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Political Animals Review: Political Manipulations

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Manipulation is the name of the game in Washington D.C.

Whether you are a politician, a Justice or a reporter, it all comes down to who manipulates the situation successfully in his or her favor.

The Fishing Trip

President Garcetti believed that Elaine was going to run against him in his re-election campaign rather than waiting for his two terms to be up. Generally frowned upon by the party, it worried him enough that he tried to take her out of the race before she even got in.

Using Elaine's mentor, the Supreme Court Justice Diane Nash, was rather brilliant. How could Nash refuse to retire if it meant passing the torch to Elaine? She couldn't, but would Elaine give up the possibility of becoming President to be sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice?

While Elaine's family ultimately supported her run for President, her mother's initial outrage at the idea held much truth. It wouldn't be easy for Elaine or her loved ones. It was mentioned, but not overly discussed, the nomination proceedings wouldn't have been a breeze either.

In the end, Elaine decided she'd rather take the chance to be President than be on the Supreme Court. The conversation between Elaine and Justice Nash was touching. The justice obviously cared about what was best for her former student, but Elaine's explanation was clear. I loved the response: "You better win, Elaine."

President Garcetti's plan didn't work in his favor, but it did help out reporter Susan Berg. She used the Supreme Court nomination scoop to give Elaine a heads up to gain her trust, rather than take the straightforward route of just publishing the story.

It worked. Elaine invited Susan to go on a private walk together. I don't expect that Elaine is naive about Susan, though it can't hurt to have a highly respected member of the press on your side. Meanwhile, Susan has the story covered from another side now, from blackmailing (Is that too harsh? No.) Douglas.

Douglas. Oh, what have you done? I had hoped that his leak to Susan was part of a plan with his mother, but that was dashed at the family dinner. It initially appeared that he was worried for his family and that's why he didn't want his mother to run again, but that wasn't it. He felt guilt for her loss and that clouded his view.

The confrontation between Bud and Doug was intense. Doug released his guilt and firmly put the blame on his father, who quickly accepted responsibility. The latter news from the pollster further cleared the air.

Bud wasn't the reason for Elaine's loss either. Instead he purposefully sabotaged an interview about "The Woman Problem" to save Elaine's chance for re-election. Wow. Political manipulation at work. In that moment, Doug realized that they needed Bud on the re-election campaign, but behind-the-scenes. His understanding of the people, situations, and maneuvers would be an asset to have on their side

Up until the fishing trip and what happened with the pollster, I disliked Bud. I saw him as a crass womanizer. While fishing he showed a softer side with TJ that we hadn't seen before. And Bud really did and does care about Elaine, despite his affairs. It never was just about him and his ego.

With only three episodes left, it's difficult to know where the story will go from here. I hope we don't have to endure Elaine's trip to Siberia. Will the limited series end with Elaine officially announcing her campaign for President? The show must be renewed because I'm not ready to let Elaine Barrish or the Hammond family go, are you?

Odds and Ends

  • Vanessa Redgrave as Judge Nash was the perfect choice.
  • TJ started off serious about his club, but used drugs when away. Will the Club really be able to keep him clean?
  • Doug and Anne have an interesting relationship. He proposed while on ecstasy -- not the best start to an engagement or marriage. She doesn't like him working in politics, but his marrying into his family? How will she survive if he wants his own political career?
  • After judging Elaine for staying with Bud all those years, Susan jumps right back into bed with Alex? At least she didn't move back in ... yet.
  • Each scene between Sigourney Weaver and Ellen Burstyn were full of intensity and passion. Mother-daughter cat fight, anyone?
  • Bud: Now, let me ask you a question. Why is when most people ask about my wife's woman problem they don't tend to have a vagina? | permalink
  • Bud: Who's inferior in every way just because he has a pretty head of hair and a penis. Yep, you heard me right, I said penis. | permalink
  • Pollster: Your father threw himself on the tracks. Now, he knew if he took the heat for her losing; he may give her the chance to run again someday. | permalink

Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
  • 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (33 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Loving it.

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What an amazing show this is turning out to be! Each episode gets better, I'm hooked and I never thought I'd ever say that about a show on USA! I'm praying this show gets extended into a full season so we can all get to really know these characters!

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This show is fantastic. I really really hope it gets picked up. The writing and characters are believable and interesting. Such a great show! It has to keep going because we are not ready to see it go!!! Love Annie & James. Really cute couple.

Fortyseven

It didn't hold my interest.

Blu

I really do hope this series is picked up in a more permanent fashion. It truly is too well written with too many amazing actors playing dynamic characters for this to just be limited. I cannot imagine how this is going to wrap up in three episodes or how its going to end. I gained more respect for Bud. He's slimy but he is good at what he does. Loved Nash. The dynamic between Elaine and nana was great to watch. Ellen B. Is fantastic as Nana. She's my favorite character outside of TJ.

Terrie

There has to be some kind of ending IF this isn't going to become a regular series............hopefully there will be...........

Carla day

@Mike Corrected. Thanks. Got ahead of myself.

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Correction!!
There are three episodes left not two. This was third episode not 4th.

Political Animals Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

Anne: I love when you call me Annie.
Doug: I know.

Now, let me ask you a question. Why is when most people ask about my wife's woman problem they don't tend to have a vagina?

Bud