Friday, August 24, 2012

Political Animals: The Finale

I feel obliged to say something about the Political Animals season (series?) finale but I wasn't too pleased with how things concluded. First of all, Sebastian Stan only got about ten minutes of screen time. But at least he was conscious for the duration of the episode. Beggars can't be choosers I guess. 

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan TJ Hammond Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals Sebastian Stan
His storyline (really all the storylines) was left dangling for a second season that I doubt will ever come. He left the hospital. And went home. That's it. There was no forward trajectory initiated and no closure; TJ's farewell was completely flat. It's a bit of a bummer that he was never much developed beyond what was established in the pilot; gay, addict, pianist. 

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan TJ Hammond Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals Sebastian Stan
Had this not been the likely final episode of the series, the few moments that featured TJ may have worked as nice character padding. His moment with Doug - scripted entirely for the purpose of the eventual elopement location being discoverable - was nice enough. But I could have done with more brotherly love throughout.

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan TJ Hammond Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals Sebastian Stan
His moment with grandma was cringe-worthy. For a scene that marks the end of his addiction storyline (*ahem his only storyline), it was a major flop.

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan TJ Hammond Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals Sebastian Stan
Grandma essentially tells TJ that life is worth living, don't give up, reach for the stars, reading is fundamental blah blah blah. It's a lame speech. Sorry, Political Animals, but is grandma getting misty on the 'ole piano bench supposed to make a legitimate impact on TJ? The only emotion in this scene was guilt over the fact that she was upset. There's no sense that this kid JUST survived a second near death experience. It completely lacked the weight it needed for what it was.

Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals USA Sebastian Stan TJ Hammond Sebastian Stan as TJ Hammond on Political Animals Sebastian Stan 
In terms of the rest of the episode, in theory, a presidential plane crash is a fun, dramatic move. But it was used as a subplot that erased any sense of conflict Elaine might feel over running for president. And then Doug marrying Anne? What was that? He cheated on her five minutes ago, yet they played the wedding as a happy little family moment. And Anne is okay with Doug's family crashing when her own family isn't there? Hell no would that fly! And the reporter chick - it took me six episodes to really decide - but I hated her. I think the whole series would have been stronger if she just didn't exist.  If they wanted a woman for Elaine to go toe to toe with, she should have come from somewhere else and/or been played by someone else.

So that's it. I doubt we'll see Political Animals again, but who knows. Maybe a second season would settle down and establish storylines that could really be delved into rather that just skipped across. Only time will tell. But for now, I'll just look forward to more Mad Hatter on Once Upon A Time.

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