I came down harder than many on last week's "West Wing" for making the death of Leo almost a sideshow to the end of the Santos and Vinick campaigns. I had higher hopes for "Requiem," since, with the election over, the hour's focus could turn entirely to paying tribute to Leo/John Spencer. With Sorkin long gone, I wasn't expecting "Two Cathedrals Part II," but I was expecting more than the wacky bedroom hijinks we got last night.
Look, I get that life goes on, and in the world of politics there's very little time to stop and mourn. I actually liked the scenes with Santos interfering in the Speaker's race and talking with Amy (though if Santos somehow winds up with a female VP, it'll be Nancy McNally). I was pleased and moved to see virtually every important character in the show's history, save Sam and Mandy (was Mandy an important character?) sitting in the cathedral for Leo's memorial. Loved the Toby/Charlie scene and the look on Toby's face as he gave his phony excuse for not going to the cemetary. I thought Martin Sheen was amazing in that sequence where Bartlet went from pained silence to joyous life of the party because it was what his friends needed from him, and I loved the final exchange between Jed and Josh. (Though I would have liked some kind of reference to the fact that both Josh's father and his father figure died during successful presidential campaigns.)
But I felt like too much of "Requiem" was a missed opportunity. How do you gather seven year's worth of great actors and not let a single one of them speak during the funeral? How do you skip over the trip to the cemetary? How do you spend so much time on CJ/Danny and Josh/Donna trying to get laid?
Again, I get that life goes on, and that the show has a lot of stuff to wrap up before we see Santos sit behind that desk in the Oval Office a few weeks from now, but this was an extraordinary circumstance. Rather than devote parts of two crowded episodes to Leo's passing, couldn't we have just gotten one all-Leo episode? If you take his death out of it, does "Election Day" need to be a two-parter?
What did everybody else think? And did anybody watch "What About Brian"?