1. Josh hasn't been in either of the last two episodes, but don't you think he'd have something to say about President-elect Santos's appointment of Arnold Vinick as Secretary of State?
2. If Sam Seaborn was going to be doing what Josh would have been doing for Santos had Josh not been on vacation, then why haven't we seen anything at all of Sam?
3. Stipulating that the answer to that last question hinges on the producers' inability to get Rob Lowe to break himself free from his packed acting schedule (please add sarcastic tone, if reading aloud), why wouldn't one of the other characters comment on Sam's presence? Something like:
CHARLIE: Hey, CJ, you see Sam's back in town?
CJ: Yeah. Santos's deputy chief. Good for him, huh?
CHARLIE: Yeah, but he'd have had that if he'd just stayed here.
4. The state of affairs of having a winning Vice Presidential candidate die on election night is pretty special, right? Seems to me that finding a new VP would have warranted a more prominent storyline.
5. We've seen almost nothing of the Bartlets. Sure, a new guy's coming in, but the old guy's going out, and frankly, he's the one we're emotionally invested in as longtime viewers. We've had lots of screentime devoted to what CJ's going to do after she leaves the White House. We've seen nothing of Bartlet's plans. Here's a guy who got pushed into running by his best friend, got elected even though he never thought he'd even be nominated, suffered a massive scandal over his MS, lost his beloved secretary, got re-elected, lost his best friend on election night...and we've seen almost nothing of him since.
I think they probably should have wrapped up the election a bit sooner, and left more time to do the transition right, especially since they had the foreknowledge that the show was ending.
The final episode looks to focus on the Inaugural, by the appearance of the preview. Frankly, I would have liked the Inaugural to be the second to last episode, and have the actual finale contrast the first days of the new Administration with Jed and Abby Bartlet settling in at home in New Hampshire again. Maybe this for a final exchange:
Abbey joins Bartlet on the porch of the farmhouse.
ABBEY: Did you forget how cold the winters are up here?
BARTLET: Nah. But I forgot how much quieter our porch is than the Truman Balcony. And you know, it's a lot nicer view without that big obelisk in the way.
ABBEY: I read in the paper that Josh is apologizing for something he said to Mary Marsh.
BARTLET: Yeah. The more things change, eh?
ABBEY: Yeah. (beat) We should go inside now.
Bartlet puts his arm around her, and together they walk toward the door.
BARTLET: What's next?
Or maybe something else...but I really hope that John Wells knows this show well enough to know that the very last line ever spoken on The West Wing just has to be "What's next".
(BTW, a few years back I posted about my favorite West Wing episodes. Not much has changed since I made that list.)