Episode Title: '16 Hours'
Writers: Phil Klemmer and Nicholas Wootton
Director: Tucker Gates
Previously on "Political Animals":
Elaine (Sigourney Weaver) and the President's staff are in the Situation Room, nervously watching the Chinese submarine rescue mission. Sixteen hours earlier, the Hammond/Barrish family gathers around the unconscious T.J. (Sebastian Stan) in his hospital room.
Elaine sits down with Susan (Carla Gugino) and tells her that T.J. suffered an allergic reaction to his medication. Susan sees right through the lie and refuses to write it. Elaine then offers Susan access to cover the sub rescue mission and a deal is struck. Afterwards, Elaine meets with the Chinese DCI who tells her to abort the rescue mission or the sub's nukes will be launched. However, Elaine talks the President (Adrian Pasdar) into sticking to the plane, so as not to be bullied by the Chinese military.
Back home, Anne (Brittany Ishibashi) and Margaret (Ellen Burstyn) search for T.J's hidden drug stash before he comes from the hospital. When Margaret finds his pot, she suggests she and Anne smoke it.
On the plane to San Diego, Doug (James Wolk) and Susan engage in a tense conversation about Susan's coverage of the First Family. To ease the tension, the two drink wine and begin to share more personal details about their private lives. Meanwhile, Elaine tells Bud (Ciaran Hinds) about T.J's affair with Reeves and the Vice President's blackmail. Bud arrives at the White House under the pretense of having intel for the President. He brings up the Reeves incident and when the Vice President (Dylan Baker) tries to do damage control, Bud punches him.
Back on the plane, Doug tells Susan about his conflicted feelings for Anne and she tells of her inability to find love. Doug then kisses her and the two have sex. At the hospital, T.J. wakes up to find Elaine by his bedside. At home, Margaret advises Anne to tell Doug about her eating disorder. Later in the Situation Room, Elaine and the President watch as the rescue mission is completed without incident.
In the penultimate episode of "Political Animals" the walls came down as just about everyone came to terms with who they are and what they want.
As Elaine sweated out the situation with the Chinese sub, she and Bud lamented their preoccupation with politics, while T.J lay unconscious after an overdose. You can't help but feel sympathy for everyone here. Elaine and Bud truly are "political animals" and as such, proper parenting comes second to campaigning.
And though T.J. came off as an entitled brat at first, he too was a victim of Washington's dog-eat-dog environment. And Bud showed the Veep just how much of an animal he can be when you mess with his family.
While Elaine once again rose to the occasion, helping the President save lives while averting a nuclear incident, Doug, Anne and Susan weren't quite on their best behavior. A bottle of wine helped ease the combative tension between Doug and Susan. It also gave us some insight into Doug's relationship with Anne, one which as he insinuated, is too perfect to actually work. In the end, Doug and Susan finally gave into their attraction, one based more on mutual respect than social pedigree. After fighting so long for her feminist agenda, Susan found respect and admiration in the most unlikely place of all.
Meanwhile, the uptight Anne learned to let loose with a little help from Margaret. It was sweet to see Anne finally let her guard down. Will she come clean to Doug about her eating disorder? Will Doug fess us to hitting the Mile High Club with Susan?
There's a lot to wrap up in 'Political Animals'' series finale but "16 Hours" set a definite course for the conclusion. Though some of the supporting characters, (Anne, T.J) are more symbolic than dynamic, asking for a fully fleshed out ensemble cast in a six episode run is a tall order. And though some feel the show's drama is inflated and heightened, when you keep in mind the subject matter, that's exactly how it should be.