West Wing
The Dogs Of War

Episode Report Card
admin: D+ | 2 USERS: A-
I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream

Shout-out to hughster.

Sunday, 11:34 PM. Hour 24. The camera's on the screeching tires of a big shiny black car as it pulls into a covered parking lot that's fairly deserted. The chauffeur parks, John Spencer gets out, and walks over to another car. He's got a secret meeting with a new agent he's hoping can somehow get him off this show and onto a better one before it turns into ER: DC. Whoops, too late. Leo meets with Angela Blake from New York, apologizing for the "Foggy Bottom theatrics." I had to keep getting up during this scene to turn up the sound (remote's broken), trying to hear the dialogue over all the background noise. I'm not sure why I bothered, because I think the sound people have been instructed to make everyone as hard as possible to hear, so we won't notice that the dialogue's become as thin and weak as a Bush administration excuse. Angela reminds me a bit of CCH Pounder. She tells him that Bartlet's approval rating is at 76%, but in ten days, that will plummet. She explains that, right now, people are pulling for him because he lost his daughter, but in two weeks they'll be tired of pulling for the President. Leo points out the fine upstandingness of Bartlet's gesture. Angela knows that only plays for so long: "Our guy quit when things got tough." They discuss Josh's desire to poll. Angela says that the White House can't get caught polling. Leo just looks at her significantly until she grasps her secret mission. His face says, "You know what to do," but his eyes say, "Pleasepleaseplease get me out of here. I will pay you cash money." Angela will call Leo when it's done. She needs pictures of Bartlet on the phone with world leaders, looking resolute and Presidential. Leo says Bartlet won't do it. Angela tells Leo to stop with all the friendship and loyalty and get with the program of managing public perception. People need to believe when Bartlet comes back that he'll be able to govern the country even if he can't keep his own family safe: "They need to know he is willing to sacrifice his own child's life for his country." Leo: "Would you be?" Angela: "I wasn't stupid enough to run for President." Leo walks back to his car as Angela adds, "If she dies...his approval ratings go through the roof." See, there's always a silver lining. Leo regards that fact with seriousness as the music swells.

Monday, 6:00 AM. Weird overhead shot of Leo's office. He's sitting at his desk, ruminating. Hour 30. The camera drifts across his hand, and we see that Leo's still wearing his wedding ring. Leo looks very grave, indeed. Margaret busts in to announce that Secretary Berryhill's here. Leo tells her to wait two minutes and then bring in the Ambassador. In walks William Devane, and much as I try, he will always be Knots Landing's Greg Sumner to me. Devane either has a deal with devil, or he's had major work done, because he's aged about the same amount as Rob Lowe has over the last twenty years. Leo says, "Hi, Will." "Will"? Will Berryhill? Will, as in, we already have a major character on this show named "Will"? "Will" as in William Devane? How much energy did they expend naming this character? Seriously: look into acquiring and using a baby name book. Bookstores and libraries are full of 'em. Or hey, grab a phone book and flip through it. Offices are full of 'em. Berryhill asks when "it" starts. Leo's waiting for word from Funkmaster Funky Fitz. Berryhill: "Doesn't it remind you a little of the Japanese on December 7?" Leo can't believe Berryhill wants the U.S. to warn its enemies. Berryhill: "I didn't want us to do it in the first place." Here's as good a place as any to say: Way to go on including Elisabeth Moss's name in the credits. That didn't give anything away.

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West Wing




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