I got this book after watching making a murderer in one go and I couldn't stop thinking about it so when I saw the book I jumped at it and honestly I felt that the book was very rushed especially toward the end with the Teresa Halbach case.
It was a very heavy book to read sometimes with the amount of detail that was put into certain parts I was disappointed that really the book was just a detailed version of the tv series but sometimes it wasn't exactly far off what was on the show so I was disappointed that in a way but expected it to a certain extent.
I also didn't like that in the first half of the book the author was on Steven Avery side then he done a complete turn around when talking about the Tersa Halbach case. I suppose in a way this book was just wrote at the right time when the tv show was getting a lot of attention.
I've sort of fallen behind on my West Wing coverage. That is because this is a show I like to devote all of my attention to while watching, and I haven't had much of a chance to do that lately. I'm now on Christmas break, however, so I have about two weeks to do some serious bloggin'. Let's dive in!
At the end of episode two, news was brought to the senior staff (and the viewer) that an American plane carrying President Barlet's personal physician and several other folks was shot down en route to a teaching hospital in Jordan by Syrian forces on the orders of the Syrian Defense Ministry. Episode two ends with President Bartlet -- a man who feels inferior in his first year of the presidency for never having military experience -- promising to Chief of Staff Leo McGarry that he is not afraid . . . and that is where episode three picks up.
A few other things happen in this episode -- we're introduced to reporter Danny, who will play a pretty important role in the coming seasons; Charlie Young is hired on as the President's body man; Sam's blooming friendship with the call girl he accidentally slept with in episode one is becoming more widely-known . . . but this is an episode that almost solely focuses on the delicate question posed by President Bartlet in the situation room: "What is the virtue of a proportional response?" It's an interesting question, and one that cannot be answered lightly or without serious thought.
A careful line must be walked. Revenge must be extracted on the Syrians -- all the folks on the gunned down airplane perished, and that cannot go without punishment. The Syrian government is trying to start a war with America, and Bartlet wants to do as much damage as possible, often getting frustrated with the joint chiefs and the reasonable responses they propose. They want tit-for-tat; President Bartlet wants to get revenge for his good friend and doctor. The president is hurting.
What's interesting about this episode is it's the first time we see Martin Sheen's character as something more than calm and collected who can spout Latin phrases and memorable phrases off the cuff. We see -- for the first time -- that he is not all-knowing. He doesn't have all the answers. In this episode he's almost always on edge, snapping at his wife, his staff, everyone. This is the first time we see President Bartlet for the complex, versatile character he is. Credit has to go to the show writers and Martin Sheen alike for that one.
The situation is eventually resolved -- an attack plan is decided on and carried out. The moment Bartlet says "go" (or, rather, simply nods -- he is unable to speak) is one of the most tense in the early episodes of The West Wing. The viewer truly feels the danger of the situation. He or she sees that being in power isn't always what it's cracked up to be -- tough decisions always have to be made, and it takes a strong person to do it. In light of the recent terrorist attacks, this episode certainly gave me more empathy toward our president and his staff, as well as other governments around the world. It's not an easy job, doing the things people in government do . . . and sometimes they don't get it right (as this series is unafraid to show). Sometimes it comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils.
After the intensity of the majority of this episode, we are given a final, sweet scene in which President Bartlet meets Charlie Young and talks with him for a few minutes. It's a heart-warming scene, especially in light of all the toughness of the previous thirty-five minutes or so -- it shows that, at the end of the day, President Bartlet is still only human and doing the best he can. Leo, C.J., Toby, Sam, Donna . . . they all are.
I think this is my favorite episode yet. It combines the heart-warming nature of the previous two episodes while gaining some grit and fire, making for some enthralling TV-watching. I'm going to give it a 100%.
You know you're watching a high-brow (and, yet, oh so entertaining) show when you're given a lesson on Latin within the first five minutes of an episode and it's actually enjoyable. The phrase "Post hoc, ergo propter hoc" is brought up by President Bartlett, a fluent Latin speaker, and he quizzes his senior staff on what it means in one of the show's more charming cold openings. In fact, I've decided to post a clip of it so you, gentle reader, can enjoy the scene for yourself. Check it out here. I'll wait.
That opening is important for a couple of reasons. At first glance, the viewer immediately gets a sense of the camaraderie of the staff -- they're not just co-workers; they are almost a family. They are comfortable with each other while giving each other due respect. This was shown a bit in the pilot and is expanded upon perfectly in episode two. As well, that clip shows just how funny this show is -- especially President Bartlett. This is a series that isn't afraid to be serious and isn't afraid to be funny, and in most cases it finds the perfect balance. It's almost uncanny. And finally, that clip lets us, the viewers, in on the fact that President Bartlett is a smart guy -- or, at least I think so. Anyone who can speak Latin fluently (and yes, I know "Post hoc, ergo propter hoc" is one of the most famous Latin phrases known by English speakers, but later in the series Bartlett shows he has a firm grasp on the language and can speak it at will). There is just such a warm and inviting sense of community, love, and respect in the open scene which contrasts quite strongly with the final scene in the episode . . . which will get to in a moment.
I'd like to shift gears momentarily back to the pilot episode and remedy something. That something being I completely forgot Mandy! *collective sigh* Yeah, yeah. I don't care for her much either. Mandy Hampton, as played by Moira Kelly, was introduced as Josh's ex-girlfriend who is back in the city and working for the campaign of a local politician. She's seen as being loud, brash, and decidedly unfunny (and Jeeeeezus Christ, that '90s hairstyle!), and if there is anything wrong with the pilot episode of The West Wing, it's her. Her job folds in episode two and she hired on as a White House media consultant, thus putting her in close quarters with Josh and making him quite uneasy. I feel like it's supposed to be funnier than it really is . . . but ugh. It just sort of makes me groan. Honestly, I don't think the character of Mandy would stink so bad if it wasn't against the backdrop of literally everything else in this show -- it all works but her. She's the one cog in the machine.
Now, I don't blame this on Moira Kelly. She has acting chops for sure, and she plays her part well . . . unfortunately, that part is really annoying and a bit of a chore to watch. However, if I'm being honest the opening scene (after the theme song) featuring her and her former employer/boyfriend getting into a fight is funny and almost tricks me into liking Mandy. Almost. (Seriously, who didn't laugh when she threatened to use her shoes as a blunt object?) Her being hired on at the White House has always felt forced to me, as if the show-writers were looking for a way to get some easy laughs and it just doesn't really work. Mandy becomes more grating as the season goes on and then gets written out completely without any explanation whatsoever. Honestly, that's fine by me. Can you picture her in the midst of the MS scandal? Ugh . . .
Mandy after losing her job
Really, this episode's job is building on the foundation laid by the pilot, and it does a great job. We get to know more about the characters, especially President Bartlett and Sam. Sam's subplot with the hooker from the previous episode doesn't quite get resolved here, but the two are on a better note than before by this episode's end. In a way, the two are friends, and the image of the two of them walking down a dark D.C. street after fighting and making up always warms my heart a bit. That subplot isn't done by any means, but this episode is important because it will help later on that Sam and Laurie (the call girl whose name for some reason I keep forgetting) are on good terms because their sleeping together that one time will cause some problems.
Arguably the most important thing about this episode is its introduction of Vice President John Hoynes, as played by Tim Matheson.
Matheson plays the part perfectly. Vice President Hoynes is prickly and not exactly likable, but he's tough (perhaps tougher than Bartlett. . .?) and very competent. It's clear from the first scene he's in that he knows the game of politics and knows how to play it well. This guy is going to be pivotal for the next several seasons, and this episode lets the viewer know real quick what he or she is in for. I did not like this guy the first time I saw this episode, but the more I've watched it the more I have grown to appreciate him. He is very business-minded -- he wants to get things done and knows how to go about that. However, I still do not like the fact that he is so blatantly disrespectful of the president (though reasons for that will be explored in depth in later episodes). I enjoy watching this guy, when it comes down to it. He's not afraid to deliver the proverbial kick in the pants some of his fellow White House staffers need, and he is pretty humorous in his own prickly way.
That's really it for "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc". It takes what worked in the pilot and builds on it, while introducing a couple of new characters and plot-lines (seriously -- that ending! that cliffhanger!). In a way, it is sort of a filler episode -- not much happens, (at least, nothing happens until the last ten minutes or so) but the show is so enjoyable to watch while nothing happens that the viewer will, in all likelihood, not give care one. This episode is assurance that the Pilot wasn't a fluke; this show is actually gold. And, with that, I am off. See you cats soon for discussion of episode three.