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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A superlatively-crafted teleplay, by executive producer John Wells. Telling the parallel story of three campaigns (Russell, Santos, Vinick) courting Iowa voters and grappling with the issue of pandering. Josh and Donna accidentally get hotel rooms across from each other, and the sad discomfort is palpable. Jimmy and Teri and Bradley are razor sharp. And with his largest screen time yet, Vinick is the only candidate who takes a principled stand...and gets shellacked for it. His staff debuts, with campaign manager Sheila Brooks (Patricia Richardson - HOME IMPROVEMENT, ULEE'S GOLD) and consultant Bob Mayer (Stephen Root - OFFICE SPACE, NEWSRADIO) turning in impeccable performances. WEST WING has never gone this deep into a season without an excellent episode, but Alan's presence gives you the same sense of assurance that Goodman gave the post-Sorkin transition. Ryan Adam's soundtrack cover of "Desire" is poignant. Plus the only WW scene to ever show (probably) a lead in the act of moving his bowels.
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