Review of Two Cathedrals

Written by Toniann

  • I really enjoyed the flashbacks with the young Jed Bartlet and Delores Landingham. The writers kept their speech patterns and mannerisms the same, and the actors did a good job. I also liked the scene transitions back and forth. Notice that she asked him to call her "Mrs. Landingham", not "Delores"-- once again, in a roundabout way, kudos to the continuity people on this show, since we never heard her first name until last week.

  • As a side note, boy, Jed's father really was a son of a bitch.

  • A lot of references to past episodes in this one: Josh's "let Bartlet be Bartlet", the fact that the fireplace is "too macho" (certainly too much for Josh and Sam to handle anyhow), etc.

  • Another phantom Fitzwallace mention. I know, we've chewed the fat on this one already. I guess what I'm saying is, I miss John Amos, and I miss the rapport Fitz and Bartlet had.

  • "I'm pretty sure there's a season and this isn't it." I loved that line of Bartlet's, regarding tropical storms, and I enjoyed the analogy throughout.

  • The National Cathedral is rather impressive. One note about the service: as Mrs. Landingham's coffin was being carried out, my closed-captioning said Mozart's Requiem was playing. I'm pretty familiar with the Requiem and that music didn't sound remotely familiar to me. Anyone agree/disagree, any thoughts?

  • Bartlet's monologue in the cathedral was dramatic, though boy do I wish I spoke Latin. (Hint: somebody out there must. Translation, please? Pretty please?). I loved that part when he was asking about Josh's shooting being a warning shot, "That was my son. What did I ever do to yours?"

  • Continued serious tension between Sam and CJ, resulting in his (in my opinion) being rather snotty to her, and her apologizing. If I had to pick sides, I'd be on CJ's, I have to say. I think Sam is having a really hard time facing just how bad this situation is; he keeps protesting various aspects of procedure, and his protests usually seem to come from his heart rather than his head. I applaud his feelings, but I want him to stop getting angry at the more pragmatic staff members. But that's just me.

  • Not to be too pragmatic myself, but to jump ahead for a second: I was distracted from the emotional scene near the end where the president goes out into the storm, just before Charlie comes to get him, thinking, "You know, he's getting awfully wet and he's got to be on TV in, like, five minutes."

  • Toby's job offer from Greg Summerhays: I was a bit puzzled, until he spoke to Leo about why he'd been offered a lifeboat. I'm glad Leo did something to restore Bartlet's faith in Toby. I think it would be easy to interpret Toby's "bad" reaction to a lack of faith in Bartlet, but I truly believe nothing could be further from the truth. Glad to see Leo agrees.

  • We didn't get to see the interview with Jed and Abbey. On one hand, plot-wise and as far as the pacing of the episode goes, I think this is for the best. The only thing I'm left wondering about is how Abbey handled the medical questions, and whether any of the concerns Babish voiced about her license were realized. I have a feeling we'll find out next season.

  • The last scene with Mrs. Landingham was, for me, a nice surprise. I always refer to such appearances as "ghosting it up", a la Obi-Wan Kenobi; the much-missed dead beloved one comes back as a vision (or a real ghost, in Obi-Wan's case-- good Jedis don't burn up, they just fade away) for a heartfelt discussion with the protagonist. And generally, I scoff at such scenes; they can be really overdone. "thirtysomething" comes to mind-- at least, I think that's what I'm remembering, that Gary seemed to just hang on and on. But here, I liked it. A lot. That scene really spelled out for me what was going on in Bartlet's head, and why Toby, a few moments earlier, was so sure the president would change his mind about not running.

  • And speaking of, I had heard the spoilers about the cliffhanger ending, but they were exaggerated. Mrs. Landingham, calling on a different reporter than the one CJ had recommended, the hands in the pockets and the smile-- I think we all know it's going to be Answer A.

  • One last question: what was that song playing at the end?

    There it is, everyone; discuss amongst yourselves. I'll be around with you through the summer, but looking forward to new reviews next fall.

    Back to episode info