Last year I picked The West Wing's "The Indians in the Lobby" episode as a standout episode of the series. It just so happens that we're blessed with two Thanksgiving episodes of the show that are standouts. This one is called "Shibboleth."
The plots: While President Bartlet has to figure out what to do with dozens of Chinese immigrants who have stowed away on a freighter, Toby tries to get Leo's controversial sister nominated for an education post, C.J. has to pick one of two turkeys who will get to be pardoned by the President, and Charlie goes shopping for the perfect carving knife for the President.
First up tonight is a nice opening with Martin Sheen, a short tribute to John Spencer explaining what type of person he was like and that tonight is the first in five remaining episodes that will feature Spencer.
Tonight's ep mostly centers around Leo and how he is screwing up the prep for the vice presidential debate. That stuff is really interesting, but it's surrounded by these really lame domestic scenes with Matt Santos and his family. Eh. They aren't bad for some other show (I guess), but it's just not the whip-smart show The West Wing used to be. Still, Spencer's performance, the stuff about the inner workings of the debate prep, and that one scene with Josh and Toby on the phone (Josh: "I forget, in D.C., can felons vote?......Too soon?" Toby: "Little bit.") make it all worthwhile.
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