West Wing
Duck And Cover

Episode Report Card
Lauren S: B- | Grade It Now!
Tastes like chicken

4:25 AM. Bartlet reads The Washington Post with a front-page article about the accident. C.J. comes in and quietly lets him know that both of the engineers that went in are now down with radiation sickness, one in a coma. She immediately goes on to tell him that they knew what the danger was, but Bartlet interrupts with, "No one even told me their names." C.J. looks beaten down -- not even tired, just wrecked. "James Cooke is the one in…" She takes a breath, consults a note in her hand. "James Cooke and Mark Laroche." She's going to get him the information so he can call their families, but first, the issue is that the pressure in the auxiliary building is back up to 28 pounds, and a second team may be needed to go back in and attempt to get at the second valve. He approves it, but only with, "15 minutes and out." She begins a "but," and he, louder, repeats, "15 minutes and out." She goes on again, pointing out that if this team does not succeed as well, they might have to vent the steam again. He orders a contingency evacuation plan in case of shifting wind, and updated weather models, when she reads between the lines and interrupts: "You weren't wrong to keep them in there, Mr. President." She leaves him, with his tie undone and eyes racing back and forth as he sits with his hands folded.

Vinick enters a press conference at 6:49 AM. Bruno has his eyes closed dramatically, not believing this is happening, but Bob tells him that there's nothing from Santos, and they haven't made any moves that look like they're planning a press conference. "Josh must be strapped to a gurney with a gag in his mouth." He adds, "This is a mistake." Vinick begins his statement, supporting the evacuation and hoping for the best. A reporter jumps in and asks if he still supports nuclear power, and he goes silent. "Finish the statement," Bruno orders under his breath. Vinick continues, but someone else mentions his family in the area of San Andreo, and ask if he questions his debate statements. He quietly replies, "My family's not the issue." This opens the conversation, and someone else jumps in to say he never answered the question. "Are you still pro-nuclear?" Uh oh -- the glasses come off, this is going to be bad. Frustrated, he spits out that nuclear power isn't the problem, that it was federal regulators whose mistake caused the accident. From a view of the debate in a television screen, a reporter asks if he's saying this is the Bartlet Administration's fault. "He just did," said Josh, shocked, as he, Santos, Helen, and the team watch the conference. "And strapped himself to that reactor," Helen and her ugly, ugly mug (for tea, people) replies. Vinick tries to save himself by saying this is a time for unity, which is why he and the President are going to San Andreo later. Santos sinks back in the couch.

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West Wing




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