'Political Animals' recap: Nuclear / Family

Television Without Pity
T.J. spends most of the episode unconscious, thanks to the sedatives his doctors give him while the five pounds of cocaine leave his body. Bud and Elaine take turns at his bedside. Elaine begins to wonder if maybe they haven't put their political ambitions ahead of their family. Bud reminisces over a brief moment of happiness in the White House when he found 8-year-old T.J. playing the piano. They worry over the overdose story getting out, considering how many people saw T.J. leaving the club in an ambulance. Elaine calls on Susan Berg for help, asking her to print a story about T.J. having a bad reaction to some antibiotics. At first, Susan refuses to write something that's obviously not true. She has integrity, damn it! But then Elaine ignores national security and gives her the story about the Chinese nuclear sub and a chance to hitch a ride with Doug to the rescue operation. Susan grabs that with both hands. Screw integrity!

Once China gets wind of the rescue operation, things go downhill. They tell Garcetti that the men on board will destroy the ship rather than letting the tech fall into American hands, essentially setting off a dirty bomb in California waters. Garcetti and Elaine are, for once, on the same page. Together they craft a ballsy and probably unrealistic statement for the press that will force China to either go to war or stand down. They stand down. Elaine looks like she's regained some respect for Garcetti.

En route to the rescue site, a storm forces Doug and Susan's plane has to make a detour. This gives them an opportunity to verbally spar, flirt, drink wine and reveal that they're not exactly happy in their lives. Surprising no one, this ends in hot, sweaty sex. At the same time, Anne and Nana are ridding Elaine's house of T.J.'s stash. They decide to get rid of his weed by smoking it, which loosens Anne up enough to reveal she's not entirely happy with her life, either. When Anne tries to vomit up her pot-induced snack binge, Nana calls her on it.