The West Wing

Season 2 Episode 22

Two Cathedrals

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM May 16, 2001 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (19)

out of 10
324 votes
  • A Boy King and a Real Dame.

    The flashbacks to to the early days of Bartlet's and Mrs. Landingham's relationship were excellent. Aided by the perfect casting of the young Bartlet and Mrs. Landingham(especially Kirsten Nelson). I loved the scene when Jed is working on his car and she's trying to convince him to talk to his father about the salary discrepancies. The way it tied into the final scenes was done incredibly well also.

    Bartlet: "Why do you talk to me like this?"
    Mrs. Landingham: "'Cause you've never had a big sister and you need one. Look at you. You're a Boy King. You're a foot smarter than the smartest kids in the class. You're blessed with inspiration. You must know this by now, you must have sensed it."

    I never expected Bartlet's father to be so cruel. In a way it explains why he works so hard, trying to earn his dad's respect that he never can. But for him to be such a kind person in spite of that, is a miracle. Made more so by the fact that is father was probably jealous of the greatness in his own son, as he was of his brother's intelligence.

    Bartlet's scene in National Cathedral was without question the best moment in my television viewing history. Sheen's acting was phenomenal and Sorkin's words were superb, both were incredibly moving. I'm only going to post the moments that made the biggest impact on me, but it was obviously extraordinary from start to finish.

    Bartlet: "You're a son of a *****, you know that? She bought her first new car and you hit her with a drunk driver. What, that supposed to be funny?...What was Josh Lyman? A warning shot? That was my son. What did I ever do to yours but praise his glory and praise his name?...Yes, I lied. It was a sin. I've committed many sins. Have I displeased you, you feckless thug?...Cruciatus in crucem! Eas in crucem.(To hell with your punishments! And to hell with you.) You get Hoynes!"

    I really respected the choice of making some of Bartlet's monologue be in Latin. I can't imagine the network execs were thrilled with that decision. But it fit with his character and the moment so well, that I didn't mind looking up the translation, and I certainly didn't mind rewatching the scene. I couldn't imagine that part ever being surpassed in excellence; until I got to the final moments of the episode.

    The scene between Mrs. Landingham and Bartlet in the Oval Office, with the wind and the rain ripping through the open door was truly brilliant. I loved watching Bartlet's subconscious try to convince him that America needed him to run again. And Mrs. Landingham was also incredible in that scene.

    Mrs. Landingham: "You know if you don't want to run again, I respect that. But if you don't run because you think its going to be to hard or you think you're gonna lose; well God, Jed, I don't even wanna know you."

    I thought Brothers in Arms was a superb song choice to play over Bartlet's trip to the press conference, though I am pretty partial to Dire Straits, but BiA in particular is a great song. Even knowing the series went on for another five seasons, I was pretty nervous going in to the final scene. The staff waiting to see if it would be Answer A or Answer B, Bartlet's hair and jacket being soaked from the rain, and his silent answer of looking off, smiling, and putting his hands in his pockets was one of my favorite moments from any series. Beautiful way to end an unblievably good episode, and an altogether excellent season.

    10/10, Simply put, the best episode of any TV show I've ever seen. A 10 really doesn't do it justice, as it exceeded the quality of everything else. It could never be over-hyped, over-rated, or over-praised.
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