Dee Discusses: Political Animals Episode 4

Posted: August 6, 2012 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Recaps, Television
Tags: , , , , , ,

Oh man so that was a depressing hour of TV, wasn’t it? What I like about Political Animals is that it’s not really surprising. They’re drawing on a lot of popular tropes here, and the drug addled son of a wealthy public figure is nothing new. Or the good son who is a bit more uptight and always the voice of reason. But they’ve managed to make us connect to these characters enough that it can sucker punch the hell out of us when something goes horribly wrong. I actually said last week that this was headed for an OD. I could see that coming a mile away. But I was still sad as I watched it and knew it was inevitable. You still wish that it would turn out just this once not to be what we expect. And not because it’s boring, but because I’ve learned to care about TJ. As messed up as he is.

So let’s talk about TJ. Again, kind of stereotypical that a closeted married Republican politician is who he manages to fall in love with. They have a secret affair but it becomes very serious for TJ and he relates by knowing his lover is in the closet. And one day might come out and they can be happy together and buck the trend. Everyone knows that’s never going to happen, but Sebastian Stan’s a talented actor. I believed that TJ believed that could happen for him. We are in December when he’s been sober for six months and in love and his family is hopeful for him again. Except Elaine’s own cabinet says they’re going to “out” his lover and the affair unless they can blackmail him into joining them on a bill they want. TJ is horrified that Elaine can’t protect him, but he’s blindly confident this could be a good thing for him. Except his boyfriend obviously spurns him and breaks his heart. This leads TJ to get drunk and high and then attempt suicide in the car like we’ve seen before. Elaine rushes to find him and manages to save him in time. So that’s the explanation for what happened to him in December. That was his “stunt” Bud.

Now he’s still an addict and the family knows, but Doug’s gotten him a 24/7 bodyguard who was an addict too. This guy will watch him and has been for three weeks. He’s managed to stay sober through that time … so far. He’s ready to open the club finally and he’s excited about it. He also shyly invites his former lover, proving he’s not nearly as over the guy as you’d hope. This has disaster written all over it, right? Well this gets worse when the family gathers and Bud says he refuses to go. He doesn’t believe TJ can keep sober at his club and that he needs help and not enabling. I agree with him, but he’s doing it the absolute worst way. When Elaine finds out he invited his ex, she is horrified and suspects this is what it was all for. She refuses to go to the club as well. I guess Doug doesn’t go because the plot doesn’t want him to? Hard to say. TJ tells them all they’re uninvited and storms out. Naturally he goes, his ex doesn’t show up, and he falls hard off the wagon. He grabs his bodyguard to go over the edge too. And surprise of surprises, he ODs in the club, in the VIP section all by himself. Ugh painful. This time it’s his father who finds him. Bud rushes in having realized the folly of his ways and finds his son unconscious on the floor. Call it a stunt now buddy. (No I’m not letting that go.) Why didn’t Grandma go by the way? Hmmm.

In other news, Elaine tells the President she plans to run against him, but convinces him to let them save a group of soldiers trapped in a submarine despite the fact it isn’t politically the smartest move. Blogger Georgia gets Ann to break about Elaine and plans to tell the story on her blog. Susan keeps her off a few days and tells Doug, who says to let the girl share her tagline so they can do a more complete story. Susan sucks up her pride and agrees to do that. She’s still blackmailing Doug at this point. Anyone else think those two might end up having an affair? Just me? Bud has an image consultant help him apologize for being a douchebag on the air, and of course he’s sleeping with her too. He realizes that he needs to mean it in order to get anywhere, so he breaks up with her. But I’m sure everything’s about to come to a halt because of TJ ODing.

So like I said, none of this was surprising, but it still emotionally hit me. Sebastian Stan is a great emotive actor and that helps. I’m glad Bud finally is seeing it for himself so he can stop putting a distance between the reality of the situation and his own pompous opinions. I’m sure Doug will blame himself for not going. They’ll all have a hard week ahead of them. On a personal note, I will not be very happy with Elaine if she goes ahead with the campaign from here. Doug was right in the beginning, clearly their family cannot handle this. TJ needs help and support and he doesn’t need to be in the spotlight. I hope that they don’t cover this over and try to get him into rehab immediately. I think the family is too much of a mess and the campaign simply isn’t worth it. Or it’s not worth what she could potentially be risking. I’m sure she will end up running anyway, but I won’t like her for it, that’s for sure. I guess we’ll just have to see.


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