The West Wing

Season 3 Episode 12

The Two Bartlets

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Jan 30, 2002 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
114 votes
  • Two Bourbons and a conversation.

    Another in an already long line of great cold opens. I loved the call back to season 2 with Josh still wearing the pajamas CJ got him. Amy even managed to score a few points with me by at least being interested enough in Josh to end her other relationship. But the highlight of the opening was definitely Josh inadvertently reading Leo a list of his and Amy's romantic encounters.

    Josh: "Time number four involves a variety of-
    Leo: Josh, I'm gonna stop you right here, ok?"
    Josh: "Leo?"
    Leo: "Yeah."
    Josh: "Anybody else in the office?"
    Margaret: "Hey, Josh."

    Amy scored even more points with her speech for the WLC, which was scary good, the overthrow the government line was a little much, but it was still inspiring. Unfortunately she lost those points in not being able to see that Josh was having a rough day, and maybe she should try wooing him for once. Considering what Josh had gone through he could have used it. I thought it was a low blow on Leo's part to force Josh to do that. I know as White House staff they have to set aside personal feelings and relationships, but that doesn't mean Josh should have to use a friendship to disband a protest that he would have been at himself if he could. I understand Leo had to do it, but it was still tough seeing Josh put in that position, though the scenes were excellent.

    CJ also gave another great performance, going from upset over her father's Alzheimer's, to covering it up by cracking jokes to Toby, that were actually really funny.

    CJ: "The cow made out of butter? That's how I like my irony served my friend."

    The build up of tension between Bartlet and Toby was done well and led to one of the most dramatic moments in the series. The final scene in the Oval was incredible. I loved the way Toby's tone never changed from calm and explanatory, despite knowing the reaction his words would elicit from Bartlet. The way his tone mimicked the steady ticking of the clock in the background was excellent. Bartlet's reaction was also acted perfectly, that barely controlled fury as he keeps in mind where he is but doesn't pull any of his punches.

    Bartlet: "You have stepped way over the line and any other President would have your ass on the sidewalk right now!"
    Toby: "Yes, sir."
    Bartlet: "They'd have had you on the sidewalk a long time ago."

    And I loved that shot of Bartlet in the Oval from outside the door as Toby is leaving.

    Most of the episode was good but it was the final minutes that really put it over the top.