Transition (Episode 719)
First Aired: Sunday, 23rd April, 2006
Writer: Peter Noah
Director: Nelson McCormick

Are You Going To Be Around?
Back seat of car / palatial-style room. Josh (in the car) and Donna (in a meeting with the First Lady-in-waiting) discuss the fact that they need to have a discussion.

DONNA: (her mobile rings as she and the First Lady-in-waiting review floor plans of potential transition residences for the First Family) Excuse me, Ma'am.
HELEN: Did you just "Ma'am" me?
DONNA: I--I seem to have.
HELEN: Don't do that again. (they both laugh)
DONNA: (standing up and walking away) Hello?
JOSH: Hey!
JOSH: How you doing?
DONNA: Okay ... what did Sam say?
JOSH: Oh, he's thinking.
DONNA: That's good.
JOSH: Yeah, I guess.
DONNA: You didn't expect him to say yes just like that?
JOSH: (sighs) Kinda.
DONNA: I'm sure he's got stuff to figure out.
JOSH: What stuff? It's service to the President--what stacks up against that?
DONNA: Not everyone's like you ... so--
JOSH: (thinking he's impressed her) Dedicated?
DONNA: --monomaniacal. (Josh frowns; Donna walks further away from the First Lady-in-waiting for additional privacy) Was there, um ... something else?
JOSH: (his eyebrows practically shoot off his forehead as he tries to figure out what to say and how to say it) There must have been something ... (he closes his eyes) ... oh yeah, um ... are you going to be around?
DONNA: (quickly) When?
JOSH: You know, generally? (he grimaces as if he's almost as scared of her answer as his own lack of finesse)
DONNA: (trying to sound assertive to belie her vulnerability) Yes ... generally, I--I--I'm going to be around.
JOSH: At some point, we should probably ...
DONNA: (smiles in relief) Yeah.
JOSH: Talk?
DONNA: (closes her eyes and smiles and nods) That'd be good.
JOSH: About, you know ... at some point.
DONNA: At some point would be good.
JOSH: (awkwardly; like a teenage boy who has successfully asked out his crush and doesn't know how to smoothly end the conversation (his voice even cracks a little!)) Okay, then ... (nodding) ... Okay.
DONNA: Have a good flight.
JOSH: Yeah, you too. (he immediately realises his mistake and cringes) I mean--not you too ... obviously ...

Who Said Anything About Talking?
Josh's apartment, evening. Drained after his long day in California, Josh throws down his bags, takes off his jacket and falls down on his couch, eyes closed, sighing. No sooner has he done so, when a knock at the door interrupts his rest. He slowly gets up and makes his way over to the door, then opens it to reveal ...

JOSH: When I said we needed to talk, I wasn't necessarily thinking about tonight--I'm kind of fried.
DONNA: (crossing the threshhold) Who said anything about talking?
(Before he can answer her, she kisses him rather passionately--much moaning and heavy breathing can be heard. With a little help from Josh, Donna's coat falls to the floor and they both kick the door shut behind them, perfectly in synch, without even pausing for breath ...)

Be Still And Listen To Me
Josh's apartment, early morning. In his boxers and an undershirt, Josh sits at his living room table in front of his laptop. Donna emerges in the hallway (presumably from the bedroom), fully dressed.

DONNA: Morning ... almost.
JOSH: On the education plan, do we hit full on, or do we step it out? Start with teacher tenure--get some traction before we try extending the school year. (Donna crosses in front of him to the couch) These Conservatives are already laying it for us. (Donna puts on her scarf) They're comparing it to avoiding the word "Christmas", which I don't begin to understand.
DONNA: (puts on her coat) How long have you been up?
JOSH: Oh, you know.
DONNA: I don't actually. (smiles) Why I asked.
JOSH: Uh ... couple of hours.(Donna crosses back over to the table beside him and picks up her mobile phone) So, last night was--was nice. (Donna smiles) Nice ... it was--it was ... (he closes his eyes, foraging around for the right word) ... really nice. On the nice scale, it was way up there in terms of, you know, (he grins at her from ear-to-ear) ... niceness.
DONNA: Be still and listen to me. (she sits down beside him) I don't know what this is. (beat) And you don't either, which is perfectly fine and understandable. Whatever the buildup, it's all happened amid absurdly heightened emotional circumstances--the election, Leo's death--there's been ... not a moment to so much as ... take a breath, much less figure any of this out. And now this rollercoaster's plunging into the transition, with its time-pressure demands and then the inauguration and it's hit the ground running and the first hundred days, and before you know it, the midterms and the new Congress and then we're running again and four years becomes eight, and ... we've never had the talk. And you can lose that look of panic in your eyes--we're not going to have it now; we don't ever have to have it. (Josh doesn't look panicked as much as he looks scared, and a little sad) But there's a window. (she looks down for a moment, then back up at him) I'd say four weeks. (she smiles sadly) If we can't get it together in that time to figure out what we want from each other, then clearly, it's not worth the trouble. (Josh continues to stare at her, not saying a word, but looking very much like he knows he might lose her) And while last night was lovely, I've already called a cab. (she zips up her handbag and stands up) You should put on some coffee, and I'll see you at the office. (she leans down to give him a gentle, reassuring kiss before leaving--the sound of the door opening and closing is heard)
JOSH: (he remains frozen for a moment or two after the door closes) ... Bye!

This isn't as much to do with Josh-and-Donna as it is to do with Josh, and ... Donna.

Is He Having Any ... Fun?
OEOB, Santos's office. Donna knocks at the door after Santos calls her at her desk.

SANTOS: Come in, Donna.
DONNA: Mr President-Elect.
SANTOS: Josh seem all right to you?
DONNA: Uh ... a little tired.
SANTOS: He looks like a zombie.
DONNA: (laughs) He may be going through a bit of an undead phase.
SANTOS: So, you've seen him like this before?
DONNA: Hard to say--he--he can get, uh, pretty tunnel visioned.
SANTOS: I think he needs to ... power down a little. Is he seeing anybody? Is he having any ... fun?
DONNA: (the slightly nervous, slightly embarrassed, slightly uncomfortable look on her face is priceless) Sir?
SANTOS: (apologetically, as he gets up from behind his desk and walks towards her) That's weird to ask.
DONNA: No--no ... I have ... no idea.
SANTOS: I'm just worried about him.
DONNA: It's just him. Truly. He's just amped up to a particular peak of Josh-ness. (she smiles)
SANTOS: (smiles back) Thank you. (he backtracks to his desk as Donna continues to smile awkwardly and walks towards the door) Don't tell him I asked.
DONNA: Oh, of course not, Sir.

Donna isn't in this scene, nor is she even mentioned, but you just know she's on Josh's mind as he absorbs Lou's comment.

That's True ... Look At You
OEOB, Josh's office. Without meaning to, Lou hits a home truth when Josh tries to convince her to take the Communications Director post.

JOSH: Campaigning's about promise. Governing's about achievement. It's--it's tougher, and a lot less romantic, but it's not boring. I already think you're smarter than everyone, that's why I want you down the hall. Come on, it's not like getting a life.
LOU: That's true ... look at you. (Josh looks truly disturbed by what she has just said, and the camera continues to focus on him as she continues speaking) ... We'd have to distill the Democratic message from what we ran on, customise it and prioritise it for the first 100 days and not allow the Republicans to mischaracterise and demonise us as values-impaired ...

We'll See
Corridors of the OEOB. Donna meets up with Josh as he puts on his jacket, and they walk and talk.

DONNA: You look terrible.
JOSH: You know, I never get tired of hearing that.
DONNA: (smiles) Mrs Santos asked me to be her Chief of Staff.
JOSH: (he stops in his tracks and turns around) Wow! That's ... great.
DONNA: I'm to think it over.
JOSH: I wanted to talk to you. I--I was thinking Deputy Press Secretary. Lou's going to be Communications Director, so it'd be an extension of what we had on the campaign.
DONNA: One thing I know for sure is, I can't work for you. (she shakes her head, and Josh's brow furrows in concern) If something's happening with us personally, it won't work, and if something isn't--well, that won't work so good, either. (she smiles)
JOSH: Yeah, about that ... (he moves around in front of her) ... um ... things are insane. There's no way I'm going to be able to get a handle on what's going on between the two of us in the time frame you laid out.
DONNA: Three weeks, six days to go ... we'll see. (she smiles, standing her ground)
JOSH: (his mobile phone rings) I--I--I got to ... (he gestures to his phone and walks away to take the call, as Donna stares after him)

Again, not literally a Josh-and-Donna scene, but very figuratively a Josh-and-Donna scene; if there's one scene that ever summed up Josh's state of mind over the past seven seasons, this is it ...

I Don't Know If That's Really How I Want It, Or If It's Just Some Borderline Or Not-So-Borderline Pathetic Pathologic Avoidance Thing
OEOB, Santos's office. In front of Santos and Sam, Josh (finally!) figures a few things out.

JOSH: Sir, uh, this is Sam Seaborn. He'll be covering for me this next week.
SANTOS: Sorry?
JOSH: Goodwin's doing the transition, I've set some Senior Staff, Sam knows the players for the rest. In any event, none of our candidates are going anywhere--it's not like they're going to take Director of Cabinet Affairs jobs in the Benelux countries. (Santos smiles) Lou will be honing our message plan. Um, I ... yelled at Otto for no reason--I haven't had a vacation in, well, basically, ever, and I will be better able to serve you and your Presidency, not to mention the country, if I ... unfog my head. Sam's ... getting married.
SANTOS: Congratulations.
SAM: Thank you.
JOSH: Lou's right--I have no life. And I--I don't know if that's really how I want it, or if it's just some borderline or not-so-borderline pathetic pathologic avoidance thing. If it's ... you know ... okay with you.
SANTOS: If it didn't involve a motorcade, I'd drive you to the airport myself.
JOSH: (whispers, with his hand over his heart) Thank you, Sir. (he leaves)

The Going With You Part Was All Me
Airplane. Amid passengers decked out in loud Hawaiian shirts, Josh finds his seat and sits down alone, but not for long ...

(Josh stares out the window, then turns his head and leans into Donna as she slides into the seat next to him)
JOSH: (whispers) Hey.
DONNA: (huskily) May I just say, a truly excellent notion?
JOSH: Sam's.
DONNA: (laughs softly) Of course.
JOSH: The vacation. The going with you part was all me.
(Josh looks the happiest he's been in a long time as Donna leans over and kisses him. As they prepare to ride off into the sunset together, the camera pans over to the window and segues into the next scene--Josh's vibrating BlackBerry, symbolic of all he's left behind, which falls off a table and on to the floor.)

Many thanks to The West Wing Collection for the wonderful screencaps!