Elaine starts putting out feelers ahead of her next campaign. She doesn't want to run again unless the numbers show that she has a chance. To that end, Bud takes their sons with him to visit a backwoods pollster named Jubal. Doug is still staunchly against his mother running, but fulfills his role as the dutiful son. He has flashbacks to his mother's first campaign — specifically to the times his father kept screwing things up by talking about vaginas and penises on TV. He remembers his father blaming him for the lost votes. In the present day, he finally has a mini explosion. Much to Doug's surprise, Bud acknowledges his faults. That's when Jubal fesses up and says Bud made an ass out of himself during the campaign on purpose. The polls were not in Elaine's favor. If Bud took the blame, then it would leave Elaine unscathed to run again in the future. It's supposed to be noble, I guess, but it comes across like patronizing bullshit. Jubal's preliminary numbers show Elaine in good standing — as long as she doesn't have Bud with her.
Doug suddenly feels much more enthusiastic about the campaign. He calls Susan and asks her to drop the story he leaked to her at the end of the last episode. She tells him she wasn't planning on running it anyway, but tells him she owns him now. He's going to be her inside source for all the campaign nitty-gritty.
Even without going to print, though, rumors of Elaine's aspirations abound. Garcetti decides that the best way to eliminate her as a threat is to offer her a seat on the Supreme Court. To do that, he pressures the current Justice — an old law school mentor to Elaine — to leave the position. Susan hears about this and runs to Elaine with the story. On the surface, it looks like a gesture of friendship, but it's part of Susan's plan to work her way into Elaine's inner circle. Elaine talks to her mentor about it and gets her to stay on the bench. This is all Garcetti needs to confirm that Elaine is, indeed, planning to run against him. His solution? Send her on a bunch of "low level" diplomacy missions, like dealing with Siberian tigers. She'll probably come back with a pack of Siberian tigers, trained to do her bidding. -- Tippi Blevins
PREVIOUSLY & ALWAYS
I'm just sick of it all, that's what's going on. I am sick to death of the bullshit, and the egos, and of the men... I am sick of the men. Just one time, just once, I would like to accomplish something in this city without having to spend all of my energy navigating the shortsighted, selfish, self-involved and oh-so-fragile male egos that suck up all the oxygen in this town. It makes me so sick, Douglas. So sick I could puke for days.
...I'm running for President.
2 YEARS AGO THE PROVERBIAL
"People," a journalist suggested, were "starting to wonder" about "Mrs. Hammond" and her "so-called Woman Problem.'" See if you can spot the point where Bud's response goes irrevocably south.
"Nonsense! Elaine Hammond has done more for women than any candidate in the primary. She's championed women's health issues for thirty years, she rallied for Justice Nash's appointment to the Supreme Court and she's been speaking out on domestic abuse since law school. And that's not to mention her work in Illinois -- where by the way she's the governor, Mike, not Mrs.. Now let me ask you a question: Why is it, when most people ask about my wife's Woman Problem, they don't tend to have a vagina?"
A better question: Why, when 50 percent of the population has one, are the dudes in charge so uncomfortable with the word? The only Woman Problem has ever been that they exist.
Advisor Barry: "So the former President of the United States just said vagina on TV..."
Elaine: "Big deal, Barry."
Except you don't need a poll to know that the people in charge -- much less voters -- in America don't want to hear the word. It's like saying the name of the victim over and over in a homicide trial. It makes it human.
Douglas: "Except that in this particular case, he's a known horndog. It manages to remind everybody of what makes him a liability to you now, and why he makes you look weak. They rerun every lascivious thought of you, every time they called you a frigid bitch, every time they imagined you pulling that woman's hair, all the parts of the story they enjoyed most the first time around. A vagina is not just a vagina, it's her vagina."
The question was whether this was a recoverable error or whether Bud was melting down. Was this is about ego, with Bud subconsciously sinking his ex-wife's campaign, or was it just the other side of the coin of his electability and charm? Was he pushing into overdrive to keep Garcetti from his eventual win? Doug assumed (because it's Doug's prerogative to always assume) that his dad was fucking up. Elaine took it breezily, because she'd seen him say worse and do worse. But when everybody was leaving, she held Douglas back.