The West Wing

Season 7 Episode 10

Running Mates

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Jan 08, 2006 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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out of 10
132 votes
  • good episode and looking forwar to the end

    this was and exciting episode, we are aprochiting to see how the directors and writers deal with the end of leo apperance on the show because of the death in real life. The actors do a good job on delivering the truth on howe is the life on a presidential campain
  • The first new episode since John Spencer's death is good but painful due to the fact that this episode heavilly centers around his Leo McGarry

    I knew this was coming. I knew the next episode was to be entitled "Running Mates", was going to be about the VP Debates, and was going to feature a lot of Leo, and yet I still managed to be surprised by it all. Every scary foreshadowing moment, from the constant mention of Leo's previous heart attack as being cause of concern to this heartbreaking conversation following the debate--

    Leo: Just don't make do that again.

    Josh: Four years. Book it.

    The millions who watched that probably had the same reaction I did. He can't book it, because in a few episodes Leo McGarry will be dead, just like John Spencer sadly is.

    And yet, there were moments where I forgot, and this is a testament to the realism of John Spencer's acting. After all, how can he be dead when I see Leo up on my screen, being just as much Leo McGarry as he was when we followed him in that long walk-and-talk that started this series. He was laughing, smiling, flirting with Annabeth (who is absolutely perfectly played by Kristin Chenoweth as she always is, the biggest shame of all, story-line wise, for this show, is not that we'll never get to see Leo as Vice-President but that he'll never truly find the love with Annabeth that he was denied with his wife, Jenny)

    There were rough spots. The scenes with the Republicans seemed odd... What, we're just supposed to expect that these three high profile people (Senator Vinick's CoS, the campaign Communications Director, and the VP Candidate) just hang out together in a hotel room all day, 'cause that's pretty much all we ever saw them do, also the White House scenes seemed out of place, since it was only Will and Kate flirting, nothing substantial, but all that can be overlooked, as there was such great performances by John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, Kristin Chenoweth and Janel Moloney. Speaking of Janel, was I the only one who was waiting for her to say to Helen, "Well, I may never have had my thong revealed in a tabloid, but I DID drop my underwear in front of a reporter... Does that count?" Would have been a nice call-back, but alas.

    And also, props to whoever plays Ronna, because she is quickly becoming the new Margaret. "All my friends are in this room." Hilarious.
  • Maybe it's just an opportunity of circumstance: I'd like to think, though, that "Running Mates" will prove a great tribute to the life and career of Mr Spencer.

    In other reviews I've read, Ms Chenowith's character seems not always to fare that well -- especially in the environment this show enjoys. She's just a recent addition to a group of staff minions supporting the big guns, Mr Sheen and Mr Spencer.

    I was delayed by traffic the night this show aired, and missed everything before the theme music, including Mr Sheen's introductory remarks regarding Mr Spencer's passing. As I watched the program, though, it dawned on me that the interaction between Ms Chenowith and Mr Spencer (not only their chacterizations, but the thoroughness of those characterizations, which is about the only way a viewer can sense the personality behind the character), was a stellar demonstration of the quality behind the quality of the acting these two people bring to each scene they appeared in.

    At the time(s) of the various scenes' filming, no one could've imagined that this program would be Mr Spencer's first posthumous performance. In other words, nothing at all was 'tricked-up.'

    He learned his skills on the stage, and honed them every chance he obtained. Without disrespect, he was an old hand, masterfully marvelous. Ms Chenowith, again without disrespect, also began on the stage, and (I would respectfully posit) has done pretty much the same thing: honing her skills with every opportunity. (Full disclosure admission: I was never able to see Mr Spencer on stage; however, I was able to see Ms Chenowith on stage, and was thoroughly amazed by her acting abilities.)

    The scenes these pros shared in front of the camera(s) in this episode will always be the best tribute to the quality of Mr Spencer's life and performances.

  • Mostly about the vice-presidential debate. Has a little bit of scandal over Santos' wifes choice of underwear.

    I must say that I never liked Leo. The character was always annoying and critical. But nthis episode really redeamed him. Also the fact that he died made me feel bad for disliking him. In the epsode he really whoed what a good actor he is.
    I really do worry about Teri Polo, I haven't been the biggest fan of her, the playboy thing was a little sad. But now I wonder if she's even going to come back after Santos wins (really I have my doubts about whether he will or not, but if I ignore my doubts I figure they'll amount to nothing).
    I wish Lou could stay forever I just love Janeane. But htt's just wishful thinking.
  • Painful only because of John's death. Other than that, a good episode. One question, though.

    Painful only because of John's death. Other than that, a good episode. One question, though. Did anyone else notice the mistake? Or am I mistaken? The photo in the tabloid showed Satos's wife's thong, right? And that was the big deal, that she wears a red thong. When Josh was on the phone with Toby, Toby asks if the "Tatoo picture was their idea". Did I miss the tatoo, or did the writers make a mistake?
  • The highlite of the episode had to have been Martin Sheen's heart felt dedication to John Spencer. Sadly, the episode noise dived from there.

    The highlite of the episode had to have been Martin Sheen's heart felt dedication to John Spencer. Sadly, the episode noise dived from there. After all the hype for the Santos-Vinick debate, the VP debate was a disapointment. The lead up dragged on, and what little they did show was uneventful. Both campagns are in full swing, Toby is being investigated by a Grand Jury, and China is flexing it's muscle, but what do we get instead? Kate and Will on a date. That is if you call eating take out in Will's office while watching the debate a date.
  • This epidsode was one of my favorite "post-Sorkin" episodes. From Martin Sheen's very kind words at the beginning to the last word of the show, it was classic West Wing.

    I have watched West Wing from the very beginning. I am surprised that the ratings for the show were so low, given John Spencer's death. People are fickle.

    The show was funny ... with Leo being the one to leak Democratic fear that Leo would lose the vice presidential debate and his joke about not having enough helium to imitate Annabeth's voice (which is so annoying), I was engaged through the entire show. It was interesting.

    The irony of having Leo talk about his access to good health care being the thing that kept him alive, while so many without health coverage don't always have that opportunity, was too real.

    I mourn the delightful John Spencer, and if they kill West Wing, I will mourn it too.
  • A difficult episode for fans, but a great one for John

    I knew better than to expect that the episode itself would be devoted to the fate of Leo McGarry, but I had the feeling that the producers would do something at the very beginning to mark John Spenser’s passing. Even expecting it, it was a kick in the gut. It was very difficult watching the episode knowing that John is dead. But it was certainly a great episode to highlight his acting ability.

    Even though I found it a little odd and forced at times, I liked the idea of Leo playing things his own way for the debate, knowing how to deliver a victory out of a moment typically left to the footnotes for the footnotes of history. OK, maybe not a victory, but certainly something worthy of note, and therefore useful to the campaign. I got the impression that this was one way that Leo was helping Josh with the overall effort.

    On the side of the wacky, Annabeth is getting a little bizarre, especially with the constant comments of attraction to Leo. I can’t stop thinking of those horrible Old Navy commercials, which is, as you might expect, rather distracting. I do appreciate the funny, but it’s also creepy.

    The other side of the episode was the last visit home for Santos, which revealed some problems on the home front. Helen seems to have some issues with reality, even if she never was entirely pleased with the idea of the campaign and her husband’s possible presidency. But does it make sense for her to act like the concept of looking like a potential First Lady is such a shock within weeks of the election?

    The writers have long since revealed that Matt and Helen are of the frisky sort, so I wasn’t too shocked by the idea of Helen in a thong. That, and Teri Polo is a fit young woman who can carry it off. Now, personally, I would have thought that the whole “broken bedframe” business back at the beginning of the season would have been more mortifying, but perhaps the issue now is the bunker mentality.

    That cold, however, is going to make for one very convenient metaphor, especially if it worsens down the stretch. Santos’ chances will falter as his health reflects the state of his candidacy, and I imagine the plan was for Santos to resurge at the end as his health returns. Will that still be the case, now that the writers have to account for Leo’s absence? Unfortunately, I get the feeling that John Spenser’s death is going to overshadow whatever story the writers had in mind. Some may not mind the idea, I would be saddened if naysayers used this situation to jump down Wells’ throat.
  • Even though ratings were reportedly low, The West Wing found a bit of its old form in an episode that made it so clear why we will miss John Spencer.

    This episode took me back to the days of Aaron Sorkin with well-crafted dialogue, some smirky attitude among the stars and a plot that for once wasn't transparent from the first minute.

    The episode focused on the VP-debate, and on Leo McGarry (John Spencer)'s poor preparation and louse mock-debates. Spencer unfolded everything in his arsenal, the dry wit, warm charm and fully utilized his weathered face that makes you feel he's been through five wars and 3 divorces.

    It also had a bit of West Wing flair, with the romance between Kate Harper and Will Bailey seeming to blossom in the offices of the West Wing. It may be missed on most, but their hi-IQ courtship is interesting and never really predictable.

    There are 4 more episodes to go with John Spencer. With the show most likely on its last season (sniffles) it is still unknown what the writers will do with Spencer's character. Here's hoping that while John may no longer be with us, Leo McGarry never dies.
  • This is a first episode to air after the death of John Spencer, This episode is about his character Leo McGarry getting ready for the vice-president debate. Meanwhile Santo tries not to catch a cold from his kids.

    Reason I call this a very special episode, because this was the first episode to air after the death of John Spencer. I think when we see him play Leo, I think it's a real him every time he smile on screen. The episode start out a very nice tribute by Martin Sheen. I think it was a good Episode. Santo may be busy running for President, but he sure need to spend more time with his kids. For you Mr. Spencer, Thankyou for a great show, West Wing won't be the same without you.
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