- "You’re not there anymore, are you? I’m talking to no one at all right now." Because who hasn’t done that before?
- I like the consistent thing of Josh being crazy-popular with college kids and twenty-somethings.
- Poor Toby. Of course this is happening to you. I mean, it’s largely happening to Mendoza. But it’s also happening to Toby.
- Ok, right off the bat, there’s a lot that’s implausible. The whole “Roberto Mendoza doesn’t drink” setup, for one, and then—if Toby and Josh are being flown by jet to Westchester, isn’t there a helicopter or something that can take them the rest of the way? But I’ll allow it. Because this is a pretty fantastic episode.
- "For the record I’d like to say that I don’t think it was as much my fault as other people do." This is a good episode for Josh being a lovable doofus.
- Bartlet is very good on education. Also if he was president my student loans would have been forgiven by now. Sigh.
- Oh my god, Chris Traeger just took over Sam’s body. “Your teeth are the best friends you got?” “I’m nuts for dental hygiene?” Excellent.
- How big a deal do we think the HUD Secretary calling all Republicans racist would be now? Just idly wondering.
- "Of her many transgressions, Mr. President, let’s not worry about she resorted to cliche." Another weird Sorkin syntax thing that I love, and something I love about President Bartlet all rolled into one.
- Danny, you’re such a rabble-rouser. A cute one. Heart. I wish he was the star of The Newsroom. Like, actually Danny Concannon.
- The camera angle on Bartlet during this briefing as it spirals out of control is fantastic. Well done.
- Aww, getting lost in a car! How turn-of-the-century! (But also: are there not signs on roads in Connecticut?)
- Ok, seriously, though, wouldn’t the Congressman be the one who had to apologize in this situation?
- You know what? I want Allison Janney to headline dumb slapstick comedies. Like, if she woke up tomorrow and had Will Ferrell’s career? I’d watch. This root canal business is so beautiful.
- I’d also watch a buddy comedy starring Schiff and Lowe. Oh sweet lord would I watch the hell out of that.
- "Secret Plan To Fight Inflation" is totally going to be the name of my bracket next year. (This year’s name is "Low-Cal Calzone Zone", FYI.) Or my band, if I start a band between now and next March.
- This scene in Josh’s office—“Have you fallen down and hit your head on something hard?”—is a shining example of how great this ensemble is when Mandy is not in the room. The four of them gel so incredibly well and all four have genius, brilliant timing.
- Jesus, is the Wesley, CT jail in the bowels of a ship or something? Did they run out of money for normal lightbulbs and get a deal on swamp-thing green bulbs? It is straight-up MURKY in that cell.
- "Sir. I need you to dig in now. It wasn’t a nightmare. You really are the president."
- Um, is Justice Mendoza’s wife named Laura? Is that what Toby says? So they’re Rob[erto] and Laura? As in, Rob and Laura Petrie, from The Dick Van Dyke Show? That’s some kind of meta-commentary on what it means to be American or something.
Watchability: 9.5/10. The Sam/Toby/Josh/CJ plots—which are most of the episode—are pretty near flawless.
Plausibility: 7/10. Like I said, the business where Sam keeps saying that Mendoza “doesn’t drink” but doesn’t explain why until the end is pretty blatantly a plot device. Like, really, I feel like this would all happen on the phone. But whatever. I’ll allow it.
I feel like all the race stuff could be handled with a little more finesse.
Bonus Factors: Root canal, Josh’s press conference, Charlie’s wake-up call.