Review of 7A WF 83429
Written by Toniann
Despite being completely drawn in to the story, now I find myself thinking
about this being our first episode without Aaron Sorkin. Did I notice a
difference? Well, John Wells isn't a newcomer to the show, entirely, so
that's one thing. And for another, we're still watching Aaron's storyline,
if not his writing. I read a lot of comments in the press about the lack of
Sorkin's "snappy dialogue" but really, this wasn't a "snappy dialogue" kind
of episode. In other words: I think it's too soon to tell.
I thought the camera work/cinematography of this episode was interesting;
overall, I was left with a cluttered impression, from the blurring images of
the opening scene to the plethora of people moving about the White House.
Leave it to Donna to ask the questions I was wondering myself, mundane
though they might be. Where is Walken going to sleep? It would be
unreasonable to ask the Bartlets to move out of the White House, though I
wouldn't have found it strange if they'd chosen to go to Manchester on their
own. Certainly there's a lot of room in the residence, but won't it be
strange if, you know, the Bartlet family is there and Walken's down the
hall? Not to mention, Walken's family? I mean, he did bring his dog.
Speaking of: hey, presidents have pets. it's kind of weird Bartlet
doesn't, actually. What kind of pooch was Bess, anyhow?
Back to the residence: why is it I've never noticed that gorgeous
semi-circle window before? What the heck room was that? Clearly some
set-building going on this summer.
At first, I thought Danny came on a little strong for, well, Danny. I
recognize he's a reporter, but for the first few seasons I felt that we got
more of a feeling of Danny as "one of us", rather then "one of them". On the
other hand, I think that my perception of him is colored by the Danny/CJ
romance. When it's mattered, Danny has been a professional -- at the end of
last season, about the pilot that led him to the Qumari assassination, and
back further, after the shooting at Rosslyn.
Walken's decision to release the story before Danny was probably the right
one, if unpopular among the Bartlet staff. Like it or not, realistically,
the story was breaking, so they might as well break it first. How shocking
that CJ tipped Danny off (sarcasm). She had to know that Walken would know
she'd leaked it -- know and not care about the repercussions. But in the
end, I don't think there truly were any -- he didn't even chew her out about
it, really. Rather than a lesson in intimidation, I saw the scene with the
tie, right before the press conference, as the best moment Walken has had
yet with the senior staff members.
Once again, as Donna said (tangent -- am I seeing a trend here? Donna in
the earlier-hinted-at-role as the POV of the average person in the West
Wing?), Walken seemed... well, presidential. He was confident in the Sit
Room, confident in the press conference. He has his own people (who
wouldn't?) and he's ruffling feathers, but he's also professional and
businesslike, taking fewer potshots than Josh, at any rate. And, you know,
he's got a dog.
I don't agree with Josh that they made a mistake. For one thing, the
scenario he described isn't going to happen, and not just because we know
this tv-show-wise. Zoey's kidnapping isn't going to drag out for weeks or
months. She's going to be found or she's going to be killed. End of story.
But if there's any argument to be made about a mistake, it is because of
what the Cabinet said earlier: Leo. As the episode wore on, we saw him grow
more and more terrified at the idea that Zoey's safety could not take
precedence over war. The difficulty lies in that Zoey isn't just a young
girl to him, she's family. And like the president, his emotions are right
there under the surface. I think Leo was less able to think rationally and
not emotionally than he'd expected. In the end, Walken is in charge, not
Leo, so it doesn't matter -- but when he blurted out, "We bomb Qumar and
they'll kill her", we knew it was his emotion as Bartlet's best friend
speaking, and no the rationale of the Chief of Staff.
They have elevators in the White House! Seriously, of course they must,
but we haven't really seen them very often anymore.
Charlie's presence was a mostly silent but powerful one -- I hardly
expected him to be anywhere other than with Bartlet.
How ironic, or perhaps fitting, that it was Ellie, out of all of the
Bartlet family, who did not unleash her frustration and anger at her father.
And if that sounds harshly critical of the rest of the family, it's meant to
be. Then again, in times of crisis, realistically, people are just as likely
to express anger and blame as they are support and love. I don't know, in
the end, how much it will end up that Bartlet's assassination of Shareef
contributed to Zoey's kidnapping. Even if it ends up being true, there was
no way anyone could have known this would happen. I'm reminded of Ron
Butterfield's words to Toby about the shooting two years ago -- it was an
act of madmen. Anyhow, I thought it was fitting, I guess, that Ellie was
I would love to know what that piece of music was at the end of the
episode, for the FAQ and just for personal reference. Anyone?
"Cry havoc and let loose the hounds of war."