West Wing
Abu el Banat

Episode Report Card
Deborah: C- | Grade It Now!
"Dying/ Is an art/ Like everything else"

Jed moves on: "Shame about Gus and the tree." Abby says that Gus thought he was going to be alone with Jed, and not that there were going to be all those other people there. Jed laments the various absences and interruptions of Christmases Past, and says he can't remember the last time it was just the five of them: "And weather, and everybody in their slippers." Abby says, "We don't do that." Jed claims they did. She reminds him that she was on call for three Christmas Eves in a row when Ellie was little: "We've never been Currier and Ives." Well, I think it's news to Jed, because I suspect he edits out all the stuff that isn't. He chews his apple thoughtfully and then tells Abby that he's assembling a panel on assisted suicide: "If you got any names...medical ethicists...." She composes her face into an expression of polite interest and says, "Your position has changed?" He shakes his head and says, "Unh-unh." She lowers her eyes, and seems almost...disappointed? Without looking at her, he says, "No syringe in the nightstand. It'll get ugly, and that's that." He permits himself a quick, furtive glance at her and then asks, "You gonna be there?" Then he allows himself a slightly longer look as he waits for her answer. Abby looks pretty pained, but says after a moment, "Yeah." She gets up to leave, and Jed says, "Abby?" She stops, looks at him for a moment, and then kisses him on the forehead, wiping the lipstick mark away with her thumb and resting her hand on his head for a very brief moment. As she breezes out, she says that Gus is still up: "Go say goodnight." Jed's not crying, but it seems like his eyes are reddened from tears anyway.

The Bartlet daughters are listening to the carollers and smirking about some unspoken amusement. As the singers perform "What Child Is This?," they put their arms around each other and smile and giggle. Yeah, you thought you were going to see them all in one room in some sort of family holiday gaggle but...nope.

As the carols continue in the background, C.J. makes a call to the hospital, struggling to find out how she can arrange to have a ham sent to her father, who doesn't care much for turkey. Unfortunately, the person she's talking to seems to have worse Alzheimer's than her father, because C.J. has to keep explaining and repeating the simplest information, including who she is, making the whole exercise more frustrating than necessary.

Jed leads Gus outside toward the big old CGI Christmas tree; you can see Gus is in his pyjamas under his parka. They stop at a lectern-like thing, which seems to be a monument to the switch. I suppose that since the tree-lighting is such a big deal there has to be some podium-like thing there for the President to stand at, but it seems like a lot of pomp for a light switch. Jed asks, "Ready?" And Gus says, "Yeah," with all the charisma and charm we've come to expect from this kid. He flips the switch on and off a few times. Tree goes on. Tree goes off. Tree goes on. Grandpa watches with relative sadness, thinking, "Yeah, dammit, the kid takes after Doug's side after all."

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West Wing




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