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October 24, 2014

The West Wing: The Last Hurrah

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 30th 2006 9:18PM
Alan Alda(S07E20) Hmmm...you would think they would leave a title like "The Last Hurrah" for the last episode of the series (it's not, the title of that episode is "Tomorrow"), but it fit this one. This was a very solid episode. I usually don't like the episodes that are almost all Vinick and new administration-oriented, but this one was great. Alan Alda is a flawless actor, and it's terrific to see what Vinick is going through now that he's lost. And another nice touch? Using the older characters of Amy and Ron to sort of bridge the old cast and the new cast.

While Santos is busy as hell (he and the new First Lady have to decide what school their kids should go to, Houston or D.C.), Vinick finds himself with nothing to do.

It was also a really nice touch to leave Josh and Donna out of this episode. If they were in this episode, just one week after Josh goes bonkers and Sam tells him to go on a vacation with Donna, it would have been too soon. Leaving them out of this episode makes it feel real, and gives the plot some breathing room. Smart move.

What should Vinick do? Go on the boards of corporations? Join a law firm? Lecture at colleges? Actually, he's bored as hell and is thinking about running for Prez again in four years. His staff just looks at each other at this notion, thinking he's too old. But Santos calls. He wants to meet with Vinick about something.

C.J. shows the new First Lady around the White House (the Bartlets are in Brussels), and she's completely overwhelmed by the staff and all of the decisions she has to make.

Vinick waits in a room for Santos (nice work here by Alda - you can see the sadness on his face). Santos is running late and calls Vinick to reschedule. Vinick leaves the White House and goes to a Starbucks, where no one knows who he is, he just wants a large drink not a "Venti," and the guy behind the counter calls him "Ernie."

Mrs. Santos finds herself in the Oval Office to meet with the designer. The designer tells her that they don't have much money to redecorate. Only around $200,000. Mrs. Santos is stunned. The designer suggest a fundraising campaign to raise a couple of million "to do it right."

Santos and Vinick finally meet. Santos wants his input on how to select a VP. Santos is offering to put Vinick on the short list for VP. Vinick asks about his tax plan. Vinick thinks that Santos is doing it just to leak it to the press that he's so bipartisan, and then he's just going to announce Baker for VP (note: not sure here, but is that was Santos really was doing, and Vinick guessed it?). Vinick figures out that Santos and Bartlet were in cahoots over the foreign policy mix up in last week's episode.

Santos knows that Vinick is smart and honorable and has a great track record. He asks him to be Secretary of State. Santos staff is worried he's going to leak the info, while Vinick tells his staff he turned down the job. The staff tells Vinick they don't think he'd win in four years, because of his age. Vinick is worried about Santos' second choice for Secretary of State (Reynolds). His staff wants him to take the job.

Meanwhile, the Santos' visit a public D.C. school and like it.

Vinick comes to the White House again. Barry Goodwin secretly tells him to turn it down. Vinick says that Sec of State is way too important a position to use as a political tool. Santos says he agrees. He really does want Vinick for the job. Sincerely wants him for the job. Vinick tells him he's not going to help him get Baker voted in as VP or go to fundraisers for the Democratic party. Vinick says it's a crazy idea. He doesn't see how it's going to work. Santos shows him the daily briefing on China and Kazakhstan. Vinick tells him exactly what to do with the situation. With the Russians and the Chinese. The two stand and talk in depth about the situation.

Next week: Toby returns!

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Michael Rubin

Having someone from the other party on the Cabinet is not without precedent. William Cohen, a Republican, served as Secretary of Defense for President Clinton's second term.

Don't get me wrong. I think the idea of Vinick as Secretary of State is *fantastic* (Hawkeye as a diplomat!). But it's not completely original.

May 06 2006 at 8:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debra

While I sat watching this episode of West Wing, I was honestly overcome with the feeling that this can't be the end. There is still so much to do. Our country is still so screwed up!

I can't see why NBC cannot at least try to carry on with Santos and Vinnick. The show would be awesome because it would and could show the pull of Party for Vinnick over his feeling of doing the right thing for HIS President, a President from another Party.

I'd love to see how a young First Lady handles all the problems of the day, ala' Jackie Kennedy with children, Carolyn and John Kennedy and even Rosalyn Carter trying to raise Amy Carter with the daily "Hostage Day 246" etc. etc. happening every day.

There are just so many angles this new West Wing could take. If there are 50 Law and Order Shows, which I watch, why can't this be a NEW West Wing?

"West Wing: The Santos Years" sounds wounderful!

We could see the transition develop more fully. See all the old characters blending with the new. It would be wonderful seeing a President of Latino decent do a good job in the Presidency. It's all so new!

It would be such a great show.....

May 04 2006 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Norma

This is one of the few shows I turn my TV on for. Please don't take it off the air.

May 04 2006 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
P AYMOND

BRING BACK WEST WING!!! IT'S SMART TV. WE WANT TO LEARN SOMETHING. IT'S RIDICULOUS TO TAKE WHAT LITTLE QUALITY PROGRAMING WE HAVE AWAY. WHY IS THIS BEING DONE? WAS IT JUST TOOOO SUCCESSFUL? WHO WANTS TO WATCH BUBBLE HEADED 20 SOMETHING'S SHOWS WITH CANNED LAUGHS AND EMPTY SITUATIONS. SUCH A LOSS FOR THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.

May 03 2006 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt

Am I the only one who thinks that the emotional tugging this entire past season is only a distraction from the poor writing? I would like to see stats on words spoken per episode. The West Wing used to be exciting, now it has four montages per episode. I get it! Santos is busy and Vinick has nothing to do. Where is the dialogue!

May 02 2006 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris

Since the show is being canceled, would you guys like to see the characters return maybe in a series of tv movies or a miniseries?
Or would that cheapen it?

They could called it "The West Wing: Countdown to Kazakhistan". A 4-hour tv event!

May 01 2006 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob

I was torn on this episode. If the show was continuing, this was a GREAT episode, with humor, and great advancement of the newer characters.

But the show has only 3 episodes left. It's time to put on the breaks and give us what we deserve: Closure around the characters we know and love. Where were Toby, Charlie, Jed, Abby, Sam, Will, and more?

May 01 2006 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alison

I thought this episode was fantastic! The twist when Santos offered Vinnick sec of state was really good, especially as in the commericals they showed Santos offering Vinnick the VP. I thought that was very clever because I never heard anyone speculate about Santos offering sec of state. Loved it!

May 01 2006 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sue Johns, Spring Texas

Please, please... don't take this show off the air! The public needs the importance of shows like this. I've watched since the beginning, and I feel like I'm losing my family. NBC did not do this show justice! C'mon, NBC, you know you need to keep this show!

May 01 2006 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dee

They really need to rethink cancelling this show.

May 01 2006 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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