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16 Hours - Recap

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The episode begins with Douglas listening to a news report, about how the Chinese crew from the sunken submarine is being rescued by the American Navy. Meanwhile Elaine along with the President and the rest of the cabinet is also waiting with bated breath for the navy to rescue the crew. Earlier, Bud informs Elaine at the hospital that TJ will remain sedated till the cocaine is out of his system. Douglas then tells Elaine that there are witnesses who saw the whole fiasco at the club; hence they can’t cover this one up. Elaine then asks Douglas to call Susan. Later, she tells Susan that TJ had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic that was prescribed to him, and went into anaphylactic shock, and hence had to be rushed to the emergency room.

Susan though doesn’t buy into the story, and tells Elaine so. She also tells Elaine that she won’t use her newspaper or her reputation to quell the speculation surrounding TJ. Elaine then says, she shall breach national security and give her a story in exchange for her doing this as a favor. She then informs Susan about the Chinese submarine stranded at the bottom of the ocean, near the US. She also informs her how the Chinese are willing to let their own people die, but how President Garcetti is willing to do all that he can, to rescue the crew on the submarine. She further elaborates that Susan would be the only press person on the ground with unlimited access to this operation.

Later, Li Bao the Chinese Secretary of State in a meeting with Elaine, asks the American government to call off the rescue operation, elaborating that the hardware on the submarine is highly classified and therefore the Chinese don’t want the CIA, poking around. He further elaborates that, if there is any attempt to rescue the crew, “they would have to scuttle the ship”, which would mean releasing the nuclear material of the submarine into the sea, off the coast of California. He adds that, the only way to avoid catastrophe is for the US Government to stand down. Later when this message is conveyed to the President and the cabinet, most of the cabinet members suggest calling off the rescue mission, but Elaine feels that the US shouldn’t give into the threats of the Chinese Naval Intelligence, as they don’t rule China.

The President too agrees with Elaine, and decides to go ahead with the rescue mission. Susan meanwhile indulges in some small talk with Douglas, while flying with him to cover the rescue mission. Bud meanwhile pours his heart out to a sleeping TJ, in the hospital. He tells TJ how much he loved TJ’s piano playing, since TJ was a little child. The President meanwhile gives a ‘tough as nails’ speech to the American people, written by Elaine, and addressing the sunken Chinese nuclear sub issue. In the speech he makes it clear to the Chinese that, they can’t come spying in America’s backyard, and then make threats. Anne and Margaret meanwhile have a heart to heart, while readying the room in Elaine’s house, for TJ to move into, after being released from the hospital.

Then while readying the room they find TJ’s secret stash of cocaine from the last time he had stayed there, and systematically flush all of it down the toilet. Margaret then finds some marijuana and suggests to Anne, that they smoke it. Douglas and Susan are meanwhile busy chatting about his parents and about all that she has written about them, over the years. They are meanwhile informed that their plane would need to make an emergency landing at Dallas, as there are thunderstorms ahead. The two then decide to finish a bottle of wine, and chat, in order to while away time. Susan meanwhile recollects the differences she had with her mother, when she was younger, especially about the negative things she used to write about Elaine, in her articles.

Meanwhile at the hospital, Elaine while visiting TJ, tells Bud that, she wishes, she could have done better as a mother. Bud though, feels she did the best that she could. Elaine though isn’t convinced, and feels they should have paid as much attention to TJ, as they did their political career. “We put our goals for this country, ahead of the well being of our child” she adds. She then tells Bud about the affair Congressman Sean and TJ were having, and how someone had found this out and was threatening to out Sean. Douglas and Susan in the meanwhile are having a heart to heart, after downing a bottle of wine. Margaret and Anne meanwhile are busy smoking the pot, they have found.

Anne seemingly, with all her inhibitions having evaporated thanks to the pot, confesses to Margaret the things she doesn’t like about Elaine. Bud pays President Garcetti a visit, in his office. Bud it turns out is there to provide Garcetti with some intel. He then brings up the ‘Child Protection Act’ and how Sean’s vote was changed in the favor of the Democrats, by Sean being blackmailed. Turns out, Garcetti’s name was also dragged into the blackmail, and it was all the VP’s doing, in order to turn the vote in their favor. Bud then in anger punches the Vice President in the face, and warns him to stay away from his family. Susan and Douglas who are both pretty drunk are in the meanwhile, busy indulging in confessions about their lives.

He confesses to Susan that he and Anne have been planning their wedding for 2 years, because neither of them is ready to commit. She then confesses to him that, she hasn’t been too lucky in love. She also confesses how, when she was busy making a name for herself, “everyone made a life”. Douglas though tells her that it’s not true, and that she is gorgeous and smart. Then suddenly he kisses her on the lips, and she too kisses him back. The two, then strip off all their clothes and proceed to have sex. TJ meanwhile wakes up, and calls out to Elaine, who he sees has dozed off by his bedside. Elaine then wakes up and tells him that, he is in the hospital. He on realizing this apologizes to Elaine and assures her that, he wasn’t trying to hurt himself.

Elaine though calms him down, and asks him to go back to sleep. Bud meanwhile comes in and inquires after TJ’s health. He then asks her to go back to the “situation room”, referring to the Chinese sub issue. Susan and Douglas have meanwhile, just finished having sex. Margaret and Anne on the other hand are having a great time getting high and drunk. Anne meanwhile gets up to go to the loo, so she can puke the food she has just had, in order to stay in shape. Margaret surprises Anne by telling her she is on to her, and advising her against it.

Margaret then asks her to discuss this problem of hers with Douglas. The US Navy meanwhile manages to rescue the sub; its crew then sends a message in Chinese that says “thank you”. The whole cabinet, including the President and Elaine are both relieved and overjoyed, at the mission being carried out successfully. The episode ends at this point.

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Warning: Political Animals season 1 episode 5 guide may contain spoilers
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