West Wing
The Fall's Gonna Kill You

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B+ | 1 USERS: A+
But We've Got Surprise On Our Side, Right?

A man in a trenchcoat sits in an armchair in a lobby area, fidgeting with the handle of his briefcase as he waits. Donna comes along and introduces herself to Mr. Connelly, going on to tell him that Josh is tied up with Leo for a few more minutes. Connelly's content to wait. As Donna walks away, she calls out to everyone within earshot, asking if anyone knows whether it's going to rain. She instructs one staffer to call the Navy Yard for her. As the staffer trots off to do Donna's bidding, Larry and Ed come up laughing and giggling over a piece of paper. They ask whether she's seen C.J.; she hasn't. Donna wonders what's so funny. Larry explains that Ed got a fax from NASA regarding a huge Chinese satellite that's going to come crashing to earth, but no one knows when or where. Donna responds, "Seriously?" But the look on her face is almost one of delight, like someone just told her that she was going to get a shopping spree at Nordstrom. But her expression changes as she reads the fax, and becomes more alarmed as Larry and Ed convince her it's for real. She wonders why they're laughing; Ed says they thought it was funny. They walk away, having successfully launched Donna on her bugbear du jour. She asks what she's supposed to do with the information; Larry says the fax was for C.J., and that Donna should give it to C.J. when she sees her. Donna looks extremely troubled. The staffer she instructed to call the Navy Yard returns to tell her that it's not supposed to rain this afternoon. Donna replies, with mild, anxiety-tinged sarcasm, "Well, that's a relief."

Leo, Toby, and Josh are having a whispery meeting in Leo's office. Toby says that they want to see some polling. Leo seems concerned: "Why?" Toby says they need to know what to do next. Leo says they know. Toby says they don't know which problem is more insurmountable, but gets interrupted when Margaret comes in to give Leo a message. She's wearing her hair straight instead of in a flip, and it's a more distracting change than you'd think it would be. Her hair also looks as if it's been dyed darker, although it's hard to tell with the mood lighting in Leo's office, designed by the hot new firm, Conspiracies R Us. The hair gives her a younger, more collegiate look, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. The flip was starting to grow on me. ["It looked so little like her that I think maybe it wasn't her. They never showed her face and she never had a line so I think maybe it was just an extra." -- Wing Chun] Anyway, Leo decides to return the call later, and she leaves. Toby explains that they need to determine which perception is more problematic: that Bartlet isn't physically up to the job, or that he lied about it. Leo says that there's no way to gauge public opinion on this until it occurs, and that public opinion will be shaped by the reaction of the press. Josh says that all public opinion is shaped by the reaction of the press. Then he starts to say something about the "fundamental foundation" (redundant much?) in the public perception, but Leo interjects to ask just how they're going to take a poll without giving away the entire game. He doesn't trust any of their people: "And even if I did, what kind of questions could they ask that won't trip an alarm?" Toby says that Josh trusts Joey Lucas. Josh says that she's flying in from California right now. Leo's slightly alarmed: "What did you tell her?" Josh: "I told her we were commissioning a poll to explore attitudes toward subsurface agricultural products." Leo gets that boll-weevil- in-my- egg-salad look and asks, "What the hell..." Josh quasi-explains, "We think Americans are eating more beets." Leo: "Beets?" He decides it's okay. Leo wants to talk about when they're going to tell Sam. Toby doesn't want to do it right now, because Sam is hard at work on the SME speech for Chicago. Josh kind of objects, and I imagine he feels bad that Sam still doesn't know, not only because he's the sort of guy who doesn't actually like to feel part of an elite, but also because he's probably dying to discuss it with his good friend Sam. Toby points out that Sam's mind is on the speech, where they need it, and asks Josh if he would want to write the speech with "this other thing around [his] neck." Josh wouldn't. POTUS wants Sam to know by the end of the day. Toby agrees. The meeting ends.

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