Political Animals Round Table: "Resignation Day"
Political Animals ended its short six-episode run this week with a presumed death, a wedding and a huge cliffhanger of a question: Will Elaine Barrish run for President?
Join our Round Table discussion of "Resignation Day" with TV Fanatic staff writers Lindsey Kempton, Leigh Raines, Chandel Charles, Christine Orlando and Carla Day as they breakdown the finale and the surprises from the series.
Before you leave, drop us a comment about your thoughts on the show and, more importantly, whether you want to see the USA Network renew Political Animals for a second season.
What moment did you find the most heartfelt and touching in the finale?
Leigh: I really loved this whole episode from start to finish. The scene between Margaret and TJ was a tearjerker. She was coming from a place of understanding and not just preaching. I feel like she's one of the only people who could really get through to TJ and you know he genuinely cares about her a great deal.
Chandel: Probably Doug and Anne finally getting married, and his family crashing the elopement. It really brought home the concept of them as a loving, though highly dysfunctional family, and it was the appropriate way to remind the audience that the show only used politics as a background, with a family at the fore.
Christine: It was the scenes between Elaine and Bud. Despite his infidelity and the divorce they will always share a love and trust based on a 30 year relationship. Whether they're talking about politics or family, these two get to me.
Lindsey: In the opening scenes when Bud and TJ are leaving the hospital and Bud helps TJ deal with the paparazzi. TJ needs his family to stand by him so badly. Elaine and Douglas have done it several times but Bud always turns him down. It's nice to see that changing.
Carla: Those were all amazing moments. Another favorite of mine was when Doug and TJ talk about their lives and the time at their Grandfather's farm. It was especially touching to see them bonding over a girl and that they both have problems, even Doug.
Throughout the series, the characters became more complex and less-cliched as good or bad. Which character surprised you the most as they were revealed and why?
Leigh: Bud surprised me the most. I found him totally arrogant and one layered in the beginning. Now I see the complexities within his personality, and his relationship with Elaine and the kids. He isn't a one note player at all.
Chandel: Anne was pretty surprising, she was much more of a bad girl than I would have pinned her for, and that was refreshing, yet unsettling simultaneously.
Christine: Definitely Bud. In the premiere he came off as an arrogant, womanizing jerk. Not to say he's not those things but he's also so much more and despite his flaws he truly loves Elaine and wants to see her succeed.
Lindsey: I agree with Christine - definitely Bud. In the premiere he came off as a Bill Clinton caricature with a Foghorn Leghorn-esque accent, but he's deepened into a character that is deeply flawed but seems to really love his family.
Carla: Agree. For me it was Bud, but also Susan. I disliked Bud immensely at the beginning, but he was revealed to be much more than a philandering husband. In the reverse, I have to go with Susan. In the premiere, I respected her and thought she was an honorable journalist, but she proved not to be.
After the premiere, you answered which character you found the most compelling. After learning more about them, who do you now find the most compelling?
Leigh: I find Douglas really compelling because we were just starting to learn about the real Douglas. What he said on the plane, I don't believe that was the heat of the moment, I believe that was the truth. He just never gets to figure things out for himself. He came back and rushed into marrying Anne and I think that was a mistake that he made out of guilt.
Chandel: Both Douglas and TJ together are a very compelling pair. They were born of the same womb and, as Douglas reflected, turned out so different. It's funny because they aren't so different at all. They both have addictions: Dougie to politics, and TJ to blow. The dynamic between them is compelling.
Christine: I've got to go with Douglas because he's teetering on the brink of disaster both personally and professionally. The wedding was a wonderful bonding moment but he has so many unresolved issues and feelings that it could all blow up on him.
Lindsey: Surprisingly, it's Bud. His character let's him be freer and more honest than many of the other characters which always makes for entertaining developments!
Carla: I'd love to answer the whole Hammond/Barrish family, but that would be cheating, right? I find them all immensely intriguing, but I'm going to pick Elaine. She showed a struggle that I wasn't expecting among her love of politics, power, and family. She has an honesty and sincerity about her that is refreshing to see for a politician.
Should Elaine run for President?
Leigh: It depends who it's against. If it's against Garcetti no, I think they can do better together than apart. If it's Collier, absolutely!
Chandel: I think that the path has cleared for her to run for President and at an historical moment. The stage is definitely set, and it's not a political ploy, but a legitimate opening. Bud is right, the country needs a leader, and Elaine Barrish is certainly that leader.
Christine: If Garcetti is really dead? Absolutely.
Lindsey: Yes, definitely. The last thing I want is Collier to become President if Garcetti is really dead.
Carla: It's unanimous. No doubt about it, if Garcetti is dead. Elaine would be doing the country, her party, and her family a disservice if she didn't run.
With the limited series concluded, what are your overall thoughts on Political Animals?
Leigh: Simply put...we need a second season. Get on it USA!!!
Chandel: I think it could certainly use a few more episodes to follow up on things that unfolded this episode, such as the fallout from the President's death and, of course, Elaine's potential run for President. I think overall it was a very compelling, addictive and rather gripping approach to a family drama at an especially appropriate time.
Christine: I'd love to see more. It was a great mix of family drama and political intrigue. I've got my fingers crossed that we get to see more.
Lindsey: I think the story arc over these few episodes has been interesting. It's covered a lot of ground, but I still feel like nothing has really happened. Maybe it's just me, but if Political Animals returns (and I hope it does) then I hope it has a faster pace.
Carla: The perfect mix of family, political insider drama with insight into the world of political journalism. While Political Animals may not have had the highest ratings, it provided the USA Network with an award worthy show (though, Suits should be included in that too). The buzz of the six episode limited run series was positive and if it's renewed, I expect many viewers would catch up before the next season begins.