Previously on The West Wing: we get much the same, if not exactly the same, set of clips used in a previous episode where all the lead characters introduce themselves and state their position. I suppose that's for the benefit of all the sweeps newbies or something. But for a minute there, I thought we were going to get a rerun, and I got all excited, thinking I'd have the equivalent of a snow day! Even though it's May. Not that it being May makes any difference where I live. It snowed three days ago. Anyway.
Carol's at her desk, scrolling through news items, when she notices something disturbing headlined "Riyadh, Saudi Arabia." She wants to print it out, but some yahoo's hogging the network printer. She yells for him to get off the printer. It's getting to be a dog's age since I worked in an office with a networked printer, but my recollection is that you just sent your job and waited half the day for it to come out, using it as an excuse to chew the low-fat with your co-workers. My computer never told me someone else was on it. The general custom was, if you were sending a big resource-hogging print job, you yelled to everyone within earshot that you were doing so. Then everyone would react with indifference or annoyance. Anyway. I work at home now, and I hog my own printer all I want. Carol hits "Print."
Sam and Toby are in C.J.'s office. Sam's telling her to make it clear that they're pushing for Slovenia, and possibly the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). C.J.: "Not Freedonia? We're going to leave Freedonia out, there?" Toby says that the zero option is off the table. As C.J. zips in and out of her office, whisking papers about, she sings, "Hooray for Captain Spalding..." Toby: "Can we please..." She stands near Toby in the doorway, and asks whether they're not pretty much admitting all the countries that the U.S. formed NATO to fight. Toby agrees. C.J.: "Then why not dissolve it?" Toby: "We like the bomber jackets." Hope they don't look like those wretched Planet Hollywood things. C.J. objects to his being allowed to make a joke. Toby: "My jokes are funny." C.J.: "Fredonia was pretty good." Toby: "Heard it." Carol comes up and silently slips C.J. the printout. C.J. offers Toby five hundred clams to perform "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" at next year's Gridiron.
Carol hangs by the door as Sam reminds Toby that C.J. has to get into the Briefing Room, and C.J. starts to read what Carol gave her. Sam wants to talk about sugar subsidies, but Toby says they're not done discussing the summit. Sam argues that it's a "two-day grip 'n' grin"; Toby complains that Russia finally elected a reformer, and he'd think Sam would be behind that. Sam: "Twenty years in the KGB and an election that would make Tammany Hall look like the League of Women Voters? I'm not sure that qualifies as a...." C.J.'s back is to the screen as she reads the paper, and then she turns around with a serious look that makes Sam stop rambling. She informs them that there was a fire at the King Fatah Middle School in Madinah (Saudi Arabia) in which seventeen girls died when they were prevented from escaping the burning building, and rescue workers were similarly prevented from saving them, by the mutawwa'in (Saudi Arabian religious police), because they weren't dressed properly in hijab (head coverings) and abayas (cloaks). A virtually identical incident actually happened on March 11, 2002, only it was a school in Makkah and it seems that the number of deaths in that case was fourteen or fifteen (different reports cite different numbers). C.J. warns them: "Don't comment. I haven't spoken to the President, to Leo, to State, to anybody. You guys want to muzzle me before I go in there, speak now or forever hold your peace. God knows it's not likely I'm gonna." She marches off to the Briefing Room, Carol on her heels. Toby and Sam hesitate for a moment, and then Toby suggests, "Let's get a good spot."