Coming Out of Left Field

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The West Wing: "Drought Conditions"

In some ways this episode was very powerful, mostly because of the storyline with Toby's brother. Richard Schiff, who plays Toby, did a damn good job of portraying a man whose world is crashing down around him. Granted, some of that is his fault, for giving away some of Bartlett's health-care material to a surprise presidential candidate ... maybe he sincerely feels that none of the other candidates are up to snuff, or he's angry at Josh and the party, or just angry, period.

There was also some nice comedy with all the assorted campaign aides trying to score some private time with the president (Lily Tomlin, as usual, rocks.) What I didn't like as much was some of the camerawork. I realize that the aim was probably to disorient us -- to put us in Toby's shoes, emotionally -- but the odd framing in the bar scenes distracted me (I kept waiting for someone, maybe Josh, to sneak up behind Toby and hit him on the head), and the slowly spinning camera in the reception scene made me feel dizzy. Overall it was still a good episode, though, and it was nice to hear that Santos actually registered on the N.H. radar.

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