Sam's back! It's not clear whether it is for good or only temporary; Josh offers him the Deputy Chief of Staff position, and Sam says he will consider it. Josh is busy becoming so wrapped up in work that he can't do anything but chug Mylanta and yell at everyone, especially poor Otto. After Sam witnesses one especially bad meltdown, he gives Josh an ultimatum -- he'll only consider the position if Josh takes a vacation and calms down. Oh, and one other detail that's not helping Josh's anxiety is Donna, who very nicely tells him they've got four weeks to figure out what's going on with their relationship, which Josh thinks is an impossibly quick timetable. Fortunately, she sticks to it and seems pretty sure that he'll figure it out sometime. Donna's also in a good mood since Helen asked her whether she'd like to be the First Lady's Chief of Staff. Santos is working on taking over the Kazakhstan situation and does so by undermining what Bartlet has already done on the phone to the Chinese President, which the NSA learns of through a wiretap. Bartlet's staff freaks out after delivering a warning to look like he's keeping up Bartlet's efforts, but when Santos meets with Bartlet, he admits he wants to take action, and is working to try and scare both China and Russia out of beginning a war. With everyone slightly more comfortable with their various transitions Josh does take that vacation, and in the best idea he's had since the election, he invites Donna to go with him.
I'd like to start off with a hearty thank-you to Bravo for rerunning the current West Wing episodes on Monday nights, and a long glare in the direction of my TiFaux for deciding to delete not one of the eighteen movies I gratuitously taped off of my three months of free movie channels, but the very episode that I was just about to recap right after it aired on Sunday evening. Let's not try shenanigans like that again, mmmkay?
On a plane, Josh is totally the person you thought would be quiet and fine to sit next to, but then turns out to be almost worse than a talker, because he's twitchy and going through about a foot-high stack of papers that keep falling over into your lap. Oh, and he has a cold, and does some pretty revolting nose-plugging thing. Josh is clearly not endearing himself to the man next to and the woman in front of him, though I'm not sure why, since his pillow actually sticks to the back of his head when he leans forward.
Santos is kicking it back behind his desk, on the phone with the British Prime Minister, who has seemingly called to offer her congratulations. The camera pans to show Ronna helping him out, and Santos exclaims over the length of the call sheet. Ronna explains to Santos that he's expected, per tradition, to return all of the calls to the G8 leaders, but that his foreign policy advisor can return the others. Santos wisely points out that he should hire one then. Ronna: "Yes, Congressman...Mister...Sir." Tee, poor Ronna. Santos just smiles at her.
A driver looks in the rearview mirror at Josh, and rather delightedly says that he's seen him on TV: "You look younger." Josh is decidedly not amused, and is busy eating his pen, but points out the aging powers of the television lighting. "I meant on TV you look younger," the driver politely corrects him. Josh actually diverts his eyes up from his Blackberry for a second. The driver conversationally continues to inform Josh that he voted for "the other guy," but Josh merely points out that "a lot of people did." Clearly not getting the hint that Josh needs time alone with his clutter, the driver adds that he didn't want his taxes raised. When Josh tells him they won't raise his taxes (sounding increasingly tired and slightly exasperated), the driver then comes back with "Well, Vinick was gonna cut them." Josh exclaims -- or, I think he's meaning to exclaim, but he's a bit too tired to really exclaim convincingly -- "Not for you! For the guys you drive around." Ah, so like Josh. He adds, "Hey, you think I can afford to travel around like this on my own?" The driver responds with a genial smile: "You just let the American public pay." Wow, way to alienate your customers, dude. And let the record show, I do believe Josh was muttering away in Coach on the plane earlier. So the American public isn't that generous. Josh just asks, "We almost there?"