West Wing
In Excelsis Deo

Episode Report Card
In Excelsis Deo

A crowd applauds as the Prez meets and greets people. Toby enters, and Mrs. L. tells Toby that the Prez wants to see him. She asks, "Did you use his name to arrange for a military funeral for a homeless veteran?" Toby admits that he did. Mrs. L. says, "You shouldn't have done that, Toby." Toby says that he knows, but Mrs. L. repeats that he shouldn't have, and tells Toby that the Prez is in the Mural Room. As a children's choir sings "The Little Drummer Boy," Mandy is still going on about the Prez's shopping excursion. "Deal with it," he suggests, and then walks to the Oval Office with Toby behind him. The Prez says, "Apparently I've arranged for an honor guard for somebody." Toby starts to apologize, but the Prez says, "Tell me, is there anything else I've arranged for? We're still in NATO, right?" "Yes, sir," says Toby. The Prez asks what's going on. Toby says, "A homeless man died last night." Actually it was two nights ago at this point, right? Toby continues, "A Korean War veteran who was wearing a coat I gave to the Goodwill. It had my card in it. It took an hour and twenty minutes for the ambulance to get there. A Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps, Second of the Seventh." According to the captions, Toby's next line is, "I got better treatment in Panmunjun," providing a little revelation for us all to speculate about. The Prez says, "If we start pulling strings like this, you don't think every homeless veteran will come out of the woodwork?" Toby stares at him and calmly says, "I can only hope, sir." Game, set, and match to Toby. The Prez asks when the funeral is, and Toby says he's about to pick up the dead man's brother and go there. Mandy pokes her sharp little nose in to tell the Prez that his absence is being noted. The Prez pats Toby on the shoulder and leaves. As Toby starts out the door, Mrs. L. appears in her hat and coat, and asks if she can come along.

While "The Little Drummer Boy" continues, we see the funeral take place at Arlington National Cemetery. As the honor guard carry the casket, George, Toby, Mrs. L, and another man watch. I think the other man might be Mr. Landingham. Back at the White House, the rest of the cast lines up neatly so we can admire their profiles. The twenty-one gun salute is timed perfectly with the pa-rum-pa-pum-pums. The flag is folded into a tight triangle and presented first to Toby, who corrects them, and then to George. George places a small bouquet on the casket. I sniffle. The show ends.

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West Wing




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