano. They worry over the overdose story getting out, considering how many people saw T.J. leaving the club in an ambulance. Elaine calls on Susan Berg for help, asking her to print a story about T.J. having a bad reaction to some antibiotics. At first, Susan refuses to write something that's obviously not true. She has integrity, damn it! But then Elaine ignores national security and gives her the story about the Chinese nuclear sub and a chance to hitch a ride with Doug to the rescue operation. Susan grabs that with both hands. Screw integrity!
Once China gets wind of the rescue operation, things go downhill. They tell Garcetti that the men on board will destroy the ship rather than letting the tech fall into American hands, essentially setting off a dirty bomb in California waters. Garcetti and Elaine are, for once, on the same page. Together they craft a ballsy and probably unrealistic statement for the press that will force China to either go to war or stand down. They stand down. Elaine looks like she's regained some respect for Garcetti.
En route to the rescue site, a storm forces Doug and Susan's plane has to make a detour. This gives them an opportunity to verbally spar, flirt, drink wine and reveal that they're not exactly happy in their lives. Surprising no one, this ends in hot, sweaty sex. At the same time, Anne and Nana are ridding Elaine's house of T.J.'s stash. They decide to get rid of his weed by smoking it, which loosens Anne up enough to reveal she's not entirely happy with her life, either. When Anne tries to vomit up her pot-induced snack binge, Nana calls her on it.
In other subplots: Susan has flashbacks to when she was a young, terrible writer getting her first op-ed column, thanks to her vitriol for Elaine Hammond. Bud finds out about the Veep blackmailing T.J.'s closeted senator boyfriend and punches him in the face. Maybe Bud is salvageable, after all. Stay tuned for the full weecap.
The episode begins with Susan and Doug on Elaine's plane, heading toward San Diego for the rescue of that Chinese Sub. A news report on the cabin's TV details the Navy's forthcoming rescue. Susan looks a little disheveled. She and Doug trade worried glances. At the same time, in the White House Situation Room, Elaine and Garcetti watch the Navy's camera feed. Elaine takes a deep breath, closes her eyes and has a flashback to 16 hours ago.
The whole Barrish/Hammond clan gather at T.J.'s hospital bedside. He's been sedated so that the cocaine can work its way out of his system. Doug pulls his parents aside to tell them there were quite a few witnesses at the club. "We can't cover this one up," he says. It's interesting that nobody really floats the notion that perhaps hiding T.J.'s problem doesn't really protect him in the long run. Elaine tells Doug to call Susan Berg. "Tell her I want a meeting." Doug starts to protest, but Elaine's going to get her way. Bud volunteers to stay with T.J. Elaine asks her mother and Anne to get a room ready for T.J. back at the house, meaning they need to clean out any booze and drugs. Nana is not optimistic: "Little shit's never gonna learn."
Susan meets with Elaine and Doug back at the townhouse. Elaine tells Susan that T.J. had a bad reaction to some antibiotics. Susan doesn't buy the story, of course. "I won't use my reputation or that of my paper to quell the speculation surrounding T.J.," she says. Her principles hold out about as long as a roll of toilet paper in a public porta-potty. Elaine breaches national security and blabs about the Chinese sub, offering Susan the chance to be the only press person at the rescue operation. Before they leave, Doug gets a call from the Chinese DCM with whom Elaine met earlier. He wants to meet again. Busted!
He's all in a tizzy when she gets to his office. He practically begs Elaine to call off the rescue operation. "The hardware is too valuable," he says. "We cannot have the CIA poking around our technology." Elaine scoffs. "Your hardware is your priority, Lee Bao?" Her idealism is so staggering that it's more like naivety. There's probably not a country on this planet that wouldn't put its tech secrets above 100 lives, as long as there was a way they could spin it. He tells her that the men aboard will destroy the ship if a rescue is attempted. Nuclear disaster will ensue. She tells him to call President Tong, but Lee Bao says Navy Intelligence is in charge. "The only way to avoid catastrophe," he says, "is for the United States to stand down." Elaine's shocked face takes us into the opening credits.