West Wing
War Crimes

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B | 1 USERS: B+
In For A Penny, In For A Pound

It's raining. We see a shot directly over a sidewalk. Someone is sitting on a set of stairs under an umbrella. Another umbrella walks slowly up to the front of the building and stops. The shot changes; Donna sees Cliff sitting on her steps. She asks how he got there before she did. He says he drove. She asks whether he should be there; he says no. Well, when has that ever stopped him? He says he needs to know why she lied before. She says she didn't lie. He says, "I saw your diary. When I was over that night? You keep a diary. Why'd you say you didn't?" She insists that she doesn't. He says he saw it. She replies, "You didn't, because there is no diary." He stands up, annoyed. "Donna! It's me and you! Now, what's in it that you had to lie to the Committee?" Doesn't seem to me that there's much foundation here to appeal to "it's me and you." She asks, "'It's me and you'? You're lead counsel for the Committee investigating me, my friends, my boss, and the President of the United States. And I thought you were a little bit smarmy with your 'Donna, it's okay, you can laugh...' Was that charm?" Nope, it was smarm; you had it right the first time. She walks up the stairs past him and reiterates that there's no diary. He starts citing chapter and verse on all the various laws she's violating by lying about this, along with the prescribed punishments. He concludes, "It was a perfectly innocent mistake. Now, let me talk to your lawyer and help you walk this back." Donna inquires, "Just out of curiosity, what would you say? That you thought you saw a diary while you were hunting around for your boxer shorts?" That should make it plenty clear for those who've been doubting they did the deed. ["And I'd just like to say again that I called it." -- Wing Chun] She shakes her head slightly and says, "You shouldn't be here," as she goes into her building. Looks like a nice enough building: old place...she's probably got a flat in there. I guess we can ponder Donna's and Cliff's respective stupidity during the commercials.

I know some of you are thinking, "Where's Josh? Isn't it about time for Josh to show up, since the show is half over already? Hello?" You'll be pleased to know that this scene opens with Josh standing in the doorway of an office, talking to Sam. The opening shot is actually Josh's muscular forearms crossed in front of him. The reason that I know they're muscular is that he's wearing a dark charcoal grey sweater with the sleeves pushed up, and a pair of tight jeans. No, I'm not making this up to torture those of you in Ashton-under-Lyne and Bowness-on-Windermere who won't see this for months. He looks damn good, and I'm not even a member of the harem (not Josh's anyway; I'm a bigger fan of Brad Whitford, since he seems like such a truly sweet person). Anyway, he checks his watch (wondering how Donna's doing and whether she's done yet, I'm guessing) and asks Sam, "Why?" Sam says, "'Cause this country is populated with unbalanced people, many of whom find their way to Washington, as if the continent funnels them into this one spot." I can see how that would seem to be the case, although I'd argue there's also a strong dip toward Hollywood, too. Josh wonders why this guy wants to abolish the penny. Sam says he doesn't so much want to abolish it as he wants to give his boss a reason the administration won't support it. Josh says, "Well...it's stupid." Sam explains that it's actually not, because it turns out the majority of pennies don't circulate anyway; two thirds of the pennies produced in the last thirty years have dropped out of circulation. Josh seems surprised: "You've been reading about this?" Sam claims it's interesting. Josh looks vaguely disgusted: "No. It's not." Sam gets up and says, "The Mint gets letters with pennies taped on notebook paper; letters from citizens who found the pennies on the street and mailed them back to the Treasury to pay down the debt." Boy, if people really are spending thirty-four cents (or whatever a first-class U.S. stamp costs now -- cut me some slack, I'm Canadian) to mail back a few pennies, then all the unbalanced people really aren't in Washington. Josh looks at his watch again and comments, "It's almost hard to believe that plan hasn't worked." Sam keeps rambling: "It's also bad for the environment: production requires the mining of millions of tons of copper and zinc each year." Josh, exhibiting a mixture of boredom and disbelief, mixed with a need to kill some time: "Zinc?" Sam says that in 1982, the composition of the penny was changed to 97.5% zinc and only 2.5% copper. Josh: "Sam?" Sam: "I'm turning into one of the funnel people?" Josh: "Yeah." He checks his watch again. Sam says, "Donna thinks you're still pissed at her." Josh seems somewhat surprised: "I'm not." Okay, I'll buy that. "I wasn't before." I don't think I'll buy that. "When did she tell you that?" Sam says it was before she left. Josh asks whether Sam's heard from her; he hasn't. Josh says she should be done by now. He seems pretty worried. Sam's back on funnel duty: "Here's a riddle: what is the most ubiquitous manmade object in America that does not interact with any mechanism or machine?" Josh, weakly: "The...penny?" Sam confirms this. As Josh crosses the room to walk out the other door, Sam adds that it can't even be thrown in a tollbooth, except in Illinois. Josh asks why. Sam: "That's an interesting question." Josh: "No. It's not."

C.J. walks up to Will in what I think is the Press Room, and tells him she'll have something for him soon; Toby's speaking to some people. She asks, "Hey, are you a king?" He says, "No," like it's sort of a ridiculous question. She explains that somebody said he was hanging out with some tribe and they made him a king. He clarifies, "I'm a god." Well, you're a damn sight better than Danny, but I don't know that I'd go that far. C.J.: "Oh." Will adds, "I'm the only white man ever to witness the sacrificial rites of the Bau Tribe of Fiji. I was almost a victim myself, until they made me The Supporter of the World." C.J. wonders, "How'd you swing that?" He indicates, "Using my Palm Pilot, I convinced the Bau I had the power to make the gods' writing appear at will, and more significantly, predict the next day's weather." C.J.: "So you're a god." She seems intrigued. Will says, "I'm the God of Good Harvest and the Land of the Dead." C.J. says, "I gotta go there and bring my laptop. It quacks when I have email." Will says, "No, you're too tall." She asks what would happen. He says that they would paint her face and "other body parts" black, so she would be ornamented as a warrior ready for feasting or combat, and then she would be garrotted by a length of boar tripe. Sounds...somewhat suspect to me, but I don't have time for a lengthy anthropological dig through the internet right now. C.J.: "Yeah. No. Good safety tip." She starts to leave, and he asks whether Alan Adamley is on the premises, and why. C.J. tells Will that Adamley's meeting Leo, but she doesn't know why. She asks about the joke he made earlier, about being assigned to the White House until he could get a real reporting job, and wonders whether it was really a joke. Perhaps she's wondering if he's going to be in a position that would provide the usual conflict-of-interest issues. He says he was joking. As she exits, she says she'll have something for him on Toby's quotation soon.

Overhead shot of POTUS and VPOTUS sitting in side chairs on either side of the Presidential Seal in the Oval Office carpet. They're arguing. Hoynes is saying that twenty-nine states have "shall issue" laws. Jed brings up New Jersey, which has a "may issue" law, and starts to talk about how changing that one word means that law enforcement can decide who gets a concealed weapon and when and where it can be carried. He says, "Texas has a 'may issue' law in front of the legislature right now and you going down there..." Hoynes interrupts: "Me going down there is suicide and you know it, sir." Jed argues: "It's counter-scheduling. You go in front of an unfriendly audience, you tell them something they don't want to hear...it shows you have courage." John: "So the editors of The New York Times will think I have courage, while the people who decide elections..." Jed: "You're a hero in Texas!" Hoynes: "I was a hero in Texas..." Jed: "Texans don't like that you have the courage of your convictions?" Hoynes: "They're not my convictions. They're yours!" Jed gets up: "Oh, yeah. I forgot." He paces a bit. Hoynes stands too, and says, "Mr. President, we're not going to get anywhere by treating gun owners like psychopaths." Even the ones who are? He goes on, "And particularly in the South where guns are a tradition, and a heritage that's passed on from father to son..." Like lynching? What sort of argument is this supposed to be? Jed replies, "That's not good enough. 'A tradition passed on from father to son'? We tamed the frontier, John. We did that already." Hoynes claims that the NRA will say that Bartlet's taking advantage of this shooting in Abilene. Yeah. Because God forbid we should base gun-control arguments on the numerous gun killings that actually happen every day. He continues, "That you like it when these things happen, 'cause it gives you a chance to..." Well, if the NRA would actually make such a claim, I don't even know what to say about that. That's atrocious. Jed concurs: "Let them stand in this room and say that. On this day. Let 'em stand in this room. I like it?! She was nine years old!" Charlie comes in at this point to hand Jed a note. Jed reads it and hands it back to Charlie, who leaves without a word. Jed says, "Green Bay lost." After a brief pause: "She was nine years old." Hoynes says, "You know, last month in Idaho, a man killed six members of his family, including his pregnant wife, and you know why the liberal intelligentsia didn't go crazy? 'Cause he did it with an axe. You think we need axe control?" No, I think we need moron control. I think we need to clean up the gene pool. I think we need to get out our faces out of the Cheesy Poofs and read a book now and then. I think...oh, whatever

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West Wing




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