Election Day (Part 2)

Episode Reviews (21)

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  • 10

    Thanks, Boss.

    By nhubi, Apr 25, 2007

    Last episode former Bartlett Administration chief of staff and current vice-president nominee Leo McGarry was discovered unconscious. We know what happens to Leo this week because we know what happened to John Spencer in late 2005. Spencer - a gritty well-worn actor – died of a heart attack before the final clutch of West Wing episodes were filmed; and now Leo follows. That this should cast a pall over the proceedings is no surprise. What is perhaps more surprising is the particular intensity of that pall. Suffice to say, when we see the incumbent president shed a tear, it is impossible not to wonder whether the tear has fallen simply because Bartlett is mourning Leo, or also because Martin Sheen is mourning Spencer. Death is a serious matter in itself, that said this episode depicting Election Night and its aftermath, could not be dedicated to simply mourning Leo. Personal tragedy for a politician is never simply personal and Leo’s death, which occurs hours before West Coast polling booths close to decide the Santo-Vinick race, becomes a catalyst for the sort of debates for which the West Wing has been famed. As has commonly been the case inside the Bartlett Administration, personal principles must be weighed against potential political gain. For Democrat candidate Matt Santos’ team, the question is whether to immediately inform the public of his running mate’s death, and risk losing the votes of risk-adverse voters. Republican candidate Arnie Vinick meanwhile is being pressed by his campaign to draw attention to Santos’ inexperience, which will no longer be offset by Leo’s many years of service. Even with Leo’s death casting gloominess over proceedings, this episode still offers the adrenaline rush that you would expect from a West Wing election night. The regionalism of the American body politic and the vagaries of the electoral college lend themselves easily to drama, which the writers take advantage of, and without spoiling the outcome, I can say that the race is close enough to give Santos staffer Josh Lyman cause to say words along the lines of those that we might henceforth expect in every election in this Diebolded, hanging chad-affected era: “Every Lawyer we’ve got, get ‘em to Oregon and Nevada.” It’s hard-nosed, pragmatic thinking. Leo, you guess, wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.moreless

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  • 9.5

    The election results are put into perspective by tragedy

    By DHPLover, Jul 04, 2006

    I watched this episode with a sense of trepidation for a couple of reasons. The longer I kept this episode without watching it meant that there was still another six to see. But I was also dreading seeing the death of one of my favourite actors and characters.

    What could have been a heavy handed approach to tragedy (but that’s not something one would associate with THE WEST WING), instead played out as a very touching, beautifully crafted forty minutes of television. The writers need to be congratulated by how seamlessly they moved the audience from tears of sorrow, to joy and then back again.

    A true heartbreaking piece of drama.


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  • 9.7

    a great final strech for this series

    By raimondo, May 07, 2006

    a moving and well writen episode, the actor have done a great job on delivering some tru feelings for the los os a co-actor of this series. Even if in real life there is no recolection of a vice president runner up has die, the directors make a fenomenal job on shifting the episode line to cope wit the death in real life or the actor that plays leo in this series. Is obvious in this episode the sentiment and true felling that all the cast had for leo in real life. Will be sad to see this series end this year since i think this is one of the best series i had ever seenmoreless

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  • 9.0

    I enjoyed this episode, though knowing the conclusion of Leo's storyline, i still cried my heart out.

    By kittyprow, Apr 17, 2006

    As a viewer of 7 years now, Leo McGarry was one of my favourite characters. His scenes with Martin Sheen, could make me laugh and cry.

    I'm glad that the death was worked into the plot of the show, I would have hated Leo to become an off camera presence, his character and John Spencer himself deserved to have some kudos for his work.

    In this episode, it was really upsetting to see a cast obviously grief stricken, show that kind of emotion without being over the top, as unfortunately this is a television show, and as the saying goes it must go on.

    I thought Bradley Whitford, Martin Sheen and Allison Janey especially were wonderful, as they always are.


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  • 8.0

    Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! Santos won the election. Blah… To say that the election results were a surprise would be a gross hyperbole to anyone who follows the show.

    By edmorita, Apr 17, 2006

    It was obvious just based on the disproportional amount of screen time that Santos had this season that the writers were grooming him to be the next president. However, all of this took a back seat to the thing that fans have been anticipating for months. With the unfortunate death of John Spencer, VP candidate, and fan favorite, Leo had to be laid to rest. Actors, and characters alike were faced with dilemma of continuing on without a beloved friend and colleague. John Spencer and Leo will be sorely missed by fans who were deprived of a truely great man.moreless

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  • 10

    While the election results are coming in the Santos campaign gets hit with shocking news.

    By retroboy7777, Apr 12, 2006

    Thsi episode was so sad. With the death of John Spencer at this time the writers likely felt a serious dilema. They could either ignore his death an either use stock footage of him or use excuses to keep him out of the episodes. The obviously didn\'t want to seem coniving and isensative by using a death of a friend to boost the ratings. So they faced the same dilema that the characters on the show felt. Santos couldn\'t garner sympathy from his friends death to gain the remaining votes and no one else ont he show wanted to either. It is a very hard situation and I think that they handled it wonderfully. You could tell that all of the characters really felt grief over their good friends death.

    In all this shows that these actors have done and can do an excellent job acting these roles.moreless

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  • 10

    This one was for the Emmy's baby!!!

    By tiredoldguy, Apr 12, 2006

    What an amazing episode. On the one hand the Joy of winning, and on the other the sorrow of losing.

    We see Josh trapped in the middle, Donna acting as his anchor, and all of the activity swirling about the pair.

    The scene were Josh and Donna arrive at the hospital and find Annabeth in the waiting was strong and so sad. You could feel the bond between Annabeth and Leo.

    The closing with Josh looking at Leo and saying "thanks boss" made me loss my breath!

    What a bitter sweet time for the fans, we're getting some incredible writing and losing the show at the same time. At least it will go out at the top of its game.


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  • 10

    Best argument for continuing the show.

    By LarzJG, Apr 11, 2006

    I'm a fan who thought it was about time to wind this thing down if the quality would be as low as it was during parts of season 5 and 6, but seeing episodes like the two election night episodes truly made me question if that's the right move.

    Not only is it superb acting, well-written plots and plot twists, but it's also back to what matters - back to the political drama, the fascinating glimpses behind the scenes and some scenarios that we just can't predict beforehand.

    I love this show when the quality is this high and the drama and scenarios are this intriguing. Provided that we can keep this level, my vote is for Sam as VP and "West Wing - Santos Style, season 1".moreless

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  • 10

    I'm not an emotional person. But having watched 7 seasons of The West Wing, and given that Leo was one of my favourite characters, I cried like a baby in this episode. It was truly amazing! It was handled in such a wonderful way. no other word - amazing.

    By dayjalex, Apr 11, 2006

    I'm not an emotional person. But having watched 7 seasons of The West Wing, and given that Leo was one of my favourite characters, I cried like a baby in this episode. It was truly amazing! It was handled in such a wonderful way. no other word - amazing.

    Leo, for me was the most important character in the show. In the early years, he was what held Batlets presidency together.

    Im sure, that John Spencer, will be missed more than many of todays real political figures. he was a truly outstanding actor, the way that the writers and producers handled his death in this episode was genuinely touching, and a real tribute to Leo. I rank this as the top episode this season.moreless

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