The first episode of the seventh season is essentially plotless -- it's all about relationships and tensions and plans, and practically nothing of significance happens. After opening with a little flash-forward to the opening of the Bartlet Presidential Library, three years in the future, we start the new season just four days after the close of the Democratic convention. The Santos-McGarry ticket is down nine points in the first public poll, which is better than they expected. However, the good news doesn't really cut all the tension. Helen and Santos both think Josh is micromanaging the campaign. Santos cuts down every suggestion Leo makes and seems to regard him as a nuisance. Josh and Leo are pissed at C.J. and Toby because Jed seems interested in working with the Republicans on an education bill, even though that would weaken the campaign. And Josh has to tell Donna that he can't hire her, due to all the nasty things she said about Santos in her former role as spokesperson for a rival campaign. So things generally seem depressing and not fun on the campaign trail. In the White House, we finally learn that the military shuttle is definitely being used to save the stranded astronauts. And C.J. spends her entire day being interviewed by White House Counsel Oliver Babish, only to realize that she's his chief suspect for the leak about the shuttle. In the end, Babish tells Jed that they need to call off their own investigation and cooperate with outside investigators. And Leo and Santos have a nice conversation in which Santos reveals that he does respect Leo's opinion -- just not his opinion on how to campaign.
Previously, on The West Wing -- the whole last season. But we finished with Santos and Leo as the Democratic nominees for President and Vice-President, and Arnold Vinick as the Republican nominee. Oh, and somebody in the White House leaked the existence of a top-secret military space shuttle to the press, presumably in an effort to guilt Jed into ordering that the shuttle be used to rescue some astronauts and cosmonauts who are stranded in space. But you already knew that.
A subtitle welcomes us to "three years later." Ooooh, the future. Maybe there'll be some flying cars or personal jet packs. Well, maybe not in just three years. But I bet clothing and hair styles have changed some. We see a distinguished, white-haired gentlemen walking (with the aid of a cane) through an empty but utterly gorgeous library reading room. Another subtitle informs us that we're at the "Dedication to the Josiah Bartlet Presidential Library." Wait, "dedication to?" Doesn't anyone edit these things? The white-haired gentleman is Jed, by the way. He's followed in Bill Clinton's footsteps and lost the Just for Men look he's been sporting in the last couple of seasons. I had thought that Jed was planning on installing his library in an abandoned mill building, but the ornate ceiling in that reading room doesn't look like it was ever part of a factory. And then Jed walks up to some of the old gang. We see Danny (standing with his hand on C.J.'s back), C.J., Toby, Kate, Charlie, and Will. Not only have clothing styles not changed, but every character (other than Jed) has exactly the same hairstyle as in the present. C.J. greets Jed with a kiss on the cheek, and we learn that she's living in Santa Monica. Jed looks at C.J. and Danny and tells them that Abby wants a picture of the baby. Danny points out that he emailed one, but Jed wants one that he can stick on the refrigerator. Jed greets Toby, who thanks Jed for the invitation. Toby is apparently teaching at Columbia University. Or running drugs in Colombia. Or maybe he's playing forward for the Fighting Gamecocks at the University of South Carolina (in Columbia, natch). Any of those could be true from the context. Jed has read Kate's recently published book, but Charlie dismisses the book as a load of hogwash. Charlie also congratulates Jed on something he recently did in Jakarta. And Will is now a member of Congress. And that's the wrap-up on "Where are they now." And then Josh walks up to let everyone know that "the President" has arrived.