Written by: Peter Noah, Directed by: Nelson McCormick
- Takes Place: Ten weeks before January 20th (around early November)
- Broadcast: Sunday, April 23, 2006
- Back in Washington the President Elect and his team are starting the transition process but Josh is flying cross country. His destination is the office of a law firm in L.A. which he interrupts without a word and when Sam sees him, he tells the others in the meeting,
- "If you'll all excuse me for a moment." And as he passes Josh, he tells him, "I thought you'd never call."
As they walk outside, Josh says, "You knew you'd hear from me."
"Gave me a chance to hone my turndown."
"That's why I didn't do it over the phone."
"Your showing up does have a nice nostalgic symmetry."
"If nothing else...."
"Tell me you don't miss it."
"I don't miss it."
"Attorney." As they sit down Sam says, "An amazing thing what you did."
"Well, that's the easy part. It's what you do with it that counts."
They discuss how much Sam is making at the moment and the good work he feels he is doing where he is and the fact that he is getting married. Then Sam asks, "What about your life?" When Josh can't think of how to answer, Sam says, "What was I thinking?"
They talk about Josh's non-life and his receding hairline and then Sam offers to help with the inaugural speech. "Great. But that's not what I flew out here to ask. Deputy Chief of Staff." Sam is skeptical and Josh tells him to just think about it. "What's to think about. Really."
"For one thing whether I want to end up looking like you."
- Josh has to fly back without his answer. On his way back he calls Donna and they discuss talking about their relationship at some point. When he gets back to his apartment, he gets a knock on his door. It is Donna.
- "When I said we needed to talk, I wasn't necessarily thinking about tonight. I'm kinda fried."
"Who said anything about talking," Donna says as she steps forward and kisses him.
And then the next morning, Josh is his usual awkward self in trying to deal with this new part of their relationship. She stops him, "Be still and listen to me. I don't know what this is. And you don't either, which is perfectly fine and understandable. Whatever the buildup, it's all happened amid absurdly heightened emotional circumstances. The election. Leo's death. There's been no moment to so much as take a breath, much less figure any of this out. And now this roller coaster's plunging into the transition, with its time-pressure demands and then the inauguration and it's hit the ground running and the first hundred days, and before you know it, the midterms and the new Congress and then we're running again and four years becomes eight, and we've never had the talk. And you can lose that look of panic in your eyes, we're not going to have it now; we don't ever have to have it. But there's a window. I'd say four weeks. If we can't get it together in that time to figure out what we want from each other, then clearly, it's not worth the trouble."
- And the "First Lady in Waiting" is a bit overwhelmed with what she has to do. Donna has been helping her. But it is her husband she turns to for a little comfort in the morning. She suggestively talks about his upcoming title of "Commander in Chief":
- "Time for a little incursion?"
He looks at his watch. "Not even for a surgical strike."
"I had in mind more of shock and awe."
"Oh, yeah? After 15 years of marriage I'd be shocked if you were awed."
- Josh meets with C.J. about the transition and offers her "any job you want." While Josh is at the White House, Santos asks Donna,
- "Josh seem all right to you?"
"Uh, a little tired."
"He looks like a zombie."
"He may be going through a bit of an undead phase.... He can get pretty tunnel-visioned."
"I think he needs to power down a little.... I'm just worried about him."
- Mrs. Santos asks Donna to be her Chief of Staff. And Josh calls Sam to check on how his thinking it over is going.
- "I've been thinking, so you're engaged. People do this and have marriages."
"You know theoretically...."
"She doesn't hate the idea," Sam admits.
"I'll see you tomorrow."
"I still need to think it over."
"Think it over on the plane." He pauses. "Not that I'm begging.... Would that work? I can do begging. Humiliation is not beneath me.... I have no threshold of embarrassment here. I'm prepared to abase myself until you submit."
- After more geo-political problems, Josh has a meeting with Lou who tells him,
- "You love it, you live for it, you were born to do it. I'm the same way. Everybody tells me to get a live although I don't know why. I find life to be terribly over rated. It's actually quite boring when its not disappointing. Say what you will about what we do but boring it is not."
"I know you can parley this Santos win into a doubling of your fee."
"Tripling if it figures into your memoirs.
"Nothing is going to top this. Everything else is going to be a let down.
"Let-downs that make me semi-rich that's a trade off I'm willing to endure."
"You don't care about money.... Come on board as Communications Director—"
"Thank you but no."
"...Come on. It's not like getting a life."
"That's true. Look at you." As she describes what it would take, Josh takes that comment to heart.
- Later, after Sam arrives Josh finally has a melt down and Sam gives him a dressing down and an ultimatum. Meanwhile, Bartlet talks to Santos about a phone call the President-Elect had with the Chinese leader. Santos describes what he says,
- "I might have referred to you as an incrementalist."
"I've been called worse." He smiles and so does Santos. "You may have to call me worse if this is going to work."
"It was a great idea, sir, to exploit the inherent awkwardness of the transition this way.
"Use it to play a little geo-political good-cop/bad-cop. But you know your going to make some really loud saber-rattling if we're going to pull this off.... Let's hope you can scare the hell out of them."
When he gets back to the office, Josh and Sam are there telling him that Josh is going to take a vacation. Rambling on to explain this, Josh says.
- "I have no life. And I - I don't know if that's really how I want it, or if it's just some borderline or not-so-borderline pathetic pathologic avoidance thing. If it's — you know — okay with you."
"If it didn't involve a motorcade, I'd drive you to the airport myself."
- Later Josh sits in a window seat alone. But shortly thereafter he is joined by Donna.
- "May I just say, a truly excellent notion?"
Donna laughs, "Of course."
"The vacation. Going-with-you part was all me."
Turns out Josh has left behind his Blackberry and other communications devices.
For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode (as well as more information),
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.