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Monday, April 10, 2006

West Wing election ends with moving episode

Particularly after reading Alan Sepinwall's review of the episode, I expected to be disappointed by last night's episode of The West Wing. I often find Sepinwall to be right on target with his analysis and he often captures my moods, too. But I found the episode surprisingly strong and moving, reinforcing my regret that the series has been canceled. I'd very much love to see what a new season with Santos in office would be like.

On the face of it, tying Leo's death in with election night ran a risk of cheapening the death of the character and the actor. But I found myself being impressed with the result. Yes, we missed out on a few reaction shots. I would have liked to see Toby's reaction, in particular. But Leo seemed to be present in every scene, every moment. We didn't see Margaret finding out, but we saw her face, her thoughts, in a brief glimpse, and that seemed enough. Yes, the staffers danced and were excited about developments, but I could practically feel Leo in the room with them, celebrating the victory, while I could also feel the sense of incredible loss from those who knew him best.

The president's phone call with the first lady. Josh's reflection in Leo's room. Vinnick's reaction to hearing about the death of a man he respected. All of these bits resonated with me. If we didn't have an episode coming up devoted to memorializing Leo, I might feel differently, but I thought that the juxtaposition of his death and the election fever was handled pretty gracefully.

Of course, there's lots of speculation as to who might be selected as the next VP. The safe money is on the Gary Cole character. But I have a feeling that the writers are going to go another way. My money right now is on Sam, despite his lack of experience in public office, but I see that as a bit of a wild card.

Dina and I were even wondering, after CJ's conversation with the president about whether he would have run again, continued to serve, if he'd been able, if perhaps they were suggesting that he might be the vice president. I'm not sure if that would even be legal, and I think it would really be a silly, implausible stretch. But I wouldn't be absolutely shocked if they went that route. Vinnick, too, would make a fun and interesting choice, even if the idea of Santos and Vinnick joining together is improbably idealistic. Of course, CJ has stepped in for Leo before, and might make a good choice. And Josh, though I'd expect him to be chief of staff, might be a good call.

In sum:
Safe money: Bob Russell
My bet: Sam Seaborn
Decent chance: CJ
Decent chance: Josh
Longshot: Vinnick
Longshot: Bartlet
Longshot: Hoynes

Interested in West Wing on DVD? Check out the links below.
Season One
Season Two
Season Three
Season Four
Season Five
Season Six

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