Previously on The West Wing: Ainsley's office sucked; Josh was contemptuous of Donna's dating choices; Danny had no problem dating C.J. but happily, the reverse was true of her; old-Sam-with-the-better-hair pounded his fist in frustration when he was writing badly.
Heavily escorted motorcade, lights and sirens, you know the deal. In the back of the President's limo, Charlie is telling Jed that someone wants to meet with him on the way back. As it turns out, it's the Assistant Energy Secretary, who is flying to Portland in the middle of the night so that he can meet with POTUS on Air Force One the way back to D.C. Jed seems to find this somewhat improbable, and bemoans some of the ways in which his life has changed since becoming President.
On a bus elsewhere in the motorcade, C.J. is standing at the front, instructing the members of the media about the trip. She mentions that the Gerald Wegland, Assistant Energy Secretary, will also be on the trip. She adds, "As well as Mr. Latham, the head of the White House Military Office, or 'Whamo,' as we have apparently taken, over my strong objection, to calling it." C.J. seems tired, and she definitely carries the demeanour of a weary schoolteacher herding a bunch of ungrateful and difficult kids on yet another largely pointless field trip. She's also not having a good hair day, or hair show, as the case may be. ["Oh, did you think not? I thought it was okay, but then, I preferred her shorter 'do of last season." -- Wing Chun] She mentions that Sam will also be on the trip, as will she. Danny, always helpful, pipes up that he thought she wasn't going on the trip and wonders whether she's being punished. She claims she's not. Danny asks, "If the whole bus goes off the record, will you tell us why you're going on the trip?" She pauses and finally admits, "I made fun of Notre Dame." Everybody groans and shakes his or her head and mutters, "No, no, no." She protests, "I usually get away with it!" Someone tells her that they're playing Michigan tomorrow. She says that she knows that now. Danny adds, "You can't bring that stuff when they're playing Michigan." She humourlessly says, "Well, I'll have a lot of time to think about that on the midnight ride to Portland, Danny." She tells them they should be arriving in Portland a little after midnight local time.
The limos pull up to Air Force One, where Leo's waiting for Jed. When POTUS gets out of the car, Leo tells him he just got off the phone with Bruno and Hess. Jed pretends not to hear what Leo said and asks, "You didn't say, 'Michigan sucks'?" Leo goes along with this, but fairly humourlessly: "We're standing pretty close to the engines, so it may have sounded like I said, 'Notre Dame is going to get the ass-kicking they so richly deserve.'" Leo goes on to tell Jed that Bruno and Hess, whoever they are, told him "they" (meaning some arm of the U.S. government) stopped a tanker in the Gulf. It's got the flag of Cyprus, but it was tracked coming out of Qais. Jed learns that it's believed the tanker has oil, and that they're going to board the tanker. He and Leo walk toward the plane and bid each other farewell. C.J.'s walking up at this point and Jed greets her, saying that he thinks it's great that she decided to make the trip. C.J.: "I believe I was ordered to, Mr. President." Jed: "Yes! I remember now. You made one of your funny, funny jokes. Put it on. Put it on!" She objects that she's wearing Max Mara, which seems like something of a non sequitur, not to mention a product placement. It's not the only one in this episode, either. She keeps objecting, he keeps insisting, and finally she puts on a Notre Dame baseball cap, muttering, "Please let no one see me like this." The hat is not going to help the bad-hair-day problem one bit. ["Perhaps shooting and re-shooting scenes in which she doffed and donned the hat led to the bad hair?" -- Wing Chun] They've reached the top of the stairs to the plane and he says, "Hey, photo op," and as she mutters, "Oh, good God," he turns her around so that photographers at the bottom of the stairs can snap pictures of the two of them. He waves warmly, she waves perfunctorily. He grabs a file from an aide and walks into the plane saying, "Let's hit the sky!" Snuffy's theme music swells. It really is perfect for this show.