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The West Wing, Season Four

A great start and a truly fantastic finale.

John Spencer as White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry in the fourth season of The West Wing


- I'm in Spain as this post is published and have been for over half a week and, considering I can't speak Spanish much beyond 'hola' and 'gracias', it shouldn't be a surprise that I haven't been to the cinema again yet.

- However, I have re-watched Kung Fu Panda 2 ahead of next week's post, I've seen Kung Fu Panda 3 for two weeks after that, and I've also watched Sicario to slot in between the KFP fun.

- I may even have time to slip in a couple more before I head back to London this Saturday too...


- I couldn't fit my Steam Deck in my luggage unfortunately, so gaming has been a bit of a non-event, which is kind of balanced out by the relaxing holiday on the Mediterranean.


- I have to say, if there was ever a perfect example of how a TV show's creator could leave what they had started, then The West Wing's fourth season might be the most perfect example of how to do it.

- (I'll get on to how season five blew the set-up almost as bad as The Rise of Skywalker did from The Last Jedi in the near future)

- Before you get to that excellent double whammy finale of "Commencement" and "Twenty-Five", things are a little more up-and-down, with the larger story arcs feeling a little unbalanced.

- Pretty much the first two-thirds of the season revolve around Bartlet's campaign for re-election (shock horror, he wins!), from the first episode "20 Hours in America", right up to the fifteenth(!) episode, "Inauguration: Over There".

- It then feels like the show is spinning its wheels for a few episodes before getting to the two-part finale, which isn't to decry the quality of those episodes, just noting that they can feel a little 'disconnected'.

- This also results in yet another abrupt departure from the show, as Sam Seaborne (Rob Lowe) leaves after failing to get elected to Congress, despite it being explicitly stated that he would be getting a promotion if he failed to win.

- The ending of the season is then off-the-charts incredible, turning the show from a political dramedy and into a thriller as Zoey Bartlet is kidnapped as Massive Attack's "Angel" plays; proper spine-tingling stuff.

- The little blips (sorry Sam/Rob) aren't that big of a deal as the show remains brilliant overall, but they do take the sheen off somewhat, hinting that Aaron Sorkin may have been struggling a little to maintain the same level of quality for four straight years.

- As a result, this is probably the least excellent season of The West Wing so far (a crown it will lose very quickly!), but it's still better than most shows' best seasons and still a definite recommend. [9/10]



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