The West Wing

Season 4 Episode 10

Arctic Radar

1
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Nov 27, 2002 on NBC
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
99 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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When a celebrated female fighter pilot is threatened with a dishonorable discharge for refusing to end her affair with a inferior officer, the staff, though full of opinions, agrees that the White House should not get involved; Donna asks Josh to find out if Jack Reese likes her, and is horrified to discover some of the anecdotes about her that Josh has shared with Jack; Sam heads out to California to begin his election campaign, and sends Will Bailey to the White House to help Toby with the inaugural address; despite the best efforts of Leo and Charlie to keep him out of it, Bartlet blows a gasket over complaints from U.N. diplomats about parking enforcement in New York City; and Josh takes issue with a temporary worker's choice in accessories.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Winners always want the ball

    8.5
    I really liked the main theme in this episode.. the whole relationship Toby and Sam had and now how Toby feels he cannot work as well as he did as there is part of the team missing and there is not just another man you could find who could write like that.. But Sam has already met him and send him to Toby and he just needs time to discover that. But I am sure those two will do some great writing. I did like the symbol of Toby burning each speeches.. all thinking about "Master and Margareta" and about scripts not burning..



    So.. a beautiful episode.. some really good points.moreless
  • Some superb sequences amidst a generally modest episode.

    8.8
    Aaron Sorkin returns to the helm in this average episode (which, when compared to most TV series, is first-rate) from Season 4.



    Arctic Radar contains generally muted fare, but there are some fine moments. Take the unbelievably terrific scene in the West Wing near the conclusion of the episode when Bartlet and Leo discuss (and disagree) with the handling of a female military officer. I love it when disagreement is written intelligently -- especially when the author contends that there are multiple, intelligent viewpoints on the subject. Aaron Sorkin writes a primarily liberal show, but he is not about to say that there is a correct AND liberal side to everything.



    This scene is enhanced by the hilarious subplot of the UN ambassador's complaints regarding parking tickets. So Bartlet, of course, focuses his anger on the UN ambassador. "There are big signs. You SHOULD get towed!" "Well, that was probably his secretary, sir."



    The point? Nothing should be too sticky for the White House, except for the knucklehead stuff.



    Sam's departure (at least temporarily, in this case) was very well done. It was purposefully anticlimactic (which I thought was nice since the transition was natural and, of course, positive) and also "misplaced" -- i.e., the real drama in the episode was with Toby and his writing troubles. Fabulous last scene with Toby and Will.



    Let me digress for just a second. I think the past three seasons of The West Wing have been a travesty (compared to the first four, that is), and my primary example of this is in the ridiculoulsy bad use of Will. His character was trashed early in Season 5 and still has not fully recovered. When re-watching Season 4 episodes like this one, I can't help but wonder how great of a character Will could have turned out to be if Sorkin was still at the helm. Joshua Malina is an unbelievable talent (although he could work on his monotone a tad), and it's a shame that he was not put to better use in this series (past Season 4).



    Anyway, back to Arctic Radar. As for the rest of the episode, this was merely standard fare for the Sorkin era. A small subplot involving unhappy press, a minor blip of a plot regarding a Star Trek fanatic (probably some venting on Sorkin's part here), and a good Josh/Fitz scene completed the episode rounds. All in all, a great hour compared to TV in general but an average one by The West Wing standards.moreless
Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

President Jed Bartlet

Dule Hill

Dule Hill

Charlie Young

Allison Janney

Allison Janney

Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Sam Seaborn (Episodes 1-84)

Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff

Toby Ziegler

John Spencer

John Spencer

Leo McGarry

Audrey Wasilewski

Audrey Wasilewski

Janice Trumbull

Guest Star

Vyto Ruginis

Vyto Ruginis

Mitch

Guest Star

Christian Slater

Christian Slater

Jack Reese

Guest Star

Melissa Fitzgerald

Melissa Fitzgerald

Carol Fitzpatrick

Recurring Role

Kris Murphy

Kris Murphy

Katie Witt

Recurring Role

Timothy Davis-Reed

Timothy Davis-Reed

Mark

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (2)

    • During Josh's rant to the staffer at the end of the episode he makes a reference to "favorite galaxies" in the Star Trek Universe, but every Star Trek series takes place in our Milky Way Galaxy. Ironically, however, this piece of trivia proves Josh's point.

    • During his discussion with Leo about the pilot, Bartlet mentions firing the Ambassador to Brazil, but in "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics" he actually fired the Ambassador to Bulgaria.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Bartlet: (screaming out of his lungs) There are big signs, you can't park there! They should get towed! I hope they get towed to Queens and the Triboro's closed and there's a big crafts show at Shea, a flea market, or a tractor show!

    • Sam: Where you going? What'd you settle on?
      Will: Nice.
      Sam: Excellent! I like to stay at the Hotel Beau Rivage, but I think that's gonna be a little pricey for you.
      Will: Actually, I'm gonna stay at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. It's not a hotel, I guess, quite so much as it's, well, a castle.
      Sam: Yeah. This is a family connection?
      Will: Yeah.
      Sam: All of Europe's a family connection for you isn't it?
      Will: Parts of Asia.

    • Janice Trumbull (speaking about Star Trek): I'm not obsessed. I'm just a fan, and I care.
      Josh Lyman : I'm a fan. I'm a sports fan, I'm a music fan, and I'm a Star Trek fan. All of them but here's what I don't do. Tell me if any of this sounds familiar. Let's list our 10 favorite episodes. Let's list our least favorite episodes. Let's list our favorite galaxies. Let's make a chart and see how often our favorite galaxies appear on our favorite episodes. What Romulan would you most like to see coupled with a Cardassian, and why? Let's spend a weekend talking about Romulans falling in love with Cardassians and then let's do it again? That's not being a fan. That's having a fetish, and I don't have a problem with that except you can't bring your hobbies into work. OK?
      Janice: Got it.
      Josh: Except on Star Trek holidays.
      Janice: There's no such thing as a Star Trek holiday!
      Josh: Well work hard around here. We'll make one.

    • Bartlet: There's a huge sign! They should be towed!

    • Josh: Tell me your aide's name. I'll ask her out; we'll double.
      Jack: Chief Petty Officer Harold Wendell.
      Josh: I got the fuzzy end of that lollipop.

    • Josh:The thing is, she isn't just any pilot. She's like Jackie Robinson. She's busted a lot of barriers. She's the first woman at Miramar, first woman to fly the F-14 Tomcat, she teaches on an F-14. I guess at this point I don't have to give you her resumé.
      Fitzwallace: No. But could you tell me more about Jackie Robinson and breaking barriers?

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  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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