Monday, October 24, 2005

Message of the Week, Mr. Frost, and Here Today (TWW)

So I'm behind in my analysis of The West Wing. What do you expect when I take an unexpected hiatus from my blog? I thought, well, I can start anew with last night's episode or I can pick up where I left off and just briefly mention the events of the other two episodes I haven't posted on.

The show has been pretty crazy lately, especially with the emergence of this NSA operative with knowledge of a Pakistani assassination. The campaigns of Santos and Vinick are also still going strong with no hope of the actual election in sight. But...the more important matter (at least most important to me) is the White House leak investigation.

For those of you who don't follow the show, recently an event in space may have cost American astronauts and I believe one Russian cosmonaut their lives because no shuttle was prepared to make the trip to save them. An article out of the NY Times by Greg Brock surfaced about a military shuttle that was equipped to make the rescue that the government was not using due to the fact that the shuttle had been designed basically to weaponize space. The reporter refused to reveal his source which had to be a senior staffer of the Bartlett administration and he went to jail. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Like in the situation of the Miller woman currently in this country who went to jail for refusing to reveal her source, the White House began an internal investigation and then teamed up with the intelligence agency running a separate investigation. Long story short, it was indicated and seems inevitable that CJ Cregg, Bartlett's chief-of-staff and former press secretary would be the target of the investigation and the likely staffer who leaked the information.

Honestly, I was preparing myself for CJ's resignation and thought for sure I could no longer be a watcher of the series because I like her so much...but then out of nowhere in the episode titled "Mr. Frost," at the end in walks Toby, director of communications, and confesses to CJ that it was he who leaked the information to Greg Brock.

As I picked my jaw up off the floor I felt a bit foolish for not using my analytical skills a little more wisely and recognizing that Toby was recently visibly distraught over his brother's death. His brother who had once been an astronaut and following a cancer diagnosis killed himself. Toby had in an earlier episode asked CJ about the military shuttle and I didn't put the pieces together. I should have, but I didn't.

Following his confession CJ immediately called White House counsel and refused to speak to Toby further about the leak. It was quickly apparent that Toby had "acted alone" and the president requested to speak to Toby personally. The president then fired Toby, not once thanking him for his 8 years of service, but expressing to Toby that though some may think of Toby as a hero of sorts, he does not feel that way. It was horrible. Now I realize that the president did what he had to for the sake of his administration, but Toby deserved at least a thank you. He saved lives and until this episode served his president well. As Toby was escorted from the building I couldn't help but think maybe Toby had done this to protect CJ or that they had somehow conspired here, but I don't think that is the case at all. I think Toby acted like the rogue Toby we viewers have grown to know and appreciate. I think Toby finally did what he knew was best for the lives involved, discounting his.

Ramifications? Sure. This is going to hit the Santos campaign hard, or one would assume. Following Toby's confession, CJ called Leo. Leo, the vice-presidential candidate, not Leo, the former chief-of-staff and Bartlett loyalist. CJ called a friend. If I were ever in her shoes, a very well written predicament, I probably wouldn't think about who I am calling, I would just dial the number of whomever I trusted and felt would get me through the situation. In moments like those I doubt one really stops to consider the consequences. Leo had before last night's episode been scheduled to testify in the investigation which would have hurt the legitimacy of the Santos campaign. Here is my recommendation for the Santos campaign, not like the writers are listening to me or anything, bag the McGarry portion of the ticket. Get rid of Leo. Replace him with a younger, viable candidate, one with experience, and charisma. I say put Josh Lyman (former deputy chief-of-staff) on the ticket. Don't get me wrong here, I love Leo. Always have. But I also recognize that age, health, and past transgressions are weak and distracting factors of a campaign. Santos/Lyman?? Maybe.

Last night the pieces finally fell together for me. I realized why when in the first episode of the season as they jumped ahead to the Bartlett Library dedication Toby was so quiet and his relationship with the president so strained. But the more I thought about it I realized that it was Josh coming to announce the entrance of the president...his president.

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