Review of Commencement

Written by Toniann

  • It occurs to me, when all is said and done, that one interesting side effect of the concatenation of events in this episode is that Toby will end up being absent for a majority of what is about to occur. Zoey missing, the absence of a VP, and something else that is being hinted at. And yet Andi (Andy?) is having the twins: I know this isn't a job like any other, and of course I somehow think Toby's going to have to be in contact, but he's the only one who's complete focus won't be there.

  • This was a big setback for Team Toby, though, mostly. I liked the bold romantic gesture too, but he might've tried this twist: he should've taken her there and said, this is your house, yours and our children's. And I hope mine, too, as part of this family. Don't you think that would have sounded great? Anyhow, I'm not ready to forfeit the game. There's hope yet. I saw a definite thaw from her there at the end. Of course, she was in labor.

  • Speaking of labor, though, Leo should be smacked on the head for telling Toby about Mallory's near-highway birth -- but then again, when you're having a kid, doesn't it seem like EVERYONE has some horror story to tell? How is that helpful?

  • Even when they were playing nice, I had a feeling a cat-fight was about to erupt between Amy and Donna at any moment. I've never been crazy about the character of Amy (sometimes I like her better than others) so I admit bias, but I thought she was pretty out of line in this episode. Badgering Donna about Josh's response to something she said -- ask him yourself, if you're so worried about it. Donna was polite and appropriate the first two times Amy brought it up. Then she lost her cool a little -- and now the woman's asking her personal questions. Worse, there's no good answer for Donna to give. "Yes"? That's none of Amy's business. "None of your business"? Might as well say yes. "No"? I don't think she can carry it off believably. On top of everything, I think Donna's right on the nose about this. Amy *doesn't* get Josh. She never has.

  • Confession time for me: the "rain in the Pacific Northwest" chatter eluded me as well -- its significance, I mean, to the five missing members of a Qumari cell (in Schenectady!).

  • Another Gail sighting!

  • I think my favorite moment with Danny was when he was railing on CJ about the courtesies he's shown the White House and how she's never returned the favor -- and he seemed really *angry* -- and then CJ pointed out that he just slept on her couch and there was that fabulous Timothy Busfield, "Oh. Okay." I love it when an actor can carry that off -- that entirely convincing passion and anger in one breath, and in the next, completely dial it down.

  • Mrs. Bartlet, coo-coo-ka-choo. Love the pearls. Not crazy about the hair. But she's a class act any way you look at it.

  • Was the commencement ceremony actually filmed on the Georgetown campus?

  • As has been stated elsewhere on the newsgroup, the music playing at the end of this episode was Massive Attack's "Angel" from their 1998 album, "Mezzanine".

  • And, to this episode's big news: Zoey. I loved the scene in the National Arboretum, with Charlie. I loved that she was there already, and I think it's obvious that she was beginning to have doubts about Jean-Paul and thinking that maybe Charlie was the right guy for her. When she told Charlie about J-P wanting her to take a hit of Ecstasy with her, I took that as what she was saying -- as in, "Can you believe he wants me to do that?". Which is why Charlie didn't respond to what she was saying. Alternatively, he didn't feel he had the right to tell her what to do. He was, though, trying to be a stand-up guy and urged her to go to the club -- and he is bound to blame himself for that. I don't think he should, but he will.

  • I think Zoey's kidnapping was a well-orchestrated plot, and I'm wondering about possible connections to the Qumari situation. It seems as if J-P has to be involved, but then again, maybe he isn't -- maybe it's just that if he hadn't been so stupid, criminal, and despicable as to dose her drink, maybe Zoey would have been more alert and the kidnappers wouldn't have gotten away with it. Mostly, I think that no matter how many Secret Service agents you have, unless they move as a phalanx of bodies around you 24/7 (much as they do the president), there's always a way for someone to get to you. Just as Bartlet described in his "nightmare scenario" in "Mr. Willis of Ohio", if the agents are dead, they can't protect you. And then we have a father instead of a president.

    "You know I can kill you and just make up the reason why I did, right?"

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