West Wing
Night Five

Episode Report Card
Deborah: F | 3 USERS: B
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Donna comes out of C.J.'s office, and walks over to Leonard and C.J. Leonard asks how Janet is doing. Donna says she asked how the money exchange works; Donna told her she didn't know. C.J. states that it's not the money: "It's a promise to honour international sanctions against the export of something called col-tan by the Rwandan Army." Donna asks what that is. C.J. says it's a mineral that's plentiful in the Congo, necessary for making cell phones and pagers and the Rwandans and Ugandans smuggle it. ("Col-tan" refers to columbite-tantalite, and apparently the price for a ton can reach $200,000 USD). Josh comes over to them just then and delivers the bad news: he's had word that Price is dead: "He was killed in an ambush. Embassy Kinshasa's going to get the body." Donna looks stricken. C.J. and Leonard head for her office. Josh walks back to his office, leaving Donna to stand there and watch C.J. and Leonard tell Janet the terrible news. Janet cries out and Leonard and C.J. struggle to support her as she collapses on the couch and sobs. Donna turns and looks back down the hall at Josh standing in his doorway watching, too. He goes into his office. Donna walks back toward her desk, contemplating whether she really wants to leave this workplace in order to comment on it from a distance. Does it make any difference if she's there or not? She doesn't know.

Stanley says it can't be easy being Jed. Jed insists it's not the job. Stanley means it can't be easy being inside Jed's head. Jed wants to know what's wrong with his head. Stanley doesn't know. Jed: "Well, of course not. That would be $385 an hour." Dude, if the price bothers you that much, end the session and find a cheaper shrink. Stanley suggests that they keep moving the goalposts on him: "Get 'A's, good college, Latin honours, get into the London School of Economics, get a good teaching job, Ivy League school, tenure, now you gotta publish, now you gotta go to Stockholm..." Yup, just one big Nobel Prize-winning drag. Jed asks, "It's not good for a person to keep setting goals?" Stanley says, "It probably is, but it's tricky for someone who's still trying to get his father to stop hitting him." Jed's reply: "Well, I'm told that most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Stanley points out that Jed isn't most people, and that he's destined for other things. Jed allows, "I have abilities." Stanley acknowledges that now he has the opportunity to use them. Jed thinks he has. Stanley brings up the Lincoln Bedroom, and says, "This is a hell of a curve you get graded on now." Jed gives him a look. "Lincoln freed the slaves and won the Civil War. 'Thank you. Next! And what will you be singing for us today, Mr. Bartlet?' 'Well, we've had six straight quarters of economic growth.'" Jed says, "That's not easy." Stanley: "Okay." Jed repeats his statement. Stanley: "I believe you." Jed thinks he's made tough choices. Stanley: "I think Lincoln did what he thought was right, even though it meant losing half the country. I think you don't do what you think is right if it means losing Michigan's electoral votes." Jed's wondering to himself just when it became "Piss on POTUS" Week. Jed says evenly, "You don't know anything." Stanley says he'll be the first to admit that. Jed: "I'm not trying to get my father to like me." Stanley replies, "Good. 'Cause it's never, never gonna happen." He pauses briefly and says, "Look, we're done for the night." He gets up and starts to leave. Jed's all, "What?" Stanley states, "We've been here for two hours, it was a double session, we're done for the night." The whole thing is very reminiscent of the ending of Josh's session with Stanley, only without the drama. Jed has a stronger fallback than Josh's "I haven't told you my dreams yet!" He says, "Stanley, I hate to put it this way, but I'm me, and you're you, and we're done when I say we're done." Stanley begs to differ: "No. I think you could use some assistance right now, sir. Use me, don't use me, but all I can offer you is this: I'll be the only person -- in the world -- other than your family, who doesn't care that you're the President. Our time is up." Stanley leaves. Jed is left to ruminate on all this. He gets up, takes another cigarette from the box on the table -- which happens to rest in front of a picture of his father -- and he walks to the window and watches the rain as he smokes.

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West Wing

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