West Wing
The Dead Zone

Episode Report Card
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Crutching Teacher, Hidden Psychic
Johnny is sitting at a table with a little girl, who is struggling with reading. Apparently, he's making a living by tutoring people in his home. Her mother arrives, honking the horn, and Johnny lets his student out the front door. At the same moment, a man gets out of a limo and comes up the walk, introducing himself as Roger Stuart, and asking to speak to Johnny. Inside the house, Roger explains that he would like Johnny to tutor his son Chris, who is bright, but withdrawn and anti-social and not doing well in school. Johnny says he doesn't know if he can help Chris without meeting him. Roger says that Chris refused to come with Roger today, and that Johnny would have to come to his house. Johnny says it's out of the question. Roger pleads with Johnny, saying that if he'll come out to the Stuart house and get to know Chris, Johnny can then bring Chris back to Johnny's house for lessons. Johnny relents, and Roger says he'll send a car to pick Johnny up the next morning. As Johnny watches Roger leave, he notices the billboard in the park across the street, which is still under construction. Now the ad on it is almost fully pasted up, and it's promoting the senatorial campaign of Greg Stillson, who's wearing a hardhat in his photograph. Why exactly this billboard is being erected so that it directly faces a single residence is anyone's guess. Johnny pulls the blind down. The next morning, Johnny rides in a very swanky old limo to Roger's huge, stately house. Inside the house, Roger is chatting with someone whose voice we hear before we see his face: it's Martin Sheen's voice, doing a southern accent. Ah, this is the reason this reeking bag of formulaic dreck is being recapped at all. Sheen plays Greg Stillson. Obviously, he was twenty years younger and rather cuter here, so keep that in mind. My God, he's certainly kept his hair well. Stillson's flunky is helping him put on his jacket and coat (alas, no coat flip) as Stillson tells an obnoxious story about an opponent of his, who handed out dollar bills to black people in a ghetto; Stillson says that he went down there and told them to get all the dollar bills they could, but that when voting day came, they should go into the booth and vote for whomever they pleased. And Stillson won that election by twenty-nine percentage points, and they've been winning ever since, and "those people spent that money with a clear conscience!" Roger, Stillson, and the flunky all laugh heartily. Yeah, great story. The butler has just finished letting Johnny in, and Roger greets him warmly and introduces him to Stillson and the flunky, Sonny. Instead of a proper handshake, Stillson slaps a campaign button the size of a bread plate into Johnny's hand. Stillson makes one last pitch for Roger's support on his way out the door, and pins a button on him. Meanwhile, Sonny just gives Johnny the stink-eye. Sonny has the ferret-faced look of a low-grade thug. Stillson says, "I need your expertise, I need your input...and most importantly, I need your money!" Stillson erupts in a big, good-ol'-boy laugh. I hate this character, but Sheen is so adorable. Out on Roger's porch, Stillson declares over-enthusiastically, "My God, what a glorious day!" Sonny, on his heels, says, "Amen." Oh, lord.

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West Wing




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