The Regularly Scheduled TV Show Blog

Monday, December 05, 2005

The West Wing 7.08: Not That Much Awe, But Definitely Some.

After an extended break, The West Wing looks to bounce back into its swing of things.

The last episode of The West Wing was the live debate episode and this episode is woefully short in comparison. The episode brought up the issue of race relations when a black child is accidentally killed by a Latino cop in Inglewood, California. I can't remember an episode of The West Wing that brought up the issue of race in such a defining manner. Santos (D) must walk the tight-rope of being sympathetic to the child's family while not alienating the Latino community or law enforcement either. An episode that could have been an Emmy award winning episode hit its peak with a dud instead of an explosion. I think Jimmy Smits as Santos has been well done so far the last two seasons, but in this instant of making a grand speech on race relations he fell short. In last season's finale, when Santos gave his speech at the Democratic National Convention, it was quite an oratory, but his speech in this episode was quite weak.

Another shortfall of this week's episode was the lack of any air-time for Vinick (R) about this issue or any other issue really. The episode had a few highlights outside the primary plot and one of those was the return of Toby since his dismissal episode almost two months back. Josh drops by to visit Toby and they get into an argument once again about Santos. Josh doesn't understand Toby's dislike for Santos, as I don't understand why either, but Toby fully explains why Santos isn't presidential material. Toby says that Santos didn't have the arrogance of power to be President because Santos wanted to walk away from the Congress until Josh had to drag him into running for the Democratic primaries. This sort of speech has a ring of truth for Josh as he has no rebuttal. Also this speech is eerily familiar to some dialogue on Commander-in-Chief in the first episode. Anyone that watches both shows knows what I'm talking about, and if you don't, well too bad.

Some other points of interest that will be the base of next week's episode was Will working out the wedding arrangements with Ellie, President Bartlet's daughter, and her fiancé and the growing standoff between Russia and China over the oil in Kazakhstan. During the talk about the wedding arrangements between Will, representing the White House, and Ellie and her fiancé, a small wedding is deemed at 700+ guests. The wedding itself will be the primary setting for next week's episode. The political section of the next week's episode will be when President Bartlet will have to stem off a war between Russia and China about the oil in Kazakhstan while the wedding takes place. In the end, this week's episode could have been one of the best episodes the show has ever had, but a lackluster speech by Santos about race relations and compassion and yadda, yadda, yadda, was very weak. This episode could best be described as setting up next week's wedding episode in which I have very low opinion of. I just can't take an episode about a wedding that seriously, if the show is suppose to be about politics.


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