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October 6, 2015

Commander in Chief: First Scandal

by Sarah Gilbert, posted Nov 9th 2005 3:23AM

commander in chief press, chief staff, presThis episode was a significant uptick from the previous several; the "scandal" was both juicy and mysterious. Who's the leak? Is it Jim Gardner, Chief of Staff and former loyalist to the dead president? Or is it that shifty Vince? He of the questionable drug test? And thank you for keeping the family drama to a minimum - and giving Rob Calloway a chance to shine. But the shammy blackmail, oh, that's a low stoop.

And oh, just one more thing. Please kill the stupid "First [blank]" titles already! That might be cute. If it was absolutely nothing like that. But, uggh! If you can't even be creative enough to title an episode, why would we TV wonks have any faith in the underlying show? Anyway...

There were a number of delicious mysteries keeping me going this week. Mystery #1: the leak. Interestingly, we never learn who the real leak is - the one who turned over the key draft speech. There are some hints, and the pilot had obvious pointers, but I'm wracking my brain to remember who, exactly, was foreshadowed as the draft speech stealer. Was it Jayne Murray (Templeton's hottie assistant, who figures in Mystery #2)? Was it Templeton? Would he stoop so low (yes)? We discover that the substantial details leaked in the damaging book were from President Bridges himself.

We also learn that President Bridges had been setting Mac up for failure for a long time, not because he envisioned himself dying, but because he was worried she'd outshine him. Gardner manages to flatter Mac into believing his honesty (not that I think any less of her, I believe him, too) by telling her that, while Bridges feared she would outshine his legacy, "I believed that you were his legacy." Awww... And (to Bridges): chauvenistic piece of [bleep].

Mystery #2: who is Jayne sleeping with? She keeps playing the smarmy thing with Templeton, but that's just too obvious. When we see the reveal at the end, I'm a little surprised, but not shocked... it's Gardner. And he'd gone and charmed the pants off me. So is she playing him, or he playing her, or are they both playing... oh, it's all too soap opera for me to figure out.

And we have a new mystery, we'll call it #3. What's up with the vice president and his granddaughter? The most horrible thing I can possibly think of is that the granddaughter is the result of incest between him and daughter. Or... he had an affair with someone and his daughter "claimed" the baby. Or... the daughter had an affair with someone (President Bridges? maybe?) and became pregnant. Any theories?

A few details: I don't get why Vince is so worried that it might get out that he's HIV positive. Is that against the rules in the White House or something? Or is it that he lied about it? He's not even bound to reveal that - right? Can anyone clue me in? I thought that HIV+ was over as a scandal.

And I'm a little conflicted about Becca. First, she loses her beloved secret service agent for being irresponsible. Then, this one is starting to seem pretty cool, isn't that too easy? And wasn't she the one who was all hot and heavy to do something scandalous with that blonde guy? The writers seem to be turning the tables a bit. I mean, I know we were all given the hint from moment one that he was really in the relationship for the street cred he'd get if he dated the First Daughter. But I thought she was 110% for it.

By far the highlight of the episode was Rob's stepping up to protect his wife. The passionate kiss between them at the end seemed a bit - well, fraternal. But the idea was nice, and I'm so proud of him for looking out for his own Number One - Mac.

Unfortunately next week looks like it's all family drama. And I thought we'd established that we didn't like that so much? Does someone think that is going to play better during sweeps? Not for this reviewer.

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I thought Commander in Chief bloggers might find this interesting: I just took a USC doctoral students online survey regarding 2008 pres. candidates and TV viewing. You can check it out at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=54621467475.

November 11 2005 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jayne is just too gorgeous to be chief of staff for anyone! She looks completely out of place. And then there's Donald Sutherland, a woman can become president but a man in power is neccessary to carry the show? Give me a break. I don't tune in to see the "speaker." And please, please, tune down the soap opera family time or I'm going to be forced to stop watching and just watch Law and Order SVU. You get a month. Then I'm giving up on the show.

November 10 2005 at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is it evil of me to be disappointed that the show wussed out on the "First Gentleman gets a job" plot? I wanted to see them deal with that.

November 09 2005 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ken Biddle

I feel the various plots some faimly some political add to the series. My problem is with details. The Secret Service would not allow Becca to be alone with anyone outside the White House. Also consider the open warfare with Templeton I don't think any staff member would talk with him without wearing a wire!!! Templeon may not have notice the reaction of the soon to be Vice President (He's a warrior)Templeton he better watch his back. As for Jim and Jayne that will be very interesting. However I am wondering if the Chief of Staff has Secret Service Protection and if so any funny business would get bact to the president.

November 09 2005 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm not sure if you correctly understood TWO things here: 1) It wasn't that Vince was HIV +ve - it was that he was gay. He said to Jim 'nobody knows about it, nobody knows about anything -' He was worried about his sexuality coming out - he's the long awaited and often rumoured gay character for the show. And everyone believed it was going to be the son, heh. 2) Next week looked to be primarily about Mac having something on Templeton - so would imagine that family drama might only be marginally more than this week.

November 09 2005 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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