Well, the theme of tonight's episode is "housecleaning," I guess. First, the Santos campaign decides to fire some staffers (sorry, Ted/Ned), then it's time to bid farewell to one of the show's best characters. Godspeed, Toby Ziegler. Not only was Toby the moral compass of the Bartlet administration for seven years, actor Richard Schiff was brilliant as the often sullen, occasionally sanctimonious, but always lovable Toby. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed with his departure. America's favorite liberal lion not named Kennedy went out like a bit of a lamb. I really expected more of a full-throated defense of leaking the shuttle info. The whole episode was more of a whimper than a bang until Toby headed into the Oval Office. Now, we knew the meeting with the president was going to be brutal, but wow! I half-expected Bartlet to rip off Toby's epaulets and punch his hat. And that final zinger about not thinking Toby is a hero? That's gonna leave a mark. The final sequence of Toby being wordlessly escorted out of the White House is an absolute heartbreaker. A TV character hasn't made a more ignominious exit since Chuck Cunningham wandered off the set of Happy Days. And I guess Ellie picked a good night to tell her dad she was knocked up, huh?
In the end, I think Oliver Babish is right: If the president won't do it, somebody should thank Toby. The same goes for Richard Schiff. I know I speak for West Wing fans everywhere when I say, "Thank you for your service."