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Sunday, October 30, 2005

The West Wing 7.05: A Shake up Occurs.

Get caught up from last week's episode before you see it tonight. Find out the important events that you may have missed.

Last week's episode of The West Wing was the height of the storyline about the national security leak of a military space shuttle. A grand episode that is the swan song of Toby in the White House, the sheer brilliance of the episode involves primarily C.J., Oliver Babish(the White house counsel), and the finale with President Bartlet. This episode contained so much to write about that I will narrow the recap to Toby and the Santos(D) Campaign.

The episode begins at the end of the previous episode, with Toby confessing to C.J. that he was the person who is responsible for the leak. In the aftermath of this confession, C.J. tells Toby not to say another word and calls the White House Counsel's office and to get a lawyer to her office immediately. Upon the arrival of the lawyer, C.J. tells him what Toby has just said and the lawyer takes Toby into the Roosevelt room, but first kicking out the meeting that is taking place in there. There Toby sits, alone, waiting for the lawyer to get Oliver Babish, the White House head counsel. Toby makes a call to his personal lawyer and leaves her a message of everything that has occurred, and then Babish arrives. Babish starts the questioning that involves asking him every person he has talked to besides C.J. and every other question imaginable. This goes on until the arrival of his own lawyer, when she tells Toby that if he wants to keep her as his lawyer he will stop answering any further questions. Toby agrees and the interrogation ends. Babish meets with C.J. and they decide it's time to inform the President.

President Bartlet, C.J., and Babish meet in the Oval Office and explain the situation. President Bartlet expresses how is both astonished and yet not surprised at the same time. They talk a little about the political fallout of the situation in regards to the current Presidential campaign. C.J. says she will take care of Toby, she'll ask for his resignation, but President Bartlet says that he should be the one that takes care of Toby. Babish thinks it is a mistake to have any conversation between Toby and the President. President Bartlet insists, Babish agrees only if he is allowed to stay in the room. C.J. leaves to get Toby from the Roosevelt room. After a minor objection of Toby's lawyer about the meeting, Toby tells her he will be okay without her there and leaves to the Oval Office.

The confrontation between these two companions, whom have always had a strong animosity towards one another, finally takes place. President Bartlet starts it off by expressing his great displeasure in the manner things have happened, and attributes Toby's actions to his belief of being morally superior to everyone else. Toby disagrees with the premise and exclaims he doesn't believe he is superior to anyone and attempts to hand President Bartlet his resignation. President Bartlet tells him to rip it up, that he can't accept his resignation, and that he has to fire him. Toby understands and begins to leave the room when President Bartlet stops him for a second to say one final thing. This is best shown in a full quotation: "Toby? When you walk out of here, there'll be people out there, perhaps a great many, who'll think of you as a hero. I just don't want you for a moment thinking I'll be one of them." This is how a pillar of the show ends his tenure within the White House. His appearances on the show will now be as a defendant and a political punching bag. The exceptional tone of the entire episode is embodied in the title of the episode "Here Today" and for Toby it is gone tomorrow. The other important storyline that occurs at the same time reflects the same tones of this one; let's see as we head to the next paragraph.

The Santos Campaign storyline takes place entirely on their airplane as they head to their next stop. Josh and Lou (Janeane Garofalo) sit side by side thinking of how to contrast the differences between Vinick(R) and Santos. They throw out words to find the right one and finally hit it on the nail with "spry". Using the word "spry" in their press releases in reference to Vinick will be a backhanded compliment considering the only people that are described as "spry" are the elderly. Ned, a close advisor to Santos, drops by and informs them that the new tracking numbers have Santos still down by 9 points.

Later on, Ned and others, come to Lou to talk about a possible abortion issue that might come up in Texas during the campaign. They suggest some press releases on the issue, considering Vinick's soft stance on abortion as well, and that they don't lose anything. Lou tells them it's a bad idea and explains that talking about abortion at is a bad idea. Josh, in a state of being half-asleep/half-awake dings in and says the goal is to not give the right-wing something to vote about, we don't care if they vote for us, as long as they don't vote for anyone at all. They understand and leave Lou and Josh. Lou wakes Josh up and explains that their campaign staff needs a shake up in order to compete with the experience that Vinick is packing his campaign staff with. Lou gives a pretty lengthy list of names to get rid of, including the long time advisor to Santos, Ned. Josh says he'll bring it to Santos and try to get his approval, though he believes Santos would never get rid of Ned.

Josh goes into Santos' private cabin on the plane and explains the situation and the list. Santos' wife, Helen, is there watching a horror movie as they talk. Josh shows Santos the list and comments on Ned. Helen also jumps in when she sees that Josh wants to get rid of a long time advisor to his husband. Josh explains he isn't the right cut for a national campaign. Santos understands and agrees, as Helen sits in amazement, to the list of names. Josh asks if Santos would like to break the news to Ned, Santos says that Josh can take care of it. A pretty direct action by Santos in this scene, as I thought there would be greater reservations about Ned getting the axe. It's good to see that Santos knows he's in a Presidential campaign and that trying to win has a price to pay. Josh leaves to break the news to Ned as they are about to get off the plane. Ned gets understandably upset with Josh and leaves the plane. I expect to see a new style and life to the Santos campaign next week with supposed new changes occurring.

These are just two of the plot lines that were furthered in this episode. There was also the conspiracy theory from Mr. Frost that was fleshed out more fully. This should prove to be the West Wing plot line that will supplement the White House investigation plot line during its "last throes". The grand swan song of Toby in the White House was fully formed and complete, unlike the previous removal of Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe). The manner of conflict that results in the dismissal of Toby was perfect to the relationship Toby had with President Bartlet. Next week's episode appears to be an episode that centers around the two candidates, as they have a face to face meeting. It also appears that it will be setting the table for the very spectacular LIVE DEBATE that will take place Nov. 6th. This will prove to be an extremely exciting event as two great actors will be LIVE to the public in a debate on their character's political stances.


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