The West Wing

Season 4 Episode 16

The California 47th

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 19, 2003 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • The start of Sam's send-off.

    Rob Lowe returns to say goodbye. In "The California 47th", the President will be campaigning for Sam while also preparing for war in Kuhndu and fending off a potentially devastating blow to the Seaborn campaign (i.e., Republican tax cuts). It's another busy day for the West Wing.

    This episode, while hardly the best of the series, does have frequent blurbs of brilliance. Any scene with Andy was exceptional (Toby calling her a mini-van was particularly memorable. "Stay back, ladies. I saw him first."). And you gotta love the dialogue between C.J. and Josh. After C.J. explains an airline mix-up to Josh, he asks for the bottom line. "Interstate 5 has been shut down for the past hour and a half." "Is that a freeway that gets used a lot?" "Not for the last hour and a half, no."

    Poor Will. The speechwriting staff resents him so much, they quit (Why am I guessing this is based on actual events?). It's Elsie to the rescue (Remember the great Danica days on this show? I thought she was a great counterpart to Will's introduction into the show.) with rather amateur interns. Will decides to "haze" them with jerseys and tax policy oration. Yahtzee!

    I also got the feeling there was some tongue-and-cheek regarding Rob Lowe's departure in this episode. Sam says at one point, "I don't know why, but it's great to see you." Constant reminders to Sam that his campaign is destined to fail. I don't know -- probably coincidence or sly genius. Either/or.

    To be honest, this episode is standard fare, but it's so much fun to watch when a show flows as well as this one did in its prime. Alas, Rob Lowe's departure was a foreshadow of an even bigger departure to follow. I guess we'll always have the California 47th.
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