Back on the desk, the boys go live, but it's just to tease upcoming highlights and break for a commercial. After that's done, Dan starts muttering under his breath, and you catch the word "stupid" but not much else. He gets up and says he'll be back in a moment. Casey takes the opportunity to stroll into the control room, just after Dana tells Natalie that she's waiting five more minutes before she calls the cops. Casey starts pontificating on how long it's been since he's been in the control room. It's a fairly harmless statement, and I don't know that it deserves the snarkiness of Dana saying they've all missed him. Casey pretends to take that at face value and offers his own sarcastic "thank you." He then starts chatting with the front-row TCs and asks what they're doing, like, they're producing sports coverage, Casey. But because Dana is rude, Natalie has to be too, and she says, "Sometimes it's hard to tell," and how nice of her to take a swipe at them for no reason. Casey tries to be genuinely friendly and says he thinks the show's going well. Dana icily says that that's good because his opinion is really important to her. Casey's had enough and says, "Dana, whatever we're going to do, can we not do it in front of the help?" and that's an incredibly lame thing to say, and Casey's taken a lot of heat for it on the Sports Night forums, but I give him a little more credit than that. I know he's had his issues with, for example, not remembering names of the support crew, but I really don't think he actually considers the other TCs "the help"; I think his comment was meant way more metaphorically than that and he would just rather argue in private. Also, Dana's being a total bitch here. Sars, can I say that? ["Hey, you're not saying it about me for a change -- by all means, have at it." -- Sars] Anyway, Casey stomps outside, and Dana takes off her headset and follows him.
Once in the meeting room, Casey asks her what the problem is. Dana asks him to let her off the hook. Casey does a little dance where he pretends not to know what she needs to be let off the hook for, but with some prodding, we can see he's pissed that Dana handed off the show the other week because Gordon was there and angry. But I'm going to offer my own analysis here. The only one who has had a problem (at least, that we've seen) since that happened has been Dana. She has been paranoid and hypersensitive all episode, jumping down Casey's throat over her own interpretation of what he says. Sure, maybe some stuff has happened off-camera that we haven't seen, but if we're supposed to sympathize with Dana, it would help us to see Casey holding a grudge over the show handoff, and sure, Dana knows Casey really well and can maybe judge when he's saying one thing and meaning another. But I think what's really going on is that Dana has been feeling guilty since she handed off the show to Sally, is angry at feeling that way, and is lashing out at Casey instead. Of course, Rectangle Head is ticked; we all know his work is really important to him -- he refers to Sports Night as "our show" (meaning his and Dana's). We all know, though, that there's more at work here than how Casey feels about the show. I really feel for Casey here; I think a man who truly loves a woman will keep silent about it if he knows she's happy with someone else, but Casey knows what an asshole Gordon is -- his transgressions include cheating on Sally and starring in Major League III -- and it must kill him to be passed up for such a jerk. I know what I'm talking about here. Anyway, Casey channels his anger into telling Dana that he'll let her off the hook when there's time, but right now he has to do their show, and he asks her to let him know when something more important comes along. Dana is really taken aback by his self-righteousness here and can barely muster a response. Casey takes off, bumping into Natalie, who has come to get him because he's needed back on the air soon. Natalie continues into the meeting room and asks Dana what's going on. Dana's venom melts my television as she practically screams, "I want so badly to rip his face off!" Felicity Huffman rocks.