West Wing
Separation Of Powers

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

Toby's hot on Joe's heels again -- or still; I can't tell. Joe asks if they're going to the same meeting. Toby says, "No, we're going in here," as he leads Joe into the Mural Room. Joe: "Gee, Toby, people are going to talk." Not with the sad lack of HoYay! this season. Toby starts, hesitantly: "I'm...curious...." Oh wait, maybe we're going to get some HoYay! after all. Not that we'll be able to see it, mind you. By the end of this scene, Matthew Perry's face is half in shadow. They must be convinced on this set that extreme lighting and anvilicious sound effects = ratings. Toby continues: "It wouldn't be for the obvious reason, would it?" Joe asks what the obvious reason is. Toby: "You're a conservative. Maybe you'd love to see him stay on the bench. A liberal icon reduced to a quivering mass of octogenarian confusion!" Joe's all "hold on," but Toby continues: "Hanging on until he can be replaced by a paleoRepublican! Constitution's a living document; you stick to it like it's a boilerplate lease!" Joe tells him, "You don't know what the hell you're talking about!" Toby says, "Okay." Joe explains that Ashland hires a conservative clerk every year to argue with: "And arguing with him helped me clarify the things I believe in, and one of those things is an independent court, above party or interest." Toby mentions Ashland's memory lapses and problems focusing. Joe insists that he has good and bad days. Toby says that the other Justices are already postponing decisions and cases and going behind Ashland's back to assign opinions. Joe says Toby doesn't know that. Toby insists he does, and adds that Ashland doesn't have anyone left: his wife is dead, his son was shot down over Hanoi. All he has left are clerks. Joe: "You can't do anything!" Toby wants Joe to come to the hospital with him right now. Toby: "He'll see you. You tell me he's okay, and I'll call off the vultures."

We cut to Toby and Joe in an elevator, looking grim. They walk to Ashland's room where his clerk, Lisa, is sitting outside. Joe greets her, asking if she caught the night shift. She says, "Six to midnight. Steve's coming in to handle the overnights." Joe gives her a peck on the cheek. Why would Joe necessarily know Ashland's current clerks? Wouldn't he have worked for Ashland some time ago? Joe introduces Toby to Lisa Zimmer. She says she's seen Toby on Crossfire and adds, "I hope you won't be offended, Mr. Ziegler, but we're keeping it to family only -- you know, friends...colleagues." Toby says he just came along to keep Joe company. He goes to get coffee, after offering to bring them some. They don't want any. Once he's left, Lisa tells Joe, "I don't know what they've told you, but he always bounces back." Joe starts to go in the room, and Lisa says, "Joe -- he always does." She nods like she's trying to convince herself.

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West Wing

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