The west wing is easily one of the best series of all time. It is certainly one of the best written: Aaron SorkinDialogue has never been so witty. It was the show that actually featured his famous walk and talk plans. The rapid-fire repartee is balanced by complex, likable characters and seriously tense storylines at the edge of your seat.
The show isn’t 100% accurate, of course, but it’s still an insightful and entertaining look at the mechanics of the US government. Sorkin and company walk a fine line between drama and real issues without ever getting didactic or overly sentimental. The west wing also stands apart from many movies and shows in that it portrays a president who is a human being if imperfect.
‘In High God’ (S1 E10) – IMDb: 9.1/10
This episode follows publicist CJ Cregg (Allison Janney) as she pushes for hate crime legislation with little support from other members of the administration. Meanwhile, Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) fears that the opposition will publish information about Leo (John Spencer) previous treatment for alcohol and Valium abuse. The main storyline, however, belongs to Toby (Richard Schiff), who is called to identify a homeless veteran who died while wearing his coat. Toby uses his presidential connections to arrange a military funeral for the dead man.
Schiff’s performance in this episode is a highlight. He reveals a more vulnerable and empathetic side beneath his grumpy exterior. In particular, he is having a great time with President Bartlett (Martin Sheen) in the Oval Office. After the president berates him for arranging the veteran’s funeral, Toby tells him he’ll do it again.
‘Posse County’ (S3 E22) – IMDb: 9.1/10
The Season 3 finale revolves around Bartlett dealing with a complicated situation involving the fictional State Defense Minister Qumar, who is a known terrorist. It also features one of the series’ most shocking moments, where a budding relationship is cut short by tragedy.
This episode stands out for the candor with which it tackles one of the most controversial aspects of the president’s job: ordering deadly strikes against those considered America’s enemies. Bartlett struggles with his decision and how it conflicts with his sense of himself as an ethical person.
‘Election Day: Part 2’ (S7 E17) – IMDb: 9.1/10
“Election Day: Part 2” is a one-episode punch, delivering two extremes in Santos (jimmy smith) the presidential victory and the death of Leo. Smits shines as the presidential hopeful tackles his new responsibilities, and Alan Alda is also excellent as his tough opponent Arnold Vinick.
The whole story of Santos’ run for president has some interesting parallels to the real-world 2008 election, even though the episode was released years before. Indeed, some of the writers and Smits himself have said that they modeled the character of Santos after barack obama.
“The Supremes” (S5, E17) – IMDb: 9.2/10
Without being the most dramatic episode, The Supremes is politically interesting because it depicts the Bartlett administration’s attempt to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court after the death of a justice. Glenn Close makes a stellar guest appearance, but Josh mostly carries the episode with his wheel and traffic.
At first, he tries to appoint a centrist judge before finally proposing a plan to appoint two conservatives and a liberal. Some people have pointed out similarities between this episode and what happened after Justice died. Antonin Scalia in 2016, where Republicans blocked the nomination of a new judge until after the presidential election.
“Twenty-Five” (S4, E23) – IMDb: 9.2/10
“Twenty Five” is the incendiary Season 4 finale. In the previous episode, Bartlett’s daughter is kidnapped and a manhunt is launched to find her. Inside the White House, the administration is struggling to decide on an action plan. Ultimately, Bartlett invokes the Twenty-Fifth Amendment and hands power over to Republican Speaker of the House Glen Walken (John Goodman).
It is one of The west wingthe most moving episodes. The scene where Leo informs Bartlett that his daughter is missing is heartbreaking. At the same time, Toby and Andy (Catherine York) gives birth to twins. Goodman is entertaining as a gruff Walken, but the episode really belongs to Sheen, who convincingly portrays a man facing his worst nightmare.
“What Kind of a Day Has It Been” (S1 E22) – IMDb: 9.2/10
This episode focuses on Bartlett’s appearance at a town hall in Virginia. At the same time, the military undertakes a mission to rescue a stranded pilot, and the Secret Service reports racist threats against Charlie (Dule Hill), the president’s assistant and that of Zoe Bartlett (Elizabeth Moss) buddy.
This episode just sets up the more intense episodes that follow, but it’s interesting for its non-linear structure and use of flashbacks. Moss also puts in a great performance as usual. Interesting little anecdote: “What kind of day was it?” is the name of the first season finale of every television series Sorkin has written: the only exception to this rule is The press roomwhere it’s the name of the series finale in season 3.
“In the Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part 2” (S2 E2) — IMDb: 9.3/10
The show’s most tense episodes are undoubtedly “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen,” Parts 1 and 2, which focus on an attempt to kill Charlie. Charlie is unharmed, but the gunmen manage to shoot President Bartlett and Josh. Josh is rushed to the hospital in critical condition, where he experiences flashbacks to the start of his career.
The episodes continue to up the ante and even threaten to kill Josh with game of thrones-coldness. The plot is also relevant, as threats against political figures remain a grim political reality in the United States and around the world.
‘In the Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part 1’ (S2 E1) – IMDb: 9.4/10
The show keeps audiences in the dark about Josh’s survival, instead focusing on his formative political experiences and expanding on his backstory. Via flashbacks, we learn that Josh originally ran a campaign for Senator Hoynes (Tim Matheson) before Leo convinced him to listen to Bartlett. Josh is inspired by Bartlett, so he joins Bartlett’s team, bringing Sam (Rob Lowe) with him from his soulless job at a law firm.
The emotional focus of the episode is a flashback to the night Bartlett won the Illinois primary. That same day, Josh’s father dies and Bartlett comforts him. These flashbacks explain how Bartlett’s team came together, but they also highlight how dependent the characters are on each other.
‘Christmas’ (S2 E10) — IMDb: 9.4/10
This episode uses Josh’s session with a therapist as a framing device. He reveals the panic he still struggles with after filming the first season, and is diagnosed with PTSD. Josh fears his problems will cost him his job, but Leo promises him in a touching moment that “as long as I have a job, you have a job.”
Josh steals the episode. Whitford reveals new emotional depths as he slowly opens up to the therapist. Each revelation feels hard-earned and sheds more light on her character. He manages to convey the magnitude of his anguish with just an expression here and a throwaway line there, such as when he mentions that he and a dead pilot had the same birthday.
“Two Cathedrals” (S2, E22) – IMDb: 9.7/10
Top Rated west wing episode (and one of the most acclaimed episodes in television history) is the season 2 finale. In the episode, Bartlett and his team deal with the fallout after revealing he has multiple sclerosis. plates. At the same time, Mrs. Landingham’s (Catherine Joosten) the funeral is approaching, and Bartlett reminisces about his friendship with Mrs. Landingham, dating back to his childhood.
It ends with a superb closing shot. At a press conference, Bartlett calls a reporter who asks him if he intends to run for re-election. Bartlett puts his hands in his pockets, looks away, and smiles before it goes black. He ranks up there with the last shots breaking Bad, The Sopranosand Mad Men.
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