And here it is. The very end of the Bartlet administration, and the very beginning of the Santos administration. Everyone is, of course, very emotional in the hours leading up to the inauguration and the period immediately following. In the only actual plot development, Jed pardons Toby. And Mallory drops off Leo's "Bartlet for America" napkin as a gift for Jed. As for all of the other characters: Ronna is Santos's secretary; Donna is Helen's Chief-of-Staff; Annabeth is Helen's Press Secretary; C.J. is off to Los Angeles; Will is definitely running for Congress from Oregon; Bram has some mysterious job that will have him working in Will's old office; and Otto is nowhere to be seen. The episode finishes with Santos getting to work, and Jed and Abbey flying back to New Hampshire. And that's about it, really.
Previously...uh, the show began. And then a whole lot of things happened. And now it's ending.
We open with a roof-level shot of downtown D.C. Dawn is creeping its rosy fingers over the horizon. I've never seen a shot from this perspective -- it makes the city feel almost European. Like Rome, maybe, but without all the cute guys on scooters. We get a couple of other shots of monumental D.C., and then move to Santos, sitting on the wide ledge of a windowsill in Blair House. He's in his pajamas, sipping his General Mills International Coffee, looking out over the city. Maybe after this he'll take a Calgon bath. (I do love how he's giving a peep show to any passersby -- the windows of Blair House are about five feet away from the sidewalk).
We cut to Josh, lying in his bed and staring at the ceiling. It looks like his vacation helped him to relax by about 1%. He turns over to look at the clock (it's 6:02, for those who care), and then a female hand comes out of nowhere and slides its way across his back and shoulder. He rolls over towards that hand and finds Donna in the bed next to him. I mean, we find that Donna's in the bed next to him. Josh doesn't seem to be surprised by that fact. She's no less awake than he is, but seems to be a bit less tense.
In her kitchen (or maybe Danny's kitchen, but there's no sign of him), C.J. pours herself some coffee and looks pensive as she listens to a newscaster talk about the impending inaugural events.
Will walks through the deserted West Wing, turning on a light as he enters the communications area. He enters his office. His desk is completely empty of all business and all personal effects, except for the rubber ball. He picks up the ball and sits down at his desk. A note has been taped to his computer screen, reading "The contents of this computer have been archived." Will bounces the ball against the wall a couple of times.
In the Residence, Jed (in bathrobe and pajamas) stands in front of the big semi-circular window, looking out into the city. Abbey approaches, and notes that it will be pretty cold for the inauguration. She asks, "Who in his right mind decided that January would be the best time of year to hold an outdoor ceremony north of the equator?" Jed answers, "Jefferson, Adams, Franklin." Either Jed is having a really bad day, or the writers are stupid. Because just about every poster in the forums knew immediately that the Constitution originally provided for a new president to take office in March, and it wasn't until the 20th Amendment was ratified in 1933 that it was changed to January. Abbey thinks that the Founders should have been lined up and shot for setting the inauguration in the dead of winter, and Jed tells her, "That's what King George had in mind." They continue with a bit of banter about the inauguration date, but it doesn't take Abbey long to notice that Jed's heart really isn't in it. Her eyes nearly overflowing with tears, she tells him, "You did a lot of good, Jed. A lot of good." And then they take each other by the hand. Credits.