Elaine Barrish, we now know, has many extraordinary powers, including the ability to charm foreign dignitaries and heads of state by threatening the integrity of their genitalia, and James Bond-like skills with foreign languages. But who knew she was a psychic to boot?
At the beginning of last night’s episode—the first of the whole series to not confuse our reality-TV-addled brains with multiple flashbacks and “memories”—when Elaine is rising, Cinderella-like, from her bed in pink pajamas and getting dressed, she puts on an all-black wardrobe with an eagle pin. An eagle pin! It’s like she knows without a shadow of a doubt that the President’s plane is going to mysteriously crash off the coast of Biarritz, and thus her attire for the day is going to have to combine both funereal tones and soaring patriotism.
Or maybe, like Masha from The Seagull, she’s just in mourning for her life, or rather the pretty sweet gig she had as Secretary of State, now that she’s crafting her resignation letter to Garcetti. “This experience has profoundly changed me,” she writes (by hand, no less), while Bud helps TJ fight through the paparazzi outside the hospital and Doug guiltily returns home to Anne. Garcetti, when she gives him the letter, is less struck by her massive disloyalty than by the fact that she wrote it out herself instead of letting a flunky type it. “Handwritten on official letterhead,” he tells her. “Always a lady.” No, this doesn’t make any sense to us either, unless there’s a secret cabal of loose women somewhere typing resignation letters on old grocery receipts and those Scientology flyers people hand out outside the Metro.
Doug, naturally, gives a copy of the letter to Susan, and things are slightly awkward between them given all the plane sex they had and the fact that he’s engaged to a bulimic pothead. And Susan, naturally, gives the letter to Georgia Gibbons, which is the worst decision anyone’s ever made in this show, ever, because we all know Georgia has no morals and has merely slept her way up the blogging ladder (God only knows what the bottom rung of that ladder looks like).
Garcetti is so wowed by the sheer classiness of Elaine’s cursive that he basically offers to dump Collier as VP and install Elaine instead, and despite the fact that Elaine was all about being President a few days ago, the trauma with TJ and the rest of her family has led her to believe that being VP would be much, much easier. Plus she’s swayed by the fact that Garcetti wrote “Please run with me” in magic marker on her resignation letter and gave it back to her, and the fact that he said “please” means it isn’t an order. And then Elaine says, “Have a safe flight, sir,” which we all know will doom him to a watery grave because why else would she say it?
TJ comes home to find a picture of him and Douglas as kids, sitting on a haystack, and it makes him remember the tutor they both slept with when they were kids, which is a lovely pastoral memory and not at all sick and wrong. Also, even though TJ’s gay, he likes to sleep with a woman every now and again to remind himself of how gross boobs are. And he’d really like to break out of Nana’s house to go and buy some drugs since Nana and Anne flushed his stash, but Nana’s detoxing, too, and her hands are all shaky, and she says it’s from emotional stress but we know it’s the DTs.
Remember how in previous episodes, Georgia usually does something awful and Susan gets mad but then thinks, “But she’s a woman! We’re sisters under the skin,” and then goes and gives Georgia credit she doesn’t deserve? Well, this happens again, because Georgia wants to publish Elaine’s resignation letter to her blog thing but Susan, again, doesn’t want to publish any kind of breaking news because that’s not what journalists do, people. And she also doesn’t want to get Doug in trouble because she luuuuurves him. Well, Georgia goes to Alex, and then Susan does the same, and then Georgia goes to a senior editor and tells them she’s been sleeping with Alex and that’s why he killed her story, and Alex gets fired. And it’s hard to feel sorry for him because (a) he’s Dan Futterman and he’ll get ten more mediocre TV gigs by next season, and (b) that’s what you get when you trust a blogger.
Meanwhile, Anne and the guilt-ridden Doug decide to elope, because that will solve all their problems. But their timing is impeccable, because just as they run away, Elaine’s Secret Service agent comes in and says that Air Force One has crashed due to a “mechanical malfunction,” because lord knows that thing is a flying deathtrap. And Collier, who can barely disguise his glee at all the power, wants to be sworn in immediately, even though no one’s found a body yet, and for all we know, Garcetti’s just punking everyone in the whole world.
In the newsroom of the Washington Globe, the reporters are all standing around watching the TV dumbstruck, instead of actually trying to report the news or something. And Elaine decides to give up on work and try to crash Anne and Doug’s secret wedding instead, which is absolutely why they eloped—so they could have all their family attend. TJ figures out where they’ve gone from the haystack photo, and the whole Hammond clan descends upon poor Anne, but she somehow doesn’t seem to mind too much. Bud takes over from the poor minister, and they all eat five pounds of shrimp and TJ plays the piano. And then Bud tells Elaine she should go back to Washington, because “this is the most profound crisis most Americans will experience in their lifetimes,” and the country needs her. In other words, if this show gets picked up for a second season, we’ll be treated to another several episodes of Elaine weighing the decision of whether to run for office, and TJ will probably OD just to remind her what a bad mother she is. But she has a jet and a hunky Secret Service dude, so it’s all okay.
What did you think of this season of Political Animals? Let us know in the comments.