cleo: West Wing quote: Anyone have some crayons so I can color in my PhD? (WW: PhD)
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And here is your recap of Episode 1.04, along with the transcript!

Five Votes Down

The bump wants us to remember Hoynes being a jerk...and Mandy...oh and Charlie! Charlie looks so young.

We start on Monday, and the president is telling a joke and giving us a moral, but that's not really important because Leo is getting a phone call...and it's not good news, folks. We've all seen The American President...we know shit's gone down. And now we find out that we've lost five votes on a gun control bill.

Leo, Josh and co are trying to fix shit, and Toby is quietly freaking out. God bless America, kids. Someone's gotta tell the president now.

CJ in a dress...uh...something else is happening in this scene...about speeches and Toby/Sam banter. CJ is worrying about her neck, and Josh is trying to keep her calm when he tells her they lost five votes. But she's still hot.

The president likes to extemporize. Toby doesn't like it when he likes to extemporize. The president doesn't like to take his back meds, and he still doesn't know that they're five votes down. Josh's fan club yells that they love him and CJ quips that it helps not to know him...and that my friends, is another one of the reasons we love CJ.

Cue the theme music.

The gang is eating Chinese, and Leo is still looking glum. I love this scene because eating scenes in TWW are always kinda hilarious and great. And this is really the first one we get to see. The pointless raving about the food transitions seamlessly into figuring out who changed their votes.

This is the scene where you figure out what the president was talking about in his speech we didn't get to hear...and that matters because it shows that they're fucking screwed. And they have to figure out how to get the votes and keep the news off of the...news.

The bump wanted us to remember that Hoynes is a joke because, as we find in this scene, they need his help to make up one of the votes. Leo doesn't like this.

Leo...forgot his anniversary...and I forgot that happened so fast at the start of this series.

"I can do things Jenny; I wake people up...I meet with key staff..." Leo can do things, folks.

Tuesday

Toby has no idea what his stock is worth...and that's a problem. I...don't really care about this storyline. I forget it exists. Yes, Toby is a good guy. Oh the foreshadowing that wasn't foreshadowing then but is now!

Sam and Josh walk and talk about what it's going to take to get these votes. Votes are expensive, y'all. Josh wants to be tough, but Sam doesn't look convinced.

Josh has a smoking jacket. Someone write that fic. Donna's probably writing that fic. Josh and Sam were following each other nowhere. This shit writes itself.

Leo is is trying to make up for his fuckup with his wife, and Margaret suggests the violinist.

Oh, and Leo makes a lot of the lecture circuit. The financial disclosure stuff is...interesting for little character tidbits, but this is probably the third or fourth time I've watched this ep in all...so it's annoying me. The purpose is clear though...it's nice to see how they weave that in with trying to figure this huge thing out.

We get to see Josh trying to get a vote by making a threat. Again, he's playing the bad cop, and this scene serves as an example. He holds the president's judges.

And in the next scene Sam is letting Toby know what he should do about his stock issues. We can see that this is going to be a PR disaster if they let it. Sam gets that. C, however, seems more amused than annoyed.

The next scene is in the press room, and we're talking about the president's assets. Josh and CJ leave the room together talking about the votes. Josh has been making a congressman wait...he's a hardass, remember?

Josh doesn't like it when people make him look stupid. The camera is doing that thing where they circle the two of them as they argue; Josh is winning. He is also taking this guy's change in vote personally because he got him elected. And Mr. Junior Congressman feels slighted b/c he and president aren't bffs.

Leo is showing Mandy and CJ the piece of jewelry he got his wife, and CJ is still worried about the size of her neck. Back to getting votes...and making fun of Toby.

In the next scene, Leo talks to another congressman alone. We get to see that this bill has some pretty sticky particulars about what it will and won't do. This particular guy doesn't really think it's tough enough.

In the next scene we find out that Leo and VP are going to have to talk. It's short, and next we see Leo going home. Half the ep has been spent on the set up for this night, so you just know it's going to suck. It's too quiet when he comes in, almost and there's a cab waiting outside. We find out that Jenny is leaving, and we find out that yes, Leo thinks his job has been more important than his marriage in some respects.

I've always really sympathized with him here because i think I would probably make the same sorts of decisions. But this scene shows us a lot about him, and I love that he offers to carry her back to the cab. That is absolutely my favorite part of the scene. His voice is about the break, but he's still a gentleman. You can see that this is hurting him, but he's so quiet about it.

And the net scene is the meeting between Leo and Hoynes. He tells him about the votes, and Hoynes recognizes that something is wrong. We kinda get to see that he's not completely a bastard...uh, maybe, when he's sympathetic to what just happened to Leo.

Hoynes promises to get the vote, and he reveals that he has his own AA meeting in the OEOB made to look like a card game. There's something vaguely patronizing about the conversation about that to me, but that might just be me.

Wednesday

Mandy and Josh... Josh was given the smoking Jacket before he and Mandy broke up. Blech...who cares.

Leo lies about the dinner with his wife; the pauses in that scene are perfect. It's very theatrical, but it works for the series.

And then Jed comes in while on his pain pills...the ones mentioned earlier in the ep. He's so stoned...stoned enough to start a little pow wow. And this is when Toby fesses up to his issues with his stocks.

"Toby, Toby, Toby...Toby's a nice name...don't you think?"

Mandy looks like she's about to die out laughing, and everyone else is just uncomfortable. Sam comes up with a plan in which Toby forfeits pretty much all of his salary for a year, cashes out the stocks, and makes the whole thing right. Everyone loves it but Toby.

Jed wants a dog.

Next we get to see Hoynes's breakfast with the last holdout on the votes. And we also get to see that people do not like Josh's bullying. We can see that Hoynes is trying to set up his candidacy, and he's such a skeezy jerk.

Shots of DC at night with voiceovers of the news. They won, but Hoynes is getting all of the recognition...so it's not the best victory.

Josh shows up to see the VP. Clearly, Josh is pissed, and he gives congrats to Hoynes in the least joyful way. Hoynes welcomes him to NFL, and I think Josh wants to punch him.

And finally, we see Leo going to the super secret AA meeting.

All in all, I like this episode more and more for the Leo moments, but it also reminds me that this show was pretty consistently funny on a regular basis.

And a couple of thoughtful questions
1. Does this episode effectively balance the personal and political, as well as give the appropriate weight to the intersections between the two?
2. While this episode has something of a self contained plot, we can see that it's setting up larger story arcs. Is that apparent initially or is that something that a rewatch affords us?
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