'Political Animals' recap: Panic at the Disco
Meanwhile, T.J. is getting ready for opening night of the Dome. Palling around with him is his sobriety sponsor from Narcotics Anonymous. His name is Gunner Cox. Gunner Cox! It's so awesomely awful. Amid all this, T.J. remembers the last time he was happy and sober. It was six months ago, when he was in love with a hot, young -- and very, very closeted -- Republican senator. Collier uses knowledge of the affair to blackmail the senator into voting with the Democrats on some contentious bit of legislation. Elaine warns T.J. about the move ahead of time, but he's devastated when she can't/won't fight Collier on the issue. The young senator goes into gay panic overdrive and pretends like he's super disgusted by the thought of being with T.J., despite an earlier declaration of love. This is what leads up to T.J.'s suicide attempt in December.
In the present day, the whole family is planning to attend the Dome's opening night. Or so they tell T.J. Once the actual night rolls around, Bud announces he's not going, and Elaine follows suit. T.J. descends into a self-destructive spiral, and brings Gunner along for the ride. Bud, feeling bad for slighting his son, shows up at the club, only to find him unconscious on the floor.