Artist’s Rendering of Donald John Trump’s Image of Himself

“Trump” — Season 1, Episode 5 Recap “Sudden Death”

Some of his closest friends being black, the president calls for help to score a victory in the highest court in the land while the vice president takes a final loving look at his photo of Charles and David Koch.

Episode 5 opens with a shot of the Twitter feed on the president’s phone. Two diminutive digits appear at the corners of the screen, and they attempt to tap out a message which keeps autocorrecting to his default “see your upskirt.” Turning orange with rage, the president’s semi-opposable thumbs finally succeed in typing “SEE YOU IN COURT.”

Trump arrives before the stately columns of 1 First Street and takes the elevator up to the fifth floor of the Supreme Court. Preparations are already underway at the basketball court, the “highest court in the land,” for an epic battle that will decide not only the fate of the president’s Muslim travel ban, but also the direction of the court for decades to come. The visiting team, the “So-called Judges,” includes former Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, U.S. District Judge James Robart, “Mexican Judge” Gonzalo Curiel from the Southern District of California, who gives Trump the benefit of the doubt and thinks he might have meant to say “SoCal Judge,” the three-judge Ninth Circuit appellate panel that had recently rebuffed the president, and Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry.

As he watches current Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch lacing up his Chuck Taylors, Trump realizes he is in dire need of ringers. Justice Clarence Thomas heeds the call, as does Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson. Trump reminds both Thomas and Carson that he is the “least racist person” in existence before asking them if they can muster any other players of similar innate ability to join the squad. The president has not had any success in reaching Barack Obama since the inauguration, but begins calling out Obama’s name for assistance, believing that the former president is listening through a wiretap. Carson opens his eyes for the first time since the hard fought Republican primary, and tells Trump that he may be able to call on the services of descendants of “immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships.” In the interest of time, both sides agree to a sudden death match, which immediately ends when Curry steps behind the arc and nails a shot. 3–0, the scoreboard reads. Gorsuch calls the defeat “disheartening and demoralizing,” but then tells the president that he was not referring to any specific defeat, but defeats generally.

Meanwhile, beyond the wall in the land of the Free Folk, terrorism rears its ugly head. Trump condemns the radical Islamic terrorism that has shattered the bonhomie, joie de vivre, and never-ending fête du strippers in Montreal. As the biased liberal media runs fake news items purporting to show that the victims were Muslims in a mosque, and that the terrorist is white and a Trump admirer, the president is filled with such grief and remorse that he is unable to bring himself to say anything about the attack, much less condemn it. Instead, he directs White House spokesman Sean Spicer to again defy logic by explaining that if only the Muslim travel ban had been in place, the victims of the attack would not have been so unfortunate as to have been in Canada to be murdered. Just days later, when Srinivas Kuchibhotla is murdered in Kansas by a white gunman who opened fire after yelling “get out of my country,” Trump is again filled with such sorrow that he is unable to comment, except for to disclaim any responsibility and to rail against Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence, who hasn’t had much screen time in recent episodes, is front and center in the episode’s final act. His lifeless gaze conceals the torment in his soul as fake news reports continue to flood in that he had violated the most sacred tenet of holding government office: not using a private email account for official correspondence. After countless sleepless nights and a gripping scene in which Pence undergoes his preferred method of treatment for “disorders” — conversion therapy — he realizes that there is only one possible outcome for his crime, “because no one is above the law,” as he had tweeted about Hillary Clinton.

He bathes and then dresses himself in a silk kimono before entering a tatami mat room where the head of House Alt-White, Richard Spencer, whose enhanced powers of cognitive dissonance allow him to reconcile his agenda of white supremacy with his Asian fetish, sits plucking the strings of a shamisen. Pence kneels and prepares to commit ritual suicide, and silently begs for forgiveness for not only his use of a private email account to conduct his affairs as governor of Indiana, but also for still using an AOL account in 2016. Spencer takes his position behind Pence and raises his Valyrian steel katana, ready to decapitate Pence when the time comes. Pence takes a final loving look at his photo of Charles and David Koch, and then disembowels himself. The camera cuts away to the photo of the Koch brothers, whose unnatural grins are obscured by thin lines of blood that spurt across their faces.

First published on March 10, 2017.

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