I guess that was a thing. I don’t know, guys, all this seemed like it was a fairly good set-up for so many potentially interesting storylines, but instead of getting into any of those things, it’s just over. It feels like they had a lot of potential and they squandered it.
I think Greg Berlanti was banking on getting some sort of renewal from the get-go; he pretty much says as much here. It just kind of pisses me off that they wasted what could have been six excellent episodes into one long exposition/set-up for something that may or may not happen. It’s a disservice to the viewers who may never get to see any more of these characters, and honestly, I think it’s a disservice to the fine actors who spent their time and talent on this.
That isn’t to say there weren’t some great moments in the finale, just that they should have happened in episode 2 or 3, not in 6. Also, the tone was so wildly inconsistent that it ultimately felt awkward to the point of sloppy.
Anyways, let’s get on to the run down.
Elaine wakes up and prepares for her resignation day. She hand-writes her letter, expressing her gratitude for her experience as SoS, her happiness for achieving many of her goals of the job and regret for those she could not accomplish. She regrets having to leave her post, but feels it’s necessary as her ideals no longer seem to align with the president’s, and wants to on-record that there’s a significant moral chasm that is propelling her to challenge him.
As she talks about her “dedicated, loyal staff”, Dougie returns home, crawling into bed with Ann. She asks about his trip, saying that he didn’t call, even though he always calls. He looks guilty as hell for his cheating with Susan. Missed Storyline #1: Doug’s struggle with engaging in the exact behavior he so abhorred in his father, and whether it is in his “destiny” to be a cheater.
Bud and TJ prepare to leave the hospital, when they are faced with a swarm of reporters. Bud gives his son a nice pep talk, but it’s still not particularly a confident exit. (The hospital doesn’t have a separate exit? That seems unrealistic).
TJ makes a copy of the letter, gives it to Susan, ends his double agent status and tries to awkwardly brush their hook-up under the table. Susan’s a big girl though; plus, she’s the one who slept with her source, which for her is just as bad as the cheating is for him. She leaves him with a kiss on the cheek and a great parting line:
“Good-bye, Douglas. You’re still a good guy…even if you betrayed your mom and screwed around on your fiancée, somehow you are still a good guy. And I haven’t met a lot of those.”
Something about Dougie’s face makes it seem like he isn’t quite so sure being with Susan was such a big mistake after all.
Speaking of mistakes, Susan tells Georgia about the letter, as a “teachable moment” for respectable reporting. Georgia’s ready to run it right away, without any background, but that would effectively reveal Doug as the source of the leak. Georgia accuses Susan of wanting to hold off to protect Elaine; Susan stick to her reasoning about protecting her source. Georgia appears to acquiescence, but we all know that’s BS.
Elaine gives her resignation letter to Garcetti on the tarmac as her prepares to board Air Force One for a trip to France, but he won’t accept it. Instead, he reveals Bud’s decking of the Vice President, that he never did or would have approved of the blackmail scheme, and that Elaine is one of the 5 people in government who he respects. He gives her back the letter, but with his own request: “Please run with me.” They are better together than apart; he wants her to accept the vice president position, the one she turned down three years ago. Strategically, it’s a risky move on Elaine’s part:
He acknowledges that, but still asks her to consider it over the weekend he’s in France. For the record, I think he was being honest.
At home, TJ arrives and goes to rest and have some twin time with Doug, which makes for some great lines.
Elaine shares the Garcetti VP offer news with Bud, who’s pretty speechless, which is very un-Bud-like. Elaine: “In 30 years I have never had to ask you for your opinion. I’m starting to think one of us is having a stroke.” Bud accuses her of chickening out; that the sub crisis made her see Garcetti in a positive light again and that she no longer wants to beat Garcetti. He sees it as her having a weakness for seeing the goodness in flawed men, himself included. Elaine still seems inclined to accept the offer.
Georgia went to the Cheating Editor and tattled about the resignation letter. “You would burn down this building if it advanced your career a half an inch.” Editor also accuses Susan of Hammond favoritism, and is running the letter, burned Dougie source be damned. Susan meets Doug again and offers him the option of throwing some random other State department employee under the bus as a decoy for Doug, but he’s already made one moral mistake this week, so he’s not letting himself make another.
TJ tries to leave the house to “run some errands”, but is stopped by a security guard, and then by Granny. She pretty much loses it over him, trying to figure out what happened to the bright, happy little boy she once knew, full of smiles and light. There’s no simple answer to that question, and there’s no simple solution either. That’s just life, and it’s a bitch.
See, look at how great Sebastian Stan is? I would have loved to see more of this TJ. Sigh.
Doug goes to his Mom to confess and try to explain why he went to Susan in the first place. It’s a prime example of why you shouldn’t work for your parents. “I have zero experience saying no to you. I’m 30 years old and my worst nightmare is letting my mother down.” He has a little hissy fit and storms out of her office, and the next thing you know he’s running around and rantings to Ann and then asks her to elope with him. Ann, having not an ounce of awareness about how sketchy this is, agrees.
Elaine and Susan meet by the elephants again, and they both call each other out on their mutual hypocrisy. They both claimed to have made a connection with each other, while lying to each other’s faces. It’s too bad we didn’t actually get to see any of this alleged connection-building post-episode 1. Elaine shares the Garcetti offer news with Susan, rendering the resignation letter and Doug’s leak void as news. Elaine is going to accept the offer because she feels it’s not the right time to challenge her boss or her party, not when she’s just starting to realize that not one, but both her sons are profoundly messed up.
Susan tries to explain to Cheater Editor why he still shouldn’t run the letter, but he’s sticking to it, until she tells him about sleeping with Douglas, which means it would be fairly disastrous to run the letter. Georgia flips when she gets told she’s not getting her big break with the letter and goes above Editor’s head. The good (?) news is: there’s a much bigger story: Air Force One has just crashed into the ocean.
They are searching for survivors,but the President hasn’t been found (clearly it’s because he flew away, because he is actually Nathan Petrelli). Despite the lack of confirmation about the status of the President, Vice President Collier is prepping for his swearing-in as President, despite the fact that the proper protocol is for the powers of the President to reside temporarily with the VP (as outlined in Section !V of the 25th Amendment). (Hey, remember when that was the question no one wanted to ask or answer in the Season 2 premiere of The West Wing?) As senior cabinet official, it’s up to Elaine to enforce the procedure, and she’s on it. She busts in the Oval as Collier is getting make-up to cover his black eye (ha!). He sticks to being sworn in for about a second before Elaine’s stare-down makes him back-off and follow the 25th. He ‘dismisses’ Elaine, but thinks she should stay on for a little while, for consistency.
At the Globe, the newsroom is buzzing. Editor heads up to the Boss’ office, and ends up getting suspended indefinitely because Georgia told the Boss about sleeping with the Editor and claimed sexual harassment. Rather than letting Elaine sacrifice herself, he falls on his sword, I guess to make him seem slightly less awful.
The Hammonds have gotten tipped off to Doug and Ann’s elopement, because Ann doesn’t understand eloping and called her parents to tell them. Before she leaves the office, Susan drops by to let her know that the other stories have, understandably been put on hold. Elaine, finally having a moment of quiet, gets momentarily overwhelmed; it’s the first time she’s actually able to process what has happened. She also tells Susan about the elopement, and Susan’s reaction shows she’s pretty shaken by the news. Another thing that doesn’t matter because we don’t get any more story.
Finally, Elaine invites Susan to be with her on the plane to France the next day, but it seems more as friend than reporter. Aw, another relationship we don’t get to see any more of. Sigh.
And then random tonal shift!
TJ used his twin super powers to figure out that Doug and Ann went to their Grandpa’s farm to get married, and the elopement gets crashed by all the Hammonds. Elaine and Doug reconcile, and those crazy kids get hitched. That’s going to work out great, I’m sure. This bit was great though:
TJ plays the piano and is happy for his brother, and the newlyweds dance on the porch. Elaine and Bud sit on a wall, looking at their family. They reminisce about how Bud decided to run for President on that spot when he was 9, and how he proposed to her on that same lawn, and she rejected him not once, but three times. Nice.
He thinks it’s a shame she can’t be Garcetti’s VP, because they would’ve won, but now it’s time for her to recommit to running for President. Elaine asks if he can stop talking about politics for “one friggin’ minute”, but that’s not the people that they are. They are animals. He prompts her: “Just say it, say you’re gonna run”, but her smile tells us everything we need to know.
Or it doesn’t, but we’ll probably never know, so that’s that. And we’re out.
What do y’all think? Will we get more, or will the actual careers of nearly everyone in the cast prevent it? Do we want more? Should they have actually dealt with any of the loose ends they left dangling, or are you content to only get the first chapter of the story? Come, sit, have some sake and shrimp and let us chat.