Last night’s finale of THE WEST WING was an excercise in saying goodbye. For those of you who’ve been to summer camp, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. On the final day of camp, you’ve packed up all your things, said your ‘good-byes’ and pretty much spend your final hours staring at your watch, counting down until you have to leave. The sense of sadness and finality, is exactly what I felt in watching last night’s episode.
It was such a strange episode, as the writers have been building up to it for weeks. We knew it was over. The Bartlett administration had come to an end. All that was left to do was see Matthew Santos sworn in and take over as the new President. Which of course is exactly what happend. We got to watch the Santos administration move into the White House, as the beloved cast that we’ve come to know and love throughout the past seven years were kicked to the curb.
Perhaps that’s a bit harsh, but the finale was essentially an introduction to a new cast – one that unfortunately we’re never going to see in action. Don’t get me wrong, the writer’s did a good job. It was nice to see CJ, Charlie, and Will have final scenes with the President, and Martin Sheen and Stockard Channing were at the top of their game as per usual. It was just strange, essentially watching an episode that would not only mark the final episode for the Bartlett administartion, but also for the actors as well. We spent the entire hour watching Matt Santos and his first lady (the lovely Teri Polo) nervously realize how much their life is giong to change – yet we’ll never get to watch go along for the journey. For lack of a better word, it was a bitter-sweet ending.
A few of my favourite moments:
Donna seeing her new office, she’s come so far!
Josh & Sam briefing the President in the Oval office, and of course having him say, “What’s Next?”
Mallory returning to give the President a gift. While it was the most obvious gift ever, it was yet another deserving nod to Jon Spencer’s brilliant chief-of-staf Leo McGarry.
Some of the supporting players getting a nice moment: Margeret, Ed & Larry, the reporter, and Lilly Tomlin’s funny secretary.
Overall it was a nice, albeit, depressing farewell. The show will be missed. All I can hope is that one day in the not to distant future, say four seasons from now, THE WEST WING is revitalized as we see Matthew Santos fight for his re-election.