Friday, 7 August 2009

The West Wing - "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc"; episode 2, season 1

In this episode Sam Seaborn decides to go against the advice of Toby and Josh to cultivate a friendship with Laurie, the call girl he "accidentally" slept with in the first episode. There is a touching scene between Morris (a medical doctor, who is celebrating the recent birth of a daughter) and the President. And CJ tries to mediate between the President and the Vice President without a great deal of success.

This is the episode where the West Wing settles into its more usual pattern, after the flurry of the pilot episode. We see CJ performing one of her usual press briefings; Donna and Josh continue to snipe at one another in a gentle manner; the day-to-day issues that plague the running of a country are covered almost by incident.

The staff also realise they need a more effective media director after the Ryder Cup team decline an invitation for a photo opportunity with the President. This is where Mandy is introduced - she has worked with the team before, and it isn't make clear why she didn't stay with them. She has romantic history with Josh, and he is fervent in his desire to not bring her on board.

Personally, I can see why he wouldn't want her around. She is the first character introduced that I haven't felt immediate affection for. Even Toby, who is difficult to like, has some wonderful lines and you feel a huge respect for him and what he is trying to achieve. Mandy is abrasive, arrogant, and tries to cover every weakness. She is argumentative, and I ended up disliking every storyline she was involved in. This for me is the weakest point of the episode.

As I mention above, the strongest point is the warm conversation between Morris and the President. It affected me enough that the shocking end to the episode left me moved. I include this piece of dialogue as my favourite quote from "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc":

Bartlet: I don't need a flu shot.
Morris: You do need a flu shot.
Bartlet: How do I know this isn't the start of a military coup?
Morris: Sir?
Bartlet: I want the Secret Service in here right away.
Morris: In the event of a military coup, sir, what makes you think the Secret Service is gonna be on your side?
Bartlet: Now that's a thought that's gonna fester.
I really enjoyed this episode, especially the ending, but the series hasn't yet risen to the heights it is capable of, so here I give three and a half stars out of five.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the blogging world. I only started blogging this past April.

    I love the West Wing also - I have recently purchased the first season on DVD (will get the others eventually) and will start watching after I finish the La Femme Nikita series (watching with family each night although I have seen it many times).