Political Animals
16 Hours

Episode Report Card
Tippi Blevins: B- | Grade It Now!
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Nuclear / Family
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

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.

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Political Animals

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