The West Wing

Season 7 Episode 8

Undecideds

0
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Dec 04, 2005 on NBC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

8.3
out of 10
Average
124 votes
  • El asesinato de un niño negro por un policia de origen latino pone en aprietos la intencion de voto hacia Santos.

    8.0
    Cuando Santos se entera que un niño de color ha sido asesinado, accidentalmente o no, por un oficial de origen latino, el debate sobre que minoria debe tener mayor control sobre la campaña politica se tensa, al grado de tener que usar el podio religioso para contar con un resultado que no dañe la imagen de ningun bando.
    Por otro lado, se inicia una crisis en Asia por problemas energeticos, donde China y Kazahakstan estan al borde de una guerra mundial.
    ***
    Un episodio flojo, donde la trama no ha captado mi atencion. Los lios entre blancos y latinos son y seran complicados de tratar en television. La puntuacion que le otorgo se debe unica y exclusivamente a la conversacion entre Toby y Josh, cuando este ultimo lo visita a su departamento. La frialdad de Richard Schiff para interpretar este papel sigue siendo de los mejores. No es necesario que hable mas de la cuenta: lo poco que habla dice mucho a los espectadores. Una pena que la serie vaya a dejar de emitirse, cuando seria interesante saber la trama de Toby y su enfrentamiento en los tribunales, y ver la fidelidad de Josh hacia su amigo, a pesar de habernos asombrado en la anterior temporada cuando terminaron golpeandose el uno al otro.
  • becoming the best whow ever

    9.1
    i thin that the directors and writers have a big job dealing with the death in real life of one of the actors. So far in this episode we see how the relay to us the day by day of a presidential run and how diffucult is to make everyone happy. The intrige of a trail for one of the members of the Barlet cabinet makes this storyline only better and better
  • There's much to like about Undecideds, and much to appreciate even if "like" isn't the right word. But there's no question that there is a lot of power behind this one.

    9.6
    It says something that an episode I've given a rating of "9.6" is the worst one Debora Cahn has written for this series. The woman is an absolute genius when it comes to these characters, in particular Toby Ziegler and Josh Lyman who are the reasons this episode got the classification "nerve-wracking", their scenes, a follow-up to Cahn's own "Drought Conditions" (far and away the best episode since Sorkin left) are absolutely amazing and cause you to feel so much.

    Josh: I'll see you later.

    Toby: No you won't, you're not coming back, at least have the integrity to admit that.

    These characters have been through so much together, are brothers-in-arms and have been for so long, that it's hard to see the relationship deteriorate the way that it did last season. But clearly it's building it's way back together. Every second Josh and Toby were onscreen together was awesome.

    There was, I suppose, other stuff going on in the episode. The black vs. hispanic tension going on in L.A. which Santos finds himself a part of, and his anger at having to be the poster boy for ever latino in the world, including those who make dumb mistakes which he has no reason to be responsible for. Jimmy Smits isn't bad in this episode, even though I don't usually care much for his Matt Santos. Also good is Teri Polo as his wife. Allison Janney and Janel Moloney both are fairly under-used in this episode, but Joshua Malina and NiCole Robinson's Margaret both manage to bring the funny in their wedding dealings.

    This episode would likely have been in the 8's had it not been for the majesty that was the Josh and Toby scenes. Amazing work by Richard Schiff and Bradley Whitford.
  • An episode that really doesn't forward the storyline, and only serves to remind us that The West Wing has lost its edge. Next up: West Wing goes for the Desperate Housewives audience with a Wedding-episode while I reach for something to numb the pain.

    4.5
    West Wing has become much more of a rollercoaster ride, quality-wise, in seasons 6-7, and this episode is on the down-side.

    There is little political to enlighten, there are few serious insights and the action seems to be more of a filler - the episode that the show needs to give us some feedback on the debate-episode, but it really doesn't add anything critical to the overall storyline of the show.

    A big part focuses on Josh's visit to the always bitter-at-the-world Toby, who is facing jail time. While it does illustrate that they are failing to relate as much as in the past, it's just painful to watch. I keep wanting the two to whip out some master plan to get Santos elected, or to just find that masterful dialogue that made West Wing so brilliant.

    I fail to get even the slightest bit excited by the whole Wedding-plot line, and I can't really laugh at the groom's way-too-wacky acting. If this is meant to illustrate that a lame-duck President doesn't do much besides publicity events, I'd really expect the show to focus a lot more on Jed Bartlet trying to cope with the fact that he's soon no longer going to be President.

    The Santos plot just doesn't change - he's a latino candidate, trying to walk a tight line and not really succeeding. Blah? The whole election seems so surreal to me - a positive Republican campaign, no smear campaigns? My disbelief is nowhere near suspended, and I find myself thinking too much about how it's not at all like in real life.

    Everything just seems out of whack in this episode - and given that the next episode is titled "Wedding", I have a feeling my pain is not going away.
  • Campaign dynamics remain far more compelling than lame-duck White House issues...

    7.0
    In an interesting move, it looks like the campaign wasn’t changed too much by the debate. I was under the impression that it was meant to represent a massive sea change in Santos’ favor, but I suppose that would have been too obvious for this series. There was something positive for Santos, but it’s not like he’s in the lead all of a sudden.

    The real change might be this episode. Ever since the campaign started, Josh has been all but carrying the burden of this effort on his shoulders. It was almost as if he wanted to make a president more than he wanted his candidate to be president (if that makes any sense). Sure, Santos showed some strong moments over the past year, but Toby strikes right at the heart of the problem: Santos didn’t want the presidency. He had to be convinced to run, and that carries a certain stigma.

    But even as Josh has his worst fears aired out by someone who is working through some serious transference issues, Santos is finding his voice. Every now and then, Santos demonstrates that deep down, he does want to win. He resists the call to offer simple solutions to complex problems, but at the end of the day, he can step up to the plate. As manufactured as the final act was (it just didn’t feel as natural as, say, a Bartlet speech), it reinforced the message that has been brewing all season thus far: let Santos speak for himself and things can go quite well.

    This reminds me of something noted time and again, right from the premiere: Josh doesn’t seem to trust Santos to know what to say or when to say it. And sometimes, he didn’t trust Bartlet so much either. Contrast that with Bartlet and his team during his initial campaign. The team was there to present Bartlet in the best possible light, but at the end of the day, it was (eternally) “Let Bartlet Be Bartlet”.

    The Santos team has struggled time and again with the notion of letting Santos be Santos. But how many of their victories have come with the moments when Santos deviates from their script? Nearly all of them. And why? Because that’s when the man comes out and communicates. If Santos is going to win, I believe it will be in the moments when his sincerity overpowers the slick platform messages of the Vinick campaign. That’s why this episode is called “Undecideds”…what inspires them to vote is often a sense of personal resonance, and that’s what Santos needs.

    As usual, the White House elements are the weaker link, especially since there was a distinct lack of balance. The material with Will the Wedding Planner was a nice counterpoint to the more serious dealing of the Santos campaign, but the problems in Asia didn’t gel well. Clearly there’s an ongoing plot thread at work there, but it’s not quite so compelling as the writers seem to think it is. It’s not just this season, though; Sorkin also struggled with this sort of plot arc in the fourth season.

    Despite the weaknesses, I thought it was a solid episode. One thing did strike me, however, because my wife brought it up. She noted that Bartlet was in the episode, and with the scenes between Josh and Toby, it suddenly struck her that this really could be the end. It left her with a true sense of loss, which I found rather remarkable. For one thing, she once avoided this show like the plague. Now, it has become a cornerstone of our shared viewing experience, and a continual example of what American politics should be. Hopefully they will get everyone back for one final farewell, as planned.
  • Quite honestly the wrost written, most waste of time episode of The West Wing ever.

    2.0
    I'll get er the fact that there is no way a campaign director a) would ever have time to visit Toby like that b) would risk being seen within a 10 block radius of Toby or anything related to Toby (he should also have known that there is no way Toby's wasn't being staked out).

    Moving on, Santo's speech in the church was GOD AWFUL! It was so utterly unmoving. He didn't say anything gutsy. He was more a politician in those moments than ever before. And where was the support from his wife if it was so good? The end of the episode made it look like there marriage was on the rocks for god sake.

    Margaret, the anal retentive, would have known that fish and a pregnant lady don't mix and would have moved the suggestions that way.

    Will was so totally misused and honestly wouldn't have been that rude.

    Who are these people and what have they done to this show?
  • Touching base, mostly--but not bad.

    8.1
    Random thoughts:

    1. This is the sort of episode an ensemble show runs after weeks off the air: bringing us all up to speed and nudging the plot forward. Toby, check. CJ, check. Wedding, check. Election, check.

    2. There are some plot lines that needed to be contained within the hour, partly because we've seen them before, and partly because they're impossible on which to build. Tonight was an example. Potential nuclear war in a portion of the world not one person in a hundred could find on a map--gee, will this be resolved? Nuclear war you think? Three guesses. Sorkin seemed to realize that international crises needed to be self-contained (Taiwan in the chess episode, "Gone Quiet," etc.) or (compared to global conflict) small-scale, such as hostages in South America. I swear, nowadays people on "The West Wing" talk about troops amassing on this or that border, and I hear Charlie Brown's teacher. Every indication is that next week's episode will have this conflict intrude on the wedding, which is something out of (ugh) "Commander in Chief."

    3. The church scene was too derivative; I was thinking of Pacino's visit to the boy's funeral in "City Hall." Plus, the scene in "City Hall" was better, in part because the writing was better, in part because Smits isn't as good an actor as Pacino (who is?); but in large part because of what followed Pacino's scene: the splendid scene in Pacino's limo when Cusack looks Pacino over, as if he can't believe such shamelessness exists in a man he admires. The "West Wing" tried to play Smits-in-the-pulpit straight (I thought I'd seen the last of throw-the-prepared-remarks-in-the-trash), and Smits's inspiring that hostile crowd while speaking from the heart is just a bridge too far. What Santos the candidate said was solid and sensible, but wholly unworthy of the church response; I half expected Leo to whisper, "Only one other guy ever got to me that way."

    4. Still, some wonderful moments. "The West Wing" is a show that rewards attention to detail, an understanding of subtext, and an appreciation of its history, and all were in play tonight. Will Bailey's secret romance was suggested by one glance and one line--splendid. I had Toby pegged for the Santos campaign months ago--ain't gonna happen officially, but there is this capacity, as gadfly and commentator. The best scene was Josh's second with Toby. I always enjoy Toby in high dudgeon, and his words, the stuff about dragging your candidate by the hair from Houston, made me think: Hey, haven't I heard this before? Of course I have. What Josh is doing was precisely what Leo had to do with the President: "Like pushing molasses up a sandy hill." And wasn't Governor Bartlet engaged in some silly New Hampshire campaign when Leo walked into his office and changed his life? And didn't Bartlet always feel (and a few times say) that it should have been Leo. Yes and yes. Toby is revealing more than he knows. Or else he's revealing deep-held resentments about the President. Or both. We have to be expected to remember all this, and we do. The prickly nature of Toby's relationship with Josh since Leo's heart attack is the best thing about the show.
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