West Wing

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B+ | Grade It Now!
C.J.: What do you want me to do about it?
Leo: Deal with it.
C.J.: You're a real details man, aren't you Leo?
Leo: Deal with it.

C.J. knows when to take her leave. Sam, thinking there might be a better time to discuss his problem, tries to leave and come back later. Leo presses him and Sam spills about Mallory and the opera. Leo's absorbed in his papers and at first says, "Mallory who?" (I know this is supposed to come as a surprise to Leo but doesn't any parent think of their own child first when his or her name is said? Whatever.) The look on his face is that of someone suspects they've just found what appears to be a boll weevil in their egg salad. As Leo slowly grasps the situation, Sam becomes more nervous and tries to make things better by telling him that Mallory has already made it clear that nothing will be happening that Leo wouldn't be happy about. Leo wonders what that is but both quickly agree not to go there. Leo seems somewhat mollified and tells Sam it's fine. After Sam's left, Leo kind of pauses, shrugs and mutters to himself "Fine." As in, he's fine with it. But you're not really, are you Leo?

Cut to the Veep holding court again with a small cluster of people (not sure if they are media types; not much sign of mikes or notebooks). This time he's blathering on about how somebody named Dick Brenner says they (the United States) can send a man to Mars in a Saturn V rocket with a nitrogen-hydrogen payload. For twenty-five billion dollars, mind you, which Hoynes describes as a "steal at twice the price." Personally, I can think of better things to spend fifty billion dollars on than blasting a guy to Mars and back (koff healthcare koff education koff) but whatever. ["I'd pay that much to blast a few guys I could name into deep space." -- Strega] Anyway, apparently the idea is, send the rocket up to Mars with a liquid hydrogen payload. One guy in the Veep's audience wants to know where the nitrogen comes from to get the guy back. VPOTUS confidently asserts that Mars is made of nitrogen so the first thing they do is "build a gas station." This sounded spurious to me, but I confess to having dropped science courses in high school at the first opportunity. I decided to fact-check this with my science-loving, space-exploration-obsessed husband, who was only too thrilled to look up this information in his big, shiny, expensive reference books. Mars's atmosphere is, in fact, not made of nitrogen. It is 90% carbon dioxide, with small amounts of nitrogen and argon, and traces of carbon monoxide, oxygen and water vapour. The reason I bothered to check this is because I was trying to determine whether the writers are establishing Hoynes as an Al Gore-style egghead, or a Dan Quayle-style pinhead. So far, my vote's on "pinhead." He ends this little briefing and charges off, only to be ambushed by C.J. He immediately informs her that he isn't the one who blabbed to Danny and he doesn't know who did. He issues a classic political denial: "Nothing happened at the Cabinet meeting and I have no idea how Danny found out about it." Hee. C.J. just wants to keep it from becoming a story, but the Veep tells her that the implication that he leaked privileged information is as "stupid as it is insulting" ('cause, God knows, you'd be the first VPOTUS to do something stupid), and reminds her that whatever she thinks of him personally, that she is addressing the office of the Vice-President of the United States. He's probably right, but I like C.J., so a big sloppy raspberry to Hoynes.

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West Wing




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