The Regularly Scheduled TV Show Blog

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The West Wing 7.13 and 7.14: Kisses, Child Payments, and Talk 'Till You Drop.

The campaigns tighten as they prepare for the home stretch.

The return of The West Wing after brief break starts us on the path to the series finale. The first two episodes covers the political fallout (pun not intended) of the nuclear plant situation in California. Vinick, a strong supporter of nuclear power takes a woeful hit in the polls as his lobbying for the construction of the plant remains the biggest news story. Vinick's chief of staff, Sheila (Jill from Home Improvement), decides to fall on the sword for the campaign and bring in a Republican pro to work on bringing in the base of the party. Meanwhile, Santos pulls even with Vinick over the two episode span and the news of the polls brings about the end of one of the shows continuing "what if" situations as ecstatic Donna and Josh finally does something that everyone expected them to eventually do. Luckily, in West Wing fashion the "romantic" story line is light and kept to one episode doses and continues to leave you in the dark of how far things ever really get.

During the campaigns, President Bartlet takes action in Kazakhstan and puts US forces on the ground in between the Chinese and Russian armies to prevent war in the area. This decision creates a meeting between Bartlet and the two candidates that signifies the eventual passing of the torch that will soon occur. Unfortunately for Vinick, this does nothing to push the San Andreo nuclear plant story off the front page and he continues to take a beating from it. Deciding enough is enough, Vinick does a "talk till you drop" press conference right in front of the San Andreo nuclear plant. Bad imagery says the campaign advisors, but Vinick feels strongly about getting the story over and done with. The press conference lasts a good 3 hours and without question Vinick comes off as the old straight shooter that got him his giant lead in the polls in the first place.

In other news, Santos realizes he has lost his briefcase and the person who finds it is none other than Bruno. Bruno proceeds to search the briefcase and finds a checkbook that has only one entry every month. The entry is to a 29 year old single mother who used to work for Santos when he was mayor of Houston. Bruno and Vinick believe it to be either hush money for an affair and bastard child or at the least secret child payments for an illegitimate son. Vinick plays good guy after a successful press conference and return the briefcase to Santos. I wonder how he'd feel about it had the press conference not gone so well.

During the meeting between the two candidates, Santos explains that the payments are for his brother's child and not his own. His deadbeat brother is the father of the child and Santos merely stepped up to do the right thing. Vinick promises that he won't be the one to leak it to the press, but future episodes will be the decider on that. In the final piece of The West Wing information, Toby makes an appearance as he gives advice to Josh about the Santos campaign via phone calls and the name "Bob". This is no doubt the first of many cameos of the previous cast of West Wingers as promos have even shown the return of Sam Seaborn.


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