I love the title of this episode. "Over There". It seems everything is "over there" in this episode, and yet everything is so close to home. The issue of what to do to intervene with a country so clearly in the midst of genocide? Seems like an easy question to answer, but it's not that easy when you send the kids of someone's parents. It's not that easy when there's a political difference between "acts of genocide" and genocide. It's not that easy when you are the world's only superpower.
The fact that the genocide is "over there" is the fly in the Metamucil. I still remember Abbey's line to Bartlet in "The White House Pro-Am". "Jed, if they were your kids, you'd send in the Marines." No doubt. The problem is, those kids are "over there".
Toby says the issue "haunts" the President. It haunts everyone. Aaron Sorkin deals with this issue so delicately, so intelligently -- he actually makes the issue a layer of grays rather than the "at-first" black-and-white feel to the discussion. He brings debate and question to the issue so effortlessly, so brilliantly. It's hard to describe.
What Sorkin has done with these two episodes, certainly masterpieces in his repertoire, is created something as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. After all, it's not easy to balance the issue of genocide with family ribbing. "You bought their love," Abbey says at one point when Jed says he supplied their kids with candy. And it slowly evolves into a "March of the Toys" epitome for Bartlet. Just amazing to me.
Although I think Part I is slightly smoother in flow, tone, and presentation, Part II is almost its equal. I was especially pleased with the first half hour. I think the second half hour became a little too cheesy and even "moralistic". But these complaints are minor. "Inauguration" is a two-part tour-de-force from Aaron Sorkin and his writing team, portrayed once again so flawlessly by a top-notch cast.