“The Drop In” opens in the situation room, with Leo watching a missile defense exercise. Bartlet started the day by installing the ambassador to Thailand. Leo summons Bartlet to watch the missile interceptor, and as they walk to the situation room, Bartlet explains to Leo how he is the Charlie Brown of missile defense. The exercise fails, and Bartlet exits by saying to Leo, “Oh good grief.” Poor Leo.
After the opening credits, CJ is briefing the press on the ambassador installation, with a lot of ambassador trivia. She lets the corps know that the British ambassador position is open, setting the stage for an appearance by one of Leo’s favorite diplomats.
Sam appears, pitching the White House’s stance on global warming. While Toby was in Kansas City, Sam and other staff members discussed the president speaking at an environmental event known as the GDC. When Toby learns of this, he then begins down the warpath, to get this engagement off the agenda.
Donna then tells Josh that Sir John Marbury is the new British Ambassador to the United States, and this is one of the few time Josh is speechless. While Josh is “relaxing” behind his office door, Toby comes to feel Josh out on the environmental issue, and Josh sides with Toby.
Toby then proceeds to ask Leo why he didn’t stop this from happening. He and Leo then work out a strategy to create a drop in for the speech. Toby tells Leo he’s going to go around Sam, and that there will be about thirty seconds of admonishing the environmental lobby in the speech dropped in after Sam is done writing the speech. (Toby! This is an abuse of power. Sam is really, really smart– do you really think you can get away with this?)
Bartlet continues installing ambassadors, Leo comes in to talk to the president about the failure of the missile shield, and adding a drop in to admonish the environmentalists. Bartlet agrees to the drop in, and picks up from Toby that this is his agenda, and Sam is not to know. I don’t know that Sam was ever hyped up about the environment before, but wow, he’s turned tree-hugger this episode.
CJ is leaving the West Wing for a quick trip to NYC to accept an award and smooth things over with a comedian. As she leaves, Toby slips her a line she might need in the briefing after the GDC dinner and speech.
Lord John Marbury then bursts on the scene, and Leo starts to butter him up to endorse some missile shield funding. He’s immediately shot down, and Leo is back to loathing the man.
In NYC, CJ meets the comedian who is supposed to be hosting the Will Rogers dinner, where the president will be in attendance. As a loyal Bartlet supporter, although the Bartlet campaign has not supported him, he agrees not to host the dinner to avoid negative press for the president. You can tell our goddess does not feel tall talking to this guy who’s done nothing but supported the cause, but you also know she has a job to do.
Sam then calls Toby, telling him frantically that the president has “flown right off the speech.” Toby (a little too smoothly, I might add) feeds Sam a line, and Sam sadly watches the crowd clap as the president wraps up the speech, but not give him a standing ovation. When he returns to the White House, he catches CJ in the hall. When she gives Sam the same rhetoric as Toby, Sam knows he’s been had. Sam goes to the Oval Office, where Charlie bounces him out of the office with a head nod from Toby.
Toby has tailed Sam to a bar, where Toby tries to explain his position. Sam fights back, and brings up Toby’s fail at the leadership breakfast. Sam calls Toby “tragic and misguided,” and Toby tells Sam that the environmentalists need to grow up. They end up drinking next to each other in silence.
The episode closes with Bartlet installing Marbury as Great Britain’s Ambassador. They briefly touch on the missile shield and Marbury and Leo have a moment in the last seconds of the episosde:
Marbury: God Bless America.
Leo: God Save the Queen.