West Wing
Red Haven's On Fire

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Credits. God bless whoever made Josh Malina a permanent member of this cast. Oh, and America as well.

The good news is that, according to the television, it's going to be 75 degrees and sunny in Oakland. What sucks is that three Marines are being held hostage in Fake Africa and POTUS has to figure out what to do about it. Joining the action on Air Force One, we find POTUS looking at still photos of the three Marines on MSNBC and ruing, "How come it's never people with six months to live who are taken hostage?" Haven't those people already got enough to worry about, POTUS, or are you really interested in pursuing a controversial "Take My Terminal Cancer Patient...Please!" hostage exchange program to get those three healthy young Marines out of Fake Africa?

Josh and Donna pedeconference into the next room, Josh referring to her as "Trotsky" (heh) and telling her that the First Lady is going to take the President's public events in California, and that C.J. should stay out west instead of taking the red-eye back. They exposit about a "meeting with Max in the morning," and Donna also lets Josh know "the HSS Chapter of the submission is ready for you to proofread. You want me to do it?" Josh notes that he's supposed to do that himself and Donna notes that Josh won't do it himself. Josh frets unfrettingly, "You took a meeting with a Communist, though." Donna: "You sent me there, though." Josh: "Yeah. Fair enough. My bad." Well, I guess that effectively shuts down that arc. Donna will be doing the proofreading thing. Josh will be doing the "being really blasé about The Red Menace" thing.

Back in the next room, POTUS takes a call from Leo. Leo, down in the Sit Room, lets POTUS know that the intelligence they've collected so far indicates that the hostages are "being held at a barracks about thirty-seven miles east of Bitanga." POTUS asks what would happen if they decided to "screw the deadline" and "go to full deployment right now," and Leo responds that such a plan would doubtless result in the execution of the Marines. So, not so much, then. DJ Jazzy Fitz pipes up to let all know that twenty-six special ops will move in on POTUS's order, giving them "a 70% chance of success." POTUS confirms, "All right, then. On my order." They end the call, POTUS hanging up the phone and scheduling a spontaneous moment of "quiet, reflective introspection" I hadn't actually seen on his agenda for the day.

Sorority Life, Josh Malina Edition. We're back at the speechwriting interns' subplot, and it's very, very late at night. Three Laurens And A Funeral sit around a conference table with Will. He's got his feet up on said table, making it immediately clear to us that the wholesale defection of his former staff obviously hasn't helped hone his people skills any. He's preaching, "You can't say their plan is the wrong way to stimulate the economy." One of the girls who isn't 21 or 60 (I'm sorry...I can't see her number and I'm still putting names to faces here) bites back, "It is the wrong way." Will vehemently disagrees, adding for spite, "And don't say 'we believe.' Make it declarative." She glares at him as if to say, "Then here's a little something in a declaration: I fucking hate you." Will calls on the aforementioned 21 and 60, who, he notices for the first time, are sound asleep sitting up in their chairs. Winnie Cooper (her character's name I just plum can't keep in my head) defends them chirpily: "They've been working since very early this morning." He walks around to their side of the table holding a gigantic tome (we'll call it The Big Book of Asshole Comments I Have Made to My Alienated Staff, Second Edition, which he authored and published) and drops it from a great height right in front of them. They snap awake, Will starting right in on them. Everything they do is wrong. Number 60 starts slumping, and Will threatens, "Don't fall asleep again." Number 60 retorts, "I thought I saw food on the floor." Lauren Shelby (it is! Right?) reminds Will that they haven't eaten in a while, and Will's all incredulous: "There's food at the mess." Lauren Shelby: "The mess closes at 6." Will: "Is it after 6?" Lauren Shelby: "Yes." Will: "What time is it?" Lauren Shelby: "11:30." Well, you knew that was coming. But then again, I guessed she was going to say "3 AM," so playing by Price is Right rules (whoever guesses closest without going over), I guess I'm not so smart after all, now am I? Don't answer that, and I'll let Deborah come back next week. Anyway. Will relents and tells the girls to go home, and Winnie Cooper stays behind to reprimand Will, "You didn't give them much encouragement." Will gets real real mad, reminding her that the staff quit and that, even though they're not speechwriters, this all still needs to be done by Monday. Winnie tells Will that he's had an attitude about the interns "since yesterday," and he tells her, "I question their commitment." Winnie thinks being there on Saturday night and not getting paid is commitment enough, but Will thinks "White House intern looks good on a résumé. Three months from now two of them will be working at Condé Nast and HBO." Winnie asks about the other two. According to Will, the other two "will marry senior vice-presidents of Condé Nast and HBO." Sexist? True? A little from Column A, a little from Column B?

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