West Wing
The Stormy Present

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Miss Alli: D+ | 1 USERS: D
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When we return from the commercial break, Walken is relaxing on a bench in a beautiful garden, where he is approached by Jed. They sit on a bench together, and you can just tell that they, too, will be having a deep talk. Walken tells a story about being with Lassiter on an occasion when they couldn't find a bathroom, and relates how they went in the bushes while Lassiter recited Lincoln's second State of the Union. Jed -- never able to let anyone else have a story to himself, ever -- once again charges in with his smarty-pants routine, quoting the Lincoln speech, including the title-rific bit about the way "the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present." Walken admits that he lost touch with Lassiter late in the game, and wonders what he'd have to say about Riyadh. "Me, too," Jed says. And then he leaves.

CNN coverage of the Saudi situation brings us back to the White House, and specifically to C.J. and Josh, who are running into each other outside Leo's office. She asks him how the "Grant and Lee" situation is progressing, and he says that it's been worked out. "Freedom and the right to assemble, for one and all," he says as they watch the coverage of Riyadh. She tells him about her conversation with Milkman, and expresses some concern that DARPA isn't so hot on the freedom stuff. "They're just trying to protect you," Josh says, smirking. "Haven't you had enough trouble haggling over the Bill of Rights for one day?" C.J. asks. Josh advises her that probably, once the story gets out, the creepy DARPA programs will be halted, so what's the problem? "No more gate scrutiny," she says. "Democracy in action," he answers. Ah, yes. West Wing Story #1: Staff Member X Struggles With The Security/Freedom Tradeoffs Of Liberal Politics. By the way, Story #2 is Jed Learns That His Task Is Grave And Sometimes Overwhelming, and Story #3 is Someone Makes A Compromise And Later Ponders The Consequences, a/k/a The Ethics Of Getting Half A Loaf. There is no #4. Maybe next season.

At any rate, Josh and C.J.'s oh-so-groundbreaking conversation is interrupted by Leo and Alexander, who are discussing the 30,000 troops who will be needed for peacekeeping. Leo asks how many they'll need if it's more than peacekeeping. Alexander doesn't answer. Leo sends him away. He asks C.J. and Josh whether what they need to talk to him about is important. Apparently in light of the talk of troops, they both say no and leave. Good call.

When they're gone, Leo sits down at his desk, and Mallory almost immediately arrives. She says she has something she needs to tell him. He asks if she's okay, and she says yes...and then no. She has a seat. And heaves a sigh. And talks in circles, and tries to leave, and stands up. And says, "Mom's getting remarried." Leo tells her, probably falsely, that he knows this already, because Mom already called him. Mallory says she was hoping he wouldn't be alone when he heard, but he assures her that he's fine. He leads her out of the office, and we stare at his empty chair. Nice touch.

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West Wing

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