When you finish watching the episode you think Uau! How on earth are they gonna get out of this? And then you read on the papers that this was Aaron Sorkin's last episode on the series and suddenly everything makes sense.
Let's suppose that Jed is Aaron and that Zoey, his daughter, is The West Wing series. The kidnappers are those main executives at the Network who showed Aaron the door and, who's the Speaker of the House? Very well, John Wells. It reminds you of a big metaphor.
It seems that Aaron wanted this season to end like the Swan Song, "I'm gonna do my best and I'm gonna write this story in a way that it will be very difficult for you to solve, 'cause I'm leaving tonight".
As we see Jed Batler temporarily transfering the Presidency and the Speaker taking the Oath, everybody at the Oval Office is thinking "isn't anything that we can do to avoid this nonsense?" But we don't know if it is Jed or Aaron they are thinking about.
Jed walked out the Oval Office with his head high, with dignity, knowing that what he's done is the right thing, just as Aaron did.
Wow.. I really really liked this episode.. I was going to much higher mark until the end what little ruined it for me but that's just that..
The whole tension.. the white in usual black.. the way they run there and the reaction when you hear it.. and all of the story in early season.. I think it was first one.. and that really comes play now.. with that twist.. the whole atmosphere. I just have no words.. You can feel it watching.. I was most of the time almost starting crying.. they managed to bring it emotionally to the edge..
And then Toby.. the talk with the babies.. that was a stunning.. A brilliant episode..
I've never really liked the two-part finale to Season 4. I've always had this nagging feeling in the back of my head that Aaron Sorkin was trying to think of the most clever way to leave the show -- and he thought, "Why not get the President to leave office without leaving office?" I hope that's not true, but I doubt that it isn't.
For Aaron Sorkin's last two episodes, he brought in many of the big guns. I was more than pleased to see Anna Deavere Smith and John Amos in the episode. I was pleased to see Elisabeth Moss (Zoey) and Timothy Busfield (Danny) in "Commencement". I was pleased to see Mary Louise Parker as Amy and Kathleen York as Andy (in "Commencement"). It was nice to see all of these familiar faces show up and have convincing storylines to give them.
But I just can't get this nagging feeling out of my head. It seemed too clever, too symbolic to me. It also left the show in bad shape for Season 5 -- of which John Wells had to pick up the pieces. Although his two-part opening was a valiant effort, you could already see the differences that would later emerge unabated in the following episodes.
Aaron Sorkin left the show in shambles. I can't help but think of the Palladino departure from Gilmore Girls (Season 6), where we see Lorelai Gilmore hitting rock bottom. I can't imagine this is how they wanted to leave the show. Was Sorkin really satisfied leaving the show like this?
The show was well-written and well-acted, as per usual. What wasn't so usual about the episode was its lack of comedy (certainly appropriate) or its nearly unidimensional storyline. I always appreciate ensemble efforts with one storyline -- it gives a good sense on how all of the characters are connected. You can see how well The West Wing has done with its ensemble by watching the effort each of them does here.
There's a scene between Leo and Bartlet. Bartlet tells Leo that he had this very scenario depicted to Zoey when she was "confronted" at a Georgetown bar. And now the situation has happened. Again, it comes back to that "clever, too clever" feeling I have. Some television shows get away with the pretentious overtones because they still care more about the quality of the product (The Sopranos comes quickly to mind). Others suffer because the arrogance is too hard to ignore. I think this two-part finale is an example of the latter scenario. As much as the episode is engrossing, riveting, even symbolic -- it's also contrived and conveniently personified. And when those feelings I get can't be counterargued or ignored, the episode no longer feels like an intelligent work. It feels like the work of someone trying too hard.
I mourned Aaron Sorkin's departure, but not because of episodes like this one.
I just started watching the show and I want to get all the seasons on DVD now. IT is such a good show! This one really kept me on my feet wondering what was going to happen next and the way John Gooden came into the scene was masterful. I loved the way that he took control while at the same time leaving the audience amazed at what had just happened.
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