Commander in Chief

Season 1 Episode 8

Rubie Dubidoux and the Brown Bound Express

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Nov 15, 2005 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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out of 10
145 votes
  • A terrific twist in the CiC tale...

    I love this episode. It's the first one since the pilot that I have trully loved.

    Up until now, all the characters seemed to have been moping about the White House like there's is the worst position in the World - everything the staff did was a chore, the first family were miserable and nobody seemed to like anybody else...thank goodness for Stephen Bocho who came in and recognised this.

    For the first time you saw Mac and her daughter having a nice conversation and Mac and Rod actually getting along!!! It was terrific to see!

    Lurie obviously assumes that people will like these main characters because they're main characters, he's wrong and Bocho has done a great job in reintroducing us to the more pleasent aspects of these people. Good for him!

    Can't wait for the next episode!
  • Yey Mac's got one up on Templeton!

    Yey Mac's got one up on Templeton. I like the fact that she did not expose it but it is something that can be kept for later should she need to use it.

    Becca has a lot of issues and now things are starting to get messy for her. I like how Horace stood up for his sister and I hope Mike gets as good as he deserves.

    I love that Rod now has a official position I just hope that he does keep professional and personal seperate and that other people can separate the two also.

    I am still uneasy about Jim, there is something not right there.
  • good day by day show

    i am glad that the storie has become better and better in every episode. In this episode we find how difficult is to balance a job with a private affair of someone close to you in your staff with out compromising their privicy. It will become one of the best show ever if it keeps this up
  • The Young and the Restlessly Stupid. Templeton is haunted by his past and Horace is caught cheating.

    Let me say this first - People get fired on this show the way "24" kills off people. No one is safe. I was groaning when Templeton got rid of the beautiful Jane (Natasha Henstridge). The bed-sharing Chief of Staffs angle got me hooked last week, but Bochco was quick to kick that out of the bed. The episode was really good though, the best since "First Dance" episode.

    The best thing is we finally see Templeton shaken up; Donald Sutherland finally gives the old coot a much needed vulnerability. But what's up with the "I was young, I was stupid" theme? A staff member is HIV positive and gay. So what?? What's the big deal? The country might be leaning conservative but it's still 2005.

    On the school front, Horace is caught cheating. It seems Horace only acquired the pretty genes from his parents. Where was the smarts passed down? To that annoying little girl who has a timing to interrupt her parents' making out? Would it be asking too much to give Horace some intelligence? I know the show is giving him a "normal kid" vibe, but normal kids are not stupid. How about this? Taking a cue from his strategic dad, Horace puts his brain into use by putting a positive spin out of his sister's rumors. Maybe he can retrieve some devastating tape of Mike when he was "young and stupid" as some sort of leverage. Come on, there's room for politics in school.
  • A new direction - figuratively and literally - comes to the 'West Wing'

    I have loved all 7 episodes of Commander in Chief, until yesterdays. There was a sense of grandeur to the presidency as executed creatively by Rod Lurie. The score, direction and production values were fantastic. With the Steven Bochco takeover beginning with last night\'s episode, I could definitely feel the transition coming to hit me upside the head from my television screen. Within one week it became grittier - albeit more realistic and human - but it lost the sense of \'Rod Lurie\' that made me love this show. Right off the bat came the change in episode titles, different opening credits, a more darker side to Horace, usage of stock footage from episode 3 when the president is rowing, addition of the First Gentlemen to the senior staff, a very unnecessarily extended pool scene at school \'I slept with the president\'s daughter!\' and just very awkward and overly-extended scenes that I can feel were being dragged on. This is not the Commander in Chief that has been on for the past 8 weeks. Perhaps this is just a \'transition episode\' as the actors are getting used to the new format, but I could see how blatant the \'change in administration\' storyline has been executed under Steven Bochco\'s direction.

    I just hope it returns to normal or at least eases with the transitory tone. And, the way the previews were edited for the upcoming episode did not make me forget this latest installment. Zack Morris in the Whitehouse? I hope it\'s done with some class.

    One final thing I noticed this evening was a return to clarifying that Mac was indeed the president - I must of heard \'I\'m the leader of the free world\' \'most important woman in the world\' about 4-5 times. This was established already in the pilot. Did Mr. Bochco feel the need to restate under his direction as he missed the chance to start fresh with the show from the pilot? Moreover, how many times was the term 'West Wing' uttered. Yes, we know the importance of the locale, but I'm sure the characters know where they are working by now.

    So, the show which I love - and sped home yesterday to make it home in time - took a bit of a dive yesterday. Here\'s hoping that the 29 November episode brings it all back to speed.
  • Nathan Templeton Beware

    I liked this episode, because Mac finally decided to truly step up to the plate. She is really starting to play dirty. I loved the scene with her and Templeton in the Oval Office, classic. "You'll need a cup for this". When she turned that TV on, you could see the look on his face, at that moment. Then he got angry with his assistant because Mac ambushed him, for something she leaked to Jim. He took all of his anger out on her. This is going to be a good show if they can keep writing this well. I don't want it to be a continuing back and forth between Mac and Templeton though, that will get old.

    One other question, what about Keaton, did they confirm him or not? They never finished the hearing in the last episode, and didn't even mention it here. That is the only plot hole I saw this time.
  • Felt the transition tonight. The episode did not feel like a "Rod Lurie" episode but still top-notch!

    Tonight's episode definitely felt different than the others, I couldn't quite pinpoint it but the transition was definitely felt although that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Yes, Rod Lurie did a PHENOMENAL job creating the show and carrying it this far but having been forced to pass the torch did not seem to have hurt the show. There were a lot of things thrown in that were missing from the past episodes: Romance between Mac and Rod (ok, it wasn't splattered on screen but seems to be heating up), Mother/daughter moments which melted my heart (never understood why Becca was so against her mother), and finally one episode where Mac has got one on Templeton. The only thing I would've added was a conversation between Horace and Becca just to clear the air but even so I again have to give this episode a 10!
  • This episode was all about tested loyalties. Some tests pass, others stay status quo (or unkown). Others fail. Another predictably happy ending.

    This title of this episode (Rubie Dubidoux and the Brown Bound Express) was an interesting choice (relevance explained later). This episode was really about shifting loyalties... and many loyalties are either challenged or shift substantially for better or worse in this 40 minutes (commercials not included) of CIC. Like with previous episodes, my second favorite show (Boston Legal, which comes on immediately after), and West Wing, this episode of CIC makes a couple of political statements, but subtly so (Boston Legal is far more overt in this respect and who knew what a great actor Spader would turn out to be).

    At the start, the show picks up where the last one left off...the president\'s husband Rod Calloway (Kyle Secor) is still challenging wife Mackenzie Allen\'s (Geena Davis) loyalty to him by pushing her about a job in the administration. In doing so, he makes a veiled threat that you know the writers of CIC would never follow through on -- indicating that lack of any high ranking job in the West Wing would threaten their personal relationship (code for break up). BS. Unconvincing. This tension could have been written differently to be a bit more realistic -- something along the lines of what the writers would have actually followed through on.

    After Mac sleeps on it (but not him, they try this later) and goes for some rowing exercise in the morning (very doesn\'t seem like two motor boats and a helicopter about 100 yards behind her are enough to protect her from a sniper in the woods on the banks of the Potomac), Mac decides to appoint husband Rod to a position that reports directly to her, but we\'re left guessing until a meeting of her executive staff to find out what it is (it ends up being Director of Strategic Planning). Rod asserts himself in the first meeting and after, chief of staff Jim Gardner (Harry Lennix) basically takes a cheap shot at him about \"never crossing anyone who sleeps with the boss,\" is clearly threatened. Loyalties are definitely challenged.

    Jim, of course, should be one to talk about sleeping in the halls of power and loyalty. If the last episode, where Jim is seen sleeping with Jayne Murray (Natasha Henstridge playing Speaker of the House Nathan Templeton\'s [Donald Sutherland] chief aid) raises any questions about whether or not he\'s betraying Mac\'s administration, those fears get compounded when Jayne reveals to Templeton that presidential aid Vince Taylor (Anthony Azizi) is HIV positive (Vince disclosed this to Jim in the last episode). She says that the information was uncovered in a search of his pharmaceutical records, so we\'re still left guessing as to whether Jim disclosed this information while in the throes of passion with her or whether her story about how the information was discovered is legitimate. Either way, her acting stinks. They should have casted more of a seductress/snake-in-the-grass for this role. Nicole Sheridan (Desperate Housewives) comes to mind and Henstridge has some Sheridan like qualities, but is clearly not in Sheridan\'s league. Anyway, Templeton decides he\'s going to embarrass the president with the information and in deep throat-esque meeting in some underground garage, Jayne reveals that the information was indeed uncovered by some researcher (OK, so Jim didn\'t betray the White House) as well as Templeton\'s plans. Jim doesn\'t give anything to Jayne in exchange and goes directly back to Mac with the news. Later, on the question of double agency, in a scene where Templeton fires Jayne (perhaps her acting wasn\'t resonating with the shows producers?), we learn that usually the information flows the other way (Jim to Jayne). So, Jim has apparently double crossed the administration already. However, as this episode carries on, Mac may actually secure his loyalties even though she doesn\'t know the history.

    In a gift from heaven to the administration that could diffuse the pending HIV crisis, Mac\'s press secretary Kelly Ludlow (Ever Carradine, granddaughter to John Carradine) shows up with a an old tape of Templeton at a private fundraiser in 1965 where Templeton is seen making some severe racial slurs. Mac along with the rest of the senior staff including Jim (who is an African American) see the tape and this of course immediately raises the stakes in terms of the potential double-agent role that Jim is playing and where his loyalties will lie. Will the revelation that his lover\'s boss was a racial bigot in the 60\'s affect his loyalties? Given the sort of enemy Templeton has so far proven to be and knowing that Templeton would instantly use the same sort of tape against Mac, husband Rod (the newly appointed director of strategic planning) privately advises her to use the tape against Templeton, but she takes the moral high ground and says she won\'t.

    But, Taylor\'s concealment of his HIV infection as well as his sexual preference (he\'s gay) causes Mac to question his loyalty. He claims that if he ever posed a threat to the administration that he would resign and she matter of factly says \"accepted\" (as in resignation accepted). But, as he\'s cleaning out his desk, Jim challenges her on the decision and convinces her that not only has Taylor been loyal to her, but that if he takes him back, it\'ll cement Taylor\'s loyalties even more. Mac thanks Jim and reminds him of how much she appreciates his loyalty (oh boy, Jim must be really conflicted now), but maybe this is that moment where he sees the good in her (compared to the bigot Templeton) and makes some decisions about his own loyalties.

    While Taylor is cleaning out his desk, Mac goes to him and asks him to come back. This is the second \"almost resignation\" in her administration in as many weeks (last week, Jim tried to resign but Mac refused).

    Back to Templeton\'s plans to embarrass her with Taylor\'s \"news,\" in scene that included the best comic relief of the episode (near the end), Mac invites Templeton to her office and says she knows that the information on Taylor was illegaly obtained and appeals to Templeton\'s sensibilities before he ruins the young aide\'s life (near the end, in a scene that must be forshadowing something because it\'s useless otherwise, Templeton is made out to be sensitive when he serves his diabetic wife some juice to get her blood sugar level up. Puh-leeze).

    Templeton tells Mac in their meeting in the Oval Office that politics is a contact sport where you need a cup and, before pressing PLAY on the VCR (the one with the tape of Templeton\'s \'65 vintage racial slurs), she says, \"Well, you may want to put on a cup for this.\" Defintely the best scene of the show. Donald Sutherland defintely looked like he was going to puke. He comes to his senses and sees that what they each have on each other is sort of a form of mutally assured destruction and as he leave\'s her office, he says that this won\'t put him in her pocket, but that he will repay the debt (she told him that the bigot she saw on the tape wasn\'t really who he was). She says she\'ll cash the chip in at some point.

    Meanwhile, to keep the original source of the tape from going public with the information, Mac gets the source\'s daughter into Brown University (they call the family the Rubie Dubidouxs and thus the episode\'s title). Hopefully, the source made a tape and this little favor will come back to haunt the administration in a future episode (just to make things more dicey). There are too many happy endings in this TV series.

    After conferring with Kelly about how to go public with the information, Taylor has a press conference and Mac walks in to, in the first political overtone of the episode, remind us viewers of how difficult it is for people with HIV/AIDS to get along in life and how they deserve all the same opportunities that everyone else gets (good point, I agree).

    Over at Templeton\'s office, he realizes that Jayne betrayed him and, sick to his stomach over the whole affair, he tells her to get lost. Whether bedpal Jim will do her some great favor to get her back in Templeton\'s good graces remains to be seen. Maybe she\'s gone from the show. Who knows.

    In another plotline of the episode, Becca (Caitlin Wachs) who is Mac and Rod\'s daughter and her supposed boyfriend Mike -- the guy she wouldn\'t round the bases with during a party last week -- have a brief verbal exchange in the school hallway. He basically brushes her off for not going all the way and she calls him a jerk (aren\'t all guys?) Later though, while at diving practice at the high school\'s indoor pool (nice high school, my kid doesn\'t have one of those), Becca\'s bro Horace (Matt Lanter) finds out that Mike is telling the whole school he did \"it\" with her anyway. Horace, who is already having a bad day because the assistant principle just caught him plagerizing an essay he purchased from \",\" momentarily loses his cool, gets out of the pool after his first lap of swimming practice and chases (with a secret service agent running after him telling him to chill) Mike up to the high dive. Horace doesn\'t do anything... but now\'s a good time to point out that his acting is actually pretty good. Better than some of the adults on the program.

    Later, when Dad (Rod) confronts him about the cheating, he plays the perfect indignant teenager but challenges Dad with the old \"Becca is the brain, she\'s just perfect but the whole grade has heard about her and Mike and you\'re ashamed of me. So, what\'s worse a cheat or a slut?\" Rod has a shocked look on his face, but actor Kyle Secor\'s acting is unmoving. Maybe they should have let him go (hey, Maybe Mac should have a Clintonesque affair with some studly intern!). Eventually, news of Becca\'s rumored promiscuity gets back to Mac and near the end of the show where they have one of those mother-daughter moments where Becca (Wachs\' acting isn\'t that great either) convinces Mom she\'s not screwing around. Mac says she can talk to the boys parents (Becca refuses), and then, in another subtle political commentary referring to current events, Mac offers to arrest the boy under the Patriot Act and send him to prison in Syria (Siberia would have made more sense).

    Then one last comic moment... Mac and Rod are about to do the wild thing when younger daughter Amy (Jasmine Anthony) barges in. Mac refers to the sudden surprise as POTUS interruptus. (POTUS = president of the united states).

    I didn\'t laugh.
  • It was already my favorite show but if tonight's episode is an example of things to come, I am truly committed to Commander in Chief.

    This episode was AWESOME. If this is what the new executive producer, Mr. Bochco plans to offer, it is going to be Grand. There was a difference about this episode that I cannot put my finger on but again it was AWESOME. I loved the interaction between the characters. The woman who has been so loyal to Templeton betrays him. The Chief of Staff "seems to be" more and more committed to the president. I really like that relationship (a growing friendship). The president and her oldest daughter share a touching moment. The president learns how to play hard ball. Templeton shows a softer side. Horace continues to show us a different side. The emerging passion between the president and first gentleman. I love all of it. I hate that it will not air next week. I much rather see this show than the American Music Awards. Go
    Commander in Chief.