Random Thoughts on Gaza

Written by Toniann

  • I cannot begin this week's edition any other way than by saying: Fitz, you old polecat, you old muckety muck. Admiral Sissypants, you will be sorely missed, having been sacrificed for a random plot point dreamed up by the powers that be. Indeed, having been written off the show earlier, I would have thought you'd been spared such an end. Well, the show will be less without his guest appearances. Unless they're planning a future show where both Fitz and Mrs. Landingham come back to ghost it up, that is.
  • Another person I missed quite a bit in this episode: Nancy McNally. I understand that it's probably common for the NSA to be elsewhere in the globe, and that's why she has deputies. I'll even confess I'm not too fond of the character of Deputy Kate Harper (the president had to remind her to call him sir? Geesh). That said, I still say it was a bit cheesy to manufacture a connection between Fitz and Deputy Kate, so that she could accompany the president to visit Mrs. Fitzwallace. It should have been Nancy. In lieu of her, Leo.
  • Before I get to the only other real storyline in this episode, can I just ask how Toby went from being a man newly-awoken to the joys of fatherhood, at the end of last season, to a man who has to be reminded to spend time with his children? Furthermore, I have to admit, they had me a tiny bit fooled: with all the strange and circuitous conversations between them lately, I thought Congresswoman Wyatt was a goner in this one for sure.
  • But while we're on the subject of foreshadowing, there was so much of it going on, leading up to this episode, that the actual execution seemed like an afterthought. Even the staff's general lack of concern about *Gaza* being the destination of this trip seemed like a head's up: you'd have thought they were going to Switzerland for some chocolate, for all the concern anyone showed on that count. The arguments between Toby and his ex-wife, the tension with Donna and Josh, and even, really, the last-minute decision for Donna to go, it was all rather heavy-handed, I'm afraid. And if we had any doubts about Donna being seriously injured (at the least), those evaporated the moment Josh began to criticize her lengthy emails. Hmmm. Bet you that's just eating at him right now, isn't it?
  • So. What can I say? I actually enjoyed Donna's scene with Lucius Malfoy --

    I mean, the photographer, Colin Ayres. There's some suspicion floating around out there that he was somehow involved in the bomb, but I honestly think that just 'cause we're all used to seeing him play bad guys. I thought her confidence with him was refreshing: Donna's too beautiful a woman to not be used to men hitting on her on a regular basis, and I was glad the writers didn't go the "awed and flattered" route. No, instead, on her own, she was poised and intelligent, and charmingly non-whiny. It was nice. Not the part with her car blowing up, but the rest. I liked how she spent her day, learning what she could. And I don't particularly blame her for spending her evening/night with the alluring Mr Ayres. Which reminds me, is it just me or did Andy sound a little pissy when Donna walked up to the car? "Enjoy your break?" It sounded like the woman was accusing her of taking too long on a coffee run. Also, before I forget: Donna was right, apparently. Would've been a good day to choose a different color car.
  • But the foreshadowing isn't what bothered me about this episode. It's that, in an episode whose emotional heart was the loss of lives and the possibly fatal injury of one of the show's main characters, the rest of the cast seemed oddly unaffected by it all. Leo didn't even tell the president about Donna being injured. Josh is forced to go through all kinds of runaround to get any news on her at all. CJ, Toby, and Will only ask about her later, and casually, and in what was supposed to be some funny repetitive wordplay. I think. It didn't work very well, so it's hard to tell. Leo, upon hearing her condition, muttered, "Poor kid." Meanwhile, Donna lies completely alone in a hospital in Germany, and it's even a decision that someone needs to go to be with her? I mean, not necessarily someone from the White House, but, her family, maybe? My point is, maybe there were better things to focus on in this episode than Donna, but that's not how they wrote it -- the slo-mo opening with her getting in the car, the photographer, etc. And having written it that way, they asked the audience to be invested in her outcome. But then, they dropped that ball. The characters barely seemed to care about what happened to her; why should I?
  • Except, of course, for Josh. I have the distinct feeling that J/D shippers everywhere are rather joyful right now (though, you all are counting on her making it, I assume, or else that was a short-lived glee). And I will say this, Josh's characterization in this episode was, for one of the first times all season, completely on the mark. This is exactly how I would expect him to act in this situation. I mean, yes, yelling in the Oval Office foyer about "killing them all" was a little over the top, but it was better than when he got out of a cab and yelled at some buildings, after all. And this reminded me much more of his PTSD bit in "Noel", and equally authentic. No, this was the one bit that rang true -- of course he went to her side, probably without stopping for a beer or for red lights (who *didn't* think of that line?).
  • So, if you've reached the end of this post and you're thinking, "You know, she didn't mention a thing about the Israel/Palestine situation," then give yourself a gold star. Honestly, without meaning this as too harsh a criticism, I didn't feel the writing in this episode shed any new light on this very complicated war (for war it is, for those living it). Maybe there's no new light to be shed, and it's as Toby said, too tribal, the Hatfields and the McCoys, and we're never going to be able to end it. But even that's been said before so -- I don't know.
  • "Don't promise that. I know the world."

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