Review of Disaster Relief

Written by Toniann

  • It's about hope and photo ops, but it seems like if you're Claudia Jean right now, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. The president wasn't even going to go to the disaster site in the first place, but by the end of the episode he's chastising her for dragging him out of there 21 hours and 33 minutes later than he was supposed to be.
  • Honestly, I'm not quite sure why the president's schedule couldn't be better cleared in light of the national disaster. I'll grant you that the German Chancellor might not give a damn, but I think it would be hard for Congressmen and other politicos to make too many public complaints about the president spending time helping the injured and the bereft. In other words, what I'm saying is, with a better political spin back home, they could have armored themselves better against complaints about the president's absence.
  • Josh clearly was putting too much faith in the power of his health and central air, though I'm definitely with him on the central air thing. Next to electric blankets, there's nothing like it.
  • Backing up a little: why, exactly, is the shot of Donna in the credits of her apparently biting her thumb?
  • Finally, Charlie had a line or two in this episode. Too bad none of it rose above the level of color commentary, but I'll take what I can get.
  • Actually, speaking of, if there's one thing I'd like to praise about this episode, it's the return of snappy dialogue. Someone on the writing staff finally got the hang of it, and none too soon. Whether it was an Italian card deck supposedly once owned by Frank Sinatra, Toby's fifteen minutes of joy while naming his boat, acknowledgement of the Jedi Order, or Donna and her mini-fridge, those little asides are what's been missing for me in the last few episodes. I've been almost afraid to mention it for fear they were gone forever.
  • Sometimes, foreshadowing can be a bit too heavy: Leo's clandestine meeting with Angela Blake, now revealed to be a former employee, a few episodes ago had to be leading up to something. Though -- that reminds me: supposedly she's "just a fundraiser", but if she used to work for Leo at the Labor Department, she must have more policy experience than that.
  • Getting back to Josh: if I were Ryan, when Josh had that little nutty on the street outside the Capitol Building, I would've been speed-dialing Donna fasting than you can say, "Call Stanley in NOW." I don't know, maybe her plan to get him focused on other issues will work, because otherwise he's a hop skip and a jump away from meltdown. Not that I blame him. When he says he can count the people he can trust right now on one hand, I'm having trouble figuring out who he means, other than Donna.
  • And, though he doesn't realize it, oddly enough, Ryan. Surprisingly, he's displaying quite a bit of loyalty to Josh, when you get right down to it. I wonder if that's leading somewhere?
  • Aside from making up words, I thought Bingo Bob sounded somewhat intelligent there. Well, okay, maybe not entirely, you know, but he's trying. I have to say, Will's bit with Leo ("You're going to be good at this job") made me think that he may be even more interesting in this role than as Toby's sidekick.
  • But while we're on the topic of Leo... although I agree that he's been somewhat out of character in his relations with the staff of late, the most revealing line was when he said, "I'm just trying to get through the week"... with a close second being CJ's words to the president about needing him to lead once more. The fact is, Leo's running the White House, and in a sense the country, and he shouldn't be, and I think he would agree. I'd like it more if the writers would give a little more insight into what's going on with him, because while I can intuit that the man who once told Josh, "As long as I got a job, you got a job" has now replaced him and said, "No one wants you here" after one moronic mistake is doing so because he's under tremendous pressure, I feel I'm doing a bit too much of the heavy lifting on that character motivation myself.
  • "Don't let the bastards grind you down."

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