Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

[The West Wing] 1.10 "In Excelsis Deo"

This episode has been repeatedly prefaced by Mary Alice saying "You're all going to fall in love with Toby."  The best part of this was Eric deadpanning, "I look forward to falling in love with Toby."  [He hasn't been a big fan of Toby.]

I wouldn't say I fell in love with Toby, but I do appreciate his reaction.  This is of course one of the hard parts of being a policy maker -- it's so easy to feel soft when confronted with an individual, but actual policy brings with it so many complications.  So I really respect that Toby realizes the implications of his action and that he owns that.
BARTLET: Toby, if we start pulling strings like this, you don't think every homeless veteran would come out of the woodworks?
TOBY: I can only hope, sir.
Eric and both don't really like "The Little Drummer Boy," though we admitted it was an appropriate carol given the scene.  He also commented that we never actually hear "In Excelsis Deo" -- the episode title.

I have really mixed feelings on hate crimes (as does Mary Alice, I was pleased to hear).  Eric and I discussed briefly, but we really couldn't do it during the episode.
C.J.: Yeah, but we're not just talking about burning a cross on someone's lawn. People are getting killed.
LEO: And people get punished for committing that crime. Do you also want to start punishing them for what's in their mind when they commit it?
C.J.: Yes.
LEO: Really?
C.J.: Yes.

[...]

C.J.: Don't you think imposing additional penalties for hate-motivated crimes is a powerful statement by society against tolerance?
DANNY: No. A crime is a crime. One murder isn't any better or worse than another.
C.J.: Boy, was that the wrong answer.
DANNY: Punishing people for their beliefs is, the beginning of the end. Once more you agree with me.
C.J.: I don't agree with you.
I know we already take motivation into account (premeditation), but I think that level of weighting motivation is okay while hate crimes level is not.
C.J.: They made him say 'Hail Mary's' as they beat him to death. This was a crime of entertainment.
My immediate reaction was to shudder, but on reflection... I'm so not Catholic, but there are worse things to recite when you're being beaten to death.

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen."
[copied off the Web]

The crime was certainly awful, though.  Started off shades of Matthew Shepard and just kept getting worse.  (13-year-old assailants!!!)

I know that as a straight-looking white woman, my odds of being targeted by a violent hate crime are very low.  And if someone beat up one of the men I love because he's gay (or reads as gay) I would be rageful and would want to make an example out of the perpetrator.  But I think I would remember how uncomfortable hate crimes legislation make me and would step back and think before acting on it.  (I know, I know, I never claim to be a typical example of anything.)  Actually, imagining such a scenario, I find my imagined self filled with sadness and tears, bent over a hospital bed, wanting to do something anything to fix my friend's woundedness.  [This sentiment is very much directed at my friend, and not at vengeance on his behalf.]

***
C.J.: I don't agree with you.
DANNY: Ok.
C.J.: Take me out tonight and convince me.
That's abrupt, and CJ keeps getting more and more awkward as the scene continues after that moment.  (I find myself thinking of Ari's "Five Characters from the multiverse that CJ should get it on with" for me: "1. Tara, because she would teach CJ silence, and CJ would teach her words.")

She made an actual list, though!  (Typed.)  Clearly awesome.

DONNA [tearfully] You see!? You spend most of our time being, you know, you. Then you write something like this to me. Thank you.
See, Josh is so Eric.

Eric also agreed with his pre-emptive strike idea (which I thought he was going to actually launch because Mary Alice had been saying how Josh does something so monumentally stupid this episode, so I was seriously worried, though I knew Laurie wouldn't give them information) though he did agree that their involving Laurie, who was an innocent in all this, was so not on.

I love that Leo had them tailed.

And to wrap up the 'shippiness... Bartlet's whole "Come to Manchester, stay at the house."  Yeah.

I find Bartlet's inclination toward denial ("Fix it" from a previous episode and now "It'll be fine, these things can go away by themselves.") interesting and problematic.  Part of it is borne out of deep love -- "I don't want to talk about an exit strategy. I really don't." And part of it I imagine seeds from the confidence (cockiness) he has to have in his job.

***

And in closing, some snark:
JOSH: An hour with you in a rare bookstore? Couldn't you just drop me off the top of the Washington Monument instead?
BARTLET: It's Christmas, Josh! No reason we can't do both.

[...]

LEO: Well, nothing says Christmas like animal fables in iambic verse.

[...]

JOSH: A book which if I was stuck with it on a desert island, I still wouldn't read it, 'The Adventures of James Capen Adams, Mountaineer and Grizzly Bear Hunter of California.' I believe I would eat this book before I read it.
***

[transcript]
Tags: tv: the west wing: episodes, tv: the west wing: episodes: s1
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