West Wing
Ways And Means

Episode Report Card
Deborah: C+ | Grade It Now!
Now With 17% More Pedeconferencing!

Rollins leaves his office and tells the gaggle of people (lawyers? aides?) outside his office, "Let's rumble." Well, actually, he just says, "Let's go." They enter the Grand Jury room, which is lit like the Situation Room usually is -- that is to say, as if those present will be conducting a séance rather than Crucial Government Business. I find that most Crucial Government Business goes on in rooms that are fluorescently and frighteningly overlit. But admittedly, that isn't as nice to look at on TV. He introduces himself to a group of people seated at a very long and elegant conference table as Clement Rollins, the Special Prosecutor appointed by the U.S. Attorney General. He explains that with their permission and on their behalf, he would like to issue the first round of subpoenas, compelling both testimony and production of documents by those named. He begins reading the list: "Josiah Bartlet, Abigail Ann Bartlet, Elizabeth Bartlet Weston, Eleanor Emily Bartlet, Zoey Patricia Bartlet, Leo Thomas McGarry, Joshua Lyman, Claudia Jean Cregg, Samuel Norman Seaborn, Toby Zachary Ziegler...." The light streaming through the paper allows you to see there are an awful lot of names on the list. And credits. Okay, wait. I have a lot of name issues. "Eleanor Emily"? Emily is just about my favourite name in the whole world but "Eleanor Emily" is pretty awkward. And, um, Leo's parents just named him "Leo" and not "Leonard"? ["Or the totally cool and sadly uncommon 'Leopold'?" -- Wing Chun] I know, it's possible, but it seems less likely. And apparently word has not gotten to Rollins's office that Sam had his middle name officially changed to "On Schedule." "Toby Zachary"? Not "Tobias"? Or "Zachariah"? I think "Tobias Zachariah Ziegler" doesn't sound half bad. I'm mildly disappointed that Josh doesn't have a middle name.

And for those keeping track, Stockard Channing isn't in the credits for this ep, so I guess we won't see her until next week at the earliest.

It's Monday. Josh peeks into a storage room looking for Donna, who's messing around with a lot of file boxes. He asks her what's going on. Her hair's up in a kind of messy ponytail. Naturally, despite having worked all night in a windowless storage room, she looks better than most of us do after hours of effort. She starts babbling about what's in the different boxes. He asks, "Were you here all night?" She blithely asks, "Is it daytime?" He says it's 7:30. She says that usually when she stays up all night, she's able to pass a nineteenth-century English Literature midterm, and wonders whether she'll be asked to write such a test. He says she won't. She launches into another breathless comment about the contents of the boxes, one of which contains.... Josh interjects, "Can I ask you something?" She quickly says, "I had a plan." She has a piece of paper listing the number of each box and its contents. Josh wants to know where the piece of paper is. She grabs a box off a shelf and gives him a vaguely dirty look. Josh realizes it's in one of the boxes. I vaguely consider the value of getting into having Donna be dumb enough to file/misplace the paper in one of the boxes, but I decide to just let it pass. I just wish, as the assistant with the largest role and the most face time on the show, she wasn't so often painted as ditzy. She says, "I had a plan." She pauses, and moves a box around: "I grew up on a farm." Josh: "You grew up in a condo." She insists she grew up near a farm: "I was cute, and I was peppy, and I always did well on my nineteenth-century English Literature midterm, 'til you came along and sucked me into your life of white-collar crime!" If I recall correctly, she begged and tricked her way into working for Josh, but I understand her annoyance with the current situation. Josh starts to object, and Donna says, "White-collar crime boy!" Josh doesn't really know how to reply to this. She asks, "You know what they do to a girl like me on that cell block? I've seen those movies." Josh: "Yeah, me too." Donna: "I'll bet you have." Josh: "Look..." Donna: "Sell my farm-girl ass for a carton of Luckys." Josh, gently: "Seriously, you need to sleep for a while." She has another little outburst to the effect that she can't sleep until she finds which box the master list is in. Josh says he'll be in his office. Donna replies, "Your office is down a corridor, about two hundred feet from here. Try not to commit any felonies on the way." Josh promises to do his best.

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West Wing




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