As the staff awaits the news on the condition of Bartlet and Josh after the shooting, they reflect on how Josh, Sam, and Toby became involved in the campaign years ago. Meanwhile, the media demands details on the shooting while the staff deals with a military crisis in Iraq after a fighter pilot's aircraft is downed.
Now that the shooter has been taken into custody, the target of his shooting is revealed to be Charlie, not Bartlet as the staff assumed. Meanwhile, the staff awaits news on Josh's condition and reflects back on how C.J. and Donna became involved with the campaign.
Songs: Kool & The Gang -- Celebration
In the aftermath of the shooting, Josh continues to recover from his bullet wounds while the staff prepares for the upcoming midterm congressional elections. C.J., knowing how the staff was affected psychologically, deflects press questions about the mood in the White House. After Charlie learns more about the shooting, he begins to pull away from Bartlet and Zoey. Meanwhile, Sam encourages a friend to run for congress, and Bartlet keeps an eye on a school board election in New Hampshire.
After outdoing Sam on a television program, Bartlet offers to hire Ainsley Hayes, a Republican adviser, as assistant White House counsel, despite being from the Republican party. However, Bartlet's offer shocks the rest of the staff and causes resentment to build. Meanwhile, Toby and Josh attend a summit concerning the cost and availability of AIDS medication in the African countries that need it the most.
Ainsley Hayes has a rough first day as new White House counsel after she receives her first assignment: clean up after two staffers who gave an inaccurate testimony before the House. Her day isn't made any easier when she gets a less then welcome response from the staff and is later humiliated by two other staffers, Mark Brookline and Steve Joyce. Meanwhile, Josh's insurance denies his claims for his recent medical bills and Sam urges Josh to sue the shooters -- which happens to be the Ku Klux Klan.
Sam, Josh, Toby and Bartlet consider calling back Congress from their winter holiday break in order to push through a nuclear test-ban treaty. A drunken Ukrainian leader shows up at the White House demanding a meeting with President Bartlet. Meanwhile, Donna attempts to get the President to back legislation on stress injuries; Sam reluctantly works with Ainsley Hayes; and C.J. argues with Danny over him wanting access to the President for an exclusive story.
The President takes a late night flight to Portland the night before an education speech. Sam goes along with the President because Bartlet is having trouble getting the speech right, and Toby goes along as well to help Sam. C.J. is also forced to go after she criticized Notre Dame, Bartlet's alma mater. Meanwhile back in Washington, Josh argues with gay Congressman Matt Skinner over a bill prohibiting same-sex marriages, while Leo keeps an eye on a crisis in the Persian Gulf. Margaret worries that Leo might be tempted to drink again after he is served divorce papers.
As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, Bartlet must decide what to do with 83 Chinese citizens who stowed away on a ship bound for California in order to seek asylum from religious persecution. C.J. has her own minor crisis to deal with when she is forced to chose one of the two turkeys that will receive a Presidential "pardon". Meanwhile, Toby encourages the President to appoint Leo's sister to an education post despite Leo's objections; Josh, Sam and Toby make plans to watch the football game; and Charlie is sent out to find the perfect knife for Bartlet to use for Thanksgiving dinner.
Songs: The Cedarmont Kids -- We Gather Together
As Bartlet prepares to speak to thousands of elementary students as the Galileo probe approaches Mars, major problems begin to pop up, including a missing F-15 fighter pilot, a fire inside a Russian nuclear missile silo, and the loss of contact with the Galileo probe. Meanwhile, Josh and Donna work together to decide whose face will appear on the newest postage stamp; and C.J. and Sam accompany Bartlet to a concert where they run awkward situations with people they've tried to avoid.
Christmas has arrived at The White House but Josh's lack of holiday spirit forces Leo to ask Josh to consult with a doctor who specializes in helping trauma victims. Meanwhile, President Bartlet decides that he wants to sign his Christmas cards by hand -- all 100,000 of them. Sam confronts the Energy Secretary after he advocates the use of federal oil reserves. Elsewhere, C.J. becomes interested in a elderly female tourist who has a strange reaction to French painting and sets out to find the story behind the painting.
Steve Banks -- Carol of the Bells, Yo-Yo Ma
-- Suite #1 in G Major
With Congress reconvening, the White House plans a bi-partisan "leadership breakfast". To do so, Toby has to meet with Ann Stark, the Senate Majority Leader's chief of staff, to work out the details. Meanwhile, Sam wants to move the media briefing room out of the White House; and after Leo, Donna and Sam embarrass themselves in front of a columnist, Leo asks Josh to apologize for him.
Leo continues to try to get President Bartlet to back the expensive missile defense system while the President fulfills his Chief Diplomat duties by welcoming foreign ambassadors to the U.S., including the charming Lord John Marbury. Meanwhile, C.J. is sent out to convince a comedian to decline an invitation to a dinner in which the President will be in attendance. Elsewhere, Sam is enraged when Toby adds a "drop-in" to Sam's seemingly perfect speech without his consent.
Special Guest Stars: Roger Rees
as Lord John Marbury |
As Bartlet delivers his third State of the Union address to the United States, which Toby helped carefully craft, Bartlet ends up upsetting Abbey with what he doesn't say. Josh's tracking of public opinion polls is delayed by both a power outage and the news that five DEA officials have been taken hostage by a group of Colombian terrorists. Meanwhile, C.J. prepares for a live recording of "Capitol Beat" all while doing damage control when it is uncovered that a police officer Bartlet cited for heroism was once accused of brutally attacking a black suspect.
As the crisis surrounding the captured DEA agents becomes increasingly worse, Bartlet authorizes a rescue, but the rescue attempt doesn't go as planned. C.J. continues to deal with the fallout of the merited police officer's accused beating while Toby deals with a Senator who threatens to run for President as a third-party candidate after the State of the Union's Social Security reform changes. Meanwhile, Sam arranges for Ainsley to meet the President, but she fails to make a good impression; Bartlet and Abbey talk about possibly running for a second term; and Josh finally gets the poll results from Joey Lucas all while being urged by Donna to ask her out.
The President returns from Tokyo and is met by a wave of controversy after Surgeon General Griffith says that marijuana should be legalized. Things are made worse when the President's daughter, Ellie, tells reporter Danny Concannon that her father would never fire the Surgeon General. But Bartlet has much more personal things to worry about after he confronts Ellie about her statement. Meanwhile, Toby is forced to ask his ex-wife, a Maryland Congresswoman, for help regarding the Social Security panel; and Charlie's choice of movie for the President to watch ends up creating more controversy than expected.
It's once again "Big Block of Cheese" Day, and the staff is sent out to meet with organizations that aren't typically heard from at the White House. Toby is assigned to meet with World Bank protesters while C.J. meets with the Cartographers for Social Equality. Meanwhile, after a friend of Donna's enlists Sam's help in getting her late grandfather a pardon; and Bartlet is enraged when complications arise surrounding his choice location for his Presidential library.
The staff, eager to begin their weekend, are blindsided when a stubborn, elderly Senator takes the floor to stage a Friday-night filibuster against the Family Wellness Act bill everyone thought they had in the bag. Toby becomes suspicious when the Vice President, who typically supports the oil industry, suddenly supports a fuel-emission standards bill. Meanwhile, C.J. racks her brain in order to find a ceramic cat statue given to the President by an Egyptian official who expects to see it on his next visit to the White House; and Josh works hurriedly in order to catch his flight to Florida to see the New York Mets' spring training camp.
Toby, thinking that there's something going on with Bartlet, connects the dots and figures out that the President has multiple sclerosis. Toby is the 17th person to find out about the President's ailment and quickly becomes the second person -- the first being Abbey -- to forcefully challenge him on the political and legal ramifications of hiding his disease. Meanwhile, Bartlet decide whether or not to order a heightened security alert for airports when a terrorist is caught at the U.S. border carrying explosives. Elsewhere, Sam and Josh try to add one-liners to the President's upcoming speech while Sam and Ainsley argue over equal rights for women.
President Bartlet goes to Oliver Babbish for advice on the potential ramifications of hiding his MS. Meanwhile, an oil spill near the Delaware coast spikes Sam's personal interest; Josh deals with a Mexican economic crisis, all while bickering with Donna; and Toby orders C.J. to get rid of a White House leak about a change in the President's position on school vouchers.
Oliver Babish questions both Abbey and C.J. about their involvement with President Bartlet's MS cover-up, and Josh secretly asks Joey Lucas to take a public opinion poll about a hypothetical situation similar to the one Bartlet is in. Meanwhile, Sam is happy to hear about a lowered surplus estimate; Josh tries to seek out more funding for the Justice Department and its prosecution of tobacco companies; and as a Chinese satellite sails towards Earth at 2000 miles per hour, none of the staff members are alarmed -- except Donna.
The White House staff and the President deal with the disastrous hypothetical poll results but are torn away from the national broadcast announcing his condition when the newly elected Haitian president flees and requests sanctuary in the U.S. embassy. C.J. and Leo discuss the keeping the news under wraps while Babish talks to Abbey about her treatment of Bartlet's MS. Meanwhile, Josh has to deal with two Senators who aren't supporting the Bartlet Administration's lawsuit against tobacco companies; and Mrs. Landingham buys a new car, but her excitement soon turns tragic.
On the day of Mrs. Landingham's funeral after her car accident, the staff has to deal with the building Haitian President crisis. Bartlet continues to deal with the Senators who don't support the tobacco company lawsuit while preparing to disclose to the public that he has MS and has been hiding it for the past eight years. Meanwhile, Toby gets an unexpected job offer; and Bartlet must decide whether or not he will seek reelection.