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Monday, August 20, 2012

My Review of Political Animals Episode 6 (Finale)- Resignation Day

The time has arrived. Elaine submits her resignation with a surprising result, there is a massive twist in the middle that I never saw coming, Doug's duplicity is revealed, and Susan gets sucker punched by Georgia....

Wow, that twist in the middle was seriously unexpected. I am going to focus on that and get to the rest later.

About halfway through the episode, we found out that Air Force One crashed on its way to France and all aboard were presumed to have been killed. When they said in the previews that there was an accident, I assumed it was Doug or TJ in the accident. I was so not expecting Garcetti to have been (presumably) killed. That is where things get interesting. I want to explain the terms being tossed around last night, so here we go.

Under the Constitution, all executive power is vested in the President of the United States. Under Article II, Section 1, Clause 6, if the president is unable to discharge the powers of his office due to disability, death, or resignation, the Vice President assumes the President's powers until a new election (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_Two_of_the_United_States_Constitution#Clause_6:_Vacancy_and_disability). That is what the Vice-President wanted to do last night. Given the (perfectly valid) assumption that the President had been killed in the plane crash, he wanted to assume the office (under the Tyler Precedent, see link above) of the President. What Elaine and the Chief of Staff were arguing for was a slightly different route where the Vice President would invoke the 25th Amendment (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution). This amendment was put in place in in 1967 for a variety of reasons. First, it was to codify the Tyler Precedent that the Vice President would become the President and not acting President. In other words, the Vice President could assume the office and not just the powers. Second, under the Constitution, there were no provisions for replacing the Vice President. Under the 25th Amendment, the President can voluntarily relinquish his powers temporarily if needed and then reclaim them (Section 3). Under Section 4 (which was discussed last night), if the President is unable to discharge his powers but cannot (or will not) relinquish them, the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet can sign a letter certifying that the President cannot discharge his powers and then the Vice President would become acting President. This is the route that Elaine was urging be taken. Under this route, the President can reclaim his powers under certain conditions. Therefore, if Gercetti somehow survived the crash and came back, he would merely have to certify to Congress that he could discharge his powers properly and then he could reclaim his office. On the other hand, if the VP had taken the oath, you would have two presidents and therefore a Constitutional crisis. By assuming the powers, the VP would act as President and when (if) the President's body is found, then the VP can take on the office completely.
 
I have to say that I was glad the VP took their good advice. Whatever counsel gave the VP the advice to assume the office via the oath should be immediately fired because that was awful advice. Here's why. There is (as hinted above) a distinction between the powers of an office and the office itself. Powers of an office can be shared. Perfect example: the Cabinet system. The President and Congress have decided to create these offices and invested them with some executive authority. Similarly, President Obama has more recently done something similar by creating "czars" of certain policy areas. Power shared can also be taken away if needed. On the other hand, an office cannot be shared and it is harder to strip someone of an office. So, by assuming the powers and becoming acting President, the VP took on the powers while leaving the office vacant until a body is found. I suspect that what actually happened is that the VP wanted to assume the office and his counsel agreed to it because he works for the VP.
 
The presumed death of Garcetti has thrown a major kink into Elaine's plans. She had planned on accepting Garcetti's offer to come on his ticket as VP, but now she seems to be leaning towards running again. Not that I blame her. I think that maybe she and Garcetti would have made an excellent team and it would have been best for her family. However, the VP is unscrupulous and unprincipled. Using TJs affair to round up that vote was (as I've said before) totally underhanded. If the show comes back (which I want iff the cast returns), I so want to see her run against the VP.
 
Which gets us to the letter. Elaine wrote the resignation letter and then gave it to Garcetti, citing recent actions as her reasons for resigning. As mentioned above, he asked her to become his VP. She never formally accepted, but she was going to. Unfortunately, Doug gave a copy of the letter to Susan who promised not to print it. But she decided to share the letter with Georgia (the blogger) who insisted on running the letter immediately. I am definitely siding with Susan on this one for a couple of reasons. First off, it would have totally burned a source and made it harder for her to get a source in the future. Second, it hadn't been made official yet, so if there had been a retraction, it would have caused more issues. I like this division between more old-fashioned investigative journalism and blogging. Sorry bloggers, you ain't reporters. Part of being a reporter is taking the time to get the *FACTS* and make sure all the little ducks are in a row. Immediately posting something without verification of some sort is a bad idea. And then the fact that Georgia went to her boyfriend and then over his head claiming that he slept with her to kill her stories was just over the top. I so want to see her taken down to the gossip level. If she wants to be a reporter and be taken seriously, then she needs to drop her stupid little shortcuts.
 
As for Doug, I'm glad he and Elaine had it out last night. He needed to say all of those things he had been burying. He needed to come clean about what he had been doing and why, so I am really glad that he did. I also loved his conversation with TJ. That was a really nice brotherly moment. And the wedding at the end was really sweet too.
 
I also loved watching TJ and Margaret have their little spat. I loved that he can talk with her about things and they can be frank with each other without being hurtful.
 
Well, here's hoping for another season!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Favorite Moments from the Teen Wolf Season Finale

Meant to do this in the finale and got interrupted, so I forgot. Here are some of my favorite moments from the finale (in no particular order):

[1] Scott and Stiles playing lacrosse at the end
[2] Stiles' dad telling Stiles he was proud of him
[3] Isaac's introduction to Peter Hale (hilarious because it of the snark from Scott and Isaac's deadpan face)
[4] Scott, Isaac, and Scott's mom with Jackson's "body"
[5] Stiles: "Did I get him?" (so eager to please!)
[6] Lydia talks with Stiles
[7] Mr. Argent working with Scott "My car's faster."
[8] Scott finally coming up with a plan and being ahead of Gerard
[9] Lydia helping Jackson
[10] The resurrection of Jackson

My Review of Teen Wolf 2.12- Master Plan

Some surprises, a death, another possible death, some truths being realized, and the introduction of next season's villains....

Well, I have to give Scott credit, he had a plan and stuck with it. Now, I love Scott, but he is not plan guy. That is part of why he needs Stiles, because Stiles can plan. But Scott pulled this one off and he gets serious props for that. Now about that plan:

Remember a few weeks ago when Gerard threatened Scott's mom? Also remember those pills Gerard kept popping? Turns out Gerard has cancer and Scott smelled it on him. Somehow (presumably after talking with the vet), Scott realized that Gerard's plan must be to become a werewolf in order to cure the cancer. So, working with the vet, he replaces Gerard's pills with one filled with mountain ash. When Gerard was at the jail, Scott bumped into him and made the switch then. The mountain ash prevented Gerard from turning. Is he dead? Not sure, but he cannot be in good shape.

So, as I said, very impressed with Scott. I know he had help, but still, the fact that he managed to put the pieces together and come up with a workable plan was impressive. See, this is the thing I really like about Scott. He knows his limits and works with others to compensate for them. His "pack" of Stiles, Alison, and the vet is a good group. Scott is the heart and soul of the group and the others help him out in different ways. Alison (until recently) helped to keep him grounded. Stiles is his friend, the brains of the operation, and his sidekick. The vet has serious amounts knowledge and is a great resource.

See, this support network is of the utmost importance to Scott, which is what made Gerard such an effective enemy. Gerard was able to knock out this support system and keep Scott off balance. By turning Alison into a severe hunter, Gerard took her away from Scott. By kidnapping and beating Stiles, he managed to knock that support away too. Fortunately for Scott, Lydia helped Stiles to do the right thing. When Gerard beat Stiles, he was hurting Scott by removing Stiles from the action. It was only Lydia's talking with Stiles and his yelling at her that got him to snap out of his funk to go help Scott. Ultimately, this is what defeated Gerard's plan. Because Stiles brought Lydia to Jackson, she was able to help him complete his transformation to a werewolf and therefore stop being the Kanima.


Sorry, I know I am rambling a bit. It's just that this part is so important because it helps to understand what I think was the major arc of the season. Last season, Scott was worried about controlling his abilities and learning about what he was. This season, he learned how to be a leader. He is an alpha in his own right; as I've said before. He may not have a wolf pack, but he still has a pack. And I have a feeling that after the events of last night, he may gain a couple new members. Isaac has increasingly been drawn into Scott's orbit over the past few weeks and Mr. Argent is friendlier with Scott. As for Jackson and Lydia, they are the wild cards.

I am not sure whose side Jackson will be on. Theoretically, he should be in Derek's pack, but he was the Kanima first, which may negate that bond. Then there is the fact that when he transformed, he had bright blue eyes. Now, we've seen Alphas with red eyes and Betas with yellow eyes. I do not remember if the Omega had blue eyes or not. If he did, then Jackson is an Omega. If not, then it is possible that the blue eyes signify either that Jackson was the Kanima or that he is free to choose a new pack. He may end up in Scott's orbit or he may go on his own. I don't see him going to Derek, but I could be wrong.

As for Lydia, I suspect that she will follow Jackson's lead in pack choosing. She is new to this and is the only person we have seen so far who was bitten and survived it without being transformed. Does that mean anything beyond her being the one to resurrect Peter? Dunno. But that will be interesting to see.

Part of the reason I don't see Jackson going to Derek is that Derek is the opposite of Scott. He is a lousy leader. He tried to plan, but failed. He doesn't listen to others to compensate for his weaknesses. He does not really have a support system to help him out and consequently has failed miserably. Now that Peter is back and the new pack of Alphas is in town, I wonder what is in store for Derek.

Which brings us to our villains: the Alpha pack. No, this is not the first pack, rather it is a pack of Alphas. That is a genuinely scary thought. Alphas are incredibly powerful and have pretty much been able to mop the floor with anyone (save the Kanima). It took the entire gang to bring down Peter last year. So having a whole pack of the brutes does not bode well for our band of heroes. Really hope they know what they are doing.

Now for some thoughts looking forward:

[1] Alison has broken up with Scott, but I think they will get together again. He cares about her too much to just give up on her. She needs time to think and process. Glad he is giving it to her.
[2] Lydia and Jackson are stronger than ever which does not bode well for Stiles' unrequited love. Hope that poor boy catches a break soon, he really deserves it.
[3] Scott and Stiles are stronger than ever. Glad to see that. Love that the final scene of the season was the two of them just having fun.
[4] Given that next season is 24 episodes rather than 12, I assume there will be 2 distinct arcs. The first one will be the Alpha pack. Wonder what the second will be.
[5] How is Scott going to wrap his mother into this? He can't just leave her in ignorance of what he is doing elsewhere. That could be truly interesting.

Until next season!

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Review of Political Animals Episode 5- 16 Hours

With TJ in the hospital after his overdose, the family gets into various types of trouble as secrets and the past are revealed and the future made unclear for Elaine....

Anyone want to help me hit Doug over the head with a 2x4? What the #$%^ was he thinking sleeping with Susan Berg? I know he has not always made the brightest decisions where she is concerned, but sleeping with her takes stupidity to an entirely different level. I saw it coming a mile away and was so hoping it wasn't going there, but alas, it did got there. *sigh* Hope she was a good lay dude, because seriously, you deserve one hell of a bitchslapping. I get it, she's pretty, he's handsome, they get drunk and start telling secrets. Sigh.....

The more I see of Bud, the more I like him (unlike Doug who is rapidly going the opposite way). Is he a dog? Sure. He is a complete horndog, but he is also devoted to his family. Watching him with TJ was really, really sweet; especially when he was telling the story about secretly listening to TJ play the piano. And he and Elaine are getting along very, very well. I guess it helps that they still care for each other. And watching him punch the Vice President was especially satisfying. Using an affair is a very old political tactic, but when it involves the son of a former president, tread carefully, particularly when the ex-president has a temper. May I just say: GO BUD!!! :-)

Watching Anne and Margaret together was a riot. First, searching the house for drugs and getting rid of them. Well, most of them. They kept some pot and proceeded to smoke it. Anne got very chatty and a serious case of the munchies. Margaret got the "drinkies" (love that one!) and even more blunt than normal. I was really happy to see someone confront Anne about her bulimia. Anne needs help and while everyone else has either not noticed it, or is not going to say anything, Margaret has no such compunctions. She made vague hints about it early in the episode (see her comments about visiting the bathroom alot and "regularity") but later came right out an confronted Anne as she was on her way to the bathroom. I was also glad to see Anne open up about her anxieties about marrying into the Hammond family and her concerns about Elaine calling Doug at all hours.

We finally got to see Susan from back in the day. Her column about Elaine was definitely mean, but could not have been written by a man without him being accused of being either mysognistic or worse. Truthful? Dunno, but seeing as it was an opinion piece, that doesn't really matter. It was mean though, but it did get her to where she wanted to be. And she was awfully rude to her mom. Granted, a half hour for lunch is not the best idea (maybe call and reschedule given the circumstances), but even before that she was being very, very rude. Not very fond of her then.

I was glad to see the Elaine was able to persuade the President to go forward with the rescue despite the Chinese threats. In doing so, however, she made him that much more of an opponent in the primaries. But that is the price of doing the right thing. All in all, I am very glad that she did it. While I get why she did what she did with Susan, I was surprised that Susan went along with it. Then again, it was a good, old-fashioned horse trade where everyone got something. She can't protect TJ forever though, so she needs to come up with a new game plan.

Here's hoping TJ changes. Chances= not good. Still, hope springs eternal.

Until next week when the (season?) finale is shown!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Review of Teen Wolf 2.11- Battlefield

In this penultimate episode of the season the Kanima attacks a surprising person, Derek finds out how to save Jackson, Alison continues down the dark path, Scott finds out how bad his Faustian deal with Gerard really is, and the members of Derek's pack come to a decision....

First, I gotta talk about Stiles. He has been getting it in the teeth recently and tonight he had enough. Even though his dad got his job as sheriff back, Stiles basically told Scott that he is done with everything. I was impressed with the maturity of their conversation. Stiles spoke in a very calm and quiet voice and Scott didn't get upset. I think Scott was glad that Stiles came to the decision he did because it will put him in less danger. Is it going to stick? Hell to the no, but the decision was made anyway. I loved the opening using Stiles' session with the counselor as a narrative/expository device. That was well done. And Stiles in the game was hilarious. His dad's first two reactions (dread followed by outright, embarassing elation) were hilarious as were Stiles' initial attempts (stress *ATTEMPTS*) to play lacrosse. Lydia and Scott's mom making excuses for him were downright giggleworthy and when Stiles finally managed to score and get some confidence, he was on fire! I have to say that I expected Stiles to be attacked by the Kanima. But what ultimately happened was even better.

Don't like DarkAlison at all. Something about her just doesn't make sense. She is so far gone so incredibily quickly that it doesn't make a ton of sense. I understand going after Derek and shooting him, but why go after Boyd and Erica that way? Last week she said that she would kill them if they defended Derek, and this week, they were doing anything but that. The only thing I can think of is that somehow Gerard got to her and messed with her mind. Nothing else makes sense. I just wished they could have explained it somehow. Her dad seems to realize just how far off the reservation she has gone. Hopefully, he can do something about her soon.

It was nice to see Peter and Derek talking. While I don't normally trust Peter, I think we can in this case. He has as much to lose as anyone else if Gerard maintains his control of the Kanima and uses it against the wolves. So I think he is telling the truth; or enough of it anyway; out of simple self-interest. I found his explanation about the Kanima interesting. The Kanima has no pack and no identity, hence it seeks out a master to give it an identity. Jackson's issues are bound up in his status as an orphan with no identity, hence he became the Kanima. So, if they can give him an identity, it should break him out of his issues and end his time as the Kanima. Makes sense. Since the wolves identities are bound up in the pack, someone who has no identity wouldn't go to the pack but would seek someone out to give them an identity. So, somehow they have to get Lydia to give Jackson an identity and end his time as the Kanima.

I was also impressed with Scott's mom this week. After an extended rough patch, she has accepted that her son will do what is right and she stands behind him. I was glad to see that scene on the lacrosse field. Scott has lost so much this season, that he needed to get his confidence back before he could break the Faustian deal he made with Gerard. Luckily, between Isaac coming to him for advice and his mom supporting him, Scott was able to find the strength to end the deal and do what is right. Oh, and hearing Gerard talk about Alison probably helped too. :-)


Watching Isaac take out his own team in order to get Scott on the field was just downright hilarious. Definitely not something you would expect to see.

Next week, the season finale...

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Review of Political Animals Episode 4- Lost Boys

We learn the story behind TJs suicide attempt, Doug and Susan continue to circle each other as a new member enters the ring, and Elaine makes an important decision.
 
Well, turns out TJ attempted suicide after a disasterous breakup in December. TJ was having an affair with a married congressman from Ohio who dumped TJ in a particulary cruel way. The congressman is a conservative Republican and the White House discovered his affair and used it as leverage to get him to vote for a piece of legislation that the White House valued. Elaine was against using the information as blackmail; partially I suspect because she wanted to protect TJ; but the congressman blamed TJ and Elaine for what happened. TJ was fixated on the congressman and was using him as a crutch to support his sobriety, so when the congressman told TJ that he was nothing except a good f^*k, it completely destroyed TJ. Was TJ actually in love with him? I don't know, but the fixation was enough to make it seem like it. Cut to the opening of the club tonight and TJ again falls completely apart. Bud refused to go to the opening based on the advice of his media advisor and when Elaine found out that the congressman was invited she refused to go as well. Doug was going to go, but TJ went off on him and told him not to bother. When he go to the club and saw that the congressman had not come, TJ went and did blow. Would he have done the drugs anyway? Possibly, but I suspect not. His self-esteem is incredibily fragile and he really needs someone to focus on to keep himself sober. Not a good thing, but there it is. Now TJ is in the hospital and fighting for his life. This is not good....
 
Doug and Susan continue to circle each other in regards to the story. Susan needs Doug for his access and he needs her to keep quiet. Unfortunately for the both of them, the blogger (Barbara?) is on the story and is refusing to let go. So, Susan has agreed to work with her in order to keep the story contained until Elaine makes an offical announcement. That should be an interesting pairing. Will Susan be able to lay her feeling about what her ex/boss did? Hope so!
 
Have to give Bud props. That man can take scraps of information and get a complete picture. Was not fond of how he talked to TJ, but glad he eventually showed up anyway. Good for him. And Elaine has given the president 48 hours notice of her resignation and has told him that she will be running against him. She is using the fact that he was willing to allow 100 Chinese sailors to die on their sunk sub as her public rationale. Glad to see her really take a stand here. Hope we get to see some of the campaign.
 
Next week, the aftermath of TJs drug use and the rescue of the men on the sub...