The West Wing

Season 7 Episode 9

The Wedding

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Dec 11, 2005 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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  • I think that's what everyone was suspecting and dreading, "On a Very Special West Wing, You're Invited to a White House Wedding..." but it turned out to be much more.

    There was so much to thoroughly enjoy about this episode. For one thing, it featured the relationship between Jed and his middle daughter Ellie, who is my favorite of his three kids, and definitely the one with whom he has the most complicated relationship. She's always wanted to please him and never really thought she has, she's been shy, whereas Liz and Zoey have never been afraid of the spotlight even when it became taxing. The speech given by Jed to his daughter at the end of the episode, especially when you look back at the speech he gives to her in Season 2's "Ellie" shows how much understated love there has been, and shows how much these two love each other. Ellie gives her father the White House wedding he always wanted to be a part of, even if she's not fully comfortable with it, and Jed blows off negotiations with China to broker a peaceful settlement in order to walk his little girl down the aisle. I will admit to welling up after Ellie finished her father's speech.

    For most shows, that's enough, and they'd phone in the rest. But wait! There's more! We get Josh Lyman at his most interesting, the verge of a meltdown. Shades of so many episodes past are visible as Josh struggles to do what he can with the campaign, knowing how many people are counting on him. Josh is never so interesting as he is when he's at his breaking point. And even better we had Donna and Josh in a scene together for the first time in, like, a while and she was being quite the flirt, shame Josh was too troubled to notice. Rest assured, I'd have loved to keep her from being bored.

    The best part of the storyline with Josh was that we got to see his "father" give him confidence, hope and reassurance. I have always loved the relationship between Leo and Josh, the father/son connection they have and their steadfast devotion to each other. As Jed once said "You're willing to throw it all overboard to avoid disappointing Leo." and it's very true. In the scene where Leo defends Josh to Santos was anyone else thinking of Leo's famous "As long as I got a job. You got a job?" speech to Josh lo those many years ago in Noel, the best example of when Josh has a meltdown (and my personal favorite episode of the series)? Josh is going to be crushed, even more than Jed, when Leo is forced to pass away later this season.

    Over-all great episode, and great performances by Martin Sheen, Nina Sciemaszko, Bradley Whitford, John Spencer and Janel Moloney. If Spencer's not nominated for a posthumorous Emmy for this season there is something wrong with the Academy.
  • Josh es cuestionado al llevar la campaña de Santos, mientras que la Casa Blanca se prepara para una boda, contando, ademas, con una posible guerra nuclear en Eurasia.

    La campaña sigue estancada para Santos, y los principales hombres democratas empiezan a ver que la piedra de avance es Josh. Esto llega a oidos de Santos, y los hombres solicitan que sea Leo quien continue la campaña sin ayuda de otros, debido a su experiencia como jefe de campaña. Ante esto, Josh se cuestiona a si mismo, dudando de su capacidad.
    Ellie Bartlet se casara en la Casa Blanca. Su padre duda de la boda, pues no confia que sea una boda con amor, sino mas bien bajo la presion del embarazo. Y, ante ello, debe lidiar para que no se produzca un enfrentamiento belico en Eurasia, lo cual provocaria una catastrofe en el mundo.
    Al termino del episodio, vemos a un Leo que le dice al candidato Santos que la persona mas razonable para continuar como jefe de campaña es Josh, pues fue el quien inicio toda la cruzada y que, finalmente, debia ser el mismo Santos quien impulsara la candidatura.
    Por otra parte, Josh y Donna mantienen una entretenida pero seria conversacion en una de las escaleras de la Casa Blanca, reflejando que el amor que siente Donna hacia su ex jefe sigue latente.
    Finalmente, la boda se realiza en la Casa Blanca, donde el novio le dice a su futuro suegro que el siempre quiso casarse con su hija, mucho antes del embarazo.


    Un episodio donde los intereses por sacar a un fuerte de contienda se hace evidente. La suciedad de una campaña ha sido reflejada en su maximo esplendor en esta hora de animosa tension.
    Ha sido un capitulo dedicado a Josh, quien como jefe de campaña nos ha mostrado los sinsabores de la politica. No solo porque ha gastado su tiempo y esfuerzo en sacar adelante a un candidato que no lo tenia claro en un comienzo, sino tambien por las presiones que sufre dentro del mismo partido. Si a ello sumamos que Santos tambien cuestionara, aunque fuera superficialmente, la capacidad de Josh, para continuar al mando.
    El episodio de la boda quiza pasa a tercer bando, pues entre Josh y las tensiones en Eurasia, el evento familiar no es adecuado. Es cierto: se juega a la continuidad de eventos, el guion es acertado, pero no para mi gusto.
    Quiza lo mas interesante son dos puntos: la defensa que realiza Leo de Josh; y tambien la charla que sostienen Donna y Josh en las escaleras de la Casa Blanca. Ella esta decidida a tener una noche agradable debido a la boda, pero el jefe de campaña solo tiene en mente sacar adelante a su candidato. Por mas que Donna se le insinua, Josh no despeja la cabeza, y menos cuando se entera de la visita de los senadores democratas.
  • always revealing

    this is the reason i like this show, the writers and directos are not affraid to deliver the truth about how dirty a campain can be even between party members. I still wait to see how they will manage to deal with the deatyh of one of the main actors
  • The Wedding was a good example of excellent writing that the can come out of the West Wing. The episode wasn't the best we have seen but certainly was worth the hour to watch.

    Ellie Bartlet has been a mystery to the viewers since she was first mention. Of the three Bartlet kids we know probably less about her than Zoey or Elizabeth and for that reason this episode was so good. This is the third episode in seven seasons to be devoted entirely to Ellie and it was the best. The writers were able to replicate the Sorkin-esk feeling of dread that Ellie feels towards her family's way of life. From the scene of the diplomats giving the gifts to her waiting for her father to walk her down the asile we understand how much she is uncomfortable with this way of life. There are only so many situations that can arise that can get that much attention out the President and this was a new to the Ellie forumla. As the viewers see Jed Bartlet negotiating on the phone we can tell that he is genuially concerned for the crisis at hand but is preoccuppied by his daughter. Bartlet has always been a family man first and this episode highlights that strength in his character as his frustration level rises to the point of meltdown on the phone with the Chinese. And the writers did an excellent job of bring back the strength that Debbie, his wise cracking secretary brought to the show in season 4. While there were many high points to the show I was disappointed by the riding of Josh Lyman by the Democrats. Josh has made mistakes in the past but has proven himself a strong leader but he second guesses himself when the people he trusts to stand by him ditch him. Worst of all is that fact that Santos seems to want to dump his Campaign Manager and would be Chief of Staff at the end of the campaign. This seems so unlike the Matt Santos that we got to know this season and last, he has always been so loyal and that trait has drawn viewers to him. I have been impressed with Lou's development as a character and the asset that she has become to the campaign. John Spencer's performances in this episode rival those of the Sorkin days. His speech to Santos in the end rekindled the faith in Josh and showed how powerful of an actor John is and his characters true strength.
  • Painful...but only because it hurt to see Josh raked over the coals like that...

    I don’t pretend to be an expert on this series; others have lived and breathed every second of every episode (at least, the Sorkin years) to a far greater degree. I just love watching these characters and this stylized, idealized version of how the American presidency should be. And I’ve also been a political junkie in my day, and so there’s this little thrill I get when I see an Electoral College map. Seriously!

    So when it comes to this episode, I can’t help but appreciate the fact that this White House wedding provides a nice distraction from the slow but steady decay of the Bartlet administration. I enjoy that on a certain level, because there is a hint of realism in it all, but I do love symbolism. In this case, Bartlet handing off his daughter in marriage in the White House. Chance for comedy and some nice little character work? Sure, but the metaphor is hardly lost.

    But for me the heart of this episode was Josh. I remember reading in more than a few places that this was originally supposed to be the “Josh and Sam Show”, back in the development days, and I think that Josh has remained at the center of the action in a very real and consistent way over the years. (Others may argue that, but hey, it’s just my opinion.) So it makes sense that this election is as much about Josh and his failures as it is about Santos and his improbable rise to the presidency (I’m still sure that’s what will happen).

    Looking back over the course of the season, the season premiere all but told us that this moment would come. Josh and his judgment was under fire for much of the sixth season, and Santos’ win at the convention only put his strategy under more scrutiny. He’s made some missteps in the past, but as the race tightens and each decision counts more and more, Josh can’t help but miss some of the details.

    Part of that is his inability to let go of control. He wants to be the one who makes it happen, who puts his man in the Big Chair, the student who has become the master. But Josh often forgets that even Leo had a staff, people he trusted to give him honest and divergent opinions. It’s what made Leo such a damn good Chief of Staff, even if the man took too much on his own shoulders at times. More to the point, as much as Bartlet trusted Leo and his judgment, he also had a rapport with his senior staff before they officially took power.

    Who does Santos have, beyond Josh? Nearly everyone else is still essentially a temporary fixture. Josh has never let go of the reins long enough to build a powerful and diverse team. And yet, it’s too much to take him out of the game and leave him out of the room. It’s not so much that he needs to go; he just needs someone to keep him from isolating his decision-making process. Leo can help him with that, and if that is indeed the direction the writers take, it will be a reasonable and logical progression of the season thus far.

    More than that, it could serve to give Leo a more substantial plot thread. He has been largely absent this season, probably because of contractual purposes with the network, and that is not the preferable situation. Far better for him to step in, help Josh reorganize and focus. Leo has shown a remarkable loyalty to Josh in terms of support, and so he’s the one person who Josh can trust to point him in the right direction. In fact, this is how I see Santos winning.

    It also means that Leo, in a more prominent role, will be more exposed. Enter more complication, since his past will be even more fair game. But since the struggle must escalate between now and, say, episodes 14-16 (the likely timing for the election itself), this is the most obvious and interesting direction to take. Meanwhile, it certainly looks as if Bartlet will be dealing with one, final international crisis. All of which, in my opinion, is more than worth the time.
  • Read ironically--as in "A Very Special 'Blossom.'" Still, if we had to have a wedding episode, it might as well have been this one.


    In this episode, best of all, we had more insight into Leo's surrogate fatherhood of Josh. Leo has always walked a fine line between exploiting (in the best possible sense) Josh's talents while separting, as best he could, Josh from his weaknesses. It was this fine line that prompted Leo to anoint CJ over Josh as his successor--in point of fact, Josh was not ready for prime time. In the post-Sam troika, CJ has always been the brains, Toby the conscience, and Josh the heart. This has served them variously well and ill: CJ on top of things but running people over, Toby a conscience that becomes his professional undoing, and Josh with moments of intuitive clarity clouded by but also tailspins of doubt and self-loathing. No one would have thought to fly to Houston and pluck a retiring back-bencher from relative obscurity as Josh did with Santos. On the other hand, probably CJ or Toby (or Sam, for that matter) would be less prone to self-doubt as regards the money. No way would CJ be intimidated by Robert Foxworth's senator (in point of fact, she would probably make a point of insulting him), and Toby, who we first met in that bar in Nashua, preparing to be fired, would simply plunge ahead, almost comforted by the notion what he was trying wouldn't work. It is strange, but what was said about Winston Churchill applies to Josh: Poor judgment, but great instincts.

    One of the great things about the show is that often you have no idea what will happen, and then when it does happen it seems inevitable. CJ's promotion to COS was such a moment, as was last night. With ten minutes to go I honestly didn't know what was going to happen, and in truth, putting myself in Leo's place, I didn't know where he'd come down. Here we are with the fine line: Leo wanting the best for Josh, not wanting Josh in over his head, and at the same time wanting Santos elected. The look he gave Santos when Santos asked him point-blank if Josh was the one was priceless. But ultimately, Leo's final plea to Santos was probably on point. Josh has been handed his own Kobyoshi Mareau scenario: the War Games program on Star Trek which famously had no solution. It is Santos, and not Josh, who will have to be his own Captain Kirk and change the rules.

    Some random thoughts:

    1. Santos with the cheesesteak. Apparently Lawrence O'Donnell is determined to replay the entire '04 Kerry campaign (it was a small but telling moment when Kerry ordered his cheesesteak with Swiss). In the coming weeks, will Vinick be found to have evaded National Guard duty, courtesy of some genuine documents this time?

    2. I was premature with the Will Bailey romance. But here it comes, I think. I'm thinking of the girlfriend back on "Sports Night" and I wonder: will Josh Molina go through his entire career fulfilling nerd fantasies?

    3. What's with the daughter's pissiness? Barring Will from her wedding, on no basis other than he had to be the heavy as the planner, seems awfully small. She never showed this part of herself before.

    4. One could see the Russian-Chinese thing coming right down I-95, right down to Barlet's personal plea. It was, I suppose, handled as well as it could have been.

    5. Since the thing began, I have been waiting for Josh to undergo one last jaw-dropping humiliation, on the order of finding Joey in her hotel room with that pollster ("She's saying goodbye, Josh") or being passed over for Leo's replacement. I have to suspect it's coming--either Santos loses because Josh blunders or (here's a new prediction) Santos wins but picks someone else for COS. I'm zero-for-two on predictions, but my luck has to change some time.
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