At the end of a president's term people start thinking about the administration's legacy. The men and women of the White House may also wonder whether they've achieved their goals or whether they've turned into the kind of politicians they campaigned against four/eight years earlier. This situation is taken by Bradley "Josh" Whitford to create a wonderful episode. It takes a remark by Danny Concannon to have C.J. reconsider a strategy. And what a change C.J. has undergone! Earlier in the series Miss Cregg had moments that her emotions got in the way of what she had to do. Now she's the consummate pragmatist, using diplomats in a complex game and even lying to a human rights spokesman, pretending not to care. You might quibble about whether this transformation is believable. (How many White House spokespersons ever turned into chiefs of staff?) But as a viewer, there is plenty to enjoy. Mr. Whitford also has a knack for great dialogue, bringing back the spitfire delivery of verbally talented characters.
I sometimes use to do this - I have seen some early seasons, I have little idea about the show and then I decide to watch one random episode from the serie newest season - this is what I did with this episode. I have not made it to the end of second season yet, and it was little weird to watch it as there are new faces around and.. but.. it was good episode and this proved me, there is so many reasons to keep going with this serie..
I like the way the complex of the episode - the way it all was multi layered, but everything was somehow leading into one point - to CJ. And the emotions what were involved - not only Danny and the fish (oh..) but the conflict on Dafur.. and the way it ended.. great episode.
It's always something to worry about when actors start writing - witness Michael Imperioli's abyssmal Sopranos scripts and/or David Duchovney's ridiculous X Files scripts; these tend to be episodes in which characters wander off in ludicrous and out of character flights of conversation (occasionally, as in Duchovney's case, a character may start to talk like a giddy and loquacious 15-year-old). Happily, Bradley Whitford has, for the most part, not done this - two speeches strike me as unswallowable, one, a Chinese ambassador waxes philosophically about capitalism, the other, CJ finds herself comparing men to salmon. Happily, those add up to a total of less than a minute of screentime, and in an episode that takes place over two days but feels like 40, you have to appreciate Whitford's knack at that Sorkinesque dialogue The West Wing rediscovered in its natural form for its magnificent final season. Allison Janney's CJ always seemed the wrong choice for Chief of Staff in the 6th Season, but "Internal Displacement" finds her at her crackling, vicious best - delicate one minute and intimidating the next. It's not simply that she selflessly brokers a deal to help ameliorate genocide in Darfur, but that she does it in a way that's true to her character - her passion never overtakes her professionalism. This episode is Janney's finest of the season, and it's because, by this point, CJ's repartee with each cast member is a different beast - witness the power of her true plea about genocide to the president, her harsh demands at communications director Will, her never-lost crackle with Whitford himself. Whitford gave Janney a gift with this episode, a vital and pulsating one woman show.
I enjoyed this episode a lot. It was interesting to see how the Chief of Staff juggles their personal life, with the important political situations constantly happening. It was well acted and written, with just enough humour (something i've come to expect from the west wing). Although it may have been a filler episode, there was enough to keep moving the story along.
It’s been quite a while since an episode was told from one particular point of view, especially covering so many different plot threads at once. I’m not quite sure that the episode hit its mark, especially with some of the Sudan-related scenes. They felt a little forced, even knowing that CJ has a tendency to go hardball on certain issues. For all that some felt that CJ’s promotion to Chief of Staff was ludicrous, she is very capable in this episode, with her past role firmly in mind.
At the same time, this episode does highlight the fact that the Bartlet administration has been rocked back on its heels most of (if not all of) its second term. The Middle East accord was the only item of serious note; the changes to the Supreme Court were also substantial but never seemed to have lasting impact. The point is that CJ has been Chief of Staff during Bartlet’s least effective time in office, and while that is hardly new in terms of the direction of the story, it is personalized in this episode.
Just what has CJ accomplished during her tenure as Chief of Staff? Several times, the administration has tried to jumpstart the political fervor going into the final days. There was that whole episode devoted to Leo highlighting how many days were left to advance their agenda and make a difference. Has anything happened since then? And how many fires have they struggled to put out, while all but ignoring the Democratic candidate?
That, at least, gets addressed in this episode, but Josh has to negotiate to get Bartlet to support Santos, which is hard to believe. Josh is quite right: CJ and the others should be trying to ensure four more years with a Democratic presidency than one minority seat in Congress. CJ is more concerned with getting Bartlet to the end of his term without a major war on his watch or unnecessary political scandals. Leo used to do the same thing, but thanks to the timing, CJ’s situation feels a lot more hopeless.
Amid the reminders that the administration is about to end, and several careers with it, is the return of Danny Concannon. I’ve always enjoyed the dynamic between Danny and CJ, far more than the disastrous mess with Ben and the others in the fifth season, and this helps to bring context to CJ’s situation. She’s still an important part of the machine, still tied down with the responsibility, but very soon, there will be a massive gaping hole in her life. Danny is just the person to step into her life and help her through it, and that helps bring CJ’s journey over the course of the series into an interesting context.
Even so, there were some weaknesses. I think that too much was happening at once, and items didn’t always get the depth they deserved. The whole issue with Liz and her husband seemed to fizzle out at the end, and some scenes were too light-hearted. And then there’s that bizarre CJ/Kate relationship, which has never been that overtly girly in any other episode that I can remember. I have the feeling Bradley brought the funny, but it wasn’t always in the best context.
I had been excited for this episode for a long time, mainly because I knew this was going to be the return of Timothy Busfield's Danny Concannon, my favorite recurring character on this show, and in this sense the show didn't disappoint. Danny was funny, fresh, and heart-warming as he always is as a witty and cunning reporter with heart, always and steadfastly devoted to the love of his life, C.J. In round three for Busfield's Danny (this is the third stint he's done with the show. He was around for a while in the fourth and early in the fifth season, and before that in the first and part of the second season) he's discovered that reporting isn't fulfilling him in the way it once did, and that he's looking for a life change. As he knows C.J. is soon going to be forced into a similair situation via the end of Bartlet's term in office, he proposes they "jump off this cliff" together, (a metaphor bringing to mind season 6's "Third Day Story") It's a heartwarming bunch of scenes, especially for those who've wanted these two to get over the job issues for seven years, and although C.J. is forced to leave the situation up in the air, the flash forward in the season premiere shows us that all is going to be alright for C.J. and Danny.
The enjoyment of C.J. and Danny (my favorite couple on this show besides the obvious Josh and Donna) I expected, regardless of who penned the script, just because of the humorous chemistry Janney and Busfield bring to the table when they're together. But all the other humor and intrigue I didn't expect. We dealt with Bartlet's inept and slimy son-in-law Doug Westin finally being proven as the jackass he's been suspected of being by the staffers since his first episode in "Abu el Banat" two years ago. We dealt with the idea that a Bartlet could actually be NOT worthy of our respect as we see Liz, Jed's eldest daughter, willing to play the role of the dutiful wife. And we saw much humor in the roles of Josh, Will and even Kate, who usually I find insufferable.
Whitford really seems to get all these characters, especially his own Josh Lyman, who as many have complained about has appeared rather inept as of recent. In this episode he's outsmarting everybody and C.J. and her staff are forced to keep up with him as he works his campaign and the White House like a fiddle. Will is the lovable geek he was when Sorkin first wrote him to fill the shoes of that other lovable geek, Sam Seaborn, and while Kate might have been out of character in her one scene by being likable, Brad's doing a good job at finding a character for her; C.J.'s galpal. Even Jed, in his one scene, radiates an energy and power that, while Martin Sheen always brings to the table, sometimes the character lacks. Over-all, excellent.
First, I would have to mention that I was surprised to see that Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman) wrote this episode.
It gave us the opportunity to see old C.J. back, the omwan who stoods up to everyone, and who still know what her priorities are.
On the other hand, he brought us the actuall west wing, with all the things we loved - fast walks through the hallways, banter and humor.
Very well written. With the great cliffhanger. I can't certainly wait for another ep.
In the floundering ineptitude that is West Wing's seventh season, this was a terrific episode for all the C.J. fans out there. During the early stages of C.J.'s reign as Chief of Staff, she was unsure of her self with a constant "deer in headlights" look on her face. Now we see a woman who has assended to fulfil her full potential. Throughout the episode, she took control of every situation that came her way. Proof that she is not only the most powerful woman inthe country but that she deserves to be the most powerful woman in the country.
This episode proves that life and governing continues in the White House when everyone else is paying attention to campaigns. This was a building episode to advance storylines. The ending is a wonderful lead-in for next week.
The episode didn\'t meet my expectations after reading the summary posted on this site. The summary made it sound like there would be an actual nice dinner with CJ and Danny. It was misleading about Gail, about Josh asking for help,and about the Westin secret and Liz. (By the way, Liz once said that a nanny is not a substitute for a parent, but I guess Doug found a different substitution for the nanny to fulfill.)
I do however applaud the West Wing\'s attention to the genocide in Sudan. This situation has been going on for at least five years and I hardly ever hear about it. West Wing shows that someone cares enough to give it attention on a well-watched show to alert the viewers to a horrific situation that they may not have heard about anywhere else.
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