West Wing
Impact Winter

Episode Report Card
Apocalypse Now...Or Maybe Later

Josh enters C.J.'s office to find Nervous Scientist Type No. 3 (tall, '50s hair, dorky glasses) waiting for him. NST #3 is actually named Walter Sprout, and he's the Program Manager for near-earth object observation. He has the best name ever. I love sprouts in all their diversity. This actor is certainly good at playing nervous, as he is simultaneously shaky, stammery, and sweaty. It's the neurotic trifecta! He's concerned that the Administrator isn't in the room, and after a small not-so-comic bit establishing that he's talking about the Administrator of NASA, Josh tells Mr. Sprout that he's only got four minutes for the meeting, so they should go ahead and start. Mr. Sprout nervously asks for some water: "I'm sorry, I've just been uh, uh, uh, sweating quite a lot and I think that it's gotten me dehydrated." Josh tells him to take it easy, and Mr. Sprout exclaims, "There's an object. Coming toward the earth." It's an asteroid, but Josh doesn't seem too concerned, suggesting that Mr. Sprout should write up a memo. Mr. Sprout emits scientific-sounding dialogue at a high rate of speed, the summary of which is that if calculations are correct, this asteroid may collide with the earth in approximately forty-eight hours. And then he looks at his watch and corrects himself: "Forty-six." Josh asks him how big the asteroid is, and he just says, "Big." Josh asks how big, and he specifies, "Big." Josh looks at him, picks up the phone, and tells Margaret that he will need the NASA Administrator and Leo. Mr. Sprout: "I loved a man, once. I never told him." Josh: "Okay." I think Mr. Sprout has planted a seed in Josh that will...well, sprout by the end of the episode.

Exterior shot of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. I know that's what it is because a subtitle told me so. I'm glad they told us what city they were in, because if they hadn't I might have thought that after the plane landed in Beijing they took a train ride to the other Great Hall of the People. You know, the one in Dubuque. C.J. is telling Jed who will be seated where at the upcoming session. Jed is already in his seat; the room they are in is arranged so that he and President Lian can sit side by side while everyone else sits in parallel rows of seats that will face the center of the room. Kate reminds Jed, "Don't forget to thank him for allowing us to enjoy his magnificent space." This is apparently not the first time that Kate has given this particular reminder, because Jed tells her, "The memory's not gone. It's next, maybe, but not yet." She reminds him again, and Jed tells C.J., "I'm gonna hit her." Mr. President, if you're not up for it, I think I know a few hundred forum posters who would gladly render some assistance. C.J. suggests that if Jed needs to take a break at any time, he should "tug on [his] earlobe, or something." Jed is not amused with the idea, and C.J. is unintentionally patronizing when she tells him, "It's a three-hour meeting. I'm gonna want to take a break." Kate tells him, "It's just better if we avoid saying that you're exhausted and we need some rest." Jed: "You should move away from me as quickly as possible." And for once, Kate listens, and does just that. Jed tells C.J. that he's ready, and she goes to the door. In seconds, the room is flooded with Chinese and American officials. There's someone plucking some eastern instrument in the soundtrack. It's kind of like when Xena went to China and all of the normal music was replaced with eastern strings and gongs. But without the sexy girl-on-girl kissing. President Lian and Jed exchange greetings (with the aid of simultaneous translation), and Jed faithfully recites his line.

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West Wing




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