Upstairs, Jack finds Jordan on one of the balconies and they get right into that banter they always do. She lightly bitches about Hallie the reality TV vampire, and the fact that Jack continues to pit the two women against each other. Because Jordan totally didn't enthusiastically jump right into that with both feet, attacking Hallie before her ass was even in the chair. Jack says it gets better results when you manipulate people like that. And speaking of "results," he says, has Jordan spoken to Danny about the ratings? Jordan is evasive, saying Danny is aware of the ratings problem. Jack's more interested in what Danny -- and Jordan, for that matter -- is going to do about it. He says that if Jordan isn't comfortable talking to her boyfriend about this, he can get Hallie to take care of it. Jordan gets a shocked look on her face, though I can't for the life of me understand why. Did she just figure Jack was going to let the ratings thing slide because Danny's her boyfriend?
The cold open this week is a White House press briefing about the Iraq War. What little we see of it isn't that funny, of course, and we leave poor Tom to bomb in solitude while we follow Harriet backstage. She finds Simon and says she got a phone call from Tom's parents that his brother -- who, last we heard, was STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF AFGHANISTAN -- hasn't made contact with them in a couple days, which is unusual. She asks Simon if Tom heard from his brother, Mark, before the show, but Simon doesn't know. Harriet looks worried and asks when they should say something to Tom, and Simon sensibly says, "Not during the show."
In his office, Matt is watching the sketch on a monitor, his crazy bug eyes halfway across the room. I love how Matt consistently watches the show as if he's a character in a movie about impending nuclear war in the 1950s. Like he should have a cigarette burning almost down to the filter as he stares bleary-eyed at radar images. Suzanne interrupts his intensity and brings in Mary, who surmises that Matt's not too happy to see her. But she needs to talk to him, because a TMG board member is being deposed tomorrow, and she needs to brief the guy's lawyers before then. This is still about the Karen Salisburg sexual harassment suit, in case you didn't see the previouslies, and Mary's going to need to talk to both Matt and Harriet. Matt balks at involving Harriet while the show is still going on, but Mary says she can wait. She also offers to be Matt's date for the wrap party, because I guess she's still into him. And why not, really? He's distant, he's condescending, he's mercurial, and he spends all his free time glowering about like he's Nixon in an Oliver Stone movie. Matt asks what Harriet did that she needs talking to, and Mary says she's been named as a witness in the complaint. Back in the day, Harriet was in a sketch Karen wrote that got cut after dress, and by way of consolation, Harriet told her that "the writers' room is a tough place for a woman." Matt, of course, immediately gets defensive and stresses that the writers' room is a tough place for "someone who isn't a writer." Mary, being a lawyer and not really giving a shit, doesn't indulge Matt with an argument, which is why he's never going to like her as much as he likes Harriet. Instead, she tries to act cute about being his date to the wrap party. Matt, charming as ever, grumps that he needs to watch the show. And, if you've ever watched television before, you've known what's coming for about five minutes: the cold open ends with Don Pardon't bellowing, "Live From Studio City..." Matt has a small aneurysm behind one of his twitching eyes, and we're carried right into the credits.