Questions about "Political Animals" episode "Lots Boys" (8/5)

I followed every twist and turn of The West Wing, but sometimes this show confuses me. Questions from Sunday’s episode:

  1. What made Doug change his mind about his mother running for President? When he leaked it to Berg, he said the family couldn’t take another run and that Berg should leak the story before she announced, thus killing Elaine’s chances. But last night, he said his dream was to be Chief of Staff and he was begging Berg not to run the story because it would kill Elaine’s chances!

  2. When did Georgia catch on to Elaine’s plan? Last time we saw her (and we were reminded in the “Last time on Political Animals” recap), she was fighting about a story on DC busing. Instead, she gets an interview with Ann and ambushes her into admitting Elaine is running.

  3. I don’t get the Chinese sub plot (no pun intended). We get three scenes with Elaine and Garcetti:

Elaine: You should save the Chinese sailors.
Garcetti: Look into it.

Elaine: The Chinese won’t save them, so we should do it.
Garcetti: No.

Elaine: I’m going to resign and run against you. But first, I want you to save the Chinese sailors and get all the credit here at home while dishonoring the Chinese after they specifically told us not to.
Garcetti: OK. I should fire you on the spot, but instead, I’m going to give in to your demands and get all the credit right before you announce your resignation, which will seem to come out of nowhere to the public, since now we’re working together on saving the sailors.

All right, that last bit was editorializing. Still, does anyone have any insight into this? I honestly don’t understand either character’s motives in that last scene.

Wow. 108 views and not one single attempt at an answer to any of the questions.

I guess it’s not just me who finds this show obtuse at times!

My interest in the series is waning and my attention sometimes wanders so I probably missed something, but here’s my take:

  1. Doug’s change of heart about his mother’s campaign caught me off guard, too. (Did she promise him the Chief of Staff job if she wins, or did he come to realize he had a chance at it on his own? Or did his father plant the idea in his head?)

  2. Don’t know or don’t remember.

  3. Elaine seems to be the only character who puts human lives above politics, as she did with the three journalists arrested in Iran. Carcetti is too weak on principles and too concerned politically with U.S./China relations to save the sailors. I’m getting the feeling that Elaine’s humanity will turn out to be either her downfall or her saving grace in the end. Given the overwhelming cynicism in the show, I’m guessing it’ll be the former.

I understand why Elaine wants to save the sailors. I even understand why Garcetti doesn’t want to.

What I don’t understand is, right after Elaine says “I’m going to resign in 48 hours and run against you,” Garcetti’s response is “Not only will I not fire you, but I will completely cave to your demands that we save the sailors.”

The only reason I can think of is that he’s afraid that, when Elaine announces she’s running, she’ll say, “One reason I’m running is that the President just let 100 sailors die.”

But Elaine explicitly said she wasn’t going to do that, right after Bud suggested it. He said “That can be the narrative for your exit. You can say, ‘Under my administration, lives will be saved.’” Elaine said she couldn’t do that because the whole thing is secret – not just for the US but because the Chinese would be dishonored if the world found out.

Change of heart came after their trip to go “fishing” and that poll guy ran numbers and talked to some people and found she very possibly could win this time around. Prior to that, even family members thought it was impossible.

Chinese story could still play a factor, but I think it was meant to show her ethics and honesty and willing to bend rules, despite creating international uproar.

I am pissed that the Gay son has to be the scapegoat for all things bad - really? Do we have to play the (old) stereotype of suicidal, drug addict, woe-is-me, sad, perpetual fuck-up queerboy? Aren’t the 1970’s over?

But why does Garcetti suddenly change his mind and go along with her plan? Especially when she just admitted she was betraying him? Why doesn’t he fire her?