Review of Two Cathedrals
Written by Rachel
As the credits began to roll, all I could think was that I wanted to get my
tape of the season premiere and just watch the ride all over again.
In a perfect world every episode would be solely written by Aaron Sorkin
and directed by Thomas Schlamme. The West Wing is easily the best written
drama on television and often the most visually stunning, but this episode
blew the rest out of the water. As President Bartlet stood in the National
Cathedral cursing God I was pulled in as if I was standing in the choir
loft looking down on him.
There was so much to get done this week that I wondered how they could ever
do it in the forty-three minutes an episode runs, but again the numerous
storylines were seamlessly weaved in and out. On some shows flashbacks and
appearances by the dead can be hokey, but Mrs. Landingham's presence was so
necessary here that the scenes never felt trite or out of place.
As always, the ensemble was all in place. You could feel the stress of a
staff still dealing with the news of Bartlet's illness, his betrayal and
the potential end to all of their dreams. For the most part, this is an
idealistic staff that has had big hopes for this administration. They have
struggled for over two years and now that they are finally winning a couple
of battles, they are slammed with this revelation. They all look like
they've been hit...hard.
While it might have seemed like overkill to have the Haiti crisis, the
tropical storm, the tobacco trial, Mrs. Landingham's death and funeral and
revealing the MS, instead it shows that the pace at the White House never
stops. There is no way to not have a military crisis just because you are
having a personal loss. Bartlet doesn't have the luxury of sitting down to
mourn his dear friend. Instead he has to squeeze her funeral in between
military briefings and closed door meetings to decide the future of his
The first time the portico door blew open, I expected it would turn out to
be Mrs. Landingham's spirit. I didn't expect the final scene between her
and Bartlet. It was a fitting and tender good-bye to a dear character. I
wish all the best to Kathryn Joosten...you will be missed.
A fine wrap-up to a great sophomore season. If there was a slump, I missed it.
©2001 by Rachel Vagts. All rights reserved.
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