West Wing
Separation Of Powers

Episode Report Card
Deborah: C+ | 3 USERS: A
One Foot In The Grave

The scene opens in a beautiful, huge, wood-panelled office. Two men and a woman are arguing about, so far as I can tell, whether current security policies toward travellers of Arab and/or Muslim descent are "Korematsu all over again." The woman seems to think that a case can be made for such policies being in the government's interest. The two guys think otherwise. Guy #1 says, "There has to be a less discriminatory way to go about it than frisking every Tom, Dick, and Hamid with a boarding pass." Guy #2 bets a pickle that "Tom" isn't an Arab name. Give that man a pickle. The woman says, "There's a reason Korematsu's never been overturned." Guy #1: "Okay, you're defending Japanese internment? Next you're going to tell me Dred Scott got lost looking for I-95." Heh. They keep arguing. We learn that the woman's name is Lisa. There is also some yatter about potato chips. They're all sitting around a large conference table. Eventually, we see that at the end of table, there's an elderly man. It's Milo O'Shea, playing Chief Justice Roy Ashland. I love Milo O'Shea, even if his eyebrows give Peter Gallagher's a run for their money. He played Friar Laurence in Zeffirelli's version of Romeo and Juliet, which is one of my all-time favourite films. Anyway, Ashland starts muttering, "Matt...Matt?" Lisa's confused: "Matt, sir?" He gets up slowly, saying, "I have to do the subcite before class....finish my con law reading..." He starts to put on his robe as Lisa apologizes for not understanding what he's talking about. A buzzer sounds as an assistant comes to the door to tell him, "They're ready for you, Mr. Chief Justice." He's so slow putting on his robe that the assistant gently asks if he needs help. He doesn't answer, but just trudges slowly out the door. In the hallway just outside, he suddenly collapses face-first. Everyone starts hollering for an ambulance and rushing to his side.

Toby arrives at work, and is talking to C.J. as he heads for his office. Toby, obviously anticipating Ashland's imminent demise, seems to be working on a eulogy/statement. He incorporates the phrase "a man, not a monument," at which C.J. reminds him that she has to be careful about saying "man." Toby: "Why, 'cause...? Aw, come on..." C.J.: "You'd be surprised. I get letters." Toby: "Fine. 'Human being,' then. Or do the other mammals complain?" As Toby reaches his office, he finds Will hanging around outside and asks, "Who said you could come in here?" Will says it's all right; he's over the flu. Toby: "Oh, you had the flu?" Will asks if they're discussing potential replacements for Ashland yet. Toby says, "Grandin, Keith, and Toland, and no, we're not talking about them." Will wonders, "So if the Vice-President had a few additional names not to talk about, where would he offer not to...?" Toby just gives him a look. Will: "Never mind, I think I can guess." C.J. tells Will to take it to the Counsel's Office. Will says he's leaving. C.J. tells Will that Toby had another researcher quit. Apparently, it's the third one since Will left. Yes, but Will wasn't a researcher, was he? So what's the connection? Is it just that Toby's crankypants are binding in the crotch? Will asks, "Let me guess: she was turned off by the vow of poverty?" Toby: "You still here?" Will: "Flowers say, 'I'm sorry.'" Toby: "Leave." He does, and C.J. comments to Toby, "You seem...happy." He does? Toby doesn't understand her comment either. C.J.: "Happy. You know, the sensation your fellow mammalians occasionally experience?" Toby: "Haffley's treating the discretionary budget like a chew toy. We're about to cave on tax cuts for billionaires and who the hell knows what else Angela Blake is giving away in there. But you know what? We're going to appoint a new Chief Justice. Breathe new life into the Constitution. You know how rare that is? The last five guys didn't get to do it. We're going to shape the future of jurisprudence, the laws that sustain our whole society -- or shove somebody in there to strike down these godawful excuses for laws the Republicans are passing." Will sticks his head back in to give them some news. Toby: "Enough already. Buffalo Bob's not going to pick the next Chief Justice." Will: "Neither is the President. Ashland regained consciousness. Seems it was only exhaustion, and his doctors are saying he'll make a full recovery." Credits.

Josh is in his office watching C.J.'s press briefing. He looks crappy. He asks Donna, "Do we have any of those pills left from that Naval doctor?" Donna: "Admiral Feelgood?" Josh specifies the "cold and sinus stuff." As opposed to the Viagra and Vicodin the guy was also pushing, I guess. Donna: "The ones that made you sing all of 'Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie' [sic]?" Josh says it was Harry Chapin, and they were big blue pills. Josh, you picked the blue pill? Boring. Donna: "Bet you looked cute on that gurney when the airmen had to carry you off Air Force One." Josh claims that C.J. made that up. Donna offers him some echinacea. He doesn't want anything "natural." See? Soy chai, my ass. "I need the industrial-strength, full-throttle, roto-rooter stuff." Donna hands him something and says that some guy from the Times called about the budget stalemate. Josh says he doesn't know anything. Donna told the guy as much. She quickly claims that she didn't say that exactly, but explained that Josh was busy with other stuff and couldn't take calls from the press. Josh says that Donna should have told the guy that Josh was in the Oval Office, and wants to know why that didn't occur to her. She says she told the guy that Josh was working on the President's trip to Japan. She adds that he's only supposed to take one of the pills she's given him. Josh appears not to be listening, so Donna advises, "Stay away from heavy machinery." Josh, through a mouthful of pills, "Fortunately Pa and I brought in the last of the winter wheat yesterday, so I don't have to operate the combine." Heh. Donna wonders what happens if they can't work out a budget; he tells her they get another continuing resolution. Donna: "See, here's what I don't get: every year we take these budget extensions, like the dog ate our homework...." Josh: "The Republican Majority, but you're close." Donna: "How come people aren't outraged? The rest of the country can't take endless amounts of time to finish their work." She clearly hasn't worked with some of the people I have. Josh says she's forgetting the beauty of the federal budget process: "No one understands it."

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West Wing




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