When we return, Josh is speaking with Annabeth about the briefing. She clearly doesn't want to be part of it, but he tells her that she'll just read the statement and then turn it over to the doctors. She tells him that they don't know anything. Josh: "Nobody's heard from Dr. Strangelove?" I thought this was a very strange reference, but we later learn that the doctor on the plane is actually named something like "Stern-Loeb," so it now makes sense to me. I don't want the show to treat us like we're idiots, but it would be nice if the internal references weren't entirely cryptic. Annabeth tells Josh that the doctor on the plane is busy, and points out that the other doctor on the plane (Millie, the Surgeon General) is also probably busy. Will enters the Communications Office and asks Josh and Annabeth whether they've briefed yet. Annabeth tells him that they're going to start in fifteen minutes, and Will tells them that Bingo Bob would like to give the first statement. Josh says that Annabeth can take care of it (which she denies), and when Will persists, Josh cuts him off: "The President can't walk. Resist the temptation to treat this like an opportunity." Will points out that the Veep is the highest-ranking person available, and that he doesn't really need Josh's permission.
And speak of the simpleton, Bingo Bob enters at just that moment. After greetings are exchanged, Bob says, "I heard the news while I was playing tennis. I couldn't believe my ears." Bob says that he will "get the ball rolling," and that the physicians can jump in after that. Josh acquiesces without a fight. I have to take the opportunity to point out that Gary Cole has gotten just about the worst haircut possible. It's really short on the sides, with the top just a bit longer and sticking straight up. He looks like some midwestern farm kid from the '50s. I'm not sure if the idea was to make Russell look younger, or perhaps more military, but the effect is to make him look like a giant-eared doofus.
Air Force One. C.J. is reviewing schedule changes with Jed, Kate, Toby, and Millie. We learn that Abbey's flight from New Delhi will be arriving an hour before Air Force One lands, so she'll be waiting for them. Jed tells Millie, "She's gonna be cranky. I think she should ride with you." We'll see who's cranky, mister. Toby is concerned about having the press on the tarmac when Jed is lowered in his wheelchair via hydraulic lift. (I wish it were a pneumatic lift. I love that word, "pneumatic." Maybe it's the silent "p.") While the reporters already saw Jed in his wheelchair, they were not allowed to take photos on the plane. But once they're off the plane, that rule won't apply. C.J. decides that the press will have to clear the airport before Jed exits the plane, and that they'll arrange a pool spread in the morning. As they continue to go through the schedule, C.J. suggests skipping the banquet. Kate thinks that's a bad idea, since "it's important they have the opportunity to impress us." Jed and Toby both think Kate doesn't want to skip the banquet because she likes the food. Jed: "I can sit through a meal. I've been doing that in a chair for years." Millie tells him that he has to watch for fatigue. Toby suggests that they cut the Tibet discussion, but Jed is adamantly opposed to the idea. Toby points out that "they're not gonna budge on Tibet anyway," but Jed thinks that the discussions are necessary: "We talk about Tibet so they can be implacable. We talk about Taiwan so that they can hold the line against the capitalist imperialist foe. We do it all, so that when we get to North Korea, and they agree to do our dirty work, they won't have lost face at every other step along the way. Cancel the banquet, cancel whatever the hell you like, but we do not skip one step, not one moment, of my negotiation with President Lian." The pilot comes onto the PA system and announces, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've begun our initial descent." Jed: "Indeed."