The West Wing

Season 4 Episode 14

Inauguration: (Part 1)

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 05, 2003 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
99 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The staff wrangles with the State Department over language in the inaugural address; a genocidal war breaks out in Kuhndu, and Bartlet weighs his options as Will pushes for American military involvement based on Bartlet's statements in the past; the Chief Justice's increased propensity for writing opinions in verse causes concern about his competence; Bartlet keeps Charlie busy on the hunt for the perfect Bible for the inauguration; Donna becomes upset when Jack is transferred out of the White House and reassigned to Italy after getting caught in a squeeze play between the Oval Office and the Pentagon.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • After a disappointing "change-up" in The Long Goodbye, the two-part Inauguration presents The West Wing in top form.

    What a fantastic episode this is. While inundated with storylines, there is a focus to the episode that is uncanny given the amount of material it contains. At the center of the episode is the haunting evolution occurring in Kundu. This "evolution" is the genocide of a whole group of people, an obvious reference to the events in Rwanda just a few years before. Thus, it forces the President and his staff to consider foreign policy just before (of course) his second inauguration address.

    Will investigates Bartlet's oratorical past and finds a surprising and flagrant viewpoint on foreign policy that encourages him to re-think foreign policy altogether. Meanwhile, no one is pleased with State Department language, and so Will is asked to give them the cold shoulder. But as Will learns of the President's past beliefs on foreign policy, he finds a hot debate with Toby. "Just make it sound better!" Toby says. Will is unconvinced and, furthermore, suspects that these are hollow words from the opinionated Toby.

    Meanwhile, Donna's boyfriend Jack Reese is asked to investigate foreign operations in Kundu, which is politically hot water in terms of relations with the Pentagon. Unfortunately, Leo raises the red flag to a Pentagon official, and Jack is the scapegoat of the political squirmish. This, of course, infuriates Donna, and as she confronts a somewhat indifferent and unmotivated Josh about it, her frustration with the White House causes an abrupt end to her conversation.

    Oh, in other news, the rekindling of C.J. and Danny is brought up in (as usual) humorous fashion. Timothy Busfield and Allison Janney work so great together as evidenced again in their scenes together in this episode. Great stuff.

    Oh, we're not done. Charlie is asked to find a bible for the inauguration (Remember the knife in the episode "Shibboleth"?). Great comedic sideline plot here. But even better is the use of verse by the Chief Justice, which prompts a review of his competence.

    How all of this is juggled in an hour is unbeknownst to me, but it is sure fun to watch. My theory is that this episode works because it's fast, it's furious, but it's also toned perfectly. Prevalent through the whole episode is the Kundu storyline -- which brings heavy weights on everyone's shoulders. There is a haunting ominent tone throughout the episode. Things are about to get worse before they get better. The weight of the world is what makes this episode work. It's the guiding light through the maze of comedy, drama, political hi-jinks, and personal conoflicts that drive this series into the complex world of success.

    This is most definitely one of the best episodes of the season.moreless
  • Inauguration

    The big day is coming and there seems to be two major problem - a bible. It seems like a thing you can correct but finding the right bible.. is hard. I loved the scene when they come out with that huge one..

    And the second problem. The language of foreign policy.. it seems to give really hard time to Will and Toby..

    And Donna.. she learns that Jack is transferred and is not easy with it.. there has to be something behind that.. just like Danny is not given up on that pilot story.

    So we have quite many things going on. great storylines. Really enjoyable and good episode.moreless
Granville Van Dusen

Granville Van Dusen

Bryce Lilly

Guest Star

Victor McCay

Victor McCay


Guest Star

Gibby Brand

Gibby Brand

Adam Kent

Guest Star

Timothy Busfield

Timothy Busfield

Danny Concannon

Recurring Role

Danica McKellar

Danica McKellar

Elsie Snuffin

Recurring Role

Thomas Kopache

Thomas Kopache

Bob Slattery

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Continuity error?: Kuhndu was first mentioned in "In this White House" when the president of Kuhndu visited to discuss AIDS medication with the drug companies. In this episode Bartlet states that when he got his briefing memo he had to reach for an atlas. So Kuhndu may be a different country from the Republic of Kuhndu.

    • Goof: If you look carefully at the teleprompter after President Bartlet says, "We're being candid, at least," the word "obliged" is misspelled "abliged."

    • The Republic of Equatorial Kundu is a fictional African country.

    • Donna makes repeated reference to thirteen buttons on Jack Reese's dress blue uniform trousers, which is incorrect. Jack Reese is an officer, and an officer's dress blue and formal dress blue uniforms have one button and a zipper. Only enlisted personnel have a dress blue uniform with thirteen trouser buttons.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Donna: Know what Jack will be wearing? A saber.
      Josh: Please God, Donna, tell me that's not the only thing he'll be wearing.

    • Bartlet: I don't know your name, but are you asking me out on a date?

    • Bartlet: Why is a Kudanese life worth less to me than an American life?
      Will: I don't know, but it is.

    • Bartlet: I'm just as big a cotton candy-ass as they are.
      Josh: Yes, sir.
      Bartlet: You just going to let that hang in the air?
      Josh: Of course not, sir. You're a much bigger cotton candy-ass than they are.
      Bartlet: Damn right.

    • Carol: Danny wants to see you.
      C.J. (unaware Danny is walking behind her): Stop trying to get us together, okay? If I wanted Danny I could have him. And he's still a jackass from the foreign-ops vote and many other things. So tell him I'm getting my hair done.
      Danny: Your hair looks great.
      C.J.: There was no way you could tell me he was right behind me? You couldn't fit that in?

    • Will (responding to a knock at his office door): Keep your pants on, Toby, I'm almost there.
      Bartlet: Toby been taking his pants off again?

  • NOTES (3)

    • Music Featured In This Episode: -"Heroes" by Jill Sobule

    • Another Clintonesque situation the Bartlet administration finds itself in: the genocide in Kundu quite obviously reflects 1994 massacres in Rwanda. The subsequent Bartlet reaction reflects what, looking back, many people wish Clinton had done.

    • Couldn't figure out the unusual word Leo used? It was the poetic term "cinquain", which is a stanza that contains five lines, as compared to the more familiar "quatrain" which contains four. The Japanese-influenced cinquain has 22 syllables, 5 unrhymed lines of 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables, respectively. Another form of cinquain contains 5 rhymed lines of various syllables with a rhyme scheme of ababb.


    • Bartlet: "Talk about the very model of a modern major-general."

      This line references "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General", a song from Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance".