The West Wing

Season 7 Episode 15

Welcome to Wherever You Are

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Mar 26, 2006 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
115 votes
  • Jon Bon Jovi tries act, Lou starts sucking up to him, Donna and Josh... a good, but amazing episode.

    First off I\'ll say that the inclusion of Jon Bon Jovi was an utter farce. He couldn\'t act back when he appeared in \"Sex and the City\" and he can\'t act now. All he does in this episode is potter around, doing generally nothing aside from fending off the hillarious Lou Thornton. But he shouldn\'t have been included in the episode at all. He contributed nothing whatsoever and it was a transparent ploy to boost ratings.

    But the rest of the episode was good. You would need to be really attentive watching the episode because there is rarely a moment that passes without three conversations that go on at once. The previously boring Helen Santos had quite a bit to do; both as wife, mother and campaigner and she was very good.

    I really wish we would see more of Annabeth, she did nothing except sing as they got on to an aircraft and potter in and out. Kristin Chenoweth was wasted in this episode, she\'s a fabulous actress and she needs more to do. So does Janel Moloney. J-Mo spent most of the episode as Santos\' PA saying \"One more question\" blah blah blah.

    The Toby storyline was moving and this was clearly a Sorkin-Toby not the Cumudgeon of the two series. I loved the scene with Andi in the Witche\'s hat and the twins were lovely! It does raise the question of will these two get back together: and not to mention WHO did tell him about the military shuttle (sidebar: i missed most of Season 6/7 so I appologise if this has been already resolved.).

    And thank god there was no Kate-Will storyline. That\'s just wrong.

    In conclusion, a good, but not fantastic episode that shouldn\'t have been named after Bon Jovi\'s latest single, but I can see where the title comes from. Half the time I had no idea where Santos was supposed to be. In the episode was good all around, not spectacular and a 45 minute advert for Bon Jovi. This would never have happened under Aaron Sorkin.
  • The wheels keep turning - fast.

    The tease opens with the Santos campaign at the end Halloween Eve - six day before the election (E +6). With some beautiful singing by Annabeth, and subsequent girl talk banter flying over the guys heads the first act (I refuse to call it a tease because we've gone to six acts) defines the activities of the last five days schedule and fast paced/overlapping tone of the episode.

    The secondary story of Toby's ongoing legal issues resulting from the military shuttle leakage brings the fire breathing passion that I so admire about his character. Of course, this bit of hot air comes only after some ridiculously cute moments with his children and an argument with Andrea.

    Beyond the awesome Toby moment, this episode ends with a great Josh/Santos moment. We've been watching Josh struggle to fill the Leo role for the better part of a season. There have been brief moments where you believe he could become the backbone of the Santos administration, usually followed by some great Josh-like foul. As Santos looses his cool at the end of E +5 , Josh provides the calm and connection Santos needs to face the next event without killing anyone.

    Oh, and I liked the campaign stuff better this episode than the last because Santos had the same problem I have - he just wanted to get down to the business of running the country without the hassle of election hoopla.

    Cross posted to Quo Vado?
  • One last transitional episode before the big dance

    I wasn’t expecting Toby’s plot thread to return in any meaningful way, but once it was clear that it was coming up in a big way in this episode, I couldn’t argue with the logic. After all, this is still a transitional point in the story, and the writers were still reeling from the death of John Spenser. Unless I have the dates wrong, this is the first episode written after John’s death, and there seems to be a purposeful focus on everything else but Leo.

    This isn’t the kind of episode that electrifies the audience. There’s a lot of talk about the election and how things might turn out, a lot of strategizing, but there’s precious little talk about where the polls are going overall or indications of how the election might turn out. It’s more about the frantic pace of the final days of a presidential campaign and the toll it takes on everyone involved in the process.

    In that respect, it does a damn good job. Everyone in the Santos campaign looked exhausted beyond belief, and I really liked how Santos was portrayed. His good-boy image became more and more embattled with every new press conference and scheduling challenge. That little meeting with Nancy became the symbol for every single source of frustration, and when he finally exploded, it felt completely genuine and justified.

    More importantly, Josh finally looked like the potential Chief of Staff that the writers always wanted him to appear to be. When Santos had his mini-meltdown, it was Josh that took the reins and focused his candidate on the big picture. I’ve been very critical of Josh and how he’s handled things, but it’s easy to forget that he’s a novice, despite all those years under Leo. But damn, if he didn’t step up to the plate in the final hours!

    Speaking of Santos, I was happy that the situation in Asia was referenced so directly. That was something missing from the previous episode, I thought. Santos reacts about as strongly as I would have expected, and it just made me wish that the episode had also covered the Vinick campaign in as much detail.

    Of course, that time was devoted to Toby’s realization that he’s going to jail, more likely than not, and what that will mean to his family. I was expecting that, and so it was a real treat to see Toby at his self-righteous best. I wasn’t particularly convinced that his way of avoiding a political nightmare should have worked as well as it did, but since Toby has always been a great mouthpiece for the writers, I couldn’t complain too loudly.

    This is still a transitional episode, since everyone’s waiting for the next two episodes to begin the final stretch, so there’s nothing particularly distinctive about it. I love the chaotic atmosphere, but I can see how some would find it annoying. I’m just impressed by the fact that the cast took the raw emotions following John’s death and used it to give credibility to their exhaustion. Even under the circumstances, no one in this production is coasting through to the end.
  • Anyone remember Lawrence Summers?

    Lawrence Summers was the Iran-Contra special prosecutor who came down with surprise indictments the weekend before the 1992 election, just as President Bush 41 had closed the gap on challenger Bill Clinton. The indictments came a good five years after Oliver North's testimony, three-and-a-half years after North's trial, and six years after the original revelation of arms-for-hostages. In that instance, the indictments probably didn't make a difference--the country seemed ready for someone else--but the indictment especially of former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger (who had argued against the trade, and in fact had been revealed as one of the voices of reason in the Reagan administration at the time), stood out as a particularly nasty piece of work at the time, and I am surprised that the tactic hasn't joined "swift-boating" and "Saturday Night Massacre" in political annals. (Summers' day, perhaps?)

    In any case, the Toby plot, so dormant for so long, finally came to a head tonight, and in a way that reminded me so much of Summers in 1992. The ironies abound here. First, Summers' hit job was performed against Republicans, which is a departure for this season, as Lawrence O'Donnell's visceral hatred of the current Bush administration has caused him to trot out every perceived slight and unfairness inflicted against Gore and Kerry in the last two elections. ("Voted for it before I voted against it," et al.) Second, as far as the plot goes, we are faced with the wonderful irony of Toby tortured by the thought of his plight throwing the election to the GOP, and the double-irony of hurting Bartlet, the man who hounded him from the White House; and CJ, who went from being his subordinate to being his boss, and with whom he always had a prickly relationship.

    Richard Schiff was outstanding--first of all, as a man under unbelievable pressure; and second, as a person who has come to realize that what he originally saw as an act of conscience had farther-reaching effects than he could understand. The last time we saw Andy on an election day, she had just won her district with something like 80 percent; now, in large part due to her association with Toby, she is in the fight of her life. (And of course she would dress her twins in Orioles' uniforms; in Maryland, the Yankees are the enemy. And a nice touch, Toby telling his sleeping kids that to root for the Yankees is to skirt disappointment, when he has always courted disappointment and bitterness as if they were old flames.) Did Toby's final confrontation with the USDA convince the DA not to expand the prosecution? Maybe. And maybe Toby was convinced, in return, to take some kind of deal.

    The Santos plot was typical splendid last-minute campaign stuff, the sort of thing I kept waiting for Bartlet to undergo the last time 'round, but didn't get to see, so determined was Aaron Sorkin to bury the Bushes in his own way. (A Florida Governor who spoke in a Texas accent. Hmmm.) Some good things: the use (and abuse) of kids on the campaign trail (though what kind of fool gives out candied apples for trick-or-treating, especially those not wrapped in cellophane? They'd mess up everything in the bag). Bon Jovi, standing in for Springsteen, one Dem Jersey rocker for another, trying to find his awkward place (and the message only Bill Clinton understood: if you're running for office, you have to be the biggest name in the room at all times). Good use of the hand-held. Nice moment, Mrs. Santos being told she can't go to her children (in the press bus). And a nice final moment, with Josh finally finding his voice.

    Santos will win, of course. Has Josh finally proven his mettle as Chief of Staff? I'm tuning in.
  • After a few West Wing duds, this episode reminded why I love the show. Santos on the road with the close race does everything possible to snag an elcetion win. Meanwhile Toby has a dfficult choice ahead of him, one that could put all democrats in jeopardy

    I was rather impressed with this installment. It was one of the better written episodes this season, so far. The episode started out great, with Annabeth singing as they walked out of the car. The group dynamic on the Santos campaign really came together in this episode. I thought the humor throughout the episode was above the usual par that we\'ve seen, and I enjoyed everyone not being so serious for once. Lou was especially funny in relation to Bon Jovi, but his presence on the bus was a little awkward. I felt they were trying to hard to use him as a marketing ploy, and we didn\'t even get to here him sing! But that was made up for I guess by Kristin.

    As to Toby\'s part on the show, it was great to have more than just a few minutes. The more I see of him the more I think that Richard Schiif is one of the best actors on the show. I\'m glad we were able to explore this part of his life. I never thought about how this indictment was affecting Andy, and I feel so torn on the crudeness of her actions. Toby is always being snubbed, but I guess that\'s what you have to do to win an election. It was great though to see three year olds Molly and Huck. Richard performance was classic here and I can\'t wait to see how this all unfolds.

    Overall it was a very well written episode, after a couple of duds, this reminded me why I still watch this show. And I am waiting in anticipation for the exciting and sad accounts of next week.