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Red Havens on Fire - ww_renaissance
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Red Havens on Fire
Last episode with Sam Seaborn until Season 7. Momentous occasion. I do feel that this episode fails as a send-off for Sam. As an episode, it's well-made and relatively popular. However, I do have my issues. These issues do come more meta than I expected to write on this ep! More on that in the recap:



Say what you will about this episode, it has one of the funniest teasers in the show's history. Toby and Charlie are getting out of prison on bail. The news is reporting on the captured American soldiers in Kundu.



Toby is talking to Josh on Air Force One.

TOBY
Well, Sam's on his way over, and I'll tell you something, if I was someone who felt comfortable hugging other people, I'd give one to Sam 'cause he absolutely impaled himself. So I think the least I can do is bring the Ziegler brand of wisdom to the campaign for the last week, be a role model. By the way, you know what they don't tell you? You can post bond with a credit card.

The best and worst thing about this episode is what a subtle call-back it is to Toby's campaign history. His place in Bartlet for America is a brief blip of being a powerful winner in a life of being a powerless "loser". As we watch Toby be Communications Director, we're watching the big exception to the rule on his professional life. Meanwhile Sam's whole life has been about being a privileged winner. His flame-out in Orange County is the big exception. There's something about Toby dropping his rare point of being a winner to revert to previous form, being a manager for an idealistic, pie-in-the-sky but ultimately spectacularly losing campaign.

It's an excellent story in one sense. However, I do think that it should have been fleshed out more and this episode tried to do too much and bypass fully exploring this important bit. I also think that, ironically, Sam's last episode really became a Toby episode. The irony surrounding Toby's professional life and his feelings drive Sam's storyline on the final yard-line while Sam's conclusion is left entirely open-ended and he acts douchey through the episode and I think his "learn his lesson" moment at the end of the episode is shallow. However, more on all of that as the episode moves on.



Charlie is negotiating his way out of jail and being a cliched Black Man about it.

CHARLIE
Yo, man, that's totally whack!

TOBY
Yeah. Charlie's trying to throw down with the street. It's kind of a sad sight to see.

CHARLIE
I've got American Express. I've got Visa. I could've posted bond and gotten miles, damn it.

Yeah, race cliches but it doesn't bother me much. I think the cliches are presented a good-natured way and the clearest thing that I see is that Charlie is being assertive and proactive at getting himself out of prison so he can do his job so out of frustration, he brings the tough talk. It's not OOC- we've seen Charlie use the dialect of his neighborhood in the past (see 20 Hours in America). Charlie definitely isn't a negative cliche of a Black Man and his personal story is a direct, expectation of how gender and racial roles play in law enforcement (It was his black mother who was a police officer who died in the line of duty. Normally, that heroic role is given to a white man in people's racist and sexist imaginations).

However, I do get how some audience members could be angry at the cliches for humor here, especially in light of how few African Americans there are on this show.

Toby goes to pay his own bail.

OFFICER
Sign, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here. [flips the page] Initial it here, here, here, here, and sign again here.

I insist that this is a call-back to Ron Butterfield also being hilarious with the "here, here, here and here" in Mr. Willis of Ohio.

TOBY
[into cellphone] Excuse me, I think they're making me buy somebody's house.

And I insist that this is foreshadowing for Toby's future house purchase. I'm sure at this point in the series, Sorkin knew that Toby was going to try to buy Andi a house.

It turns that Toby borrowed his cell phone from a bunch of arrested prostitutes. That makes the way from a definite call-back from the first season! The Don Juan of the Call-Girls from Season 1 enters.



TOBY
I'm sorry I missed your rally. That was a hell of a thing you did with the tax plan.

SAM
Thank you.

TOBY
I meant it was really stupid.

Aw, Toby covering his love for Sam. I mean, we just heard him tell Josh, " If I was someone who felt comfortable hugging other people, I'd give one to Sam." Insulting Sam is Toby's way of making sure that he *doesn't* hug Sam. Sam asks what happened with Toby and Charlie.

TOBY
Couple of country club guys were a little lubed. They got into it with Andy. I wanted
them to step back, and he slipped, and his wingman thought I hit him, so he came for me,
and I took care of business.

CHARLIE
You did what?

TOBY
Charlie took care of business.

SAM
You're all right?

CHARLIE
Yeah, I'm all right. You know, when you sit in a cage, you have time to do a lot of thinking.

TOBY
Hurricane, we were in the joint for two hours and 20 minutes, 'kay?

LOL. One of the funniest lines of the episode.

SAM
Yeah. Technically, the President can't fire Scott Holcomb.

TOBY
He was taking it in the wrong direction, Sam, and you know it.

SAM
And you guys are going to take it in the right direction?

TOBY
We made a rough entrance here, but things are looking up now.

SAM
You trapped people at Disneyland, told the French they could stick a loaf of bread up their ass, had a meeting with a Communist, and things are looking up 'cause my new campaign director just made bail.

TOBY
Look, a glass is half full or half... You know, the other thing...

Aw, I love that Toby can't even finish the "glass is half full" expression. It's *really* not Toby as Andi will directly state in Commencement using that very expression.

Toby says that he borrowed his phone from a bunch of call-girls.



Check out Charlie checking the girl next to him out.

SAM
So on a call girl's phone bill, there's going to be a call to Air Force One?

TOBY
You're really going to be teaching the seminar on call girl caution? Really?

Hee!

CHARLIE
Excuse me, but at this point, we're in jail voluntarily-- can we go?

Anyway, Toby insists that his and Charlie's arrests is a non-story.

TOBY
They got the hostages, the President heading to Washington, a flood in Colorado and a
chemical fire in Providence. We got saved.

They exit the police station where a horde of reporters are waiting.



REPORTERS
[clamoring] Mr. Ziegler! Mr. Seaborn! Mr. Young!

TOBY
All right, I called that putt too early.

Well, that's a perfect place for CREDITS.



Jed is watching the news on the plane.

REPORTER [on TV]
Lance Corporal Halley is from Sarasota, Florida. He's 24 years old. He joined the Marine
Corps. two years ago, and he did his basic training at Camp Pendleton. He is married with
a three-year-old daughter. The three were deployed...

BARTLET
How come it's never people with six months to live who are taken hostage? I mean there's
so much of it, you'd think once in a while we'd catch a break.

Josh pulls Donna aside, calling her "Trotsky". Normally, Josh doesn't snark on Donna's failures an entire episode later and and it's pretty rude to do so considering that this humiliation was very public for Donna as it made it's way into one of CJ's briefings. I think that Josh is still sour about Donna's behavior with Jack Reese and the leak and passive-aggressively letting out his anger. Notice that Josh isn't particularly personally affectionate with Donna until Zoey is kidnapped even though Donna is clearly spending that time trying very hard to be closer with Josh from snarking on Josh/Amy in this ep, trying to affirm their partnership as she implies that they'll likely *die* together and get Josh's professional respect in Angel Maintenance, trying to be Josh's comfortador in a way that she hadn't been since Pre-Amy in Evidence of Things Not Seen, then defensively and angrily asserting that she's the only one who really knows Josh to Amy in Commencement and then taking her time in the middle of a national tragedy to jealously bash the Lyman Ho's in 25.

At the end of S4, all of the romantic subtext comes from Donna compared to in the middle of S4 where most of the romantic subtext is coming from Josh. See-Saw relationship with them.



Josh's expression here is so cute and dreamy.

JOSH
The First Lady's going to fly out to California tomorrow and do the President's public
events. Would you let C.J. know that she should stay? She was going to take a red-eye back.

DONNA
Yeah.

JOSH
Also, Charlie should stay and staff the First Lady.

DONNA
Okay, speaking of the First Lady, you have a meeting with Max in the morning.

Donna asks to proofread HHS chapter of the submission for Congress because Josh doesn't normally read this stuff carefully. Plot point, ahead!

Jed gets on the phone with Leo and Fitz who are in the Sit Room.



They arrange a rescue for the American hostage soldiers that according to Fitz, has a seventy percent chance of success.



More intern storyline crap.

WILL
You can't say their plan is the wrong way to stimulate the economy.

LAUREN CHIN
It is the wrong way.

WILL
No, it's not. It won't stimulate the economy at all. It'll stimulate yacht manufacturers. And don't say, "We believe." Make it declarative. 21 and 60.

He looks over and sees Lauren Shelby and Lauren Romano sleeping.

CASSIE
They've been working since very early this morning.

Will picks up a book, drops it on the desk in front of them. They jump.

How did Will inspire the loyalty of young, likely not super-star unpaid campaign workers in the Horton Wilde campaign? I know that Sorkin writes that Will earned these interns' loyalty but his leadership skills seem pretty bad to me. Even taking Sorkin's story on its face, Will has quite the learning curve to be seen as anything but an ass by these women.

WILL
21, you wrote, "Even if it's true that capital gains rewards risk-taking, the plan is bad for the deficit." Why are you conceding their central point? And Lauren Shelby writes, "Rather then give the benefits to the rich, everyone one should get them in equal..." Our plan isn't equal. It raises taxes on the rich.

LAUREN ROMANO
I meant... metaphorically, I suppose.

WILL
Why don't I take this one.

CASSIE
Will, those are remarks for the Deputy Small Business Administrator.

WILL
So anyone sub-cabinet or lower-- it's okay to be a quivering mass of indecision?

CASSIE
I'm saying you have limited time and finite resources. Maybe it'd be best to triage.

I am quite fond of Cassie.

Romano begins to doze off again.

WILL
Do not all asleep again.

LAUREN ROMANO
I thought I saw food on the floor.

CASSIE
They haven't eaten in a while.

WILL
There's food in the Mess.

CASSIE
The Mess closes at 6:00.

WILL
Is it after 6:00?

CASSIE
Yes.

WILL
What time is it?

CASSIE
11:30.

On that note, Will dismisses the interns. When they leave, Elsie yells at Will.

ELSIE
You didn't give them much encouragement.

WILL
I'm not their camp counselor. I need these things done by Monday. The staff quit. I'm not going to pretend these guys are speechwriters, and I'm going to figure out a way to do it myself.

ELSIE
By Monday morning?

WILL
Yes.

ELSIE
Okay, but you've had an attitude about the interns since yesterday.

WILL
I question their commitment.

ELSIE
Well, they're here on a Saturday night, and they don't get paid. You question their commitment?

WILL
"White House Intern" looks good on a resume. Three months from now, two of them will be working at Conde Nast and HBO.

ELSIE
And the other two?

WILL
Will marry Senior Vice Presidents of Conde Nast and HBO.

On that very unlikable note, Will gets on the phone where he redeems himself a bit.

TOBY
Charlie and I got arrested.

WILL
Yeah, I saw it on the news.

TOBY
It made the news out there?

WILL
A Jewish guy won a bar fight-- it's news everywhere.

Toby informs Will that because of Sam's declaration, they're coming out the tax plan sooner and need the public statements then next day. Will panics.

WILL
Get 'em back.

ELSIE
Who?

WILL
The Ronettes. Get them back.

Toby hangs up and returns to Seaborne for Orange County. Hey, Amy's there!]



TOBY
All right, Amy, how much money does he have left?

AMY
$28,500 cash on hand. That's including a loan for $15,000 for targeted radio spots.

TOBY
Yet with regard to money you remain...?

AMY
Cautiously optimistic.

TOBY
Because?

AMY
The reason the campaign's strapped is that Scott Holcamb never tapped Democratic interest groups.

TOBY
Will they write checks this late?

AMY
If they can be convinced Sam's still sucking in some oxygen.

SAM
I'm enjoying this.

TOBY
You're eight points down with ten points up for grabs, and you need them all to break
for you.

SAM
All of them?

TOBY
Yes. Well, look, it's been one of those days. Who would've thought Charlie could bust
us out of the Newport Beach Correctional Facility using nothing but his shoes. Go ahead,
tell them, Charlie.

However, Charlie is watching the hostages on the television and he cornily reports:

CHARLIE
These guys got beaten.

AMY
Is it possible that that happened in the struggle when they were ambushed?

TOBY
No.

CHARLIE
These guys got beaten.



Josh is running a staff meeting and he has a bit of confrontation with Abbey's COS. Lilly Mays apparently is out.

MAX
Can I just ask: Mrs. Bartlet was promised $12 million for immunization education funds at CDC, you've got the full 139 million for vaccines in here. Shouldn't they be earmarked separately?

JOSH
Max, there's no more 12 million.

MAX
Why?

JOSH
I traded.

MAX
You're kidding me.

JOSH
I am not.

MAX
Josh, the First Lady wanted this. No one notified me this was on the table.

Max goes to desperately confide in the guy who just screwed him. Max seems to have a weak character.

MAX
I have to go tell this to the First Lady now.

JOSH
Well, I'd have someone else do it, but it's up to you.

LOL. I loved that moment of truth for How Things Work in Business/Politics.

Cassie comes in before the other interns and Will scolds her and tells her to instruct the group to work harder. It's a douche moment considering that the interns *are* working very hard and missing meals and sleep. Cassie gets defensive and leaves this bombshell:

CASSIE
Man, your sister was right.

WILL
Was she?

CASSIE
Yeah.

WILL
About what?

However before Cassie can answer, the other interns and Elsie come in. Will greets Elsie in a suspicious, pointed way. I will say it's very reminiscent of a sibling who thinks that the other sibling narced on them.



Will lectures everyone on the virtues of progressive taxation, using the salaries of a teacher, doctor and CEO to make his point. However, a member of the peanut gallery has an objection to progressive taxation.

ROMANO
The doctor got into medical school.

WILL
Hmm?

ROMANO
I'm sorry, I said the doctor got into medical school. He had to work hard to do that. And, presumably the CEO has some skills, the value of which the market has placed at $16,400,000.

WILL
Was there a spread on this in Republican Vogue? Bring me whatever you've got in an hour.

On more interesting notes, Abbey is dressed for battle and lurking outside of Josh's door. Josh works for a bit and then is surprised to see her lurking at his door.



JOSH
You're very stealthy, ma'am. I've always liked that about you.

LOL. Josh transparently sucking up to Abbey will never not be hilarious. Brad Whitford and Stockard Channing should have had more scenes together because them together always equals hilarity. I often wonder who Josh liked more: Helen Santos or Abbey Bartlet. I think he may have respected Abbey more but the last thing that Josh wanted was a formidable advocate in the First Lady. ("I don't like it when the Presidents listens to anyone that isn't me.")

ABBEY
You outwitted my chancellor, you bested my swordsman.

JOSH
I haven mentioned this in a while, ma'am, but I think you and the President are a perfect couple.

LOL. That and Will's "Jewish guy wins a bar-fight" line are tied for second place line of the episode. I'll say what IMO the best line is when it comes up.

ABBEY
I wanted that 12 million.

JOSH
Me, too, but at the end of a prize fight, you look at the guy who's dancing around, and that's who won.

ABBEY
Why doesn't my agenda get anywhere in these negotiations?

JOSH
Well, can I ask you, ma'am, why do you think?

ABBEY
Because you're a political snob who doesn't think the First Lady belongs on the starboard side of the building?

JOSH
Wrong.

ABBEY
Wrong what?

JOSH
Wrong, ma'am.

JOSH
The President and Leo make their decisions by listening to and participating in vigorous
debate. This isn't school. I work with people who can play.

ABBEY
You're comfortable being this condescending with me?

That's another thing that I adore about Abbey. Other than maybe Lou and Amy, Abbey makes a point of demanding respect and quashing condescension more than most of the women in the cast. Nancy has never been respected, perhaps because of her military cred. CJ is more of a "pick her battles" type and Donna is fairly erratic on when she makes a point of demanding respect. However, Abbey delivers excellent smack-downs all the time when senior staffers undervalue her.



JOSH
Yes, ma'am.

ABBEY
Why?

JOSH
Because I won-- I always do-- and you came here for my advice.

ABBEY
Max...

JOSH
Max is an idiot.

ABBEY
Max is my nephew.

JOSH
No kidding. He doesn't understand the budget process, he doesn't understand committee
structure, he thinks decisions are made in meetings...

ABBEY
This is an extremely--

JOSH
...and he can't play at this level. Mrs. Bartlet, you're the First Lady, you need a Chief
of Staff, a real one. If you want your agenda taken seriously, put a professional face on it.



Abbey has "Idea Face". This doesn't bode well for Josh at all.



See. Beach scene. Toby/Sam slashers *are* onto something. Anyway Toby is being so authoritarian about Sam staying on message (that California's beaches as treasures that should be environmentally protected) that Sam peevishly wonders if Toby just wants a ventriloquist/puppet master relationship. Sam found his spine *after* Scott Holcomb left the building (Although, I still recall [Bad username: jean_c_pepper's] point that many campaign managers contractually insist on running the show and Toby likely isn't supported by such a contract because this has become such a duct-taped hasty mission.)

Sam's protest aside, he still follows instructions. CJ walks over to chat with Toby. I remember when I was watching it for the first time, I didn't even recognize CJ until she spoke between the big sunglasses, her heavy S4 bangs and the bright sunshine as opposed to the usual artificial office lights.



C.J.
He looks youthful.

TOBY
Yes.

C.J.
And energetic.

TOBY
Yes.

C.J.
He looks youthful and energetic. Do we have anything he can jump over?

LOL. It's clear that CJ's purpose in this short scene is to snark because she follows it by asking Toby if he's even been on a beach before in his life and Toby makes his standard hang-dog expression.



Debbie tells Jed which family members of the American soldier hostages are in the Mural Room. Jed is understandably apprehensive about taking on his role as "Comforter in Chief" mixed with "Commander in Chief". However, these scenes end up losing a lot of their bunch because Jed only has one scene with these people and then turns over to Leo. It ends up failing as a point of character-development for Jed who was always uncomfortable about being in charge of the military. The scenes end up dragging and feeling irrelevant.



Jed introduces himself to the family members. This part with Jed and the three year old daughter of one of the soldiers is very hammy.

BARTLET
Are you Betty?

BETTY HALLEY
Yeah.

BARTLET
Are you three years old?

BETTY
Yeah.

BARTLET
Are you scared now?

She looks down and doesn't respond.

BARTLET
Don't be.

He shoos Betty to hang with Debbie. I prefer Jed/kids much in In Elelxius Deo. Then Debbie says a line so creepy that I have to believe that it was inserted for comedic purposes.

DEBBIE
We'll be just on the other side of that door. Come on, Betty. I know a lot about you.



This racist, confrontation, annoying older lady named Martha is the lead representative of the family members. Unfortunately, she gets like 90 percent of lines and the rest of the family members are mostly silent. She's also a fairly poor actress, especially by the acting standards of this show. It's just like my issues with Molly in The Long Goodbye where I feel like I *should* empathize with these women who are going through horrible experiences but the actresses playing them and especially in Martha's case, the dialog that represents them, are so terrible that I end up hating on them.

MARTHA
No one can tell us anything. The picture is real?

BARTLET
Yeah. It was taken off of Kundunese TV.

MARTHA
Ah. They have TV?

Oh, shut up Martha. Anyway, the family members try to ask questions about the condition of their loved ones but Jed can't answer their questions. Finally Martha pounces more like someone trying to score points off of Jed than someone genuinely sad and worried for her son and mocks Jed's inability to give them information in a deadpan. Leo calls out Jed and they head to the Sit Room to hear Fitz's ideas for a rescue for the hostages.

FITZWALLACE
Well, they're going to subdue sentries and visible guards; they've got heavy sniper
rifles and the CIA wet team.

LEO
What's the timetable?

FITZWALLACE
47 minutes to get there from the President's go order. That's radio silence. Two hours
to get it done.

BARTLET
Why a wet team?

FITZWALLACE
Excuse me, sir?

BARTLET
Why the CIA wet team? We're not near water.

FITZWALLACE
No, sir, it's called... They call it a wet team because it's bloody.

For a little television show synergy, here is a similar conversation defining wet-works on Season 4 of Buffy.

Willow: What's wetworks?
Xander: Scuba-type stuff.
Anya: I thought it was murder.
Xander: Well, yeah, but there could be underwater murder, with snorkels.

Anyway, Jed delivers is Go Order. Here's his Resolute Face while doing it.





Elsie was put in charge of delivering the interns' work to Will because they're all afraid of him. Way to be a leader and establish productive working relationships, Bailey! When do the rice-krispies treats kick in with the interns. Anyway, Will gets pissy with Elsie.

WILL
What did Cassie mean when she said "Your sister was right about you?"

ELSIE
What'd you mean?

WILL
She said, "Man, your sister was right about you."

Elsie tries to avoid answering Will because she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. However when he starts angrily and pomopously tearing down the interns' work, she gets her righteous anger on by telling him what she told Cassie.

ELSIE
Hardass.

WILL
What?

ELSIE
Cassie said, "So, what's the deal with your step brother?" And I said, "He's a very sweet
hardass."

WILL
You did?

ELSIE
Yeah.

WILL
And she said, "Your sister was right about you."

ELSIE
She probably meant that you were sweet.

WILL
Nah, I don't think she did.

ELSIE
How do you know?

WILL
Because.

ELSIE
Willy..

Will throws his head back violently in disgust.

WILL
Don't call me that!

Elsie has had enough of this crap so she's going to bring the 1950s references with a vengeance as she recaps the last four episodes.

ELSIE
Sputnik crashed down on your head overnight. You were concentrating on one speech, and suddenly you're deputy director, and the director's a continent away, and the speechwriting staff quit!

WILL
Because of me.

ELSIE
Because they're idiots! And the tax plan's out two days early, and you weren't here for the nine months before, so you're cramming it. And you're taking it all out on four defenseless interns who, by the way, think Sputnik's crashed down on their heads too!

Will tells Elsie to leave. He just touches the fragile and taped-up glass dividing his and Toby's offices and it breaks. It's a decent sight-gag but this show excells at these kinds of gags and this comes up a little short.





The Ladies Who Lunch. Abbey is fundraising hard for Sam at a luncheon honoring the "Bartlet Women" and Amy is sitting at the front table with the other honorees.

ABBEY
"The DNC honors the Bartlet women." Well, I assume you're talking about my daughters and my mother-in-law, beacuse if the DNC's honoring my husband's skanky ex-girlfriends...

Hee! Although, would the First Lady really say "skank" at a formal political luncheon? I think not. Even Hillary Clinton never said "skank" when there were actual skanks to be talked about compared to this comment by Abbey which just seems like an occaision to work the word in. Anyway, Abbey goes down the table honoring the Bartlet Women who are all female politicos and policymakers who got great stuff done during Jed's first term from education reforms to getting health care coverage for low-income parents. While Abbey is gracioulsy honoring these women, Amy is being less than graceful. Amy knocks a candle down and then there's a small fire which Amy tries to put out discreetly but then it gets bigger so Amy put it out loudly and embarassingly when Abbey gets to her. It's a *much* funnier sight-gag than Will's broken window.



ABBEY
And Amy Gardner, who's had seven jobs in three years.

A little harsh, Abigail? Amy, of course, is humiliated. That's probably my least favorite Abbey moment of the first four years. Amy is embarassed enough. No need to compound it with a smackdown on her professional disappointments in front of a bunch of female Democrats. Also, I don't know about seven jobs. However of the three jobs that we've seen Amy hold, she lost one because Abbey's husband's administration bribed her boss to switch position, she lost the second because her candidate graciously ducked out the presidential race IMO partially at Amy's suggestion and her third job is a noble suicide mission on Sam's campaign to help him out.

I'd like to attribute a little shrewdness to Abbey's rudeness instead of just calling it pure bitchery and say that Abbey was already thinking of hiring Amy as her COS and she wanted to manipulate and bring Amy down a few notches so she would more easily acede. I kind of like meanness more with a good purpose instead of just indiscriminate rudeness for the sake of being "funny" Being the COS to the First Lady is a nice position but on its surface, it probably seems a little frou-frou to someone as hardnosed and aggressive as Amy, especially since Amy's professional causes mean more than her personal loyalities any day of the week.

ABBEY
On behalf of the DNC, on behalf of the White House, on behalf of the President, I thank you very much. And let's send Sam Seabourn to Congress! Thank you!



Amy tries to make nice with Abbey outside.

AMY
I'm so sorry, Ma'am, I was reaching for the water glass, misjudged the angle on the candle and, as you saw, one thing led to another.

ABBEY
How did you live with Josh Lyman?

AMY
I'm sorry?

ABBEY
How did you live with him? He beat Max out of the 12 million earmarked for vaccine education and when I said I wanted the 12 million, he said, "So did I. And at the end of the prizefight, you look at the guy who's dancing around and that's who won." So I wanna know, how did you live with him?

AMY
We never technically lived together, which was the subject of many...

LOL. I'd say that I wonder who was on what side but I kind of think that Amy wanted to live together and Josh did not. It's not entirely gender stereotypes (although I'll cop to some subconcious bit of that). I just always felt that Amy was more invested in the two of them long-term. Josh cared deeply for Amy and he never lied to her but I do think that he subconciously saw himself long-term with Donna before Amy.

ABBEY
Don't you wanna kill him when he says things like that?

AMY
My problem is I wanna jump him when he says things like that.

ABBEY
Where'd you get your mouth?

AMY
Brown and then Yale Law School.

I love her so much! Amy is my homegirl. Anyway, this older woman named Alana wants to come up and speak with Abbey. Abbey clearly doesn't like Alana and asks Amy to save her. Eagle-eyed viewers! This is Alana Waterman, who we will later see in the capacity of Toby's lawyer in Season 7. Same name, same actress, different haircolor.



ALANA
Abbey, you were charming.

ABBEY
It's good to see you, Alana.

ALANA
I'm not sure if you saw my op/ed this morning..

ABBEY
I did.

AMY
Me too.

Alana tries to ignore Amy.

ALANA
Well, what I wanted to say was...

AMY
I thought it was teriffic, if that counts for anything.

ALANA
Thank you. Obviously...

AMY
And courageous.

ALANA
I'm sorry?

AMY
I say, I thought it was courageous. Because the leadership wanted fair pay done quietly, so it didn't become necessary for the moderate Republicans to make it a symbol of left-wing overreaching. Not like the President doesn't have enough problems, but you said, "Screw the leadership." And I think that's courageous. Ironically, I have a hunch that the first lady could have been brought on board fair pay if she had been lobbied more, what's the word, more, you know, professionally. Rather than being embarrased in this morning's newspaper, Alana.

I adore the sneaky smile on Amy's face. There's something about the way Mary Louise Parker relishes her speech around, "What's the word, more, you know, professionally". Alana tries to hide her embarrassment while Abbey smiles like she has her very own Josh Lymanesque bulldog in Amy. Between Abbey's expression here and Jed's "True or false, Josh, my life would be better if you and your girlfriend swapped jobs", the Bartlets got the Josh/Amy duality before anyone else.

ALANA
Lovely remarks today, Ma'am. That's all I came over to say.

Abbey gives Amy a "What the hell?!" look even though it's clear that Abbey enjoyed every minute of Amy's smackdown.

AMY
You said, "Save me."

ABBEY
I meant, walk me to the other side of the room or something.



Leo is sitting with the soldiers' families. Martha Rowe is spoiling for a fight.

ROWE
So this is what it looks like from where you are, Mr. McGarry?

LEO
I'm sorry?

ROWE
I said, this is what it looks like from where you are.

LEO
I'm sorry, Mrs. Rowe, I still don't follow...

ROWE
The comfortable chairs and the body guards.

LEO
I'm sorry, I'm still not... I can tell you if it's just a matter of..When the U.S. is
involved in a military conflict anywhere in the world, the chief of staff is given increased security. It's just.. is that what you meant?

ROWE
I meant that the Bartlet people aren't ones for joining the service. Did you serve?

LEO
I did. I flew F-105's for the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing.

ROWE
During a war?

LEO
Yeah. The war in Vietnam.

ROWE
I apologize, sir. My mistake.

LEO
That's alright.

Dayum, Martha! You just got schooled! One of the soldiers' father, Mr. Hernandez, desperately tries asking if Leo knows if the soldiers are being tortured. Leo can't tell them. Although, the news did show that the soldiers were beaten horribly even it wasn't definitive on prolonged torture.



On Sunday evening, Donna reads Josh a fax from Amy that seems to be about campaign updates. In the middle, a female aid rushes up to Josh.



MADDI TATEM
Hey Josh? Did you sign of on 30 million from the immunization fund to be ear marked for immunization education?

JOSH
Yep.

MADDI
Really?

JOSH
Yep.

MADDI
I thought you settled that with the First Lady's office.

JOSH
Yeah. Wait, what?

MADDI
Hi, how you doing? Maddi Tatem, we've worked together for two years.

LOL. I'm always amused by the fact that staffers who aren't Donna, Jed or senior staff tend to think that Josh is a bit of a douchebag. (Although to be fair, I'm sure that even Donna/Toby/CJ/Sam/Will/Leo/Jed would cop to the fact that Josh, despite his many nice qualities, is a bit of a douchebag.)

MADDI
You moved 40 million from nutrition services in the...

JOSH
I didn't move anything.

MADDI
It's in the HHS final.

JOSH
Let me see this.

He takes the paper, and looks at it for a second.

JOSH
This isn't what we had this morning.

MADDI
They said the changes were made in the galleys. Didn't you proofread it?

JOSH
[to Donna] I don't know. Did I proofread it?

DONNA
Yeah, but you proofread it to make sure "capital" was spelled with an "a" and not an "o", you didn't proofread it to..

JOSH
..to make sure it reflected the changes we agreed to? I didn't do that.

DONNA
Not as such. No.

JOSH
[to Maddi] Who moved the money?

MADDI
I don't know.

JOSH
Whoever moved the money knows that I don't proofread these things.

MADDI
Well, then, it must have been Max.

JOSH
Max doesn't know anything.

MADDI
Then I give up.

JOSH
[sarcastically] Boy, really leaving no stone unturned, aren't ya?

DONNA
Don't yell at her.

JOSH
[to Donna] Read me the rest of the fax.

DONNA
What?

JOSH
How did she... Read me the fax.

Josh is as smart as a whip. He totally called that it was Amy.

DONNA
"...latter on promise of opposition to partial birth ban. Mrs. B says you're encouraging her to hire a new chief of staff, need Treasury breakdown of cap. gains cut, First Lady took your advice; she just hired me. Weather is 74 degrees and partly cloudy...Well, a whole new chapter begins.

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! "A whole new chapter begins" is my second favorite Donna line ever. (It ranks after "You know what we're finally going to have?" "A WASPY old man on the Supreme Court?" from The Short List.) This line is juuuuust the right amount of meta because as much as I love Josh/Amy, that relationship totally deserved the snark.

However buried within Donna's snark on Josh/Amy, it's also important to remember that the Josh/Amy relationship, by authorial design, is meant to be a recurring subplot in the overall Book of Josh/Donna. Donna is being a little unaware of all of of that but even that makes sense. Donna watches the soap opera that is Josh and Amy without even being aware that her own feelings for Josh are the stuff of "Will they, won't they" television drama romance.



Toby is shaking sand out of his shoes. CJ is in a decent, though unspectacular, evening gown. Toby starts kvetching about still having sand in his shoes. CJ takes that opportunity to break into a 1940sesque jazzy song about sand in shoes. LOL. She accentates the song by swaying her hips like a 1940s singer. Why does this episode insist on barely showing CJ and just including enough scenes of hers to remind me of how much more fun this show is when she's around?



Charlie looking handsome.

CHARLIE
Mrs. Bartlet would like you to know that at the D Triple C tonight, she wants to change her remarks and talk about the House vote on the nutrition assistance program.

C.J.
I don't think that's a good idea.

TOBY
Why not?

C.J.
'Cause it's a black tie event. And when she talks about poor women wearing a $4000 Mercritia dress, she looks like Marie Antoinette.

TOBY
She's right.

C.J.
I am. So, you should tell her that, Charlie.

CHARLIE
I'm sorry?

C.J.
You should tell her not to talk about the House vote.

CHARLIE
You want me to tell Mrs. Bartlet she's gonna look like a dilettante?

C.J.
I once had to tell the President he was wearing two different shoes.

CHARLIE
That's roughly the same.

Sam comes out in a tizzy about Toby "polishing up" Sam's remarks and making the rhetoric more aggressive and liberal. Problem #1, this is Sam's last episode (until the unforseeable Season 7) and he hasn't been in the episode since Act 2. Problem #2, Sam championed sticking by core Democratic principles aggressively in the last episode and that's a terrific send-off for him but that's been abanonded to show Toby as the Conscience as Sam's expense. Problem #3, Sam is rather rude to CJ in his last scene with her. Problem #4, it's a reminder that Sam has no proper goodbye in this episode or on leaving the White House with any other character but Toby. Some of this seems realitic but it kind of leaves a hole in the hearts of viewers who loved Sam and wanted a proper goodbye.

SAM
"Charles Darwin-omics" for the Chamber of Commerce. "Trickle-down
travesties.."

C.J.
That was mine.



Sam sarcastically dismisses CJ with a thumbs up shown above. Charlie and CJ leave and Sam and Toby stay to bat this out a bit.

SAM
They're well-paid technology workers. What happened to courting undecideds?

TOBY
That's what we're doing.

SAM
Darwin-omics at the Chamber of Commerce tonight? That's flamethrower language.

TOBY
You don't wanna be a flamethrower?

SAM
I didn't say that.



Jed is impatient waiting for news on the rescue. Finally, they hear over the radio that the soldiers were rescued but then Leo gets a message, "Red Haven's on fire." It's not just the title of this episode because it also indicates that suicide bomb went off on a base in Ghana. It feels brutally ironic that right when they got the happy news that the soldiers were rescued, new death and catastrophe comes in to play. Leo goes to inform the families of their good news. It seems strange that this was Leo's job instead of Jed's. Normally, it's the President who gives this kinds of news to the soldiers' families and Leo would be more likely to process new information about the bomb in Ghana. This seems a little Freaky Friday for Jed's and Leo's typical roles.



Debbie is spending time with the families and taking tough questions.

ROWE
Can you tell us this? Why were these boys sent to a place I've never heard of? And to kill people I've never heard of?

DEBBIE
That's a complicated question.

ROWE
I'm a smart lady.

This exchange is interrupted when Leo comes in with the good news. The families are very relieved and happy.



Still, Leo's got no poker face and can't be bluffin' with his muffin. Martha sees through him.

ROWE
Leo, what aren't you telling us?

LEO
The boys are fine, Mrs. Rowe.

ROWE
But something has happened.

LEO
It appears there has been a terrorist retaliation at the makeshift camp we set up in Ghana to practice for the rescue. 17 staff and administrators were killed.

The room is somber again and Leo leaves.



Will comes in and has a rather nice scene with the interns.

WILL
Listen to this. "Our taxes aren't a penalty, as hard as that is to believe. They are the price we pay for our roads and bridges. And they're the way we look after the least among us. The sign and signal of our obligations to each other and to our own best selves."

LAUREN CHIN
That's nice. Did you write that?

WILL
No. You did.

LAUREN CHIN
I didn't write that.

WILL
You did. I painted it, but it's yours.

Will does the same thing with one of the other interns.

WILL
Which one of you is Shelby and which is Romano?

LAUREN ROMANO
I'm Romano.

WILL
[apologetically] "A spread in the Republican Vogue?" What was that supposed to be, clever?

LAUREN ROMANO
You're entitled.

WILL
A guy's entitled to shout stupid things at a ballpark. Doesn't make me want to follow his lead, you know? The answer to your question about why the MD should accept a greater tax burden in spite of the fact that his success is well earned is called the veil of ignorance.
Imagine before you're born you don't know anything about who you'll be, your abilities, or your position. Now design a tax system.

LAUREN ROMANO
Veil of ignorance?

WILL
John Rawls. We rescued the hostages, but suicide bombers killed 17 US soldiers in Ghana.
This'll be what we're talking about tomorrow, so I'm gonna put the tax plan aside and work on this. You all did well. I'll see you tomorrow.

When Will leaves, the interns spring into action. See, Will? You only had to treat them with some respect and show them what they could do to get them to care. Next stop in the benevolent leadership? Rice krispies treats?



Last Sam scene until Season 7. Despite my griping about the execution of Sam's exit storyline, Aaron Sorkin did do a lot right with the idea. I named some of the good stuff above- loved the idea that Sam left by running for congress, good buildup at the start of the season, great contrast here of Sam and Toby in the continuing spirit of their different personalities forging a partnership, etc. It feels right on every level that Sam's last scene and most proper "goodbye" is with Toby because that was really the most important relationship that Sam had on the show.

SAM
You packed the office park with bodies from Labor! AFL, teamsters, it was like the cast of a James Cagney movie. The reason for the event was to talk to wired workers.

TOBY
I didn't want a half-empty rally, and the wired workers are wired to Webb.

SAM
We spent through the day in one-on-ones with Planned Parenthood, Families America, AARP. You think any of those people are gonna vote for Webb on Election Day?

TOBY
Your concern is that those people are gonna stay home and do laundry on Election Day.

SAM
And now I'm supposed to go into Chamber of Commerce and do a chorus and two verses of "Titans of Corporate Greed"?

TOBY
Problem?

SAM
It's the Chamber of Commerce. The titans are the ones in the room.

Sam's still being a bit of a weeine. Still, it opens a great line for Toby.

SAM
I'm saying you had me preaching to the choir.

TOBY
Yeah.

SAM
Why?

TOBY
'Cause that's how you get 'em to sing.

However, Toby then tops himself when Sam frets about the story being about his loss.

TOBY
No. The story's going to be that you actually stuck up for what you believed in, you
didn't cut and run. And people are gonna remember that, I'm gonna make sure of it.

SAM
I'm gonna lose.

TOBY
Yeah.

SAM
There's no chance of a miracle?

TOBY
No.

SAM
Then why are you here?

TOBY
You're gonna lose, and you're gonna lose huge. They're gonna throw rocks at you next week, and I wanted to be standing next to you when they did.

SAM
[sarcastically] Oh, really?

TOBY
Yeah.

Sam is touched. Again, I love how their relationship came full circle. The Golden Boy and the Man Tested Time and Again by Loss and Disappointment. Sam's dramatic loss here and Toby's unflinching suppport is the perfect end to the Sam/Toby relationship and character contrasts. Sam and Toby do the big hug that's been in the works since Arctic Radar when Sam asked if Toby wanted a hug on his way out of the White House. Sam muffles into Toby's shoulder:

SAM
I'm just getting creamed. I'm just getting worked.

TOBY
You're not imagining it.

Awwwwww! That's one of the sweetest moments on the show. The bartender tells them about the bombing in Ghana and Toby ends the scene on a heartwarming but somber toast.

TOBY
God Bless the President of the United States and Sam Seaborn.

Goodbye, Sam! I'm going to miss you and picspamming your beautiful face.
13 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
iluvsockz From: iluvsockz Date: April 11th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Bye Sam :( If only the forces of demanding actors and directors had worked out better!

I always have so much to say whilst I am reading these recaps but then by the time I get to the bottom I've forgotten it all. I should start taking notes.

Anyway, the main thing I remembered today - you mentioned the comparison between Will treating people well on the Horton Wilde campaign compared to in this episode. In my mind, although he did treat the interns apallingly badly, I allow him a little slack because the position he was in must be enormously stressful. Not his fault that all the staff quit - on a side note, one of my least favourite events - do people really quit their White House jobs en masse simply because they do not like their new boss? It seems hopelessly unrealistic!
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 11th, 2011 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I so wish Rob Lowe stayed on the show. I still love the show after he left but it definitely lost something.

The White House speechwriting staff quitting en masse was so contrived and unrealistic! I cut Will a *little* slack too but the show cuts him a *ton* more slack than he deserves so I get a little cranky on my meta with him in this storyline.
skywaterblue From: skywaterblue Date: April 11th, 2011 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, that Alana Waterman callback - don't think I've EVER noticed that before. Sweet.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 11th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I've rewatched this show an embarassing amount of times. I didn't catch that this was Alana Waterman on my first time rewatching it after Season 7 or my second time rewatching it or...
skywaterblue From: skywaterblue Date: April 11th, 2011 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought you were saying that they recast the same actress as a different character and I was like 'unusually sloppy, I agr... WAIT.'
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: April 11th, 2011 01:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow- I did not realize that Alana Waterman was Toby's lawyer in Season 7, but that's just the little detail that the producers of this show like to throw in to see if you're watching.
I think I enjoy the following episode better. I don't have much to say on this one.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 11th, 2011 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for commenting, anyway! You always comment so seriously on all of the episodes- I really appreciate that! Looking foward to seeing what you have to say about the very silly Privateers.
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: April 12th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I enjoy Privateers because it is an Amy episode. I like Amy. The result of my query on the JD talk list on Yahoo was that most of the JD fans hate Amy. Like it or not, she is written in WW canon as Josh's friend and Privateers is a good example of this. I will most likely expound on it once you post it.
pocochina From: pocochina Date: April 11th, 2011 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Charlie has always made me laugh in that opener. I kinda think he's screwing with them and playing around with being a Black Dude Posting Bond...but he wants to get his miles, dammit!

Yeah, I don't see Josh as ever taking the lead in big relationship stuff. Amy would've been the one to bring up moving in together.

I feel guilty about not being particularly impressed with Martha either, she's too contrived as the voice of Bartlet's guilt/discomfort at his CIC role. The other family members I do find sympathetic, but she doesn't work for me. She's a smart lady! Who's SHOCKED AND APPALLED that there's armed security in the West Wing, doesn't know that there are televisions in Africa, and is Righteously Indignant that the CoS doesn't hand out military strategic details to anyone who asks!

SAM AND TOBY MAN-LOVE. TRUE BROMANCE. Awwww, his little puppy-dog face, he was really keeping hope alive there.

I wonder if Sam's first big flame-out is deliberately situated with Amy's umpteenth flame-out ending up with her in the East Wing? Don't worry, kids, he'll be fine! Particularly as Toby is setting him up to lose in a way that lays the framework for Sam conceivably being elected a CA senator someday.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 11th, 2011 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Charlie has always made me laugh in that opener. I kinda think he's screwing with them and playing around with being a Black Dude Posting Bond...but he wants to get his miles, dammit!

LOL. Charlie is a sly fox.

I feel guilty about not being particularly impressed with Martha either, she's too contrived as the voice of Bartlet's guilt/discomfort at his CIC role. The other family members I do find sympathetic, but she doesn't work for me. She's a smart lady! Who's SHOCKED AND APPALLED that there's armed security in the West Wing, doesn't know that there are televisions in Africa, and is Righteously Indignant that the CoS doesn't hand out military strategic details to anyone who asks!


THIS! Exactly how I feel about Martha word for word but stated more eloquently and neatly than I did. I did like the othet family members. I thought the actor who played Mr. Hernandez was very quietly effective.

I wonder if Sam's first big flame-out is deliberately situated with Amy's umpteenth flame-out ending up with her in the East Wing? Don't worry, kids, he'll be fine! Particularly as Toby is setting him up to lose in a way that lays the framework for Sam conceivably being elected a CA senator someday.

Very interesting. I think you may be right about that. I always think of Amy's East Wing as so temporary but I kind of think that if Sorkin was still at the helm in S5, Amy would have stayed on as COS. I also don't know if I'm remembering things incorrectly but I thought that MLP didn't want to be a regular on this show either because she got pregnant (with douchey Billy Crudup) or because she got other career opportunities around S5 of TWW.

Anyway, I do kind of think that this "flame out/get a job" duality has a message especially if Sorkin was envisioning Amy as more of a permanent fixture.
laurenba From: laurenba Date: April 14th, 2011 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I have always been a big fan of Abby, but I just completely dislike her in this ep. I find her quite the uppity bitch, frankly, in complaining to Josh about her $12 million. I generally like that she commands -- and expects -- respect, but I think that she was quite entitled in that scene and it bugged me. And the "I hope this isn't about my husband's skanky ex-girlfriends" scene was wildly inappropriate. I felt sorry for Amy being called out in a total afterthought way -- and so humilitating -- for having had 5 jobs in 7 years. Really shabby. Yuck.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 14th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Totally agree re: Abbey's public bitchiness with Amy and the inappropriateness of the "skanky ex-girlfriends line". This really is not a great episode for her.

Although I do like her hard-nosed approach to the $12 million. She wasn't personally entitled to the money but she clearly was lead to believe that the First Lady's office successfully lobbied for that immunization education money for the CDC and she found out on the final yardline that Josh outplayed Max and that's why the CDC isn't getting their promised money. It seems like a reasonable time to start pulling rank and walking into Josh's office pissed even though there's clearly nicer ways of handling the situation. It's flawed, no question, but I still liked her through that scene.
Nora Carrington From: Nora Carrington Date: June 1st, 2013 07:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Jed didn't *have* any ex-girlfriends, skanky or otherwise. He was going to be a priest before he met her, fercrisakes.

I had no problems with Amy up until Commencement, when she sandbagged Donna with the "are you in love with Josh" BS.
13 comments or Leave a comment