Rejoice, ye West Wing fans ye! Our beloved show has returned to normalcy and has finally successfully integrated two opposing storylines. In one episode (yes, one episode!) we had both the campaign AND White House affairs! Amazing how that's possible, isn't it? If only they had learned this a few months ago, I may not have had to waste so much screen space complaining about discontinuity. Basically, this episode breaks down into two stories: Santos and Russell scramble to get an edge coming into the convention, and the White House deals with NASA about an oxygen leak at the International Space Station.
The Santos and Russell Scramble to Get An Edge Coming into the Convention Story:
The main source of tension here comes from Russell offering the Vice Presidency to Santos and threatening to offer to Baker if he turns him down. Baker joining Russell would flip Pennsylvania from Santos to Russell. This, in the words of Matt Santos, is "smart". A win-win for the Russell campaign, a second place settlement-risky chance for the Santos camp. I, however, was completely behind Helen Santos on this one. No way are we going to settle for second place! I love that she so believes in her husband that she instantly said "No, we can do better." (I don't know if I've made it clear enough yet, but I want Santos to win, and I really look forward to Teri Polo as First Lady. Matt and Helen are so cute.) But Santos and Josh, as the consummate politicians they are, saw the chance for a three-term Congressman to have a shot at the Vice Presidency, and then a greater chance at the Presidency in 8 years. The only problem with this is that Russell is a terrible candidate with no shot in hell at beating Vinick. The only guy with the charisma to rival Vinick is clearly Santos, but I digress. Of course, I was thrilled to have that Josh and Donna scene, short though it may have been. It was classic Josh and Donna, if subdued. These two have slowed down considerably in their banter; no more speed walking through the West Wing exchanging witticisms. I love that Josh listened to Donna. You knew he would though. Because Donna, as far as a political mind, is a product of Josh. Back on subject, this whole VP offer had me very worried for a moment, mainly because I am uninterested in seeing a show about the Vice-Presidency, and refuse to accept that the show could go on without Bradley Whitford. But mostly, because I'm really gullible. Of course Santos wouldn't settle, not to be second to a patronizing fool like Russell. Josh said it best when he said to Leo, "Santos is twice the man Russell is, ten times, on his best day. And Russell doesn't have very many best days." That final standoff between the former allies was fantastically intense. "You're not hearing me" "No, you're not hearing me!" Great.
The White House Deals with NASA About an Oxygen Leak at the International Space Station Story: Kate, CJ, and the President have to decide whether to jeopardize the security of the secret military operations of NASA by sending up a military space shuttle to rescue three men (or two, not including the Russian) trapped in the International Space Station who are losing oxygen every minute. CJ consults Toby on the issue and Toby says that his brother David, an astronaut, would have insisted that he die in the interest of national security. CJ, however, does not seem convinced and thinks we should tell everybody we've got the military shuttle because they probably think we've got them anyways. This got me thinking- are we going to weaponize space? Is this just a TV thing, or could this really happen or be happening, for real, now? How interesting would it be if NASA is totally freaking out now because The West Wing unknowingly revealed one of their secrets and got people thinking about it? Something to ponder. In any event, I think CJ's apparent decision to leak the story to the press (if it was her, the cut to her after the reveal could have just been a ploy to deceive us) is terribly in character for her. First of all, as the former Press Secretary, she knows the power of a leaked story. Secondly, CJ has always been one to champion human rights causes, sometimes at the expense of the Bartlet administration. Remember when she went off about the women in Kumar during a press briefing? I also think its great because this is something that only a woman would do, in my opinion. Not to say there aren't some men who would, but generally speaking. Leo would have never risked this to save three lives, but CJ has an entirely different perspective. I liked this story, whether CJ leaked the information or not, because it made sense but took some thinking. Not way out in left field, but also not hammered into you. Nicely done.
- She didn't really mean Will, right? Right? Right. Yeah, she had to mean Josh. She was just joking. Ok.
- I found great amusement in the "sclerotic" speech. Funny. Just funny. I don't know what the President is so worked up about. He must never watch late night television or he would be "peeved, irked, pissed" all the time.
- I always thought that the International Space Station had a lot more than three people in it at a time. With a name like that it seems like there's some kind of small space colony up there. Well, you learn something new everyday.
- Charlie and Zoey -married? Good for them. I like these two, even though we don't ever see much of them. I'm glad Charlie has a real storyline especially one that involves Jed. Charlie was pretty audacious the way he talked to the President of the United States so candidly about sleeping with his daughter. I suppose we could justify that by saying that Charlie and Jed have a close relationship, but still.