As they walk through a pair of doors, Toby asks Josh how his date with Amy went. Josh says, "Very, very well." Donna breezes between them at that moment, handing Josh the memo he wanted. Toby and Josh walk along slowly as Toby advises Josh that Amy's seeing someone. Josh doesn't want to know who it is at first, and then he does. It's John Tandy. When Josh hears that, he stops walking, because the gears grinding away in his head are sucking up all his energy. He resumes walking as he tells Toby why he finds that so interesting: "Because John Tandy is a..." He trails off. Toby tells him why: "'Cause they started seeing each other shortly after Nan Lieberman announced she was going to make a primary challenge in the 20th District." Josh: "Really?" He pauses. "Ah-so." The hell? "Ah-so?" Toby opines that Tandy's not courting Amy, he's courting the female vote. Josh doesn't think Toby is right; he thinks that's ridiculous. Toby: "Really?" Josh: "No, it's not ridiculous. Of course you're right." Toby sighs, and apropos of nothing, asks Josh, "Hey, who's the President having dinner with tonight?" Josh says it's some friends of Abby's. And they know or care about this because...? Toby gripes, "Good, 'cause when you're in his kind of mood, having dinner with your wife's friends is just what you're hoping for."
Classical music plays, and we see a roomful of people around a table in an elegant, wood-panelled dining room. One woman is saying, "It's molecular pathology." Another man: "STI." The man sitting to Jed's left -- someone who seems incredibly familiar to me -- mentions to Jed, "That's 'Signal Transduction Inhibitor.'" Jed: "I'm sorry?" Another guest repeats what STI stands for. Just getting that 7.4% in. Jed glumly says, "Abby just went to take a phone call." Wouldn't they all know that already? The Exposition Fairy needs to take off the clodhoppers already. The first woman says they've tested it on twelve patients. The man to her right asks, "Is this the first drug to target sphingosine kinase?" The woman confirms this. The man on Jed's left asks where they are with regard to the FDA. Jed's not paying much attention to the conversation, being both bored and depressed. He stares into his teacup and toys with his spoon. The other man says they just ruled that higher doses can be used. Another guest, standing at the other end of the table and drinking some coffee, says, "I'm telling you, we're ten years, 25 billion dollars, and a good luck charm away from curing human cancer." They all start babbling at once about the advances and the costs when Jed looks up and asks, "What did you just say?" The woman to Jed's right explains that they're talking about a new drug, which targets the enzyme (sphingosine kinase) believed to control all the signal pathways to cancer growth. She and the man beside her describe the drug as a sort of "smart bomb" that can kill cancer without killing healthy cells. Jed heard the gentleman opposite him, Bobby, say that they could cure cancer in ten years. Bobby clarifies, "Not cure it, but...make it chronic." Which I guess for some of the medical establishment counts as a cure. Jed asks, "In other words, make it so that people could live with it?" Bobby confirms this. Jed asks what is standing between them and that happening. The woman laughs softly and says, "I don't know." Jed asks, "Who at this table knows?" She says a little sharply, "No one at this table knows." Jed asks how much it would cost. She says nobody knows that either: "It's cancer. Nobody knows anything." Jed points out that Bobby just said "ten years." Jed declares, "I want to hear about this from the beginning. Talk to me like I'm not an oncologist." Yes, let's pretend. They all look at each other hesitantly, almost as if a six-year-old had just asked where babies come from. Jed gets a little irritable, and says, "I'm not messing around. This isn't barbecue night. I'm the Commander-in-Chief. Put your asses in the chairs." How very gracious. Frankly, I don't care if he's the Grand Poobah of the Royal Order of Water Buffaloes; I think it's rude to act that way in a primarily social situation. And I bet Abby would agree, if she were something other than an alluded-to presence. Mind you, they weren't making a special effort to include him in the conversation, either. I guess they're all boors. The guests all sit and straighten up, with the air of children who've just been told they have to miss recess in order to study.