West Wing

Episode Report Card
Deus Ex Mehchina

There's another severe outbreak of Titlecardiosis (tm attica finch) in this episode. We see Haffley, Royce and some other members of their posse, but just in case you keep falling asleep or something, we are informed that this is the "Republican War Room." Haffley, watching C.J. on TV, says, "I figured they'd negotiate us down to two [percent], but a shutdown? They're not ready for this." The only woman in the room asks, "Are we?" Haffley says that Bartlet's the one who shut down the government, not the Republicans. Royce returns, saying that it took him a while to figure out how to unjam the copier. He says that if they can agree on 2%, they can pass a CR tonight. Haffley wonders, "Why would we? He thinks people want his big government. Let's show them how well Americans can get by without the Deputy Director of Regulatory Intrusion." He rolls up his sleeves. Royce seems confident that the White House will call before the deadline: "They won't want it to drag on." The woman asks if Royce has spoken to Russell. Royce says he hasn't yet, but that's who'll be used as a go-between. Haffley says it doesn't matter who calls as long as they blink first. Another guy says, "In the meantime, we've got Congressmen looking for toner cartridges, and I've got 35,000 federal employees in my district out of work." Haffley tells him to work the media and make sure everyone knows whom to blame. He sits down. Royce just nods to himself, but not in the agreement way so much as, "Yeah, this chucklehead's going to screw us for sure."

Angela hauls a big pile of files into the Roosevelt Room, where Leo, Toby, and Josh are. Title card: "White House War Room." How I wish I were kidding. This is a show that once credited viewers with being able to handle an unsubtitled Latin rant. Now we're at the point where I wonder if they'll need to tattoo "POTUS" on Martin Sheen's forehead, just so we don't accidentally mix him up with Charlie. Maybe everyone could wear team shirts or something so we can follow what's going on. They yatter about a bunch of meetings and so forth that were supposed to take place tomorrow. Leo tells Josh not to cancel the NAACP address tomorrow, because Angela thinks they'll still come to an agreement tonight. Angela thinks Haffley would have settled on 2%: "It's probably still available." Leo: "And tomorrow?" Angela says it depends on how it plays in the morning papers. Will's there now. Josh bursts out, "We have to call Haffley out for what he is really doing. It's a coup. He's trying to defund every Bartlet initiative we've passed in the last two years." Leo says that POTUS has a full schedule tomorrow, and asks Josh to go make sure everyone knows he intends to keep to it. Josh makes a weird face I can't quite read, but he looks sort of chastised. Leo asks Toby, "Can we downplay this to the press?" Toby says that's what Haffley wants: "Nine hundred and forty thousand federal employees out of work, but we say, 'No worries. Doesn't matter.'"

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West Wing




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