This week, it's all C.J., all the time. The episode begins with C.J. on an honest-to-God date with Danny Concannon. Of course, the date ends in about five seconds after Danny drops the bombshell that he's heard rumors that Doug Westin (President Bartlet's son-in-law who is running for Congress) had an affair with the family nanny. C.J. is especially concerned about this because Jed is scheduled to campaign with Doug, and she doesn't want anything to happen that will embarrass the President. When C.J. arrives at the White House the next day, she learns that the Sudanese government and the independent militia it supports have begun attacking refugee camps in Darfur. The easiest action to take in response to this is to impose U.N. sanctions on Sudanese oil exports, but everyone expects China to veto such a resolution. And finally, Josh is pressuring C.J. to have Jed announce the opening of a major federal research facility in Austin in order to improve the Santos campaign's chances in Texas. Unfortunately, C.J. had already promised a senator from Kentucky that they would not announce the research facility out of concern that it would hurt his own chances for reelection. Of course, C.J. solves all of these dilemmas. She strong-arms Doug into withdrawing his request that Jed campaign with him, and sticks to her guns even after it becomes clear that Jed's daughter Liz already knows about Doug's affair and really wants her father to help Doug to win the election. As for Sudan, C.J. puts together a complicated deal in which the U.S. will not object to the resumption of European arms sales to China in exchange for China's not vetoing a German resolution imposing sanctions on Sudan. And she agrees to have Jed announce the research lab in Austin in exchange for a joint trip by Jed and Santos to campaign for the senator from Kentucky. And she caps all of this off with another date with Danny, at which I think he was about to propose to her. Unfortunately, she's called away halfway through his romantic speech by news that there may be a major nuclear accident taking place in California.
We open in a nearly empty restaurant, very fancy-looking. Danny Concannon is sitting alone at a table with his laptop in front of him. We get a shot from the POV of someone walking up to his table. Danny closes the laptop and smiles, very happy to see whoever it is. Of course, the "whoever" is C.J. She apologizes, telling him that he should be drinking. Hmmm, I think she's trying to get him drunk. As it turns out, that's probably not a necessary tactic. He stands and greets her with a kiss on the cheek. He demonstrates his sharp journalistic perceptiveness, telling her, "You look incredible." C.J. tries to deflect the compliment, but he won't let her duck it. He asks her how the President is doing; C.J. is clearly thinking of Danny as a reporter and not a date, because she stops to clarify that the question is off the record. When he reassures her that it is, she pauses and then tells him that Jed is doing great. We'll have to take her word for it, since we barely get to see him nowadays. She tells him, "I'm surprised you called. I vaguely remembered shunning you." C.J. fusses with her napkin, but while she looks nervous, she's also smiling a gorgeous smile. Danny tells her that the restaurant kept the kitchen open for them, and C.J. waves a waitress over so they can get menus and order. The waitress asks if they want to hear the specials, and Danny tells her that he'd like to. So the waitress starts reading them off of a sheet of paper in her hand. C.J. immediately interrupts her, asking, "Is this from a list?" The waitress is confused, so C.J. clarifies: "The specials? Are they written down somewhere?" I would hazard a guess that they are written down on the sheet of paper in the waitress's hand. But that's just me. C.J. asks if they can just have the list: "We'll read that. We're readers." As opposed to every other guest at the restaurant, all of whom are illiterate. (Just to show you the kind of restraint I've developed, this is where I would have put in a joke about this being a Republican restaurant. But I've matured, so I won't.) The waitress hands the list to C.J. and, seeming slightly put off, leaves them to peruse the menu. Which they both do.
C.J. tells Danny, "A night out. This is like a week in Aruba." Danny does my job by pointing out that it's just like that, "except it's cold and dark." C.J. totally misses the joke, and tells Danny not to try to be funny: "Relaxing makes me nervous. It feels like I'm missing something." After another second, she asks him why he invited her there. He clarifies that she really wants him to cut to the chase. He gets kind of awkward, telling her that he's having performance anxiety, so she offers to read the menu while he works up his nerve. And then he tells her, "I wanted to see you." She seems surprised that that's all he wanted, and he tells her, "I know you've always had a thing about reporters." She tells him that she doesn't have "a thing" about reporters, but that they do tick her off because they seem so focused on celebrity and fame instead of helping to inform the public debate. Except that she rants a lot more when she says it. So he comes back with his own rant about politicians, accusing them of being more interested in putting on a show than in showing any guts. Since I live in D.C., I've had more than my fair chance to see politicians wandering around, and I have to say that very few of them have guts that I'd like to see. C.J. points out that they have to put on the show to get elected, and Danny tells her, "Your boss never has to get elected, ever again. But you guys are content running out the clock with the same game of well-intentioned defense you've always played." He warns her, "Don't get hypnotized by complexity. Make it count."
They reach a little détente, and he asks her what she's working on. It's the usual: "I'm trying to keep China and Russia from annihilating the northern hemisphere over oil in Kazakhstan." Danny's current work isn't so impressive -- he's covering a couple of House races. He asks if C.J.'s heard anything about Doug Westin. It turns out that he's within striking distance of winning the election in New Hampshire, and has asked Jed to campaign with him. C.J. asks why Danny's so curious, and it turns out that he's met Doug and found him fairly unimpressive. C.J.: "Are you implying that success in politics isn't a question of inherent value?" C.J. suggests that they actually proceed to the dinner portion of the evening, and she turns to the menu, proclaiming, "Fish is a stupid thing to get in a restaurant." Danny's response to this is not quite as cryptic: "I think he may be bangin' the nanny." C.J., shocked, asks him to repeat himself, and then asks, "Is that a euphemism?" He says it's not, and then allows that "banging" probably is a euphemism. He tells her that the rumor about Doug and the nanny is flying around quite a bit in New Hampshire, and it's likely to hit the press before too long. C.J., still looking shocked, tells him that she has to go. Danny, the foolish boy, seems completely shocked that this gossip would send her flying off to work. He tells her that she's hungry and has to eat, and she responds, "Get the steak. Tell me how it was." As she's walking away, he calls out, "Can I see you again?" She tells him he can, and when he asks when, she responds, "As soon as we're out of office." Credits.