Random Thoughts on Memorial Day
Written by Toniann
Despite the press hubbub it caused, and was bound to cause indeed,
I hardly blame Bartlet for changing up the speech's language at the
last minute. It sounded like bad Tolkien.
Last episode ended with the president telling Mrs. Fitzwallace
we'd find the people who were responsible for her husband's death.
She responded, wisely, by saying "Don't promise me that -- I live in
the world." Lo and behold, though, apparently in this world it's not
so difficult to find a needle in a haystack because -- hey!
Coincidentally, right after the president just finished chastising
the Israeli ambassador for their hasty pursuit of a criminal they
thought they had no real chance of locating -- we found our guy,
too! Who'd have thunk? And, my goodness, that does put the president
in a pickle, considering! Sorry for the sarcasm but, well, it was
mighty convenient, plotwise.
You know, I could have sworn that was Connie Chung giving the news
report at one point.
Amazingly, this episode made me slightly more sympathetic towards
Kate Harper, for two reasons -- one, because whether I agreed with
her or not, you've got to respect someone who speaks out against the
room, as long as it's with rationale and intelligence, which she
had. Secondly, I thought Leo's little Sit Room chat with her was
completely out of line and bullying. Clearly he thought she was
wrong, and telling her so would have been acceptable. Telling her
that, essentially, she didn't have any business giving the president
her advice was going too far. That's what the office of the National
Security Advisor is there to do; in fact, it's her job to advise the
president, and Leo knows that. Imagine him having that little heart
to heart with Nancy McNally -- she would've blasted him back into
Sunday. Which brings me back to what I've said before: I may be
thawing towards Kate Harper, but I find her presence to be a bit
contrived. It should and would have been Nancy in those scenes,
which would have changed the entire dynamic.
Clearly, Leo's motivation in confronting Kate had quite a bit to
do with his growing unease over not having the president's ear on
this one, and blaming that on Ms. Harper. I don't buy her as having
that much influence with Jed -- but still, easier to believe that
someone is influencing the president rather than, he just isn't
valuing your opinion the way he used to, I'd wager. Which is what
the flashbacks were all about, I guess. A fallout between Jed and
Leo isn't an uninteresting plot development to me, but the timing
here seems off. Plopping it down in the middle of a season finale,
with no real hints in recent episodes we were leading up to it,
makes the whole idea seem choppy and abortive. Is this going to be a
big theme next year? Or just a blip, forgotten over the summer? Hard
Weren't we supposed to see Fitz's funeral in this episode?
Joshua, Josh, Josh. He can't even watch blood being drawn, he
still has one of the more annoying cell phone ringtones on the
planet (kudos on the continuity, though), and he makes a lousy
Secret Agent Man ("Is it the guy in the toupee? Cause he's really
obvious."), but he is pretty devoted to the girl, I'll give him that
much. I begin to strongly suspect that this whole storyline of Donna
being injured and simultaneously being involved with Sexy Suave
Camera Guy, added to the earlier noises about Donna wanting to
advance beyond being just Josh's secretary, exists to set-up the
further development of some kind of romance with them. (You think?)
I've never been sure about the whole Josh/Donna 'ship: on one hand,
there's a certain fun chemistry with them and frankly, relationships
do happen. On the other, I fear seeing TPTB take that first step
down the slippery road that's left ER one big huge "who's sleeping
with who next?" fiesta. Having said that, the one thing I give them
credit for is addressing the boss/employee issue first, and setting
up some possibilities for removing that obstacle instead of just
Finally, as season finales go, this one was literally packed with
complex politics, strange personal dynamics, and the ever-confusing
flashbacks, but there were a slew of delightful moments that made it
- "Admiral Fitzwallace... remind me to fire that guy."
- Josh's jaw dropping open when bouquet-laden Colin walked into the
room and planted one on Donna, and then that lovely, awkward
conversation between Colin and Josh, with Colin trying to figure out
if Josh is the "guy back home."
- Josh showing up with a huge bouquet of red roses -- *red roses* --
the next day. Too bad Donna was too busy nearly dying to care.
- Toby hanging out in the Oval lobby because he enjoys Debbie's
company. Debbie enjoying a good slug of gun with lunch.
- Charlie knowing just how to bully the president into pitching
practice ("...the Athletic department of Notre Dame.")
- Josh's Secret Agent stint. Nice. Slick. Very cool under pressure.
Very impressive for a guy who calls Italy "the one that looks like a
- The entire subplot with the president learning how to throw a ball
in the White House hallway. The tragic death of a lamp, sacrificed
in the process. I could have watched that all day -- I was sure that
big Death Star window was toast.
That's all she wrote -- a good summer to you all.
"Sure, in a bodice-ripping, Heathcliff on the moor, I'm too sexy for
my camera kind of way."