West Wing
The Stormy Present

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Josh strides into the conference room to find Ralph Fairfax of Connecticut and MaryLou Meriwether of North Carolina hovering in wait for him. They're lawyers. More than that, we are not told. Before Josh can even get a word in, MaryLou asks Josh if he would not agree that to steal somebody's stuff during "the chaos of war" is dishonorable "raping and pillaging." Fairfax insists that Connecticut bought the document legitimately. MaryLou shoots back that Connecticut stole it. Did not! Did too! Josh sarcastically calls this "a promising start," and they all sit. MaryLou insists that the Bill of Rights belongs to her state, and Fairfax not unreasonably counters that it belongs to a union from which her state decided to secede, so their getting precious about the founding documents at this late date seems a little disingenuous. Fairfax quotes a federal order to the effect that rebel-confiscated property belongs to the union, but MaryLou counters that a different order called for the return of property that belongs to North Carolina. She brings up the constitutionality of the order Fairfax cited, and Josh offhandedly mentions an article written by a law-school classmate of his, and it comes out that Josh went to Yale. Both lawyers are flabbergasted -- Fairfax to the good, MaryLou to the bad -- that he's actually from Connecticut. "Go Whalers," Josh says meekly. Snerk.

We cut to the maze of offices where C.J. and Leo are discussing events in Saudi Arabia, and the POTUS/Toby trip for the Lassiter funeral. Leo says that he's off to take Mallory out in return for missing the theater trip with her the other night. C.J. is greeted by Carol, who hands her the DARPA budget -- which they both are surprised to find out was available online and not classified. It's true that it's a whole new world, in that you can peruse just about any government budget document you want line by line if you actually want to. Which you probably don't, unless you are suffering from insomnia and don't have pills, booze, or someone nearby with a mallet who's willing to knock you out. Anyway, Carol also warns C.J. that a man surreptitiously snuck into C.J.'s office while Carol wasn't looking, and that he's still there now. C.J., intrigued, wants to know if the man is "dashing." Carol's all, "Um, no."

C.J. walks into her office and finds Hey! It's Stephen Tobolowsky!, who is fretting about the security of C.J.'s computer. He tells her that there are no firewalls on it, and this concerns him. Again, I ask you. Do you really believe that the press secretary's computer wouldn't have a firewall? That's a nice opening line, perhaps appropriate to his geekiness and nosiness, but there are things they could have come up with, with only slightly more work, that wouldn't be quite as absurd as there being no firewall on C.J.'s computer. Anyway, C.J. threatens to call Security if the guy doesn't tell her what the hell his deal is and what he's doing there. He explains that he's Dr. Max Milkman, and that he's from DARPA. She says she's been reading about something he was involved in, called "Operation Midnight Climax," that involved setting up secret brothels and testing LSD on the patrons. She calls this "mind-blowing." Really, really not a funny line. I don't give Sorkin much outside of Sports Night, but I liked his lighthearted banter, and he could sure as heck have written a better joke off of LSD-ridden brothel customers than "mind-blowing." ["One more rooted in the real experience of an LSD-ridden brother customer, certainly." -- Wing Chun] Anyway, the Milkman insists that that wasn't DARPA; it was ARPA. "I can't tell you how comforting that is," C.J. says skeptically.

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