West Wing
20 Hours in America, Part II

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B | 1 USERS: A+
The Road Not Taken

Charlie walks back to his desk and finds a package there. No one's around. He opens it up and looks at it and smiles. Touching piano music plays. C.J. comes wandering up and stands by the door, saying, "The picture's from Deanna. I just put it in a frame. I've had it in my office for about a week. I just keep forgetting to give it to you." Charlie softly says, "Thanks. It's nice." Oh, you can see it coming miles away but I don't care. I'm tearing up anyway. I have absolutely no sap threshold where Charlie's concerned. She leaves, bidding him a good night. Charlie looks at it some more, leans over, and places the picture gently on his desk. We finally see the picture: it's his mom, in her police uniform, with her arms around her son, who's maybe six or so. She's beautiful, he's super-cute. I completely lose it.

The DC Three are on the empty dance floor of a bar or something. There's a strobe light and the background music is "The Wanderer." Donna's trying to teach Josh how to dance but gives up when she realizes he's almost too rhythmically challenged to perambulate, never mind do the Lindy Hop. Kidding. Actually they're sitting at a table yapping. Well, the guys are yapping. Donna's writing stuff. Donna's changed into some souvenir-of-Indiana sweatshirt, likely purchased in the gift shop, and her hair's looking suitably rough. Josh tells Toby that campaigns aren't about the candidates. He says they're about the voters, about how to create jobs, fix health care, make the lights go on, protect themselves. Toby: "Don't you want to ask if the plumber knows which direction the pipes run? Don't you...forget the plumber. Don't...we want leadership...to sound and to feel like, instead of appealing to our, our least expensive, however legitimate, desire to feel good about ourselves, don't we want..." Donna's had it. She says, "All right, that's it. I can't take it." Toby: "He started it." Donna: "I am not kidding. I have such an impulse to knock your heads together. I can't remember the last time I heard you two talk about anything other than how a campaign was playing in Washington. Cathy needed to take a second job so her dad could be covered by her insurance. She tried to tell you how bad things were for family farmers. You told her we already lost Indiana. You made fun of the fair but you didn't see they have livestock exhibitions and give prizes for the biggest tomato and the best heirloom apple. They're proud of what they grow. Eight modes of transportation, the kindness of six strangers, random conversations with twelve more, and nobody brought up Bartlet versus Writchie but you." Toby and Josh look duly chastened. She picks up her pen and says, "I'm writing letters on your behalf to the parents of the kids who were killed today. Can I have the table, please?" Josh and Toby don't move right away but eventually they get up and walk over to the bar.

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West Wing




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