In exchange for her burying the story of T.J.’s (Sebastian Stan) latest drug overdose and suicide attempt Elaine (Sigourney Weaver) offers Susan (Carla Gugino) full access to the rescue mission of the 100 Chinese soldiers trapped aboard the nuclear submarine off the coast of San Diego. Her editor (Dan Futterman) smells a rat, but can’t argue too hard with one of the year’s biggest exclusives being handed to his paper on a silver platter.
The rescue mission hits a snag when Elaine’s old friend (Ming Lo) warns her that if the Americans don’t stop the rescue mission the crew aboard the submarine have orders to scuttle the ship, releasing dangerous radioactive material off the coast of San Diego, in order to protect their technology. However, to Elaine’s pleasant surprise, President Garcetti (Adrian Pasdar) refuses to let his advisers talk him out of the rescue.
While Douglas (James Wolk) and Susan get to know each other a little better (maybe even a little too well) on the plane ride to San Diego, Anne (Brittany Ishibashi) bonds with her grandmother-in-law to be (Ellen Burstyn) over some of T.J.’s marijuana. Bud (Ciarán Hinds) and Elaine stay at their son’s bedside where Bud learns the truth about the precipitating events leading to his son’s latest suicide attempt which causes him to pay the Vice President of the United States (Dylan Baker) a little visit.
With one episode left to go in the season the episode feels a little like filler as most of the ongoing stories are put on hold, but “16 Hours” does deliver ample opportunity for several of the cast to get their own moments to shine. Bud’s physical encounter with the VP feels far too much like pandering to the audience and far too little (as does much of the show) like what would actually occur in the Oval Office. Gugino and Wolk have definite chemistry together but I have doubts about the show being willing to put them together long-term which is too bad because they make a far more interesting couple than either has been in their other relationships on the show.