West Wing
H. Con-172

Episode Report Card
Deborah: A+ | 2 USERS: A+
Fall With Grace

Toby's in C.J.'s office, reading the paper, munching on something, and telling her, "McTeer shot one for twenty-three from the field last night. Missed his first eighteen attempts." We can see outside C.J.'s window, and it looks as if it's the middle of the day, although it should be the middle of the night. Toby continues, "Wouldn't you think after the first seventeen misses, the coach would say, 'Mickey, this isn't your night'?" C.J. asks, "You don't have work to do?" He claims he has lots of work to do. C.J.: "And?" Toby: "Can't rush these things." C.J.: "Oh." Toby: "One for twenty-three. That's exactly one better than my mother would have done and she's been dead for twelve years."

Someone knocks; it's Sam. He says that he asked POTUS about that meeting with the Joint Chiefs, but that Jed didn't remember whether they did a poll. Sam sits down, slightly dejected. Toby, about to take a drink of beer, says he doesn't remember, either. Sam starts to get testy, and they bicker a bit about how long ago it was and how many polls ago before Sam finally says, "We can't sit on the -- I'm sorry -- we can't sit on the sidelines and ignore this crap. I'm not going to." C.J. looks up. Sam: "Why am I the only one taking this seriously?" Toby says, "That's a reasonable question, and we should explore that for a minute." Sam says: "It's not the reason you think." It's not that you've become one of the funnel people? Toby points out Sam hired the guy. ["Which is why, I think, vetting the book has become Sam's job rather than C.J.'s: Sam's made it so." -- Wing Chun] Sam says he did, but insists that's not the reason: "Legitimate news organizations are going to cover this, to say nothing of the people who hate us, who are going to run it over, over, over, over, over....The guy was here for three minutes and he was fired. He is not credible. I'm a lawyer and I'm telling you, that has to be made clear. Every time he makes a factual mistake, we gotta come out with a press release! Every time he misquotes or misidentifies anyone, we need to have an affidavit swearing to the truth if there's a comma in the wrong place." Someone really needs a vacation.

Sam continues frothing at the mouth and gets up to pace around: "He needs to be killed, until he is dead, and he needs to be killed again, or he is going to keep biting at our ankles and I mean all through the campaign! He needs to be a joke, or we're going to be." Maybe you should bust him like a piñata while you're at it, dude. Suddenly, C.J. starts snapping her fingers, and she sings, "'Boy, boy, crazy boy, keep cool, boy...'" (from West Side Story, I believe ["Yes." -- Wing Chun]). It's an odd moment, and briefly C.J. rubs me the wrong way, for probably the first (and one hopes, the last) time in the history of this show. Because I don't care to have the perfection of C.J. messed with too much. But it just seems slightly insensitive -- too flippant -- considering how upset Sam is. Sam says, "I'm not screwing around." C.J.: "Neither am I. Sit down." Sam sits down, declaring, "I'm not going to be a victim of this." C.J. says, "Let me tell you something I've learned in my years. There are victims of fires. There are victims of car accidents. This kind of thing, there are no victims -- just volunteers. Of course we'll get in the game. I'll talk to the editors of the major papers, but we're not going to publicly refute every bogus charge. First of all, there are too many of them. Second of all, I'm not going to give this guy and his book the weight of the White House. As far as the press is concerned, I've read the book because I had to. You have a vague recollection of the guy, but he wasn't here long enough to make a lasting impression. Have you read the book? Of course not. You're too busy doing a job." Sam listens patiently and replies, "While you're convincing the Post and the Times that it's ridiculous..." C.J.: "Sam! Once again, we don't know what's going on in the Oval Office. Obviously there's a problem. When it's our turn to worry about it, they won't be shy about telling us. Let's not fixate on the knuckleheaded stuff we think we can fix in the meantime. And it feels a lot like...that's what you're doing." Sam takes this in, turns to Toby, and asks, "Are you inside?" Toby says, "Josh is. But let me ask you this: a guy shoots one for twenty-three from the field." Sam: "McTeer?" Toby: "Yeah. But he goes eight for eight from the foul line. My question is, why are you fouling this guy at all? I'd just get out of his way and point him toward the basket." Sam: "Yeah." Someone reassure me that there are people other than me who are able to apprehend the world (for years on end, mind you) with less liberal use of sports metaphors and anecdotes. C.J. asks, "So we're done talking about this now?" Sam ignores her and asks Toby, "Is there any beer?" C.J.: "You two have offices?" Toby says the beer's out in the fridge. Sam rises to get his beer, glances out the window, and mentions it's started snowing. So the windows do work!

Josh walks down the street toward his apartment building. There are approximately six snowflakes wafting down from the heavens. Better lay in supplies. As he nears his steps, he sees Amy sitting there bundled up with a red coat over her black velvet dress, looking cold. He slows as he approaches the steps, and she says, "You owe me half a million dollars and a drink." Josh replies, "I paid for the drinks." She relents: "All right: five hundred grand." He asks her what she's doing there. Amy: "Why? Do you live here?" He softly says that he does. He sits down on the steps next to her. I love how people on TV and in movies are always content to sit on cold concrete for periods of time that would normally turn one's hindquarters into a field for cryogenic experimentation in pretty short order. Me, I come from a frozen northland where nobody sits on cold cement or concrete or stone in the winter unless it's absolutely required. He apologizes again for having to run out on her, and tells her that he still can't explain why. She asks whether it's a matter of national security. He says it isn't. She asks if he would tell her if it was. He says he wouldn't. She says, "You didn't talk to me much at school." He amiably says, "You were having quite a bit of sex with Chris." She says, "There were times I wasn't." Josh explains, "I studied a lot in school. I studied hard in high school and at Harvard and in law school. My IQ doesn't break the bank, and I wanted to do this, so I studied all the time. And I missed something, or it's like I skipped a year, 'cause I never learned what you do after you think you like somebody...what you do next. And every -- everybody did learn. A lot of other people, anyway." Awww. But also: you're fortysomething, dude. Pull. It. Together. Already. Amy seems charmed or mollified or sympathetic or some combination thereof. Josh says he didn't walk out tonight; when his phone rings at that hour, it's something important: "And not important to me...important. And I'm not puffing myself so...." Amy interrupts: "You know what? Maybe not so much for you with the talking." Aww, she brought the Yiddish. (The syntax, I'm talking about.) Then Amy leans in and kisses Josh. I go to the forums to see if Josh's fans are freaking out enough to post mid-show. They're not. I assume they're all shellshocked. So's Josh who, as far as we know, hasn't been kissed since he was with Mandy. (Did he ever kiss Joey? Can't remember right now, but I don't think so.) When Amy pulls away, Josh sits there for a moment with his eyes closed. She thanks him for the drink, gets up, and walks away. He watches her go. A lot of people watching each other walk away in this episode, it seems. A few more snowflakes fall.

Oval Office. Jed wanders over to Leo's door and knocks. He opens the door and invites Leo to step into his office for a second. Leo comes in, putting on his jacket as he enters, and asks Jed, "Are you up reading?" Jed replies, "Yeah. No. A little bit. Mostly I've been talking with Babish and some of the deputies. The Chairman, Trent, the Speaker, the Minority Leader...." Leo gets the picture and says, "No." Jed: "Yeah, I'm going to do it." Leo: "Sir...." Jed, firmly: "Yeah." Leo replies, "It doesn't get Abby off the hook. She's still going to have to deal with the AMA." As she should. She broke rules she knew very well applied to her. Jed knows that. Leo argues that it doesn't get them off the hook for the campaign: "It's just a different-looking stage weight around our ankle, and now it comes with a Congressional Seal. It doesn't give us any room to argue the point. We've got two, maybe as many as three dozen House Democrats in tight races, and you've still got MS." Jed doesn't say anything, but sits down in one of the side chairs. He rubs his face. Leo sits, too. Leo says, "Doing this to save me the embarrassment I've got coming to me is about the dumbest reason I can..." Jed interjects: "There's another reason." Leo: "What?" Jed: "I was wrong. I was! I was just...I was wrong. Come on, you know that! Lots of times we don't know what right or wrong is, but lots of times we do, and come on, this is one. I may not have had sinister intent at the outset, but there were plenty of opportunities for me to make it right. No one in government takes responsibility for anything anymore. We foster, we obfuscate, we rationalize: 'Everybody does it.' That's what we say. So we come to occupy a moral safe house where everyone's to blame so no one's guilty." Well. It's. About. Freaking. Time. Jed sighs. "I'm to blame. I was wrong." Leo leans back in his chair and thinks for a moment. "You ready for a Joint Resolution?" Jed replies, "As a matter of fact, it's not a Joint Resolution. The President still has to sign a Joint Resolution, so technically it's a Concurrent Resolution. House Concurrent Resolution 172. The lawyers will haggle over the wording in the next few days. So at least I'll make history, huh?" Leo says, "No. I thought so, too, until I was talking to Josh. Andrew Jackson, 1834." Jed puts on his jacket with his patented coat flip.

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