Monday, 5 November 2012

S02E08: Shibboleth

Wow. The plot for Sam's show is exactly the same as the plot for this episode... apart from the crime solving part.

Is it just me or is Toby absolutely insufferable in this episode? The whole thing with Leo's sister just doesn't sit well with me. From the off it's clear that Toby is well aware that Leo won't be pleased about it, and you'd assume that Toby would take that into consideration as been as Leo's his boss. Tiny spoiler alert: If I was Leo I'd say "Hey Toby, that's fine. By the way, I'm hiring your dad as my PA." I also think the issue is a bit bizarre. Didn't Josh get threatened with the school prayer issue last season when they were talking about FEC nominees who were against soft money? When did it go from being part of a nightmare legislative agenda to a debate the White House actually wants?

Al Caldwell and Mary Marsh make another appearance thanks to the religious asylum issue. Al is still a rotund buffoon and Mary is still awful.

I find the main plot incredibly similar to the one in the pilot. Call me politically naive, but does it really matter what the religious beliefs of the Chinese are? They came over in barrels and risked death in search of a better life. Shouldn't the White House have their backs regardless of their views on Jesus? Considering the final resolution of the issue shouldn't their beliefs be moot? Bartlet as good as says so to Josh at the end, so the entire interview is irrelevant really.

I know he's not perfect, but sometimes Sorkin's writing is just sublime. The little subplot with the knives is so inconsequential that 99% of writers wouldn't include it at all. Yet he makes it beautifully comic with each successive knife that fails to make the grade and just when you think it's run its course he concludes it with probably the most touching moment in the entire episode.

Random observations:

Yay. Yet another introduce the cast "previously on...".

Jamestown wasn't the 16th century Toby. If you're going to be a pompous ass at least be accurate about it.

Why is CJ setting off flashes in front of the turkeys when she knew from the off that Troy didn't like to be touched? Surely a turkey that doesn't want to be touched shouldn't be anywhere near PotUS?

The Chinese Christian names 11 apostles (there are two called James, and he omits Judas' replacement, Matthias).

"If the Oscars were like that I'd watch." The first time I heard that line I spit my drink out. The whole scene from that point up until Donna's "You can't pardon a turkey?" is brilliant.

Episode grade: B+

So what did you all think?

Spoilers for the future follow.

I find it interesting the way Barlet indicates that the main reason for allowing the refugees to "escape" is to allow the Chinese to save face. Events in Han would indicate the real reason is very different.

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