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Evidence of Things Not Seen- Part I - ww_renaissance
sunclouds33
ww_renaissance
sunclouds33
Evidence of Things Not Seen- Part I
Onto the final four episodes of S4 and the last four episodes of the Sorkin/Schlamme partnership. How the time has flown. Anyway, Sorkin and Schlamme were on their A-game for the last four episodes. This is actually the least awesome of the four but all four upcoming episodes are filled with humor, heart, intelligence and perfect character work. Leaving or not, Sorkin and Schlamme tended to do brilliantly at the end of their seasons and I don't even think that the last four episodes of S4 top the last four episodes of S2 or S3. Still, there's high-quality stuff ahead. It's so great that I couldn't fit my whole recap in one entry despite my best efforts to cut. So notice that there's a Part II.

Without further ado:



This a bottle episode, at least from a set perspective. Lots of people just talking to each other while sitting in rooms which gives the show a different flavor from the usually fast-paced other episodes that occur over more rooms and hallways and locations outside of the White House.

It's poker night in the West Wing. It's also the night of the vernal equinox so CJ straps her quirky on as she spins the hoary legend of eggs standing on their end at the EXACT moment of the vernal equinox. Both facts are significant. The trust and doubt entailed in poker and believing crazy legends are symbolized in every storyline in this episode. Like Hartsfield's Landing and chess, games and silly games become very important to provide symbolic weight for political storylines.

Josh disputes CJ's egg-legend. As I've written before, I have issues fitting the senior staffers in a familial roles with CJ as Josh's sister. Still, there's something very sibling-esque about how CJ and Josh go back and forth on this argument ("Doesn't/Does Too"). Leo comes in bearing deli food. Like I said before, I *adore* Foodie!Leo.

LEO
We've got pastrami from Krupin's. It's tissue paper thin. Roast beef, corned beef, turkey, Russian dressing, coleslaw, and seedless rye, and winning the heard earned money of your coworkers. This is what I call a night off. Squeeze this piece of rye bread.



C.J.
Now what do I do?

LOL. Although it's interesting that the senior staff spends a *ton* of time together to the point of unhealthiness and then they choose to spend their night off with each other in their office. In case ya'll haven't notice, these characters are kind of freaky. Anyway, Josh is puzzling out the egg mystery. While CJ and Leo were talking deli food, you could see Brad Whitford in the background pondering the issue. Actors still acting in the background even it's not their cue is the way to my appreciative heart.

JOSH
Something that's true at the vernal equinox would also have to be true at the autumnal equinox.

C.J.
Why?

JOSH
Equinox means equal night. Night and day are both 12 hours long.

C.J.
What does that have to do with it?

JOSH
It doesn't work. I've tried it.

Toby comes in and Josh appeals to Toby's authority as a Really Smart Guy or Someone Cranky Enough to Shut this Craziness Down.

JOSH
Hang on. C.J. believes that at the exact moment of the vernal equinox...

C.J.
And only at that moment.



TOBY
Yeah, that doesn't work.

JOSH
You've tried it?

TOBY
I don't need to try it, you can't stand an egg on its end. The elements involved with creating an equinox have no connection to the center of gravity of an egg.

C.J.
I've seen it.

TOBY
I've seen guys make ace of spades jump out of their shoes, I don't think it was the equinox.



Donna in her bartender outfit come in to tell Josh that Mathew Perry has come in to audition for a job in Sorkin's acting troupe because he knows Friends will be ending the next year. I'm just being silly. Mathew Perry playing enterprising lawyer Joe Quincy is there to associate's position for in Counsel's Office and Donna wants in at the poker table. First, Josh speaks for the audience on the vacancy in the Council's Office.

JOSH
I miss Ainsley. That's who the Counsel's office should get to fill that position, another Ainsley. A sexy conservative with first-rate law credentials and a strange name.



In great continuity, former professional gambler Debbie Fiderer is trying to hustle up some action at the poker table. LOL.

DEBBIE
Let me in the game sir, I beg of you.

BARTLET
Why are you so eager to get in this game?

DEBBIE
I enjoy poker, Mr. President, and your card skills are well known around the building, and... frankly, I wanted to learn.

BARTLET
Seriously.

See, Jed may be arrogant but he's no fool. Should have been more subtle in your manipulation, Debbie.

DEBBIE
I enjoy poker.

BARTLET
This is a cash game, Debbie. These are hard working people blowing off some steam and taking each other off their coin. We don't play for matchsticks and we don't play...

Debbie pulls out a wad of bills.

BARTLET
...Okay, can I ask you something? I forgot to have Charlie to draw cash for me, can you float me a little?

Jed tells Debbie that she can play. Leo comes in and Jed starts repeating CJ's crazy vernal equinox rumor and wondering aloud if it's true. However, Leo has bigger news and he tells Jed that they lost an unmanned spy plane by Kalingrad. However, this presents an interesting set of complications.

LEO
The plane was taking pictures of illegal nuclear transfers in the region and we need the intelligence 'cause they don't think we're going to get it again.

BARTLET
Well, what do they want me to do, call Chigorin and ask if we can go in and get our spy plane back?

LEO
Yes sir. Except you can't say spy plane.

BARTLET
Wait, you're serious. They want me to call Chigorin?

LEO
Yes.

BARTLET
And ask him for the plane back without telling him we were spying?

LEO
State and the Pentagon have some ideas how you might try that.

BARTLET
[sarcastically] Do they?

LEO
In the mean time, sir, want to play some cards?

But Jed wants to try out CJ's claim before they leave.



Egghead holding an egg.

Anyway, Jed tries to balance the egg and it fails. His, "This isn't going to work" is what takes us to main credits.



The poker game is going heavy and Debbie is a master card shark and wins this hand for $50.

JOSH
Nothing like the mounting tension of a well contested hand.

I adore the smarmy, suck-upy way that Brad delivered that.

BARTLET (to Debbie)
You were full of crap. You had jack-high or something?

DEBBIE
I'll tell you, but it's going to cost you 50 bucks.

Anyway, Will comes in wearing his Air Force Uniform and CJ demands the eggs that Will was supposed to fetch for her. Okay, Will spent the real-time equivalent of two episodes bonding with CJ and he's already her errand-boy. Really, no one should be surprised by this. Jed is surprised and delighted to find out that Will in the Air Force Reserve in the JAG corps. Witness the adorably surprised and delighted expression.



BARTLET
Well good for you. Where are you stationed?

WILL
Since I moved here I'm stationed at the Air Force Legal Services Agency in Bolling Air Force base, but tonight I'm going to Cheyenne.

Charlie calls Jed out to deal with the spy plane and Jed gives Will his seat. Apparently, Will can do more than just fetch eggs, fly planes, serve in the JAG corps, write terrific speeches, run dead mens' campaigns, end the vicious cycle of Toby summoning his deputies with his balls (DIRTY!) and care for goats. He can also shuffle cards at a poker table like a pro in an intimidating fashion. Witness Debbie's expression at seeing that Young Bailey just might be a rival to the operation that she's running here.



BARTLET
Are we getting somewhere?

LEO
Oh yeah. You know, there was a thought that since Kaliningrad is the only non-contiguous Russian state you could make like you were just informing Chigorin of a rescue mission that barely concerns him.

BARTLET
And what do I do when Chigorin tells me that Hawaii's not really part of America, and he wants to change the alphabet to Cyrillic?

LEO
[to one of the guys in the room] Seymour! What does he do?

BARTLET
What the hell?

LOL. Classic Jed/Leo exchange. This storyline is about Leo, the advisers and even Jed feeling at first that foreign policy should be conducted like a poker game. You keep your cards to your vest and keep an impassive expression and even lie to keep your opponents unsure about your real motives and capabilities. We'll see that at the end, this storyline means at least a temporary evolution from US/Russia dialog mirroring a poker game to it resembling a successful leap of faith, more like CJ and her egg standing on its end.

LEO
We weren't spying on Russia, we were spying for Russia.

BARTLET
We were spying for him?

LEO
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
Okay, this phone call you're going to set up with Chigorin...it's like for a White House bloopers reel or something?

Leo tries to move past the snark and give Jed real information.

LEO
There was a bombing at a nightclub in Kuala Lumpur and they've got a suspect in Berlin who was trying to explode a device at the Brandenberg gate.

BARTLET
Are the two related?

LEO
I don't know, but there were two so I wanted to tell you about it.

Back to the game, everyone has called out of the hand but Debbie and Toby.



WILL
Make her prove it Toby. Show her there are no free lunches at the Friday night game.

A long pause.

TOBY
Call.

DEBBIE
Straight to the king.

Debbie collects her money as the others chuckle.

WILL
All right, sorry about that. I'll get her for you.

CJ finds a joker and Will makes an amazing shot and tosses it into the wastebasket in the next room. The staffers go wild! Check out these dorks. LOL.





C.J.
Oh my God, did you see that? Did you guys see that?!

In GIF form:



Macho competition take over and Toby makes the same successful shot that Will made and the staffers cheer but not as enthusiastically. In the middle of this enthusiasm, Josh is adorably didactic and rules-bound.

JOSH
We're not going to need that three of clubs?

Anyway, Will and Toby continue their competition.

WILL
Standing at the podium in the press room I could hit a seat in the fifth row.

TOBY
No, I don't believe that's true.

WILL
Really?

TOBY
I believe it's a myth.

WILL
Well, there are 52 cards in this deck...

JOSH
51, the three of clubs.

TOBY
Dollar a card?

WILL
Yes.

CJ, Will, Toby and Larry go up but then Debbie orders them back to their seats to play more poker because Debbie has a good thing going on with the gambling. LOL.

Anyway, Mathew Perry in da house so Donna calls out Josh to head to the Roosevelt Room to begin the job interview. This presents an interesting conundrum because Donna is attracted to the Mathew Perry look-alike who is actually Attorney Joe Quincy but then in 20 Hours in America, Donna got all excited about seeing the real Matt Perry at the Ted Marcus fundraiser.



DONNA
This guy...

JOSH
Yeah.

DONNA
There are some who would consider him handsome. I don't personally, 'cause you're the only one I think is handsome.

JOSH
Uh-huh.

DONNA
But for the sake of appearances, here, around the offices, so that other people wouldn't suspect, I'd pretended I thought this guy was handsome if you hired him. Of course, all along it would be a lie, because of how handsome you are... and powerful.

JOSH
Your sense of humor's a bit of a high wire act isn't it? You're really trying to thread the needle.

DONNA
And half of it you don't even get.

More late Season 4 dynamics of Donna trying to draw closer to Josh while trying to get more esteem from him the wake of the Jack Reese mess. I already discussed this dynamic a ton in my past recaps- this is just more evidence and particularly, oft-quoted evidence. Donna gives Josh Joe Quincy's file but she really just screwed up and gave him Hector's file. There's a cute bit where Josh teases her for thinking that Hector is the handsome guy.



Josh establishes that Joe would like to be called Joe. He's a little disappointed and explains why:

JOSH
It's funny, it's what I was just saying, the person who created the job opening, her name was Ainsley Hayes, and she was, uh, a very attractive woman, and I was saying that we needed to find another attractive woman with an unusual name, and, here, you're a man and your name is Joe.

Joe went to Cal Berkley, just like CJ! Except Joe went to the law school- no word if he went there for undergrad like CJ. Josh restrains himself from noting that he went to Yale Law and the famous, marvelous Ainsley Hayes went to Harvard Law. Joe Quincy had a rather unglamorous job (in Josh's apparent opinion) as a staff attorney for the NY Department of Transportation.

JOSH
Then Associate Council at Treasury, then the Solicitor General's office... Why did you leave the Solicitor General's office?

JOE
You appointed a new Solicitor General.

JOSH
You weren't a political appointee?

JOE
No. I just answered a call from a headhunter.

JOSH
I'm surprised we haven't met.

Leo calls Josh off and Josh reminds Joe to sign the bottom of the form testifying that his answers to the questionnaire are true. Joe pointedly just sits and there and doesn't reach for a pen. This will be important!



Back to the room of phone call strategizing.

BARTLET
What do we have?

LEO
All right. Best case scenario, is that he lets our guys get it untouched by Russian hands.

BARTLET
[imitating Chigorin] But President Bartlet, we have a terrific search-and-recovery team. We'll just go get that plane for you.

LEO
[countering] President Chigorin, I very much appreciate the offer, but our UAV's have self-detonating capabilities, and only our folks know how to make it de-operational.

BARTLET
"Our folks"? You really think I'd use those words with the Russian President?

This HAD to be a dig at George W. Bush. I accept no other explanation.

JOSH
You say, "Sir, this UAV has proprietary American technology on it made by one of our leading aerospace companies and we have to protect that".

BARTLET
"Much as I have to protect Kaliningrad, sir, which brings us to the question of what the hell were you doing flying over it?"

LEO
It had a multiple mission.

BARTLET
Did it?

LEO
Exactly for this purpose.

BARTLET
What was the other mission?

LEO
Taking satellite pictures of coastal erosion in the Baltic Sea?

BARTLET
I tell him it was an environmental mission?

LEO
It was an environmental mission.

BARTLET
Okay, and he's not going to want to take pictures of coastal erosion at Coney Island?

LEO
No. The Baltic Sea is shared by Sweden, Finland, and Germany.

BARTLET
We were on an environmental mission for Finland?

LEO
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
That's what we've come up with?

LEO
It's what we're starting with. We'll see how it goes.

BARTLET
Set up the call.

Pretty clever strategy. There's no easy way to win this thing but I'm much impressed and kind of freaked out by the clever duplicity of the national security advisers.



Josh, being repetitive or cool foreshadowing guy, reminds Joe AGAIN to sign his form. Joe left his job at the solictor's office because the big boss brought in a new staff. Joe has already interviewed with folks including Babbish and filled out a mental health survey.

JOSH
Question 1: A] I do not feel sad, B] I feel sad, C] I am sad all the time and I can't snap out of it, D] I am so sad or unhappy that I want to kill myself. You chose A] I do not feel sad.

JOE
Yes.

JOSH
Good. Ever?

JOE
No.

JOSH
No, you don't ever feel sad or...

JOE
No, there are times when I feel sad.

JOSH
Yet you checked the first box, why is that?

JOE
It said "I do not feel sad" and I didn't at the time I checked it.

It feels more like Josh was testing Joe's logical reasoning/time spent with an LSAT prep book than his mental health. in the poker theme of the episode, it's very clear that Joe is keeping his cards very close to his vest. Oliver "Do you know what time it is?" Babbish must have been impressed with Joe's tendency to only give terse, one-word answers to questions, never volunteering more information than was asked.

Away from the ennui of the language on mental health questionnaires, Toby and Will are carrying out their press room challenge and CJ is refereeing and trying to convince people to come around to position on eggs and vernal equinox.

WILL
Dollar for every card that hits the fifth row?

C.J.
I'm locking the door; there are still some press around.

TOBY
Five dollars if you hit the sixth.

C.J.
There's a spot on the earth where the temperature is exactly the same as it would be if you drilled through the earth to the other side.

WILL
No, there isn't. How about six dollars if you do it with a face card?

C.J.
Yes, there is, and it's called the antipode. And if that's true, then why can't it be that you could stand an egg on end at the equinox?

TOBY
'Cause you can't ever.

C.J.
And I say that neither of you can hit the fifth row.

CJ settles into the window ledge to watch the round and then suddenly a gun shots into the press room.





I remember some discussion on whether it was sexist for Toby to dive to bring CJ to the ground and for Will and Toby to pointedly to cover her body with theirs. IMO, it's isn't sexist from this issue because CJ was sitting on the ledge directly in the bullet's path. It would have been weird for Toby's and Will's automatic instincts to *not* kick in and decide to protect her. That said it is interesting that both times that CJ was shot at, the show made a point of noting that a man protected her. Conflating Sam saving CJ in In the Shadow of Two Gunmen and Toby's and Will's actions here, there does seem a bit of Aaron Sorkin taking a gendered approach to chivalry and "ordinary people" protecting each other in violent situations. I suppose the gendered problems are let up a bit when we consider that the main Secret Service agent of the shootings in Rossalyn was Gina Toscano but the show did seem very aware and self-congratulatory about having a female Secret Service during Season 1. The four regular credits-level characters who exhibited personal bravery during life or death situations were all men (above mentioned Toby, Will and Sam and Leo in combat) but regular credits-level female characters can't claim that.

Also, CJ does poorly in this instance. After Toby and Will cover her, she lifts her head up to look at what's happening while exclaiming "Somebody's shooting!" Toby and Will then tell her to stay down. CJ is so human and relatable for not reacting perfectly to gunfire but her flawed reaction is contrasted to Toby's and Will's correct reaction. Will, in particular, shows off his military training when the Secret Agents rush in and ask what happened.



WILL
Three shots, one hit, straight from the sidewalk, straight shot.

Back at the Oval Office, Jed is making the call to Chigorin. Right when he begins, the Secret Service rushes in a panic and start giving urgent orders to stay away from windows and the like.



BARTLET (to Chigorin)
Okay, you know what, I'm going to have to call you back.

My fictional president is the most adorable president ever! Ron establishes that everyone in the room has code-word clearance before he gives Jed the news about the shooting to the press room. CJ, Toby and Will rush in. Jed checks that Toby and CJ are fine and makes a funny with Will.

BARTLET
[holding up two fingers] Will, how many fingers am I holding up?

WILL
Who's Will, sir?

Leo shoos Will out because he doesn't have code-word clearance. That makes sense because he hasn't been working there long but Will *is* senior staff. When does the code word clearance kick in? And did Will get it after he became Russel's Chief of Staff? (It would appear so because he was considered for Jed's COS and he negotiated with Canada with Kate. Although his clearance still had a limit by Season 7 because the show made a point that Kate knew much more than him.) Questions, questions.

Jed notes that Charlie will force his way to the Oval Office to confirm that Jed's okay while Rons says that everyone has to stay put.

BARTLET
No, I'm telling you that if Charlie heard there were bullets, he's going to overpower whoever's trying to...

Charlie bursts through the door. The President has a little smile on his face. Charlie
looks around and sees that he's come in to a room filled with people.

Aw, there may be something a little silly about Super!Charlie overpowering the Secret Service but what can I say? I'm a sucker for Super!Charlie at times.

CHARLIE
Sorry, Mr. President.

BARTLET
Come here...It's bulletproof glass in the windows, okay. You want to kill me, you're going to have to do it from inside the building.

Charlie's fears are a bit assuaged but Jed is still the joke-master.

BARTLET
I'm surprised your guys managed to keep Fiderer in her chair. I would have thought she'd be the first one through the d... No, here we are.

Debbie comes in from Leo's office.

DEBBIE
Are you all right, Mr. President?

BARTLET
No one was hurt, someone shot at the press briefing room from the sidewalk.

DEBBIE
C.J. went there with Toby and Will.

BARTLET
Will's sitting right outside, and Toby and C.J. are standing right there.

Toby and C.J. raise their hands.



That cap is very cute. On leaving, Debbie gives Jed a stage whisper that they'll need to check his temperature. It's amusing because it looked like Debbie was trying to be discreet and not talk about Jed's delicate hothouse flower health with a bunch of military and Secret Service guys but failed because everyone can hear her stage whisper.

LEO
Ron, there were two incidents of terrorist activity earlier today. A bomb in Malaysia and another in Berlin.

BARTLET
This was just a crazy guy, Leo.

LEO
That was just a third on the phone in Guam. The head of the Office of Insular Affairs was picked off.

BARTLET
Come on.

LEO
By a sniper, Mr. President.

RON
Shut it down! Crash it!

Let us all note that it was not Liz Lemon but instead Ron Butterfield who started the SHUT IT DOWN on an NBC show. Maybe, it's entirely possible someone said it before Ron. Anyway, everyone looks spooked as the West Wing is shut down with drama and red phones and the rest of it.

CJ's on the phone with a reporter in her office and Carol and these guys are watching the news. I bitched about the sexism of CJ needing to be protected on both instances by guys but after this and after the shooting at Rosslyn, she snaps back into her work persona with tremendous strength and self-possession. It is an instance of Sorkin's feminism being half-way and having contradictions that can be difficult to puzzle out.



C.J.
All right, then here it is. "An indeterminate number of shots were fired at the White House at..." I said I thought it was three shots but I want for the agents to...Okay, "At 9:23 pm, striking the Press Briefing Room"...

MSNBC REPORTER
The weapon was a modified M-16.

C.J.
We haven't confirmed any ballistics. Tell your friends to stop saying it was an M-16.

It would be funny if the reporter on the phone got offended and said, "Just because we're reporters doesn't mean we're all *friends*. I really hate that douchebag on MSNBC."

C.J.
All right. The President was in the Oval Office. We've initiated a standard lockdown procedure and are back to conducting the business of the nation... I'll ask him.

CJ hangs up and talk to Carol.

C.J.
He wants to know if the President wants to say something funny.

CAROL
That's twice in four years, some of you guys must really be mad at me?

C.J.
Something funnier than that, but yeah.



Josh notes the strange circumstances to Joe. Then, Joe and Josh get a little weird.

JOE
I heard. You know, I though I heard what sounded like gunshots when we were talking before, but I didn't... Did you hear the shots?

JOSH
No, but I heard a brass quintet playing "The First Noel," so I just assumed somebody somewhere was locked and loaded.

JOE
You know, not for nothing, but the people that I talk to don't believe that story, and the people that you'd like don't care.

I don't know why Josh would start revealing his music-triggered PTSD to a perfect stranger. However, we can easily fanwank that Josh is still suffering inside so his fears and pain leaks out to strangers. It is a little strange that Joe spoke to enough people about Josh's PTSD that he could make that statement. It's a weirdly familiar comment to make to someone who you never met before who is thinking about hiring you. Then, Joe starts making big assumptions about the shooting and Josh smacks them down.

JOE
They have a suspect?

JOSH
Yeah.

JOE
Is he white?

JOSH
I don't know.

JOE
They suspect terrorism?

JOSH
Well, he was shooting a modified M-16. It was terrorism.

JOE
I meant terrorism directed at... National terrorism.

JOSH
[with a small smile] He shot at the White House.

JOE
I think you know what I mean.

JOSH
I have no earthly idea why he shot at us, nor for that matter do I have any reason to believe it was a he.

Donna comes to be Josh's comfortador. More evidence of Donna trying to draw closer to Josh in late S4 (although I do believe that those anti-Jack Reese dynamics are subconscious here and consciously, Donna is just concerned for Josh). Still, Donna hasn't been this solicitous of Josh since Noel. She's concerned for Josh because this shooting is such a big thing but also subconsciously, because she wants to be closer to Josh on a more fulfilling and equal level.

DONNA
They kept me down there until just now. C.J.'s alright?

What.The.Hell?! Toby and Will were there too, Donna! Why only ask after CJ?

JOSH
Yeah.

DONNA
Where were you?

JOSH
I was in here.

DONNA
Do you want anything?

JOSH
No.

DONNA
You know, I'm going to get you some water or something.

Anyway, Donna changes subject to ask about Joe Quincy.

JOSH
He's well qualified, that's for sure... He's personable, and he's confident...

DONNA
But?

JOSH
It's the strangest feeling. It's like a... really good baseball player is standing in the other teams locker room for the first time.

DONNA
You're the baseball player?

JOSH
He's the baseball player.

DONNA
In the other guys locker room?

JOSH
Yeah.

DONNA
I don't understand. Are you writing poetry about this now?

LOL. That is *such* an underrated line.

JOSH
You asked me what I thought of him so far.

DONNA
[smiles] I know. Can I say something? Can I call Stanley Keyworth and tell him maybe you're going to be calling him later?

JOSH
I'm fine. I was in here. I didn't even see it.

DONNA
All right. I'm not going anywhere.



Josh goes in and vents to Joe. Curiously between his venting here and his admission that he heard the classical music through the gunshots, Josh is treating Joe like his personal therapist. You can argue that the conversation about Joe's "Ever feel sad" question on themental health survey foreshadows Josh's mental health and the strange bond that they form here. Observe:

JOE
You don't have any information about the suspect.

JOSH
Right. I got a letter today that said, uh... "You're a lying liar. You lie almost as well as Bartlet." You know, black-white, rich-poor, north-south, odd-even. There may not be anything anymore that outpaces the hatred the right feels for the left or the tonnage of disrespect the left feels for the right. Donna got a letter yesterday that said, "I'm collecting all the guns you've banned, and there's a bullet with your name on it in each one." Donna. The guy's decided to focus his wrath on Donna. He's never met Donna or spoken to her, and he's never met anyone who's met Donna or spoken to her. How's it possible? How's it possible that he hates her so much? How can you not like Donna? She's from Wisconsin! Anyway, 20,000 specific threats made against U.S. targets every year, and with all that, it's still the ones who don't give you advance notice that you're worried about.

I'm not mad at Josh because he has very good reasons to be in pain and this is a fictional drama, designed for deep conversations like this. That said, Deputy COS's really don't have these conversations with people their interviewing for jobs in the Counsel's office.

This diatribe clearly reveals Josh's deep-seated fear and resentment at the antipathy directed at him and the Bartlet administration. That he was a gunshot victim who nearly died makes him all the more sensitive to the hate mail that CJ dismissed in Enemies, Foreign and Domestic or that even Jed (who was a gunshot victim but not nearly as bad) took a casual attitude to in Noel. It also reveals that Josh is in love with Donna, but then that's obvious. The, "How can you not like Donna? She's from Wisconsin!" is cutely romantic but also works as clever meta because Brad Whitford (and his now ex-wife, Jane Kaczmarek) is from Wisconsin.

JOE
I asked about terrorism before because of the lockdown. Procedurally it'd be the kind of thing they'd be likely to do if there had been other incidents in the last few hours.

JOSH
A bombing in Malaysia and another one in Berlin a few hours ago.

They both sit silently for a moment.

JOSH
Might as well use this time for the interview.

Right, the interview!



Toby has quite the sweet tooth this episode. The bubblegum of earlier in the episode and the lollipop of now. Toby's sweet tooth contrasted against his sour, bitter personality is always a great sight gag. It's not as apparent as drinking a big glass of chocolate milk when fighting with Josh in Undecideds but Toby's sweets do seem to be a choice.

CJ is persisting the egg stuff because when you have reasons to feel despair and fear, you need to keep up faith. The theme is really getting a good workout here.

C.J.
You can stand the egg on the equinox because that's when the sun's gravity is lined up directly with the earth's.

TOBY
[sighs and draws a circle with his fingers] Draw a line from the center of the earth to the sun, and at anytime, someplace on earth is on that line..

C.J.
Then maybe for us...

TOBY
C.J., try it. Take an egg, it doesn't work.

C.J.
That's 'cause it's not...

C.J. and TOBY
...the exact moment of the equinox.

C.J.
Yes.

WILL
What is the exact moment of the equinox?

Toby points his finger as if Will is on to something.

C.J.
I don't know... midnight?

WILL
Midnight where?

C.J.
All right, maybe it's not at the exact moment of the equinox. Maybe it's at some point during the equinox and you just have to keep trying, but I've seen it.

Donna and other staffers that the poker game is still going and then CJ and Toby are left alone.



C.J.
Did you know that a day on the moon and a year on the moon are the same thing?

TOBY
I did.

C.J.
I thought my reflexes before, in the Press Room, were cat-like.

Toby smiles around his lollipop. I have no words to describe how much I adore this exchange. One of my favorite CJ/Toby scenes ever!

More international intrigue as Jed has his phone call with Chigorin.

BARTLET
President Chigorin, it's Jed Bartlet again. I'm sorry about being abrupt before, but I bet if you turn on CNN international right now you'll see...

CHIGORIN [through the translator]
My goodness. There was a shooting at the White House.

BARTLET
Yeah, there you go. It's not a big deal, but they shut us down for a little bit.

CHIGORIN [through the translator]
Well, I'm glad no one was hurt.

BARTLET
By the way when they crash the building they don't crash all of it. The Situation Room still works.

WW Screencaps actually got Leo's facial expression so you don't have to wonder how he reacted to that:



BARTLET
Mr. President, a little while ago an unmanned B-UAV drone crashed, we think somewhere inside Kaliningrad, as a matter of fact. Apparently they don't respond, you know, quite the way you'd like when there's a sudden shift in the weather.

Jed asks to retrieve the environmental-mission plane.

CHIGORIN [through the translator]
Well, Mr. President, like yourself, I campaigned on the environment.

Jed is so surprised that Chigorin seems to be buying this that he verifies that the translator got this phrase right. LOL.

CHIGORIN [through the translator]
I'll take a look at those pictures and send them to you with your UAV.

BARTLET
Well, the problem is our UAV's have a self-detonating capability and our people know how to disarm it, and I wouldn't want to put your guys at risk.

CHIGORIN [through the translator]
Well, given the circumstances I'm sure your experts wouldn't mind talking through the steps with our experts.

BARTLET
It's proprietary technology, Peter.

CHIGORIN [through the translator]
To view costal erosion?

BARTLET
I know it seems...

CHIGORIN [through the translator]
Sir, I'm going to interrupt this call at this time to speak with my counterintelligence attaché.

Jed says that this hand of international poker playing isn't working out.
4 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: April 22nd, 2011 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I will start with Charlie bursting through the door. That really indicates the father/son relationship between Charlie and Jed(which will be further illustrated in the following episodes especially WF-the season premire of Season 5. Charlie really would overpower a secret service agent but his friendly terms with the SS(or maybe just Zoey's SS) indicate that they probably just said go ahead. -
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 22nd, 2011 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, that didn't occur to me that the Secret Service just let Charlie in. Feeling a little dumb.
kmbh From: kmbh Date: April 22nd, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Once got into an interesting debate as to whether or not Will, being in uniform, should have saluted his Commander in Chief. We got a military answer but I forgot what was said:(
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 23rd, 2011 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I saw a similar debate, I believe right after the ep aired,...and also forgot the outcome. :-)
4 comments or Leave a comment