Random Thoughts on The Benign Prerogative

Written by Toniann

  • So, the so-called "walking lawsuit" Rena is Toby's -- what, assistant now? If I caught what Margaret was saying correctly, that's what it sounded like. Aside from other issues (such as, where the heck are they going with this), where oh where are Bonnie and Ginger?
  • Could you ever trust a reporter? It may very well be the start of a joke, but I can't imagine Charlie would really need to ask CJ that question. Danny Concannon was a man of proven morals and integrity, someone CJ knew and admired, and she still didn't truly feel she could risk a relationship with him. Her answer to that question was pretty much going to be a no-brainer.
  • I think Meeshell Anders' perspective will probably change the longer she's a member of the Press Corps, and the more time she spends in the West Wing. Don't get me wrong: I don't think Charlie handled the situation very well. She didn't try to trick him, and I think she believed what she said when she argued that her position and Charlie's shouldn't preclude a relationship, but I fear she's wrong about that. Charlie's first responsibility -- everyone's -- is to the president, and he's always going to be worried about compromising that. His mistake was reacting to her with anger, but I suppose, from his last words on the subject, it grew out of disappointment.
  • In a way, this situation was similar to something I noticed between Josh and Donna in this episode. No one can doubt how much he loves her (and I'm not speculating on the nature of that love, but it is there in some form), but Josh was the one who didn't want Donna to give the Kaehler's message to the president. He knew how much it meant to her, but his first priority, no matter what, has to be protecting the president and looking after his best interests.
  • It is an honor to work for the president, and I think Donna believes that, but I'm left wondering how she feels about that young boy who was left off the list for political reasons, and what happened as a result. I think it would take a lot of strength and understanding to separate what her heart feels and the harsh reality of a president's tough choices. I guess what I'm saying is, I think Donna has that in her. I'm not sure I would. But, that's why they pay her the big bucks.
  • Coming full circle: we first addressed mandatory minimums in season 1 (even made it an episode title) and it's only now, in season 5, that we see the Bartlet White House do something about it, which strikes me as close to realistic. Seems like maybe that fellow in the mall that Toby talked to ("That's my guy. That's who I write for.") may have had a point.
  • Why'd we get so stingy, Bartlet asked, and I wonder about that myself. If those numbers on clemencies were accurate, what's changed? Is it the media glare, and the fact that the president can no longer commute even one sentence without that decision being scrutinized by the public? Is it completely naive to think that the justice system has gotten more accurate and fewer clemencies are needed -- and if it is naive, has the process instead been obfuscated?
  • On a lighter note, I'm beginning to be quite intrigued by Gentle Ben, Park Ranger and suitor to Ms. Cregg. Who is this fellow with the husky voice and the 907 area code?
  • That was a nice suit Josh was wearing, even if it wasn't his Joey Lucas suit... which is probably just as well, considering. The look on his face was, frankly, priceless.
  • I like this new direction for Abbey. I think she's struggled, over the years, with coming to terms with the fact that she holds more influence over the president than anyone else -- because he's her husband, and in their marriage, that's how it should be. What I understood her to be saying tonight is that she's no longer going to shy from that role, politically, and whether you agree or disagree, personally, I have a tendency to admire people who make the call and stick with it. And I love that she and Leo have made up; that little wedding-gift banter was classic. A juicer, indeed.
  • "I have two words for you: search engine."

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