West Wing
The Red Mass

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Deborah: C- | Grade It Now!
The Fortune-Cookie Candidacy

Anthony makes a face and sits down again. Anthony: "It makes you feel like something, huh? That you've got power over me?" Charlie replies that, in about two minutes, Sam's going to come in there and tell him that the speech he's writing for Red Mass isn't going well, and ask him to read it for him: "And you think you're what makes me feel like something?" Anthony: "What's Red Mass?" Charlie: "I didn't hear you." Anthony repeats his question more loudly. Charlie explains that the Supreme Court convenes on the first Monday in October; the day before, there's a Mass held for the members of the Court, which the Cabinet, Congress, and President attend. Anthony: "What about church and state?" Charlie: "You know, I swear to God I can't hear you when you speak. Can you help me?" I don't think Anthony's mumbling all that much, but clearly Charlie does. Either that or he's training Anthony for a career in auctioneering. Which I understand can be quite lucrative. Or maybe it's just more of this lather-rinse-repeat dialogue that's slowly driving me around the bend. Anthony says that you're not supposed to "do" church and state. Charlie wants to know who told him that. Anthony says it's the law. Charlie: "What law?" Anthony's exasperated: "All right, you like to slap me, 'cause that's your power thing. So I'll sit here and not say nothing." He sighs and tries again: "The law, separation of church and state." Charlie asks again who told Anthony that. Anthony insists that Charlie knows exactly what Anthony's talking about: "The government and the church are not supposed to do...they're not supposed to be the same thing." Charlie: "And you think there's a law?" Anthony insists there is. Charlie wants to know what kind. Anthony: "What the hell..." Charlie: "City, state, federal?" Anthony doesn't know, but he knows there's a law. Charlie says, "Prove it." He hands Anthony a copy of the Constitution and walks out.

Out in the hall, Sam asks Charlie to look at his speech. He doesn't want to show it to Toby yet. "Would you mind reading it for me and then hitting me in the head with a fairway wood?" And yes, I know that's a baseball bat. You don't need to email me about it. Ha! Gotcha. I know it's actually a cricket bat. Kidding. Golf, all right? Sam walks off, and we follow him toward his office, where he runs into a woman he greets as Janet. "Or Jeanette, as I sometimes like to call you." He pronounces it the French way. She replies, "Sometimes I like to call you 'cupcake,' is that okay?" Sam: "Totally!" I think it would be more fun to call him Shmuley, myself, but whatever. Let's compromise on SchmutzyPants. She wants to talk about the tuition-deductibility thing. He asks whether she had a leadership briefing. She says she did, and that she's so happy, she swears she could dance in a musical. Sam says that'd be a tough ticket to get. Janet thinks it's wonderful, and assumes it has to have been Sam's idea. Sam says that Josh and Toby came up with it, but that he can see how she'd think otherwise: "It does have the flavour of me, the insouciance." He says he has to line up validators. That's apparently why she's there. "You are the third-ranking non-male member of the minority on Ways and Means." Wow, that and what, ten dollars will get you a mochachocolattayaya at some coffee chain? Sam says that economists will say it's good policy and college presidents will talk about shrinking financial-aid budgets. Janet wants to know where Sam wants her. He says, "Sunday mornings. I'll make you a book. Congratulations, Jeanette." They get up, and she says she'll do her best. He says her best is very good. Janet mentions that she just heard Horton Wilde is in the hospital with a heart attack. Sam doesn't know who Horton Wilde is, so he talks about Thornton Wilder. Janet says she's talking about California. Sam: "'Cause if Thornton Wilder had a heart attack, that'd be remarkable news." She explains that Wilde is the Democrat running in the 47th, and she can believe Sam doesn't know who he is. Sam: "Has a Democrat won the California 47th in the last hundred years?" Janet: "No." Sam: "That's how." Janet suggests that, maybe, when the Democrats are in power, if they paid a little more attention... Sam: "To Orange County? What kind?" Janet: "Knowing the candidate's name, say." She says this was Wilde's fourth heart attack. Sam thinks for a second and asks, "The Democrats have nominated someone who's had three heart attacks?" Janet says yes. Sam: "And you think I don't care enough about...what kind of signal does this send to...I have to talk...No, this isn't going to be a part of my life." Janet says, "Wow, you just did a whole thing all by yourself." At the moment I can't remember where it's from, but I'm sure I've recapped this line before. Sam says he does that. Janet thanks him and leaves.

Situation Room. It must be hard for Fitz and Leo to get their "alone time" these days what with one incident after another requiring the constant use of this room. Freakin' Qumar. Leo wants to rent an apartment, but Fitz isn't sure he's ready for that commitment. Jed asks, "Why do we think the boy is sick?" Mike Casper says that their thermal scan shows no movement in the last eight hours of daylight. Apparently, the kid has congestive heart failure and needs medication, or he'll die. Mike says that going by the last prescription that was filled, they've been out of medication for six days. The guy next to Casper says they feel the only way to save the boy is to abandon their plan and take the house immediately. Jed asks how they do it. Casper says they blow a hole in the wall with C-4, and twelve men storm the house wearing specially made goggles and earplugs. Jed wants to know why. Casper explains they're going to throw flash bangs, which are the size of a grenade and make a deafening sound while releasing a flash seven times brighter than the sun, instead of spraying shrapnel. I call up my husband so we can chat about explosives for a while. Frink tells me a lot of technical jazz about explosives and assures me that flash bangs are impressive. Jed looks at Leo: "You hear that?" As usual with Jed, there's the slightest tinge of glibness to his tone. Leo, dead freaking serious: "I've seen them." Jed's getting to be a real argument for requiring actual military experience in a Commander-in-Chief, I must say. Jed ascertains that everyone at the table is in agreement with this plan. Everyone looks expectantly at Jed. He says they should do it: "Let's get the kid. Good luck, everybody." They all leave, while Jed and Leo stay in the room. Leo seems preoccupied, and Jed asks him what's going on. Leo says it's nothing, but sniffles, then tearfully confesses that he just doesn't understand how to get Fitz to commit to their relationship. Okay, he says that he was thinking about something Ben Yosef said yesterday. (Which was: "Leo, you're too good for him...come with me to Israel...you could convert....")

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