Political Animals – Second Time Around

by Alan Rapp on July 24, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Political Animals – Second Time Around
  • tv.com: link

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Following up last week’s Pilot, Elaine (Sigourney Weaver) sends the former President of the United States, and her ex-husband (Ciarán Hinds), to negotiate the hostage crisis in Iran, a move the current President (Adrian Pasdar) isn’t all too thrilled with being bullied into making. Elaine allows Susan Berg (Carla Gugino) to make the trip as a member of the press as part of her exclusive on the First Lady, and although she doesn’t change her opinion of Bud, spending some time with him on the plane does make her continue to soften her stance on Elaine.

Meanwhile back in Washington, Elaine deals with the petulance of the Vice President (Dylan Baker) still angry he wasn’t tapped for the assignment, makes a deal with the horny Turkish Ambassador to create an alternate venue for the negotiations, and admits to her son Douglas (James Wolk) that she plans to run against the President in the next election.

Douglas is less than exicited by the news given that it means her mother is getting back into bed with his father (both literally and figuratively), understanding how Elaine’s candidacy would split the Democratic Party, and with both his parents involved in the crisis he has to explain to his fiance (Brittany Ishibashi) that their wedding plans are on indefinite hold. And, it turns out, he’s not above doing something to stop it before the campaign roller-coaster begins. He also has to deal with his brother’s (Sebastian Stan) meltdown now that news of his attempted suicide has become public.

The second episode still hamfistedly delivers themes and dialogue that could be handled with much more deft and grace. The final scene looks to set in motion the crux of the season, but it’s hard to buy a loyal Democrat like Elaine running against an incumbent knowing it would alienate her party, lose them the White House, and end her political career in a single stroke. Although the delivery is slightly better the second time around, we get far less of Gugino and Weaver on-screen together (the only real strength of the show), and the issues which plagued the show’s Pilot have yet to be fixed.

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