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April 17, 2014

The West Wing: Transition

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 23rd 2006 9:40PM
Josh and Donna(S07E19) Can I tell you how much I liked the opening scene with Josh on the airplane, going to see Sam in L.A. to ask him to be Deputy Chief Of Staff? I liked that Josh interrupted him in the middle of a law firm meeting (shades of "In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen"), and the banter outside the building was just like old times. I really think it's odd -- really odd -- that Sam says nothing about Leo or apologize for not being there (they should have at least mention that Sam had called), but I'm not going to quibble with that. In my mind, he did call.

While Josh tries to get Sam back in the White House, the President-Elect runs afoul of the President ...or does he?

After meeting with Nancy and other staff members in the situation room about Kazakhstan, Santos calls China, and the NSA intercepts the call, and what he says doesn't make the current administration too happy.  C.J. confronts Josh about it (this wasn't a nasty scene like I was expecting - their rapport has gotten better - he even tells her that she can have any job in the administration that she wants), and Josh confronts Santos and tells him he can't interfere until he is sworn in. Santos demands a meeting with Bartlet.

Josh asks Lou to be Communications Director. But she says no, she doesn't want to end up like him. Josh thinks about this.

Josh is a mess. He's confused about Donna (she gives him a deadline to find out where exactly their personal and working relationships stand), he's ragged, he's drinking Alka-Seltzer like it's Diet Coke and Maalox like it's water. Bradley Whitford is doing some award-caliber work here. You can see him on the edge. I wouldn't be surprised if he started to have flashbacks to the shooting and have to go see Dr. Stan again.

Sam tells Josh that his fiancee isn't against the idea of going to D.C. But Sam still hasn't made up his mind (kudos to the writers here for some nice lines between Josh and Sam).

Mrs. Santos asks Donna to be her Chief of Staff. She says she has to think about it. She tells Josh, who offers her a Communicatinos job. She says that she can't work for him, because of what's happening between them. Josh doesn't really say anything about it. He seems to stall.

Sam unexpectedly shows up at the White House! Just in time to see Josh chew out Otto about his Blackberry. Sam interrupts and tries to talk some sense into a crazed Josh. Sam tells Josh he's destroying himself and needs to take a vacation. If he doesn't get on a plane, then Sam is getting on a plane, and he won't take the job.

Santos meets with Bartlet, then Josh introduces Sam to Santos. Josh is going on a vacation and Sam is going to take over for him. Sam tells Santos he's "a big fan."

Josh is on a plane going on his vacation...with Donna by his side.

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Reverend Scott E. Lee

Good episode, nice melt-down by Josh, nice intervention by Sam, nice writing overall. I do disagree with the general perception of Santos' message to the Chinese. I believe that the president and Santos had no agreement before Santos walked into the oval. There were hints and interpretations, but I think the coming together of minds didn't actually happen until that meeting. I could be mistaken, but I don't believe I am.

Best exchange in the whole episode:
Sam: I'm getting married.
Josh: Yeah, I've heard that one before.

Ooh, that one hurt.

Yes, one more season would be nice, but with TPTB directing energy into such wonderful programming as "Cooking with the Stars" it's difficult for them to see the potential revenue from another high-priced hour-long drama for Sunday night.

The dumb bunnies!

April 30 2006 at 12:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lana

I wish Sam would have never left the show...
He would have been the President -elect right now !!!!
I too think Sam should have been at the funeral...
I really miss him !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 26 2006 at 10:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jason

I have been a huge fan of the West Wing for years and years and I agree with some of the other post's that another year or more would have been great. Especially with Sam and Josh working together and Pres. Santos. Love the show and hate to see it go.

April 25 2006 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Igor

I watched this episode for a second time yesterday and got a completely different spin from it. I thought yesterday was as much about leadership and teamwork and what makes a team work. I too adored the Sam Josh exchanges, great chemistry. The Josh Donna exchanges made me smile and showed the value of the two of them being so in sync. Where would Josh be if it were not for Donna? Where would Santos be if it were not for Josh?

The SantosBartlett exchange at the end was a beautiful piece of writing and really had to play out as it did (without the knowledge of the CoS for each of them). Also Norm, Josh left to run as the Democratic candidate in the California 47th and he got killed in that election (or so we were to believe) but Toby did stand by him to the very end. I think the line was they are going to throw rocks at you and I want to be there by your side when they do.
The West Wing will be missed and nothing puts a smile on my 10 month old daughter's face faster than the West Wing theme, she even claps for it now....

Enjoy the last 3 episodes I know I will.

April 25 2006 at 8:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Norm

Help! I'm confused. Sam in a big time Law firm again? I thought he left the administration to accept the House seat from the California 10th? What happened?

April 24 2006 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sherps

Darius, almost all of my friends and I figured on Vinnick being offered vp or the SoS position. Not hard to figure out, especially after the briefcase scene even though Santos was a bit stand-offish in that scene.

Did you check out Josh's desk in that chugging maalox scene? bravo to the set designer. redbull, starbucks, coffee, and alka-seltzer. Holy cow!

April 24 2006 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chrys Page

Loved it...just loved it! Sam and Josh were fabulous together...shades of thr first time they talked about serving the country.
So all I need now to have complete closure, (although I will never get over the loss of WW...not really), is for Toby to come back into the fold.
Of all the characters, I related most with Toby...his constant angst was something I felt as well and was amused by too. The episode where he, and Josh and Donna miss the motorcade and have to spend a couple of days in Indiana getting back to the office, demonstrated the many lovely, lively and lamented sides of Toby's personality. In one scene Toby's throwing pebbles into a barrel and making a bet with Josh about who does what if either of them misses, and in another scene, he befriends that guy Mac in the bar who's having a hard time finding the $$ for his daughter's college education. You just can't help but adore this guy. I just hope he's back before the finale...

April 24 2006 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy

I'll say this, the West Wing seems to have re-discovered some of the fire it lost in the lat two years. Last night's episode was great, especially if you like behind-the-scenes politics. Just a few quibbles. Do they have to make CJ such a bitch? Moreover, if this was Leo, I think Bartlett would have told him about the whole "good cop/bad cop" thing -- hell, Leo would have come up with it himself. If I'd been Josh, I think would have told CJ to go to hell for speaking to me like that. But that's just me. The CJ character hasn't been that great since she took over Leo's job. Also, I hate the Josh/Donna "thing." Make a decision for Pete's sake! Josh is about to occupy the office next to the president and he can't even decide whether or not to date the hot blonde?

There were a lot of great things in this episode. Loved seeing Nancy McNally again. Anna Devere Smith is such a great actress. Also great to see Rob Lowe back on the job. It really seemed like old times.

Even with the previous bad seasons I find myself sad the end is coming so soon. I'll miss this show. When it's great, it's one of the finest shows on television.

April 24 2006 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dorv

Zach, Eric, (and in a sarcastic way, RevJonathan): I think everyone makes such a big deal about nothing here. When it is SOOO important to me about not being spoiled, I conciously make a decision not to read anything where any random internet person can spoil me (Veronica Mars, Lost, and usually 24). I'll read blog post here, as an example, but not the comments sections. There are tons of message boards out there with moderaters that are just as spoiler-averse as you are. If its that important to you, why not just stay in those areas?

Futhermore, considering the fact that you do not usually read the comments section, I don't necessarily believe that you should dictate to those of us that do how to shape our converstation. If Bob, or any of the other main contributers to the site, asked that Spoiler Headings be used in comment posts, then I would would readily comply (And would probably find another venue in which to discuss these shows, because of my personal beliefs about spoilers that I mentioned in my first paragraph).

I am also always curious what exactly constitutes a spoiler? I would point you to the "How does President Vinick sound? blog post to see more discussion. "Peeved" argued that because of the proliferation of DVRs and the 'time shifting' phenomenon that followed, that discussion of a major plot point in an episode that has already aired that some individuals may have not watched yet is a spoiler, which, in my mind, begs the question when is it the "user's" responsibility to make the extra effort to remain spoiler free.

At the end of the day, the worst part of this whole arguement is that, to steal a 'West Wing-ism,' its a process story, and we're discussing not the content of the show, but the actual discussion we're having.

April 24 2006 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joan Michaelis

I will miss West Wing so much, first because it has been so well done and I care about the characters and second because everything else on TV is junk.....Whoever thinks up the junk should be fired for sure.......West Wing should try to find a way to go on with the show with other people taking over but who????????????Don't leave West Wing......Stay for another year. We can handle the changes.

April 24 2006 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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