MATTHEW PERRY ('FRIENDS') GUEST-STARS AS WHITE HOUSE UNDER SECURITY LOCKDOWN WHILE PRESIDENT MANEUVERS TO RETRIEVE SPY PLANE -- After a gunman fires three shots at the White House, the staff remains under lockdown as the President (Martin Sheen) negotiates the return of a downed spy plane while Josh (Bradley Whitford) interviews a candidate (guest star Matthew Perry, NBC's "Friends") for associate counsel -- and a spirited card game allows everyone to let off steam.
The Senior Staff is setting up for their regular poker game - Josh and C.J. are arguing about the ability to stand an egg on its end at the moment of the equinox. Margaret comes in to get Leo and they leave. Donna comes to find Josh to ask him to meet with a candidate for an Associate Counsel position at the White House. In the Oval Office - Debbie is asking the President to be dealt into the poker game, when Leo enters. Leo tells the President they have lost an unmanned spy plane over Russia and that Bartlet is going to have to call the Russian President and ask for it back without saying it's a spy plane.
The card game is underway - Will enters in an Air Force uniform. Bartlet asks why he is dressed like that - Will tells him he is an Air Force reservist, and he is set to go off to duty in Wyoming. Charlie comes for the President to tell him that Leo needs him a moment before the call with President Chigorin. Besides prepping him for the call - Leo tells the President about a bombing in Kuala Lumpur and an attempted bombing in Berlin.
As the card game continues - Debbie is playing a very high stakes game. C.J., Toby, and Will get up to go to the Press Room because Will claims he can hit a fifth row seat with a playing card. Donna arrives to tell Josh the candidate is waiting in the Roosevelt Room. Josh walks in to meet with Joe Quincy.
Leo stops by the Roosevelt Room to tell Josh that with the President's OK they will make the call to Chigorin in ten minutes. Leo and the President walk into the Oval Office. The advisors tell the President about the "cover story" they've come up with to tell Chigorin.
Josh returns to the Roosevelt Room to continue talking with Joe Quincy - there is something that is bothering Josh about him - but he can't figure it out.
As C.J. Will, and Toby are going over the "card throwing rules" in the Press Room - shots ring out from outside and bullets hit the windows in the Press Room. Toby pulls C.J. down as Secret Service burst into the room. In the Oval Office - the call with President Chigorin is just getting underway when the Secret Service burst in, responding to the gunshots. Bartlet tells the Russian President they are going to have to call him back. Ron Butterfield enters to check on the President and tells him what has happened.
Will, C.J., and Toby arrive in the Oval Office - moments later, Charlie bursts into the room - despite Ron Butterfield's statement that people are being held in place. Seconds after that, Debbie comes in from Leo's office - she whispers in the President's ear they are going to need to check his blood pressure.
As they continue to assess the situation - Leo tells Butterfield about the incidents in Kuala Lumpur and Berlin and a third incident where an embassy official was killed by a sniper. Butterfield orders the West Wing crashed.
C.J. is back in her office talking on the phone to a reporter while things get sorted out. Back in the Roosevelt Room, Josh continues his talk with Joe Quincy. Donna stops by to check on Josh, and she asks how it's going with Joe; there is still something bothering Josh about him. In Leo's office, Will, Toby, and C.J. start in on the egg standing up theory again. They decide to start the card game back up.
In the Oval Office - the President is ready to try again with President Chigorin. As the call proceeds, it becomes evident that Chigorin is not buying the environmental story.
The card game is underway again. C.J. asks Will why he is heading to Wyoming - it turns out that two missile silo operators didn't respond to orders about what was perceived as an incoming missile, which turned out to be a meteor. Will is going to look into the missile procedures to see what can be done to avoid this from happening again.
Charlie sees Zoey on the portico and goes out to talk to her. He is still trying to convince her they should get back together. Zoey tells Charlie that Jean-Paul has invited her to go to France with him for three months after graduation.
In the Oval Office, the phone call is back on and Bartlet is still trying to sell the cover story, when finally the President tells Chigorin the truth and waits for the Russian President to discuss it and get back to him.
Josh finally figures out what it is about Joe - he is a Republican. Josh questions him about it - Joe tells Josh he is in the doghouse with members of the National Committee. Josh asks him a few more questions and then tells him that he is recommending that Leo hire him.
The President and Leo are watching the card game and Will has been doing some research on the egg / equinox. Ron Butterfield comes in to tell the assembled group the crash has been lifted. People begin to leave the room, leaving C.J. in the room alone - she takes an egg and stands it up on its end.
- Dulé Hill as Charlie Young
- Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg
- Joshua Malina as Will Bailey
- Janel Moloney as Donna Moss
- Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler
- John Spencer as Leo McGarry
- Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman
- and Martin Sheen as President Bartlet
Special Guest Stars
- Elisabeth Moss as Zoey Bartlet
- Michael O'Neill as Ron Butterfield
- NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper
- Renée Estevez as Nancy
- Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick
- Peter James Smith as Ed
- William Duffy as Larry
- Robert Alan Beuth as Translator
- J.P. Hubbell as Agent #1
- Bradley James as Agent #2 Donnie
- Willie Gault as Agent #3
- Jim Moret as Reporter
- Penny Griego as Anchor
- ❝ C.J. – All right. The President was in the Oval Office. We've initiated a standard lockdown procedure and are back to conducting the business of the nation... I'll ask him. [hangs up the phone, to Carol] He wants to know if the President wants to say something funny
- Carol – That's twice in four years, some of you guys must really be mad at me?
- C.J. – Something funnier than that, but yeah❞
- C.J. Cregg: The substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.
- Toby Ziegler: I think what he's asking is why, on most other nights, do you think the world's going to hell in a hula hoop, but tonight...
- C.J. Cregg: We dip twice and eat gefilte fish?
- Toby Ziegler: Suzy Creamcheese, do not attempt the Haggadah.
- C.J. Cregg: I know how to bless the soup, too.
- Will Bailey: Okay, I've searched "equinox" and "egg" and the news isn't good for the believers.
- C.J. Cregg: What sites did they send you to?
- Will Bailey: ThingsThatAreWrong.com.
- C.J. Cregg: There's no such site.
- ❝Josh – Why do you want to work here?
- Joe Quincy – I like public service. I want to serve. And you guys are the only ones left❞
- ❝[Of CJ's egg-balancing beliefs] You gotta ask yourself, if no one on the Internet wants a piece of this, just how far from the pack have you strayed?❞
- In one of the scenes, Toby calls C.J. Suzy Creamcheese. Suzy is a fictional character created by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Her ambiguous nature is referred to on the album Freak Out!, and Toby uses the term to signify that he doesn’t understand the mood that C.J. is in.
- Despite Will's search efforts, there are a number of pages discussing the Equinox Egg Balancing Myth, which derives from the Chinese New Year tradition of balancing eggs popularized by a 1945 Life magazine article.
- CJ parodies the famous "Four Questions" of the Haggadah ("Why is this night different from all other nights?")
- Krupin's [mentioned by Leo in the opening scenes] was a local DC landmark in upper Northwest DC, until Morty Krupin "hung up his apron" in 2010, retiring and closing the deli.
- The incident that is sending Will to Wyoming is similar to the opening scene in War Games. John Spencer plays one of the Air Force officers in the scene.
- When CJ Cregg is balancing the egg in the final scene, the clock on the wall says midnight (which, in the show, it is) but her wristwatch shows 4:35.
- Zoey Bartlet states her father was Governor of New Hampshire for eight years. A gubernatorial term in New Hampshire lasts only two years, and Bartlet was governor for two terms — four years in total.
- Zoey said she came back the White House to check on Charlie after the shooting, but she doesn't bother to inquire about her father, who obviously also works in the West Wing.
- Will describes the launch crew officers failing to launch Minuteman IIIs at potential incoming missiles. Minuteman is not an interceptor and would not be used for this purpose. Further, the launch offers would have no data on incoming threats or the authority to make an independent launch decision, they respond only to orders received in emergency action messages and the President is the only person who can order such a launch.
Notes and references