West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Sixth Season Episodes * #621 "Things Fall Apart"
Bartlet and Candidates
Elizabeth Moss as Zoey Bartlet
and Dulé Hill as Charlie Young
NBC Universal Photo: Chris Haston
Written by: Peter Noah, Directed by: Nelson McCormick
Takes Place:
Broadcast: March 30, 2005

The Republican Convention is bashing Bartlet's record. And the Democrats are facing a brokered convention, no candidate has enough delegates to get the election. Governor Baker of Pennsylvania, who dropped out early on, is courted by Vice President Russell. And Will makes a proposal to Josh that he reports to Santos:
"The Russell campaign, in return for us releasing our convention delegates is prepared to name Matthew Santos as the Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States." Santos is tempted by the office of VP but his wife immediately focuses on what all of them see as the downside: the head of this proposed ticket.
"...getting real isn't it?" Santos says to Josh.
"As real as it gets."

Meanwhile at the Russell campaign, Will tells the VP and Donna,
"If Santos turns us down, we go to Baker."
"Win-win," says Donna.

And at the White House Kate tells C.J. and Charlie,
"Something's gone wrong with the International Space Station. It's losing oxygen."
"The astronauts on board can't fix it?" asks Charlie.
"Not so far."
Later a NASA administrator briefs C.J., "A rescue operation is obviously called for but the space shuttles are grounded right now pending an uncompleted safety review and retrofit."
Kate adds, "And the Russians can't get a launch together in time."
"How long have they got?" asks C.J.
"Assuming the present rate of oxygen loss, in three weeks they'll be dead."
"Can't a shuttle be pressed into service not withstanding the review."
"One's missing half its wing assembly and the other one's undergoing a complete tile replacement. Now, we can speed up repairs---"
Kate voices the unspoken thought, "The concern would then be losing the shuttle crew and the space station crew."
"Now, that's the civilian shuttle."
This indication is obviously a surprise to C.J.

Back among the candidates Donna runs into Josh in the bar as the Republican VP nominee invokes the MS in his Bartlet bashing. Josh expresses a design to give them a taste of that kind of thing. Donna points out,
"Santos wouldn't do it."
"Probably not."
"Maybe why he shouldn't take the job."
"Maybe why he's be a great choice. Restore some civility."
"You want him to accept?"
"You don't?"
"I have concerns."
"He's not hit man enough."
"He's too much voltage at the bottom of the ticket."
"Overshadows the nominee."
"Gets people wishing the names were reversed."
"Gets people willing to wait until next time."
"How you'd get so smart about this?"
"I had a good teacher."
Donna gets up and walks away, then turns back to smilingly tell Josh, "I meant Will." Although he never looked up to see her smile, he finally smiles at this as well.

It is late at night back at the White House when Charlie leaves Zoey's room and runs into the President, who says,
Martin Sheen as
President Josiah Bartlet
NBC Universal Photo: Paul Drinkwater
"Evening Charlie."
"Mr. President, um..."
"Listening to relentless attacks upon my record seems to have left me wakeful so I thought I would stretch my legs. So, its really the Republicans fault that we're caught in this terribly embarrassing situation." When Charlie finds himself speechless, Bartlet continues, "I think the best thing is to carry on as if this encounter hadn't happened."
"Due respect, I'm having a hard time imagining that."
"We both have to be at work in a couple of hours and you are standing outside my daughter's bedroom. I say we give it a shot."

C.J. demands information from the Defense Department about what options they might have that could be used to rescue their astronauts. In another part of the White House Leo is announced into the Oval.
"How are you feeling, Sir."
"Vexed, riled, irked."
"The Republican Convention."
"Ticked, honked, pissed."
"You can't take it personally."
"That's what I keep telling myself. Problem is, once you're telling yourself that, its too damn late. You're already taking it personally." The subject then moves onto the upcoming Democratic Convention and the President tells his best friend, "We need someone strong enough to organize the damn thing."
"Wonder who we can get."
"If it helps, it gives me no pleasure dumping this damn thing on you."
"There's the pleasure of not having to do it yourself."
"Which is not inconsiderable."

So, C.J. continues to try and gather information that might help save the astronauts, the President and Charlie find they can't just ignore their situation and Leo tries to broker deals with the various campaigns, including pressing Josh to have Santos take the VP offer. Santos tries but can't stomach Russell long enough to accept. And Vinick makes a great speech accepting the Republican nomination for President!

For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode (as well as more information),
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.

28 Amendment
Don't miss Neal Rechtman's election thriller The 28th Amendment in which an actor
who portrays a fictional US President on television gets drawn into real-world politics
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