As Josh and Donna leave, Donna tells him that Joey says it will probably be just another hour, and that she's going to bring the numbers to the West Wing. Donna then asks about the crisis in Colombia: "Josh, how is this not a no-brainer?" Josh says, "You say, get 'em home?" Donna says, "Of course I say, get 'em home. Who doesn't say get 'em home? That should be the person who has to make the phone call to the families." Josh asks, "And who calls the families of the nine commandos who just died trying to save five guys it turns out we could have freed six hours ago?" Donna says that's not a good enough reason. Josh replies, "The good enough reason is that you give in to terrorists it gives them a pretty good incentive to keep terrorizing." Donna points out, "Not negotiating with them hasn't given them much of a disincentive." Josh asks, "How do you know? You don't think they're going to kidnap another five people tomorrow morning and demand twelve months of free cable?" Donna says, "So you give them free cable." Josh: "How about the keys to the Situation Room?" Donna, knowing she's lost, weakly says: "You draw a line." Josh: "Where?" He checks his watch. "She said about an hour?" Donna confirms this.
In the Situation Room, Jed asks whether they know where the hostages are. Mickey says that they were moved about sixty miles into the jungle at Villacerreno. Jed asks what it would take to get them back. Mickey: "Alive?" Jed: "Yeah." Um, yeah. I don't think it'll be any problem to get them back dead. No one really says anything. Jed then asks what it would take to wipe them out. Another guy says, "The Frente?" Finally Mickey says, "Mr. President, for the kind of victory Americans are used to -- for the kind of victory Americans demand from a war -- you need a ten-to-one ratio." Jed glances at Leo for confirmation of this; Leo nods slightly. Mickey continues, "It was only after we built up a ten-to-one ratio in the Gulf that we felt comfortable making a move. The Frente has twenty thousand well-armed, well-trained soldiers, each of whom has a financial stake in heroin and cocaine. We need to put two hundred to three hundred thousand men into a jungle war, and I think we'd lose as many as half." Jed: "Half?" Mickey says yes. Jed makes a sound of exasperation and says, "You really gotta ask yourself, what's the point in being a superpower anymore?" He leaves. I guess Leo can pick up the slack.
Back in the First Bedroom, Abby, Lily, and Assistant X are finalizing preparations for her trip. Jed wanders in and says, "And then there's the repacking. First there's the preliminary or the dry run; then there's the actual packing. Abby, you're just going away for two days, right?" Abby asks the assistants to leave. They do, and Jed asks again, "Right?" Abby asks what happened. Jed says that they were ambushed. Abby replies, "Oh, God." He tells her that nine guys are dead, and that they've moved the hostages so far into the jungle that they'd need a pair of tweezers to get them out. Abby wonders whether Jed would like her to stay. He says no. She offers again. He says no. He then says, "I didn't make the decision to run again. I wouldn't do that without you." She wearily says that they don't need to talk about that right now. He asks when, then, and reasserts that he didn't make the decision to run again. She says he did, and cites the moves of the last few weeks and the changes in last night's speech as proof. She adds that the whole place is in re-election mode. Jed says, "That's what we do, Abby. We run for things! From the day a Congressman is sworn in, he's gotta raise $10,000 a week so he can get re-elected. A President gets to govern for eighteen months! We try to get people to vote for us, and in the process, we hope that people force us to do good things!" She angrily says, "We had a deal!" Jed sighs and agrees, looking away, "Yes, we had a deal." She says, almost tearfully, "Yes, Jed. Look at me!" He does. "Do you get that you have MS? Do you get that your own immune system is shredding your brain? And I can't tell you why. Do you have any idea how good a doctor I am, and that I can't tell you why?" He reminds her he's only had one episode in two years. She says, "Yes, but relapsing remitting MS can turn into secondary progressive MS, oftentimes ten years after the initial diagnosis, which is exactly where we'll be in two years. Do you know what that's going to look like if it happens?" Jed starts to say that he does, but Abby continues: "Fatigue. An inability to get through the day. Memory lapses, loss of cognitive function, failure to reason, failure to think clearly. And I can't tell you if it's going to happen. I don't know if it's going to get better, I don't know if it's going to get worse. But we had a deal, and that deal was how you justified keeping it a secret from the world. It's how you justified it to God. It's how you justified it to me." Jed looks sad and serious and duly chastised. Lily knocks and sticks her head in to nudge Abby along. Abby offers, once more, to stay; Jed wants her to go. He tells her to have a good trip, and to call him when she arrives. She says she will. He says, "I love you." She replies, "I love you, too." She goes out and Jed sits down in the wing chair by the fireplace, and I'm subtly reminded of FDR. Really, really good scene between Martin Sheen and Stockard Channing. They are very credible in their roles here, and they present marital conflict very convincingly.