West Wing
Shibboleth

Episode Report Card
Deborah: A+ | 4 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
A Turkey Wing And A Prayer

It's Wednesday evening. I figured that out all by myself with no help from title cards. Jed and Leo are in the Oval Office when Mrs. Landingham tells them that the Chinese refugee is there. Leo asks if they got an interpreter. As Jed throws his jacket on over his head in that inimitable way so many of us enjoy, he explains that the fellow speaks English, and he is a chemistry professor. Jed relates, "There was a while there I wanted to be a chemistry professor." Leo: "What happened?" Jed: "I never actually studied chemistry." These guys are the Laurel and Hardy of the White House. I'm surprised to learn there's anything Jed hasn't studied. Leo says, "A lot of these college chemistry departments are really demanding that way." Jed agrees.

Mrs. Landingham brings in the refugee, whose name is Jhin Wei. POTUS greets him and introduces himself and Leo. Leo instructs the agents who accompanied Mr. Wei to wait outside. Now, I know there are Secret Service guys posted all over the place outside the office, and I'm sure Mr. Wei has been frisked and searched to within an inch of his life, but really, would it be allowed for an illegal Chinese immigrant to be left alone with the President and his Chief of Staff? Whatever. Jed invites him to sit down, which he does, and gestures to the plate of sandwiches, and bids him to eat as many as he pleases if he gets hungry. Mr. Wei says, "I spent six weeks in a container with the stench of dead bodies and human excrement and you bring me to the White House and all you offer me are sandwiches? I don't need your stinkin' sandwiches!" No, no, no, of course he doesn't say that. Be serious, deborah. Mr. Wei is very composed, genteel, and pleasant. Anyway, they get down to business. Jed asks how he became a Christian. He says he began attending a house church in Fujian along with his wife, and eventually he was baptized. Jed asks how he practices his religion. Mr. Wei says they share Bibles, because they don't have enough; they sing hymns, listen to sermons, recite The Lord's Prayer, and perform acts of charity. Jed asks, "Who's the head of your church?" Mr. Wei replies, "The head of our parish is an eighty-four-year-old man named Wen Ling. He's been beaten and imprisoned many times. The head of our church is Jesus Christ." Jed asks him to name any of Jesus' apostles. Mr. Wei says he'd like to use one of his lifelines. Oh, all right, he doesn't. Jed comments, "If you can't, that's okay. I usually can't remember the names of my kids, or for that matter..." Mr. Wei lists almost all of them. (For the record: Peter, Andrew, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, Thaddeus, Simon, Judas, and James. I can't remember who's missing. Okay, I'm totally compulsive; I looked it up. There are two disciples named James. I forgot about that.) Jed nods almost imperceptibly. Mr. Wei decides to stop playing twenty questions and says, "Mr. President, Christianity is not demonstrated through a recitation of facts. You're seeking evidence of faith: a wholehearted acceptance of God's promise of a better world. 'For we hold that man is justified by faith alone,' is what St. Paul said. Justified by faith alone. Faith is the true...uh...I'm trying to...shibboleth. Faith is the true shibboleth." Jed looks very serious and nods. "Yes, it is. And you, sir, just said the magic word, in more ways than one. Thank you." He gets up and shakes Mr. Wei's hand. Mr. Wei thanks him and leaves. Jed turns to look at Leo. Leo says, "We're trying to sell more 747s to China, already a big customer. We want China to crack down on violators of American copyrights; we're trying to get China to negotiate a settlement with Tibet." Jed says, "Right. We don't have to grant asylum." Leo replies, "If you're suggesting what I think you are, you should know what's happened before." Jed asks, "Where are they?" Leo tells him, "An INS detention facility in Otay Mesa. They're being guarded by INS agents, aided by members of the 22nd Division of the California National Guard." Jed clarifies: "Not the Coast Guard?" Leo says no. Jed asks, "Before...when it happened before...how did it work?" Leo indicates, "You don't want to piss off China, and you don't want to send them back, so you gotta ask yourself, how secure is the INS detention facility?" Jed nods slightly and calls for Mrs. L. He tells her to get the Governor of California on the phone.

It's Thursday, Thanksgiving morning. C.J.'s rushing around getting ready for the Thanksgiving proclamation and the children's song. Toby comes up to her and says, "Hey, Toscanini." She says she's busy. He asks if she's learning the song; C.J. tells him she knows it, and to prove it she recites the lyrics. Toby: "Do you know what it means?" C.J.: "I don't have to know what it means." Toby switches subjects: "Listen, I don't know what you're doing for dinner tonight, but Josh and Sam and I..." C.J interjects, "It's about damn time you asked me, Toby! I have been sitting here for two weeks turning down all kinds of very, frankly, glamorous invitations from people I like a lot more than you. You can't ask a girl at the last minute..." Toby: "Well, if you can't come, that's okay..." C.J.: "No, I can come, I can come, I can come! Should I bring anything?" Toby: "Yeah! Do, do you know how to, you know, cook food?" C.J. doesn't dignify this and tells him they're in the Rose Garden in five minutes. As she enters her office, she sees Donna, who's with Morton, who's absconding with Troy. C.J. wants to know what's going on; Donna explains that Morton has to take Troy back to Jasper Farms. C.J. thinks not; she says they're going to a petting zoo. But evidently the plan is that only the pardoned turkey is going to a petting zoo; the other one is going back to the slaughter. In fact, it's already been sold. But C.J. wants to send both of them to the zoo. Donna points out that Jasper Farms only donated one turkey, so the other has to go back. C.J. grabs her purse, saying she'll buy the turkey from him. She figures thirty bucks might be about right, until Morton says they're two hundred and seventy five dollars. C.J.: "For a turkey?" Morton: "They're specially raised." C.J.: "At the Waldorf?" She decides to pay it, but Morton objects that it's already been sold. She says give them a different turkey. He says they've all been sold. He reiterates the plan that one was to be pardoned and the other returned. C.J. replies, "Yes, and I chose Eric because Troy doesn't like to be touched, which surely we're not going to execute him for!" She orders him to grab the turkey and come with her. He does as he's told.

Jed sticks his head out the door of his office and asks Mrs. L for a copy of his Thanksgiving proclamation. She asks wearily, "Sir, why don't you use the intercom?" He starts to respond, "'Cause..." She interrupts and says, "'Cause you don't know how to use the intercom." He claims he was standing by the door. She suggests that perhaps after the ceremony, he could get one of the fourth graders to show him how to use the intercom. He ignores that and repeats his request for a copy of his speech. She says Sam's bringing it. Just then, Charlie comes in with yet another carving set. He says it's a 1985 Komin Yomada, made in Japan from the finest materials available. Jed says, "Lighter weight blade," and Charlie continues, "Which facilitates cutting and reduces fatigue." Jed claims he once test-drove a Komin Yomada (shouldn't that be test-carved?) and he wasn't wild about it. He's willing to look at this one. Charlie's starting to lose patience a little. He says, "Okay, Mr. President, I say this with all possible respect, but each of these knives cuts, you know, meat. Why is it important..." Jed interjects quickly, "Because it's something we pass on. It's something with a history, so we can say, 'My father gave this to me, and his father gave it to him, and now I'm giving it to you.'" Charlie responds, "Well, okay, sir, but if that's true why don't you already have one?" Jed says he does have one. Naturally, Charlie wonders why he needs a new one; Jed explains that he's giving his away. Charlie says, "To who?" Jed: "Whom." Charlie dutifully repeats, "To whom?" As Jed reaches into his drawer and pulls out an antique box with a ribbon tied around it, he says, "Funny you should ask. Charlie, my father gave this to me, and his father gave it him, and now I'm giving it to you." He hands it to Charlie. He tells Charlie to take a look. Charlie pulls off the ribbon and opens the lid. Jed provides the details: "The fully tapered bolster allows for sharpening the entire edge of the blade." Charlie notes that it says "PR" and says, "I thought I knew 'em all but I don't recognize the manufacturer." Jed says in his soft "I met Abby" voice, "Yeah...these were made for my family by a Boston silversmith named Paul Revere." Well, if I weren'

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