Political Animals Review: Suicide

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TJ just imploded with a push from his family.

Out of all the characters on Political Animals, the one I've been the most curious about is TJ. He's been a mystery because his story has been told in the most basic terms, including coming out while living in the White House, having a drug problem and going through with an unsuccessful suicide attempt.

In "Lost Boys, we learned the truth about the latter, which was integral to understanding this former First Son.

Elaine Battles Garcetti

TJ's suicide attempt was not from the pressure of being a Hammond, instead it was the result of a broken heart. A lost love that he, at least partially, attributed to his mother. Relationships and politics can be nasty, can't they?

I've never liked Bud for his philandering ways, but I didn't find myself angry with TJ for falling for a married man. Perhaps it's because TJ loved the Senator. Unfortunately, Elaine saw every floozy that Bud slept with in her son. And, because of that, among other reasons, she wouldn't help him. TJ was left crushed.

TJ's suicide attempt was out of despair. After finally finding happiness in his post-White House years, it was taken away from him for politics. In the present day, he again found happiness with the club and he was again disappointed this time by his family.

The dinner before the club opening went horribly wrong. Up until that point, I appreciated the writing on Political Animals and the show's direction. But Bud and Elaine's reaction didn't ring entirely authentic to me. There are plenty of scenes leading up to the dinner to support their reactions, but they just seemed off.

No wonder TJ is messed up. The biggest night of his life and not only did his father belittle his accomplishment, but he abandoned his son as well. Then, Elaine jumped to a conclusion without giving TJ the opportunity to explain and gave up on him. All this after he remained clean for weeks, was working with a sober partner and was so proud of his club.

If Bud didn't want to attend the opening, he didn't need to crush TJ in order to get out of it. While his criticism was reminiscent of their conversation at the engagement party, Bud spewing those cruel words on what was supposed to be a happy day was shocking.

And Elaine. Wow. Talk about overreacting. She should be ashamed of herself for letting TJ down on this important day. He needed positive reinforcement, not a decimation of his character and dream. Her response was just too over the top to be believable.

Yes, individuals are responsible for their own lives, but TJ's family should feel enormous guilt over his drug overdose. When he needed them for the biggest accomplishment of his life, they abandoned him and crushed what little self-esteem he had gained over the previous few weeks.

I hope TJ survives because I not only like him, but his death would be a dark cloud that would permanently infect the story.

Odds and Ends

  • Georgia isn't as naive as she has been portrayed. Nice move with the Anne interview and an even better move to get the byline on Susan's story.
  • After last Sunday's Doug and Susan confrontation, I wasn't sure how they'd work together successfully. They actually seem more alike that I expected ... almost too much. Will Susan come between Doug and Anne?
  • Will Bud be able to stop his womanizing?  Very self-serving that he decided to stop now when he is divorced and his true love, Elaine, is potentially headed to the White House.
  • Elaine really does support doing the right thing. Using her presidential race to save 100 Chinese submariners was a gutsy move, but the humane one. Will it cost her politically? If it does, I don't think she'd even care which is heartening to see in a potential future President.
  • The way TJ's suicide attempt and overdose were shot and edited was brilliantly done. It captured the essence of both events and the emotions well. It was heartbreaking to see first Elaine and then Bud find TJ in those situations.

Is TJ's relapse entirely his fault or does his family deserve some of the blame? Will Garcetti be able to stop Elaine before her campaign even starts?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (38 Votes)

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

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Aside from Sigourney Weavers sometimes bad acting I really wonder if stories like that with the 100 people trapped in a submarine and political decisions leading to letting them die AND NOT INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT IT happens in real life too

Fortyseven

Since it's a mini-series, I'll watch the whole thing but I'm not enjoying it very much. I liked this episode more than the last. Susan/Douglas is fun. I like Georgia.

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really crappy. It is a bad situation in particular because politicians are selfish and tend to be the center of their families due to all their needs. His family are all so busy with their own drama it is hard on him. That being said, addicts are the most selfish people alive so pair that with a family full of selfish politicos and you get a real mess. I feel sorry for Anne most of all. His family didn't abandon his accomplishment, they choose to abandon the pretense of this club being a good venue for his talents. It is incredible dangerous for an addict like TJ to be in the environment of a club yet alone own one. It is stupidity itself. I was glad his mom took a stand. He has constantly disappointed them and so it is hard to trust him to be responsible. And yet again he feel to their lowered expectations. I was particularly disgusted with what he did to his sober companion. What I really wonder is who TJ was in contact with both nights? Did he hear from the Congressman? Was he a no show?

Terrie

It's called tough love. You cannot help an addict who does not want to be helped or who does not want to overcome his demons. Deep down he had to have known that the senator would not stay with him forever. NOT liking Georgia...........hopefully Susan will find a way to out smart her. It's really too bad this is a limited series...........don't understand why it's even being shown if it isn't going to become a regular series.

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I think TJ deserves most of the blame. He got mad at his mom for not supporting him but I side entirely with her on this. She went to him when she got the info on his affair and she warned him. She did that to protect him and as to saving his boyfriend she was in no position to. She didn't have leverage on the VP and if he choose to release the info on the Congressman, TJ would have come off as a villain. He would have been seen by many as the one who started the affair and corrupted the congressman. Can you imagine what kind of hate from the public he would have received? Plus, as the wife of a politician, she knew the congressman would not leave his wife for TJ. She gave him the truth which is more than the congressman did. And I get when she didn't go to the club, because after watching him nearly kill himself over his lover's rejection, she was in no place to watch TJ set himself up for that again. You can't make your children's decisions for them and frankly all of his have been bad.

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