Josh and Ronna walk up a fire stairway. There's some guy walking down the stairs, trying to talk into his cell phone. He seems confused by his inability to get a signal in the stairwell. I have to think that was an inspired piece of business by an extra. And I can't really tell if the look Josh gives him is Josh thinking he's an idiot for trying to use his phone in the fire stairs, or Bradley Whitford wondering what the hell the extra is doing. Josh tells Ronna that they are looking for any stray Atkins delegates they can pick up on the second ballot. Atkins presumably being a candidate who dropped out early and not an interest group made up of high-protein dieters. Of course, this would have been the perfect opportunity to mention Rafferty, who must have picked up a few delegates in her brief run. But John Wells hates us, so it doesn't happen. Josh thinks the big struggle will be getting Atkins delegates to speak, because they might "be too busy stuffing canapés in their pockets." As they walk out of the stairwell into the sunny lobby of the hall, Ronna starts to ask "Can I quote you while we're trying to get them to vote for us?"
Ronna finishes her previous sentence in a new shot, of her and Josh walking through the sunny lobby. And now wearing sunglasses. Magic sunglasses that instantly appear on your face at the first sign of bright light. Josh tells her that all of the delegates are just there "to grunt and cheer and stomp their feet at every cheap applause line." Shouldn't they be applauding for the applause lines? I guess calling them "grunt, cheer, and stomp lines" would get a bit unwieldy. Josh points out that the delegates are out of touch even with the people in their own party, tending to be a lot more liberal. The two of them and their magic sunglasses have strolled over to a cart where they're picking up some water and hot dogs. Ronna sums up Josh's theory, which is that the delegates only have one job, which is to pick the nominee, but that they were themselves selected "with no regard for their ability to perform that job." Josh is going on about foam fingers and hats shaped like Hoover Dam. And then he tells her, "We have a hell of a balloon drop planned for an hour." He walks off with his hot dog, telling her that he'll be back in an hour. She reminds him that the convention is about to start, and asks him where he's going. He turns around and says, "To beg an old friend."
And there's Josh, in Hoynes's hotel room. ShakyCam is back. Hoynes is chattering on about Santos's turning down Russell and Russell's apparent decision to name Bundy as his Veep. Josh says barely a word. Hoynes complains about Russell's hubris and miraculously escapes being struck by lightning. Josh asks whether Russell made an offer to Hoynes, and Hoynes asks if Josh is there to make one. Josh tells him that he's not. Hoynes makes the point that he's confident his delegates will stick with him. Josh asks him what he wants, and he turns it right back: "What you got?" Josh tells him that he can prevent Russell from getting the nomination and thereby save the party from ruin. Hoynes wonders if Santos can really beat Vinick, and Josh tells him that he's certain that Russell can't. But Hoynes thinks he can beat Vinick himself. Josh says, quietly, "It's not gonna happen, sir." Hoynes throws out the deadlocked convention line, and Josh cuts him off: "Your political life is over." The cameraman is very interested in that line, as he zooms right on up to Josh's face. Nice pores. Josh tells Hoynes that no matter what his delegates are saying, they will dump him. Josh will not offer him an appointment to the cabinet or an ambassadorship, but he will give him the opportunity to be an adviser to Santos, whereas he's pretty certain that Russell would just freeze Hoynes out. Hoynes asks why Santos sent Josh there with nothing, and Josh tells him that Santos doesn't know Josh is there. Josh leans in toward Hoynes and tells him, "You've had a long and distinguished career, sir. Wouldn't you like to see your name just one more time in the history books without the word 'scandal' after it?" Hoynes does not respond.