The West Wing

Season 6 Episode 9

Impact Winter

0
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Dec 15, 2004 on NBC
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
87 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
As acting chief of staff, Josh calls Leo in for backup when the news about Jed's health hits; the staff follows the progress of an asteroid headed for earth; Jed struggles with his relapse as C.J., Kate, and Toby handle the repercussions of his illness on the progress of the China summit; Josh is outraged when Will uses Jed's paralysis as a political opportunity for Russell; Donna resorts to extreme measures when Josh avoids her repeated attempts to sit down for a personal discussion; after receiving some wise advice from Leo about the future, Josh makes a decision about the man he'll support in the upcoming presidential election.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • President Bartlett's determination in the face of adversity as his condition begins to deteriorate is inspiring,moving and humbling and the reaction of his wife and staff is both rivetting and revealing.moreless

    10
    Please allow me a brief preamble as this is my first review.The West Wing began life in Australia on one network which screened episodes very late at night then at the beginning of Season Four it screened on another network during primetime which is when i began watching.I caught up with the early episodes via pay-tv.I now have the dvds but i'm watching S6 on pay-tv as it screens Monday to Friday.I only saw S4 and half of S5 on free to air so these are unseen episodes and quite exciting to be in unchartered territory.



    Although 'Life on Mars' remains my favourite episode i found this episode compelling viewing and was in tears both during and afterwards.To see 'Jed' Bartlett incapacitated and so determined was profoundly moving and his scenes with Abby and Curtis,as he carried the President down the steps of Airforce One,had me spellbound.The machinations both on board Airforce One and back at The White House were fascinating and it was great to see Leo seemingly fully recovered and very much in control.



    The West Wing is arguably the best show ever to have graced our screens and i find myself applauding one episode after another.And from an Australian perspective the esteem and respect the office of President has is a revelation.moreless
  • Cliffhangers- can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em

    9.5
    Now that’s a cliffhanger. There have been a few in TV history that have really gutted me. The 8th Season Finale of Friends. The 4th Season Finale of Gilmore Girls. The minute they dissolve into black: “Noooooo!!!!” “Impact Winter” wasn’t even a season finale, but those last ten minutes are going to haunt me until January. I’ll probably sleep less. Let’s go over why:



    Donna: I am not as good of a TV psychic as I thought. I really did not see her quitting. In retrospect, it makes sense…kind of. She has been talking about “growing in her job” since before she went to Gaza, but Josh did send her on an important foreign policy trip. And nothing has really changed except that he has been too busy to talk to her, but she was always going to talk to her about quitting. I think there are other motives we have yet to discover. I love that Josh just didn’t believe her. It was so Josh of him. I don’t think he can even imagine life without Donna. But Donna is tired of being Josh’s secretary, and I’m so proud of her that she stood up for herself. I have one question though: Why didn’t he call her? I so wanted him to coming crawling back to her, to have one final scene. I know that he had important things to do like picking the next president and that he will talk to her later, but still. I would be more worried about this if Donna wasn’t such a vital part of the show that they would never get rid of her. But this little twist is still the #1 reason I won’t be able to sleep for a few weeks.



    The President: Coming in at a very close second is the man I really wish truly ran the country. I pray for it nightly, but now that his MS is deteriorating him it’s becoming less likely. Coming back slightly closer to reality, though, lets all take a moment and breathe in the wonderfulness that was the Abbey and Jed scene. You know the one. How could you forget it? Martin Sheen is a truly fantastic actor. I’ve rarely seen such a moving performance as his in this episode. Bravo. (By the way, if you aren’t watching the West Wing, or missed this episode borrow, trade, barter, steal, whatever it takes to get you a tape of this episode, do it). I knew that “part-time president” stuff would be coming back. I love that they make it clear that he’s not some incapacitated old man, he is still the same Jed Bartlet that would have gotten us trade talks with North Korea if it killed him. Bad choice of words. I really hope they don’t scare us with our favorite characters anymore. First Leo, now Donna, and then the President. I couldn’t take it. Thank goodness they are focusing a lot on Josh this season.



    Other Thoughts:



    I’m not sure where I stand on the asteroid. In a way, it was good that it was kind of an afterthought throughout the episode, because all material involving asteroids heading towards Earth means instant lameness. However, it wasn’t quite believable that all the White House would go, “Oh, it might wipe out most of California. Let’s hope the press doesn’t hear about this.”



    It’s a good thing that Leo didn’t die because, besides the obvious reasons, the West Wing staff just would be totally lost without him, even if he’s not really working there anymore. His reaction to news of Donna quitting was interesting. I think he made Josh realize that Donna means more to him than an assistant that quit.

    Bob Russell is the guy we all love to hate. Every good show has one.



    I hope Josh uses his finely honed skills to persuade Matthew Santos to run for president (not a bad cliffhanger in and of itself). He’s fun to root for, has the same kind of appeal that Bartlet does, and he’s not bad to look at either.



    Impact Winter would be a great name for a movie, don’t you think? A book title even.



    I’m becoming quite a fan of the New Charlie, not that the Old Charlie could ever be replaced, of course.



    That’s all for me today, and I won’t be seeing you for a while due to this heartbreaking vacation the show is taking. (It happens every year but I have yet to come to grips with it)



    Written- 12/18/2005





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Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

President Jed Bartlet

Dule Hill

Dule Hill

Charlie Young

Allison Janney

Allison Janney

Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg

Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff

Toby Ziegler

John Spencer

John Spencer

Leo McGarry

Jimmy Smits

Jimmy Smits

Matthew Santos (Episodes 114-)

Mary Kay Place

Mary Kay Place

Dr. Millicent Griffith

Guest Star

Patrick Fischler

Patrick Fischler

Walter Sprout

Guest Star

Cleo King

Cleo King

Marla Whorisky

Guest Star

Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth

Annabeth Schott

Recurring Role

Gary Cole

Gary Cole

Bob Russell

Recurring Role

Ron Canada

Ron Canada

Ted Barrow

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The Santos house features three different staircases in three different episodes.

      In the season 6 episode "Impact Winter", the staircase inside the front door to the house can be seen leading away from the door to the left of the hall.

      In season 7, in the episode "Running Mates", the staircase can be seen coming down from left to right behind the door in a number of scenes,

      Later in season 7, in the two "Election Day" episodes, the staircase has changed yet again, now curving upwards from the right of the door. Either Helen Santos has been doing some extensive remodelling, or different sets were used in each episode.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Bartlet (about to be carried down the stairs): I'm just saying, you drop me, that's a moment that follows you the rest of your life.

    • Josh: So, we may be hit with a hunk of intergalactic rock, we don't know when or where, and there's no more information coming because in Maui it's cloudy?
      Sprout: Welcome to my world.

    • Sprout: I loved a man once. Never told him.

    • Josh: What happened to the good old days when a couple of hacks with cigars chose the nominiee in a smoked filled back room?
      Leo: They didn't do so bad, did they?
      Josh: We need a back room.

    • Margaret: There's someone here from NASA. He needs to speak to whoever's in charge, and at this point I have no idea who that is.
      Leo: Maybe, keep the philosophical questions to yourself?

  • NOTES (1)

    • An impact winter is an unnatural winter that is caused by debris from an impact of an asteroid or comet obscuring the sun. It is believed that if an impact winter occured it could lead to the extinction of the human race.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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