Political Animals
The Woman Problem

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
Future Starts Slow

Elaine: "I just wanted to thank you in person. You stuck your neck out for me, and that is a rare gesture in this town. You know, it's... it's hard to make new acquaintances in Washington. To meet people you can trust. And for some reason, it's even harder with other women, although it always seemed to me it should be the opposite, right?"
Susan, sickly: "...Yeah."

Elaine invites Susan on one of her "famous power walks" -- what the Secretary of State just calls "a walk" -- and even gets a zinger in there:

Elaine: "Good. That'll give us a chance to catch up before I go to Harbin... It's in this lovely, remote province in northern China, where they have this large population of Siberian tigers..."
Susan, aghast: "He's literally sending you to Siberia."

Yesterday she would have called it "gross." She's learning, too.

Elaine: "And to Indonesia, Japan, Argentina. New Zealand."
Susan: "That is so..."
Elaine: "Predictable, I think, is the word you're looking for. Anyway, see you tomorrow."
Susan: "Madam Secretary..."
Elaine, smiling: "Oh! Far too cumbersome. Elaine."

The name "Secretary of State Barrish" is relevant and so is this. Names are a sign of affection. Intimacy is a kind of respect. Anybody in the family would know, would hear it in her voice. But that's not Susan. And it's never going to be.

Susan: "Just so we're clear. If my... acquaintance... were running for President and I didn't write about it first, no one in this building will ever take me seriously again."

Elaine looks her right in the eye. "I am not running for President," she says. "But I am looking forward," the Secretary of State says, brightly, "To spending more time together."

If she had a heart it would be broken. It's another kind of war, now. Susan says goodbye.


When Doug calls her to meet again, in their cars, Susan's face is harder, brighter. There were momentary glitches, in the system; they've been righted now. Elaine smiled and looked her right in the eye; believed the lie so well you'd almost have to believe her. He begs her to drop the story, and she lets him twist.

Susan: "I thought you wanted to put a bullet in your mother's campaign?"
Doug: "Things have changed."

Yeah, they fucking have. She took it away from me. And Doug will never know just how much his help is appreciated. Sometimes the good son is the useful one. She gave Elaine so many chances to come clean, to prove it, and the whole time knew she'd break her heart. Do you think she knew? I do. I don't think she knew it, but it was there. Like oxygen.

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Political Animals




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