The West Wing

Season 7 Episode 3

Message Of The Week

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 09, 2005 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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  • Good episode. See review for updated regular cast member listing.

    Don\'t have level two clearance, but the inaccuracies in the cast lists in this season should be noted. The page correctly mentions that Janel Maloney, Dulé Hill, Joshua Malina, Kristin Chenowith, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Allison Janney, and Martin Sheen are not in this episode. However, it is not mentioned that Mary McCormack is also not in the episode Someone with clearance please add this to the page information. Good episode, despite not featuring hardly any of the series regulars. Again it would be nice to see Richard Schiff more before he is sent packing. The Josh-centric nature of this season is really irritating. But Alda is great in this episode.
  • This is a Vinick episode and is done not nearly as well as the previous Vinick episode. Very "meh" over all.

    First off, the only true character we get in this episode is Josh Lyman. And I mean, that's great, he's my favorite character. But still... I don't want to watch the show if it's filled with boring Republicans I don't know and even boring Democrats I don't know. Obviously it's the same old same old. Republicans have problems with Vinick because he's just too dang liberal what with his abortion-loving... Vinick deals with it. Blah blah blah. It's nice and all, but... I don't know. And where was Stephen Root as Republican Communication Director Bob Mayer? Was Alan Matthews from Boy Meets World his replacement? Whatever. Anyone notice that the Vinick staff is just rife with ex-sitcom stars? MASH, NewsRadio, Home Improvement, Boy Meets World... Get Jason Alexander or Bill Cosby and I might get interested. Or hey, bring back Matthew Perry, he plays a Republican on this show. Stop introducing newbies though.

    I did like the scene between Josh and Bruno detailing debate stuff though. But everything else was, while interesting, made less interesting by the fact that I honestly don't much care about a lot of these guys, this was particularly evidenced in the scene where Leon, Vinick's aide, quits. Very dramatic, except, you know, we don't know who you are.

    Good work by Alan Alda, Bradley Whitford and Ron Silver but very "meh" over-all.
  • Los topicos de la campaña siguen algidos: seguridad nacional, empleo y latinos ha sido el comun denominador.

    Los Republicanos continuan su marcha hacia la presidencia mostrando la seguridad nacional en la zona fronteriza con Mexico. Con ello, busca restar votos al candidato Demócrata, pues utiliza el factor nacional y la de los inmigrantes dentro de un pais proximo a hacer uso de los votos.
    Por otra parte, Santos sigue confiando en su estrategia de ex defensor del pais. Ademas, el apoyo que consigue por parte de los errores de los Republicanos, como es el caso de la posible coalición que se hubiera formado entre Vinick y los Catolicos frente al nombramiento de jueces y fiscales, como tambien de temas tan subidos de tono como el aborto.


    Temas sobre coalición, falsas promesas, educación y seguridad han sido tratados en este episodio. Ha habido, ademas, temas mucho mas influyentes y que han captado la atención de nosotros. Coincido con un comentarista anterior, en que la inclusión de Bruno como el vocero comunicaiconal de los Republicanos. Las pocas frases que se emplearon durante la reunion Bruno – Josh, fue tan impactante que muchos quedamos satisfechos con la escena.
  • Stunts are flying all around...

    First of all, we got to see Vinnick's side. And it showed everything one campaign normally has; stunts,serious disagreement between the staff and the candidate, even quitting because of the principals.

    Two stunts, Santos fulfilling his army duty, and Vinnick sucking up to the Latino public are just pieces in the whole picture. We can see the propaganda, but we also see how much that propaganda, even a transparent one, effects people's opinion.

    I have to say that I had a favorite moment in this episode, and I mean a scene that marked this show for me. And that was when Bruno came to see Josh. I mean, there were only a few sentences in that part of the script, but the tension was more than visible. Personally I would like to see more of their interaction.

    Alan Alda was a perfect choice of a Republican who plays by his own rules. He can certainly bring out positive and negative sides of his character.

    Great episode!

  • Vinick's weaknesses and edgy attitude is exposed in this episode. Sullivan comes off as a menacing, but effective vice-president. In the end, it seems a nobler, and softer Santos would be the better choice for President.

    It's all about the Vinick-Sullivan campaign this episode, and it was a refreshing change for this West Wing viewer. Although I felt that the Vinick character was a bit shlumpy throughout the episode, except when being accused of killing babies. Alda has that hunched up figure, as opposed to the rock-solid posture of Santos. I enjoyed seeing the dynamics of the campaign as a move and counter-move, with this week, Vinick holding court and changing his message of the week. They picked up on what I saw was a perceived weakness of Santos in episodes last season with his hesitance to paint himself as the "brown" candidate and avoid Latino issues. Alda is crafty, a political pro in the way he can twist phrases to suit his purposes (with the border security and vigilante remark) and make noble pronouncements before backhanding his opponent (Santos' reserve duty and being commander-in-chief).

    The surprising move was the strength of the Sullivan character as a rock-solid VP who has his own political experience in dealing with the Christian coalition. The menacing aspect of Sullivan's conversation with the Christian coalition rep was chilling.

    Alda himself has an edge, as shown in his war-like metaphors, and approval of negative campaigning. Bruno is there to soften him (no negative campaigning yet) it seems, and try to have him appeal to a more moderate constituency.

    I can see now that the show is definitely looking for a Santos win, as the flaws of Vinick (I lied, so what) and Sullivan (menacing attitude) come out in this episode. The media-savvy and attack-mode of Vinick, is not portrayed as a good thing, but more of a dishonest means to an end. Santos on the other hand believes in nobler things and his problems tend less to dishonesty, than in how this good, complex, well-intentioned guy can win a dirty campaign battle. As a mode of wish-fulfillment and rewarding the better man, it seems Santos will become the next President of the United States.

  • Going back up again.

    Finally WW is climbing in both writing and rhythm. For a year now I have been missing the old WW, and have found the “new one” a bit messy and to fast on to many subjects. But this episode was something else. A bit more clever than I have seen in a while.
    I hope they can keep up!
  • So there ARE good guys and bad guys...

    Interesting direction. I didn't expect that.

    It's obvious from the cast and previous years of the show that Santos is gonna win. (provided he makes it to the end) The problem with that is that Vinnick has more experience and is as personable a guy. So, how do you make one guy lose that should easily win? Character assassination.

    Making religious promises then breaking them is a bad thing to do. Especially to someone who is considered powerful. I have a feeling that that mistake (along with the others) will cost him the election. Not that he had a chance.

    CHeck out CiC (don't watch it for heaven's sake...a really bad show) In both CiC and WW

    Republicans bad. Democrats (and independants) good.'s that simple. (NOT)
  • Not the old WW, but definitely worth the time!

    Despite the promos to the contrary, this episode is entirely focused on the Santos and Vinick campaigns. With all the gains for Santos in the past two episodes, it was beginning to look like a sure thing. In fact, most fans expect Santos to win, if only in keeping with the more liberal slant of the show’s creators. Despite all that, this episode makes it clear that this will be a continually uphill battle for Santos, because Vinick is a strong contender.

    But just like Santos, Vinick has a problem. In short, it’s the same problem that the Republicans had when they were losing during the Clinton years. Whenever a candidate doesn’t kiss the ring of the Christian Coalition (renamed in a cosmetic way in this episode), they don’t have enough support to win. Conversely, GOP candidates who do sell their soul get elected without much trouble.

    Despite the fact that he’s calculating and can make some disturbing decisions, like knowingly going after the Latino vote and inserting an indirect racism into the campaign, I respect Vinick for standing up to that kind of pressure. There will be some who equate this episode (and my comments, for that matter) to Christian bashing and mischaracterization, but one must separate the religion from the fanatics. Most Christians don’t want to act like the Mafia, but the ones who do act that way make Christianity look like the Taliban. (“Represent just us and our values or else!”)

    But Vinick, for all his clever maneuvering, has his blind spots. He correctly identifies the downside of the GOP’s past marriage of convenience with religious conservatives, and yet, he doesn’t seem to understand how dangerous they can be. As in the real world, the more fanatical and politically motivated “Christians” would rather have someone they can preach against as immoral instead of an apparent political ally who won’t be a puppet.

    This may seem harsh, but it’s the political reality, and this series has always tred that fine line between addressing real political issues and behind-the-scenes drama. Vinick all but sows the seeds of his own destruction in this episode, and one gets the sense that his running mate only put a bandage on a festering wound. Vinick may want the radical religious faction of his party to stop making demands and playing games, but assuming that empty promises will work is the wrong move.

    That’s not the only plot thread, of course, but it’s the main one. I will say that this was probably the most compelling episode of the season, and a lot of that was due to the absence of divergent plot elements. In the first two episodes, the “White House leak” subplot sometimes got in the way. Focusing entirely upon the ups and downs of each campaign, and the possible Achilles Heel of the Vinick campaign, made this episode move. Considering that I felt the same way last season, I suppose that’s not much of a shock.