Elaine (Sigourney Weaver) returns for Christmas with her family from a whirlwind tour from Siberia to Africa to a pair of shocking scandals involving the sinking of a Chinese nuclear sub off the coast of San Diego (that the Chinese have no intention of losing face by saving), and the discovery that the Vice President (Dylan Baker), in order to get an important piece of legislation passed, is going to blackmail a Republican Senator (David Monahan) about his secret relationship with T.J. (Sebastian Stan).
Bud (Ciarán Hinds) gets sexually involved with his new publicist (Mädchen Amick), T.J. takes another stab at sobriety and gets ready for the opening of his new night club, and Douglas (James Wolk) searches for a solution to what to do with Susan Berg (Carla Gugino) who won’t let him go now that she knows about his mother’s plans to run for President and Anne’s (Brittany Ishibashi) accidental slip-up with Georgia Gibbons (Meghann Fahy) about her future mother-in-laws designs on the Presidency.
As her last act as Secretary of State Elaine convinces President Garcetti (Adrian Pasdar) to save the 100 trapped Chinese crewmen off the coast of San Diego, offers her resignation, and reveals her plans to run against him in the upcoming election. Or, given the circumstances in the episodes final moments and the clips from next week’s show, this move to get to the real meat of the story (Elaine’s campaign), could be nothing more than a tease.
I didn’t see the Susan/Georgia team-up coming but I’ve willing to give it as shot and it certainly gives Fahy a larger role in the show (perhaps at the cost of Gugino). However, I’m less than thrilled with T.J., a character the show has given me absolutely no reason to care about, taking over center stage for the foreseeable future or the fact that it looks like Elaine’s exit from the White House won’t be coming as early as planned. I’m also a little sad that Amick is leaving the show after only a single episode as nothing more than another one of Bud’s many, many women.