yvi: (West Wing - CJ facepalm)
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Welcome to the recap of episode 7 of The West Wing: The State Dinner. You can find a transcript of the episode here.

We open with a sort-of press conference in which CJ explains in stunning details what people will be waring at the state dinner. Um... interesting? She obviously loves it as much as I do and complains a bit to Josh about it. Before we learn about Sarah, a class 4 hurricane heading towards Georgia. Sam joins them at their walk&talk and oh, and there's going to be some kind of strike. Then Toby joins, and there's a hostage situation involving kids in Idaho. This is going to be fun. CJ thinks so, too, but again has to talk about clothes.

[MAIN TITLES]

Josh asks Donna to get him a translator for some guy from the Indionesian delegation. Donna says she will, but also feels uncomfortable with the Indionesian delegation because they kill people being accused of being sorcerers.

And we have a meeting in Leo's office. And us non US-ians learn what "Two tiered hiring" is. Then Josh insults and condescends Mandy some more before she can finally do her job and be on board with regards to the hostage situation.

Bartlet is meeting with the President of Indionesia and the press is taking pictures. The Indionesian President is... less than talkative. He also doesn't like salmon.

In Sam's office, Sam and Toby are working on the toast at the dinner, with Toby wanting a not-so-nice-toast, shall we say?

In the Roosevelt room, we have a meeting about the strike with Leo and lots of white guys. In another room, however, we learn the (to me) absolutely infuriating fact that Mandy doesn't even have her own office. Um, what? But in hostage news, we learn that there is an illegal gun in the house and why do we know that? Because we sold it to them. In completely non-news, Josh is an ass to Mandy.

Bartlet is still stuck in a room with Indionesia's President, but gets rescued by Danny asking a question about the Vermeil protestors. The what?, CJ thinks and pretends she had already planned to cover this at a briefing. Leo, meanwhile, rescues Bartlet.

BARTLET: I can't decide if that man is boring or rude, but he's one or the other.

LEO: I'm sorry to hear that.

BARTLET: I'm sitting out there trying to figure out how this guy campaign for
something and win, then I remembered--we usually rig the elections.


We get the information that they are clearing out a battle carrier group somewhere in the ocean.

Sam and Toby are still having fun with their opposing views about how condescending the toast should be.

SAM: Something like... 'As has often been said, a true friend tells another friend the truth and on some issues, we must speak candidly, or we could not, in all honesty, hold the great honor of being known the world over as Indonesia's friend.'

TOBY: Well... that was just about the worst writing I have ever heard.


CJ has learned her lesson on Vermeil, which is... really not that interesting. More interesting is Danny asking CJ what she is wearing at the dinner...

Sam and Laurie are meeting for lunch, and Sam is just as condescending as ever.

SAM: And I'd like you to learn my experience when I tell you that law school bears little relationship to the practice of law.

LAURIE: It bears some relationship to graduating, though, right?

SAM: Yes.

LAURIE: Then shut up.


Mandy is doing her job and advising the President not to get out the big guns and try negotiating with the people with the guns. She succeeds, but not without a bit more clashing with Josh.

Charlie finally makes an appearance. He has family over in Georgia and asks Josh the favour of finding out how they are. Donna directly gets on the task. Oh, and Mandy wonders what Josh's job is, which is something I'd like to know sometimes, too :) Then Sam and Josh have a... private moment admiring how great they look.

The translator Josh asked Donna about earlier is having a bit of a problem - he doesn't speak the right language. So now there is going to be some two-translator setup that can only end badly. Toby wonders whether the bar is open already.

And now we finally meet the First Lady. Abbey! And she is trying to marry CJ off :) Sam, Josh, and Toby meet Carl Everett, who has brought Laurie as a date. Awkward situation is awkward. At least Charlie's family is safe.

The hurricane is doing strange things, though, and the battle carrier group is right in its path. In more really bad news, the FBI negotiator was shot and Mandy feels really, really bad about that. Oh, and more bad news: there are around 12,000 people on the ships in the hurricane. Bartlet wants to talk to the fleet commander.

At least the translation scene is every bit as funny as I suspected, but cut short by the Indionesian aid actually being able to speak English. Josh glares at Donna. Apparantly, Toby has a French friend who is in jail in Indionesia and is now trying to get him free through his connections. The guy is not impressed.

BAMBANG: Mr. Ziegler. Does it strike you at all hypocritical that a people who
systematically wiped out a century's worth of Native Americans should lecture the world so
earnestly on human rights?

TOBY: Yes, it does.

BAMBANG: You humiliated my President tonight, and for no other reason than to show
off. And now you want me to do you a favor? Go to hell.


That went well.

Some CJ/Danny flirting later, Sam is seriously condescending Laurie. Again. I have no idea why she even still talks to him. He even offers her money so she won't go home with Carl that night. At least the First Lady is being awesome.

Bartlet walks into the Roosevelt room threatening to nationalize the trucking induistry, which seems to be an unthinkable threat, unless the strike gets prevented.

Oh, and we get a wonderful Bartlet moment with Abbey and Jed

ABBEY: I know. You know, one of the things that happens when I stay away too long,
is that you forget that you don't have to power to fix everything. You have a big brain. And a good heart. And an ego the size of Montana. You do, Jed. You don't have the power to fix everything. But I do like watching you try.


The closing scene of this episode is the President talking to a scared Signalman on board the U.S.S. Hickory, trying to calm him down while his boat sinks.

BARTLET: I'm going to stay right here, as long as the radio works, okay?


END


A few discussion questions, but there was a lot going on in this episode...

1. What's your opinion on the toast? How condescending was it (well, we never know the wording, but it wasn't too nice) and was that justified?

2. CJ and Danny: What do you think of them?

3. Mandy in thie episode finally go to do something. However, she also clashed with Josh a lot, was reveleaed to not even have her own office and ultimatively failed. What do you think about that?

4. There were a lot of plots going on in this episode: the hurricane, the hostage situation, the trucker negotiation, Laurie&Sam, the Indionesian delegation, CJ&Danny,... Was it too much?

5. Just how great is Abbey and just how cute are Abbey and Jed?

From here on out, we don't have anyone signed up for the next three episodes. If you'd like to sign up, you can do so at the sign-up post.
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