West Wing
Isaac and Ishmael

Episode Report Card
Deborah: D+ | 26 USERS: B+
A Very Special Episode of The West Wing

A student has a question about terrorism being 100% ineffective: she points out that "they" are still doing it anyway, and that they aren't frustrated by the failure. Sam agrees with this. She inquires: "Well, what do you call a society that has to just live every day with the idea that the pizza place you're eating in could just blow up without any warning?" Naturally, I can barely hear the response over the sound of my cranium being cracked open by the eighteen-wheeler full of anvils that just drove over me. Sam simply says: "Israel." Of course, while I'm digging said anvils out of my grey matter, I hold out the vague hope that he might also mention some of the other "societies" where the same is also true: England and Ireland, Egypt, Algeria, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, Afghanistan, etc. To name just a few. Oh, and Palestine and the Occupied Territories. No such luck: we're going to the next scene. Y'all spare a thought for all of those unfortunate places, and how we might have to put North America on that list in the near future, and I'll bandage my noggin.

Back in the interrogation, they ask Raqim about a wire found in his backpack. He explains that it's for his computer; he lives in an older building and needed older wires to "upgrade the M-waves on [his] motherboard." I forgot to ask Frink whether that makes any sense or not. Leo asks if he's an expert in circuitry and wiring. Raqim says that his father works for the phone company. That doesn't seem like much of a response or an explanation. Leo wants to talk about Raqim's applied mathematics degree: why is Raqim working for a White House staff secretary? Raqim asks what he means. Leo says that they don't do a lot of math around there. Raqim explains that his interests shifted and that he became interested in policy. Leo: "You're aware that the intelligence agencies routinely recruit top mathematicians -- oftentimes out of MIT -- and train them to be cryptographers." Raqim knows. Leo continues: "And those cryptographers are the ones who, on a daily basis, code and decode messages sent between the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon?" Raqim is aware. Leo looks at a sheet of paper and says, "Last year, your father made a contribution to something called the Holy Land Defender. Were you aware of the contribution?" Politely but firmly, Raqim says, "Mr. McGarry, I understand the need for these questions, and I hope you notice I've been cooperating, but if you drag my father into this pitiful exercise, I'm afraid I'm going to get angry." It's too bad we're not given any insight into why he might be more indignant about protecting his father than himself. Leo responds, "I don't think you understand the seriousness of what's happening right now." Leo puts his glasses back on. Raqim, not cowed at all, replies, "I don't think you do." He doesn't blink as Leo gazes at him, and then goes back to his sheet of information.

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West Wing




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