Wednesday, 20 February 2013

S02E20: The Fall's Gonna Kill You

When the title of an episode is a quote from one of you all-time favourite movies you know it's going to be good.

The scene is set really well with the pre-credits sequence. It hadn't really occurred to me that CJ would be lying about the health of PotUS all the time. Add to that all the times she now realises she'd been unknowingly lying about it and it's a great scene for helping to emphasise just how big a hole they're in (especially considering that we know from the last episode that they're appointing a special prosecutor and all of these questions are going to come up and be on the public record). It's also evident from the fact that in probably one of the busiest offices in the world pretty much everything is getting pushed to the side in order to deal with the possible fallout of this.

Sam, as yet unaware of the President's condition, is busy speech-writing and as a result is addressing the bulk of the material not dealing with the small matter of defrauding the American public. The one other unconnected matter is the legal case against big tobacco. Josh is handling this, but even then there's an opportunity to bring in the President's woes, with Josh's distraction over the "they perpetrated a fraud against the American public" comment. Hang on, almost forgot the Chinese satellite falling out of the sky which pre-occupies Donna for the majority of the episode, but this is played mainly for comic effect.

The conversation between Jed and Abigail in the Oval Office is great. They're like college kids who're about to get expelled for a prank they've pulled and the desperation in Jed's voice contrasts sharply with his position as the leader of the free world.

As with the last episode, Oliver Platt is great here. It's rare you see CJ slapped down so comprehensively. It's even rarer to see the same thing happen with the First Lady. This is the only time I can recall it happening to both in the same episode, and with the ease with which Platt manages it. OK, he's holding all the cards, but even so it's still an impressive performance.

CJ's conversation with Abby in her office reveals that she'd held back from telling the whole truth to Babish, which is yet another nail in the coffin of the administration's difficulties here.

Random observations:

The top 1% of wage earners may well be paying 22% of the total tax, but how much of the total money are they making? I'll bet all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets that it's way more than 22%. The rich aren't paying their fair share.

Would Josh really be having the conversation with Joey in a place as public as an airport departure lounge?

The idea that Abby thinks her signing the form without filling in the medical history isn't a big deal is laughable.

Gail's bowl has a chair in it. I'm struggling to see a connection to the episode, and the best I can manage is that in the event of legal proceedings Babish would be first chairing. It's thin, I know, but feel free to suggest anything more plausible.

"I'm coming out, I'm doing it voluntarily, if anyone finds out it's gonna look like a poll told me to." So says Bartlet, but the thing is, I don't believe him. He's coming out because Toby took a week to figure it out and if he can do it then any reporter worth their salt could do the same. He's coming out because after talking to the White House Counsel he was told in no uncertain terms that he had to. The sheer arrogance of Bartlet in these episodes staggers me.

Episode grade: A

So what did you all think?

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