West Wing
Transition

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Lauren S: B+ | 4 USERS: A+
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As soon as the door closes, Nancy reports that the NSA heard Santos's phone call with the Russian president earlier. "We're tapping his phone?" C.J. asks, somewhat aghast. It's explained that they currently monitor all communications with both the Russian and Chinese governments, "as a matter of course." Apparently, Santos's call didn't contain anything "improper."

A door opens, and Josh walks in, with a thousand bags, to an incredibly messy apartment; dry cleaning hanging from a treadmill is an especially fine touch. Josh drops every bag simultaneously, and takes a deep breath -- but the breath says, "I'm overwhelmed," much more than "Ah, I'm home." Though I'd be stressed out just standing in there with so many piles of stuff all around, I don't think that's his problem. Josh literally collapses on the couch, and then there's a knock at the door. He slowly and painfully threads his way to the door, where Donna is standing. Josh mumbles, "When I said we needed to talk, I wasn't necessarily thinking about tonight. I'm kinda fried..." But Donna softly says, "Who said anything about talking?" And then she proceeds to maul him with her well-glossed lips, and the door is kicked shut.

Sometime later -- whether it's the next morning or later that night -- Josh is back to his familiar hunched pose over his work at a desk in his apartment, wearing boxers and an undershirt. Donna comes out of another room, fastening her earrings. This is definitely a much more comfortable scene than the one we first witnessed. Josh appears to have a Red Bull on the desk, which I feel is never a good idea at any hour when it's dark out, unless, of course, it's paired with vodka. Donna greets him: "Morning. Almost." That answers that. He responds with an equally sweet question about their education plan. She lets him go on, and, when he pauses, asks how long he's been up. "Oh, you know," Josh rasps. Donna snaps at him, "I don't, actually. That's why I asked." Delivered in a normal-volume voice, her lack of humor at this is incredibly apparent. Josh mumbles something about a couple of hours, and then, as she keeps getting ready, he tells her somewhat shyly, "So, last night was...was nice." Donna smiles at him, as he awkwardly adds, "Really nice. On the nice scale, it was way up there, in terms of...niceness." Donna's smiling, because Josh is incredibly sleepy, but then she sits and orders, "Be still, and listen to me." After a moment, she starts: "I don't know what this is. And you don't either, which is perfectly fine and understandable. Whatever the buildup, it's all happened, amid absurdly heightened emotional circumstances -- the election, Leo's death. There's been no moment to so much as take a breath, much less figure any of this out." She continues in one long sentence about the transition, inauguration, etc. until she's illustrated the passing of the next eight years, "...and we've never had The Talk. And you can lose that look of panic in your eyes; we're not going to have it now. We don't ever have to have it. But there's a window. I'd say four weeks. If we can't get it together in that time to figure out what we want from each other, then clearly, it's not worth the trouble." Josh alternates between looking scared and staring at Donna's lips, like he just wants to groggily kiss her. She tells him, "Last night was lovely," and that Josh should put on some coffee. Typed out, this reads harsher than it was delivered -- you can tell how much Donna cares for Josh, and that she is figuring herself out, too, but she just doesn't want to fall into a perpetual state of limbo. And as a girl who owns a sweet little condo in Relationship Limboland, I'm going to politely request to use this speech the next time I start dating someone. I also think it just adds to the positive signs that these two crazy kids might just have a chance -- that Donna knows Josh well enough to tell when he would fall into that pattern, and that she wants more than that. She kisses him passionately, and leaves him dumbfounded. After she's left, he composes himself enough to call, "Bye!" after her.

In wherever the Santoses are staying, Santos is asking Helen what she thinks of the homes. She uses a lot of "incredible"s to describe them, and reports that she and Donna are seeing more today, sure to be "more incredible." Helen seems bewildered, though, and tells Santos, "The thing I find most incredible is this notion that this is what the American people want and expect of us." "What?" he asks. "To spend the next two and a half months in some rich mucky-muck's loaner mansion, a place he can afford to make available because, evidently, he has some place just as, or even more, swell to decamp to while he bestows upon us this largesse." Again -- typed? Shrewish. Delivery? Much more bewildered-slash-overwhelmed. Santos tells Helen he'll "have [his] staff look into alternatives." "'Staff'?" she asks with a small shudder and embarrassed smile. "Or if you'd prefer, my minions," Santos adds. That's how I refer to my own minions, personally. Helen helps Santos to put on his jacket, commenting on how weird it will be. They have some banter as she mentions, "Donna 'ma'am'ed me," and tells him that he gets much cooler names. There's some Commander-in-Chief dirty talk, where she tells him she was thinking that they could have some quick "shock and awe." Santos replies, "After fifteen years, I'd be shocked if you were awed." I love when the two of them get along good-naturedly. He leaves, and she swats at his sweet, sweet derrière.

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West Wing

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