The West Wing series finale.
Preceded by the first episode – which I skipped, since I didn’t want to get all teary over how stunningly good West Wing was in its heydey – the last episode clearly harkened back over the years of West Wing. It was very much of what was the idea of the show: the behind-the-scenes life of the White House. You don’t get to see President Santos’ inaugural speech (although it would have been nice; I still think it’s a shame that they didn’t actually spend a whole episode on Leo’s funeral, with eulogies and all).
Very brief Rob Lowe moments as Sam (who should have at least made a face appearance at Leo’s funeral).
No Toby (aww. At least President Bartlett pardoned him, even if at the very last minute).
No big last Josh moment (there should have been; the first episode was very Josh and Sam).
Some poignant C.J. stuff (considering how the show has often felt like the Adventures of C.J. – well…).
A touching moment between Bartlett and his aide, Charlie. Bartlett gives Charlie the Constitution, or at least a copy of it in booklet form that Bartlett’s own father gave him, since Charlie is planning on going to Georgetown for law school. My eyes got watery.
Echoes of Leo – C.J.’s giving Josh a Post-it note: WWLD – “What Would Leo Do?” to help Josh get through the challenge of being Chief of Staff – and they agree: it’s hard to stop thinking of that office as Leo’s. Bartlett’s getting the napkin, the very napkin that Leo wrote on to convince him to make that push for president.
But, not even a little farewall scene from Josh and Sam, the Santos administration people, to the old Bartlett gang? Or has the passage of time made goodbyes irrelevant (goodbyes having been made when Josh left the Bartlett administration to run the Santos campaign, goodbyes made when Sam left so long ago).
Very nice to see Donna in awe of her office as the First Lady’s Chief of Staff; a huge step up from the cubicle she had as Josh’s assistant in the West Wing. Cute to see Donna and Josh sitting together at the inauguration.
And, the episode ends with life moving on. There’s a country to run.
Series finales always make me feel sad.