Political Animals' Finale Left Us With More Questions Than Answers

Political Animals S01E06: “Resignation Day”

Elaine penned her letter of resignation and handed it off to President Garcetti who'd randomly become likable over the past few weeks. He refused her resignation and countered with an offer to have her as his vice president in the next election since VP Collier was basically a monster. Or a pragmatist. It depends on how you look at it, though he was DEFINITELY an opportunist.

In a surprising move, Elaine accepted his offer.

And then they crashed Air Force One.

Really.

If there is any lesson to take from Political Animals, I suppose it would be a reinforcement of that old adage about the best laid plans of mice and men going awry. Also, apparently America just can’t catch a break, even in the fictional wonderland where openly gay women are Supreme Court justices and getting a divorce is considered a good career move. With all the ruckus about Vice President Collier jumping the gun and trying to get himself sworn in before Garcetti’s body was even found, I was actually expecting the president to miraculously survive the wreck in France. I held on to that hope all the way until the end credits rolled; after all, Political Animals is a limited series “event,” and as such, there is no guarantee of a second season. Killing off the president just as he and Elaine had finally reached an understanding and putting the nefarious Vice President Collier in control might be a decent set up for a second season, but in the event that “Resignation Day” goes down in the books as Political Animals’ conclusion, then isn’t that... kind of depressing?

The final scene between Elaine and Bud at Doug and Annie’s elopement (another pleasant surprise) clearly set the stage for a second season revolving around Elaine’s run against Darth Collier. However, as inspiring as that decision is, it raises a few problems.

It’s easy to look at Elaine’s life—Doug and Annie mostly happily married, TJ making a real effort to stay sober, her relationship with Bud on the mend, and her career path never more clear—and claim that women really CAN have it all. However, very little of Elaine’s familial success came of her own doing. Doug, disgraced by the decision to leak Elaine’s resignation letter to Susan, quit his job and eloped with Annie. TJ was talked out of a bender by Saucy Grandma Margaret. Bud’s decision to change was motivated largely by TJ’s substance-abuse problems. Elaine’s family was certainly in better shape by the end of the series, but not because Elaine did anything to improve it.

On one hand, an understanding, largely self-sufficient family is just the sort of environment a woman needs in order to balance work and home life and Political Animals should be applauded for avoiding the “Super Mom” trope that is, unfortunately, largely fictional in the real world. However, on the other hand, how many families just happen to feature generally neglectful parents whose children turn out alright in the end anyway? Elaine is a very fortunate woman. I think she only started to realize that near the end of “Resignation Day.”

And what are we to make of Garcetti’s (probable) death? Clearly, Elaine MUST run against Collier, what with being America’s savior and all, but what does it mean that Elaine is free to openly pursue her goal only AFTER her most formidable rival was literally removed from the playing field? Doesn’t it just take some of the more interesting aspects of the show out of the picture when Elaine’s decision to run for president is altered from being a complicated matter about principles and ethos to a clear, black-and-white battle between good and evil? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about epic battles between obvious good and obvious bad, but politics are messy and nuanced, full of gray area, and I like my political shows to reflect that. Don’t you think we get enough black and white, good and evil, right and wrong, blah blah just watching the current campaign commercials?

However, with that said, Political Animals certainly placed itself in an exciting position in the event a second season comes to fruition. Would you tune in? Despite my nitpicks with the series throughout its six episodes, I actually think I would. The finale left us with a lot of questions, and that’s a good thing.



AMENDMENTS


1. Would you tune in for a second season of Hammond shenanigans?

2. Do you think Garcetti is really dead?

3. If Garcetti really is dead and Political Animals is picked up for a second season, do you see a Vice President Collier: ASSASSIN! storyline in its future? I do, because this show is classy (read: ridiculously soapy and amazing) like like that.

4. Okay, I understand what everyone was going for with crashing Doug and Annie’s elopement, but still, RUDE.

5. I’m really just happy that Susan and her editor/boyfriend kind of sort of made up, even though it cost him his job. That scene with her trying to work on her potential Pulitzer prize-winning article on that frilly little-girl bunk bed was possibly the saddest scene in this series. Susan grew up a lot during this season, let’s graduate back to the big girl bed, okay?

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Oh come on! I hate this! I love the show...I am hooked...they intentionally hooked us and now I don't even know if this will continue! Why make a good show and then leave everyone hanging? Come on!!!! Season 2...PLEASE!
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I sure hope there is a second season and more! I love all the characters. And come on, after all it is Hillary. You know there is so much good stuff out there for this show. It does not even have to be made up. Please somebody pick up this show. Its like watching the news, but its fun!
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Question?

will there be a second season. cannot find info re.
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Bring it back it is different - good and Carla (Susan) should have a NEW love interest like some M/Sgt from AF-1 (flight attendant) someone not in government to give her a full rounded character. Let VP take over and let Sect of State beat him hands down as the new President!

Susan could be her Chief of Staff or news spokesperson. Let her Susan walk from the Editor and become a major in the story,
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Oh, but to answer the questions (sorry):



1) Yes

2) Yes. Making him alive after all of that would be "National Enquirer" quality

3) That would be more over-the-top in an already over-the-top show

4) No. It was parents from a dysfunctional family going to their child's wedding. I thought it was lovely.

5) Susan's probably still stuck on the editor.
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I have NEVER seen a show which ends with so many interesting questions. I can agree with those who say that the show is a bit over-the-top. Certainly crashing Air Force One, one of the most sophisticated airplanes in the entire world, into the ocean is over-the-top. I also confess to not being particularly interested in what would happen if Annie were to find out that her newly minted husband boinked with Susan. But the series had sort of a slightly trashy way of dishing dirt on politics, and I'd sure love to see some more. It's West Wing run through the Deep South. I thought it was pretty cool.
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definitely would tune in
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YES, we definitely would tune in. It was very entertaining, well acted -- loved Sigourney Weaver thought she was perfect in the role. Loved that it was entertaining somewhat realistic and for even though a show like Newsroom is excellent it rehashes the news of the day which is upsetting to me. So for entertainment I liked Political Animal and hope another season awaits. When will we know?
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Great show! I hope they do bring it back for a second season. There aren't too many shows out there that appeal to adults (during the summer months, anyway)
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What the show needs is Donald Sutherland to play the House Speaker. Remember?

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Yes. I would watch a second season. Actually, since when did 6 episodes constiture a season?



Not sure about Garcetti. Dead or badly injured/crippled.



I suppose Colliar could be involved in a bigger way in a second season. After all, we need SOMEONE to hate, don't we?



Yeaah, I was surprised they welcomed all the late arrivees as warmly as they did.



I'd like to see Susan go one way or the other. I do not want her to have further involvement with little Dougie. He sould stay home and Susan should become Elaine's personal assistant. To hell with the paper and to hell with her former editor. I like the way Susan and Elaine have learned to respect each other and to work together for a common cause. Imagine if they took that power to the White House?
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[Responses posted below the questions/points.]



1. Would you tune in for a second season of Hammond shenanigans?

2. Do you think Garcetti is really dead?

3. If Garcetti really is dead and Political Animals is picked up for a second season, do you see a Vice President Collier: ASSASSIN! storyline in its future? I do, because this show is classy (read: ridiculously soapy and amazing) like like that.

4. Okay, I understand what everyone was going for with crashing Doug and Annie's elopement, but still, RUDE.

5. I'm really just happy that Susan and her editor/boyfriend kind of sort of made up, even though it cost him his job. That scene with her trying to work on her potential Pulitzer prize-winning article on that frilly little-girl bunk bed was possibly the saddest scene in this series. Susan grew up a lot during this season, let's graduate back to the big girl bed, okay?



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



1. I would definitely watch another season of "Political Animals", which at the time of this writing has been renewed for the 2nd season. Some writers have dismissed this show as "Dallas" set in the toxic politics of Washington DC, which is true to some extent. However, this is inescapable as politics is largely soap opera. Although the Elaine Barrish character is sometimes annoyingly self-righteous (some humor to help to leaven this) and some of her lines are wooden, overall the show is intelligently written and seems accurate with regards to political life in Washington DC, including order of succession of the Presidency. Furthermore, many of the characters are developed well and with depth, such that I enjoy watching some of the episodes more than once.



2. Whether Garcetti has met his demise depends largely on whether his actor Adrian Pasdar signs on for the 2nd season. I hope fervently the character survives and that Elaine Barrish agrees to run as his Vice-President, provided she is accorded sufficient influence and power and that her role as Vice-President is not a token one. Incidentally, I disagree with one statement in your column--although she is leaning towards it, Elaine did not accept his offer, but was and has been contemplating it up until news of the Air Force One crash arrived.



3. Collier's tormenting of Elaine and his blackmailing of TJ's Republican congressman lover call for some karmic payback, even assassination and I look forward to seeing if this occurs in the 2nd season. Again, I hope Garcetti survives; if he does, some script plots could be written to pit Garcetti-Barrish against Collier, who would be massively offended that Elaine will displace him on Garcetti's ticket and plot some shenigans against one or both of them.



4. I don't think the elopement crash was necessarily rude--it was simply a mother reaching out to her son (and future daughter-in-law) after a break-up and pulling him back into her emotional orbit.



5. Susan Berg writing the big article on a little girl bed was not sad, it was primarily an ironic depiction and the viewers know Berg will move from the small bed to something bigger.
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Also, as for the elopement: yes it was a bit rude. If my closest friend or brother just eloped I would him and bring his and his wife's closest people. They would be a bit angry, for sure, but in the end they would be happy their family was with them.



That's how closest people are. They aren't afraid to anger one another a little, especially when it ends well.
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Why so negative? The show isn't that soapy and it is very good. Not saying it's perfect either.

You argue that the show doesn't need to be black and white. Elaine saying no to Garcetti's proposal and staying all heroic or something and still running against would have been exactly that. She succumbed to various emotions in that moment, in the safety of that proposal, in the still fresh fondness of Garcetti because of the Chinese submarine crisis. That's 3 dimensional. That's what real people do.



Also, Garcetti was mostly painted in bad colors by the Hammonds, we haven't seen so much of him doing bad things. Actually he mostly has been doing the right things during the 6 episodes. Sometimes people have wrong ideas about others. Even Elaine said something to that effect in end of the episode.



Same goes for Collier. Even he, the "clear villain" of the series didn't the clearly cliched way of the villain and did the clearly bad (and stupid) thing. He didn't make himself president. Also at the end of his scene, you can see it in his face being overwhelmed of the thought "Jesus, I'm responsible for the country now, what I am going to do now?". It looked like 500 million tons were just put on his shoulders.



As for the plane crashing. I think it was unexpected, no one foresaw Garcetti dying. That was good. And it wasn't done too soapy, too sad, too anything. Just right, in my opinion.



This show is good.
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1. Definitely yes.

2. Maybe. He could be rescued, half alive, and be in an inconclusive state for an episode or two before either coming back or being declared brain dead.

3. No assassination, if that's what you mean.

4. Maybe rude, but appropriate for South Fork. No, wait, "Political Animals".

5. Definitely want to see more of Susan. Good to see Gugino in a good role.



I really hope this series gets continued. Weaver is very good, and I'm even beginning to like her character's husband.
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No, the show is too intense and everyone overacts, and do the politicians really use the F-word as often as we see in here? I think not.
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Only when the microphones are off: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuck#Use_in_politics



That list is actually embarrassingly incomplete. google it and various job titles like president. There was some president or vice president that was known for it (in private, i forget which, bush or cheney i think) as well as a good number of presidential candidates, senators, congressmen. They are high stress jobs, which leads to lots of swearing.
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I find it hard to believe that Sigourney Weaver would sign up for a show without the assurance for at least a second season, especially with so short a first one.



I like the the Bud Hammond character's wiliness but every time I see and hear him, I can't help wondering how Americans could have voted him in as President. His indiscretions notwithstanding, I find him physically repulsive and his drawling accent is so thick that it's sometimes barely undserstandable. He cannot possibly be considered as a convincing mouthpiece for the US to the world.
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Love this show great acting, My whole family watches this show and will continue to watch next season. I hate it when they cancel really good shows in favor of some of the worst shows on TV. like reality shows.

Their is only one good reality show that is the Amazing Race.
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Love this show. Hope Garcetti survives and I like a Susan/Doug matchup.
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True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf ?!?!? I mean, GIMME a BREAK!!!



Bring PA back please!!!



There's hardly anything there for GROWN-UPS!
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Oh HELL YES!!! I just loved the show. Watched something on American Teleivision after a realllyy long time, just because this looked too interesting to miss. And yes it was fantastic. For a change some believable stuff.



To answer your questions:

1. YES YES YES

2. Hmmm...They may not have decided that yet. If they come back with a second season, they might just look at what people like us may want and then write accordingly. I would probably like him to return but only after Elaine makes her announcement to run.

3. Not really.

4. Don't care. These two have ZERO chemistry anyway.

5. Really like Susan. Looking forward to seeing more of her.
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Better than Veep, but sadly doesn't come close to Commander in Chief.
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1- I'd watch a second season.

2- Unfortunately I think Garcetti is dead. That's what Adrian Pasdar usually does when he plays a politician.

3- Anything is possible, even an assassin plot. But if Collier is assassinated, who would Elaine run against?

4- It was rude of them to crash their elopment, but it shows how suffocating this family is.

5- I expect more confrontation between Susan and Georgia, who is up to no good. Besides, such a lovely actress as Meghann Fahy deserves all the screen time she can get.
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"President Garcetti who'd randomly become likable over the past few weeks" - Well, I've always thought Garcetti was likeable. maybe it was because I like Adrian Pasdar and I can't get rid of his Nathan Petrelli image, but I think he's been a good president. Even in at the Chinese submarine crisis, he weighed all points, listened to Elaine and made the right decision. I think Elaine's place is advising him. Unless he's dead of course.
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disappointing series, no real punch to it. 2nd series will probably involve elaine becoming vice president or running for president. kind of on the fence about tuning in again. it lacks the warmth and humor of most of the networks other series, the characters werent as engaging as they could have been. if it returned on a friday next summer i might tune in - but its very weak compared to other shows on a sunday
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You're right; it's just as bad as text without capitals or apostrophes.
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Well, it would be great if you could name some shows that appeal to you. Coz the thing is, this stuff is serious and interesting coz it's believable. It is sad to see some crappy, kiddish stuff based on some vampires and shit like that getting most viewers hooked. I hope you're not talking about such shows.



I've watched something on American Television after a long time only because of the storyline. It seemed REAL. And yes it was!
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1. Yes. Definitely. There was something initially intriguing by how they tackled modern day feminism on this show. It was so strong in the beginning and it begin to fizzle out towards the end, but then there was this weird moment that hit the viewer where it was evident that Nana was easily the one woman on this show that managed to figure it all out, mastering that tight rope walk between being an idependent woman without losing feminity all together. It all came in the form of a sassy geriatric drunkard. The true matriarch of the family and the show.

2.Uh huh. It was all too nice and pleasant between he and Elaine so naturally death had to be around the corner.

3. Bwahaha. Evild doesn't die. They can take their best shot (pun intended) at Darth Collier.

4. Nah, that isn't rude..that's family. I get it...that's how some families roll.

5. Indifferent about it. I went rom being rather fond of Susan to losing respect for her altogether. But I love what she represented...a woman who thought she had it all together, who tries regularly to have it all together but is just as clueless and oblivious, and flawed as the next gal. Something cool about that.



Sebastian Stan. Awesomeness.
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I really wanted to like this, I watched the whole series and just didn't feel the love from it. With Sigourney Weaver at the helm and Greg Berlanti creating it, I had high hopes but was left disappointed. There seemed to be so much soap opera moments running in this i.e. Doug and Susan relationship when Doug was engaged to Annie, the continuous drug issue with TJ, Elaine going back to Bud after he's cheated on her so many times in the past... All of that was totally frustrating for me.

If there was a second season, I might have to give it a miss even though Weaver and Berlanti's names are on it
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I saved all of the episodes up and binge watched it in one afternoon. Maybe it's better meant to be viewed that way, because I was so wrapped up in all of it, I never had the time or inclination to stop and nitpick any of it. Perhaps if I were reviewing it or had a week in-between shows, I would have done so. I can't say. But, to me, if I'm so caught up that I'm not second guessing what the characters are doing or rolling my eyes at anything they've already said or done, it was a success. I enjoyed it immensely and am hopeful for a 2nd season. Would definitely tune in!
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I just loved this series, I hope I will see more of Hammonds' troubled life :) I want second season!!!
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I loved this show! The acting was awesome and the plot believable. As the mother of an addict, those scenes are especially moving. I hope the series continues.
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I absolutely loved this series and will be very disappointed if it isn't brought back.
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1. Uh, I guess. They never really started the story. This reminds me of the first "season" of the LA Complex, which was basically a handful of episodes hoping for a pickup.

2. Yes. It didn't sound like the sort of thing you walk (swim) away from.

3. No, that would make the campaign too easy.

4. Eloping is rude in the first place, so fair enough.

5. So I guess that's an argument for not moving in with someone too soon.



I don't think she really balances her work and home life at all. Neither does anyone with a job like that. She works, basically neglects her family, and they cope. I don't really think we want people who balance their work and family lives at that level of government. We want people who work 16+ hours per day.
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Wait, you mean this show has premiered already?
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That comment was PRETTY LAME :z You can do much better dude, come on!
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Love the show!

We need a second season!
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Bring this show back!!!
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I loved the series, and want MORE! I do not understand the negative reviews regarding the series, especially after so many inane programs on regular T.V. go on and on. Maybe because I am a political junkie, and watching this type of drama was a heck of a lot better than "Dallas" type soap.
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1. While I agree much of this show has been borderline predictable and unbelievable, I would tune in again because the story still keeps my attention and I love the cast.

2.Probably not, but at least I hope he didn't because I really grew to like Garcetti, I loved how he respected Elaine even though she was planning to run against him.

3.I really hope not, because that is approaching on a new level of unbelievability, I really would prefer the President just to die, and make Collier one awesome villain.

4. I still don't like Anne, I was pulling for Doug/Susan ship, even if it did begin with an affair. And was the only one that though Susan looked hurt when she found out about Doug and Anne's elopement.

5.I thought many of the characters grew up in the short 6 episode run, but Susan and Bud especially, Susan began as a cut throat reporter and ended as a thoughtful reporter inside the Hammond family, and Bud began as a womanizer and ended as a Father and Elaine's confidant.



After seeing the episode it will be a shame if we don't get another 6 episode order, there were way to many questions to call this a great mini-series, I feel it's a great show, and has the potential to be much better, Did Garcetti live, and what about Anne's Bulimia, whats the point of that plot, even it was only mentioned in two episodes!!, and TJ's sobriety. All in all I still enjoyed the show, I just wish it had more closure for a show that is probably not getting more episodes.
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I loved the series. One of the things that I was most pleased about, was the fact that it was a 'limited series event'. I was happy to be able to watch a show that would have a beginning, middle, and end. So many shows today get cancelled and leave fans with tons of unanswered questions. I expected the finale to be a little more final. Even though I looked forward to tuning in each week, I do not want a second season.
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Bring on season 2 it's better then our own politicians I can't wait

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cancel it and good riddance.
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