Toby. Oh Toby. How could you do this to me? My second favorite character, sometimes my favorite character if they haven't been doing enough with C.J. lately, and you breach national security, thereby guaranteeing that you will have to be fired from your job and written out of the show?
What a beautifully difficult pair of episodes. Leo, trying to find some way to protect the campaign, the administration, and his own neck all at once. C.J., pacing around her office after Toby makes his confession, knowing that it could mean her job and the credibility of the president if she says so much as a word to Toby. The lost and confused looks of everyone watching the dismantling and sealing of Toby's office. Will and C.J., when she basically orders him to take Toby's job, his shock and bewilderment, her barely controlled tears. And Toby and Bartlet, at their final confrontation, trying to take his last chance to be Jed's conscience -- and Jed won't allow it.
The question that remains for me is why. Not why the leak; I think he made his reasons pretty clear. Why the admission? Was he protecting the Santos campaign? Leo? C.J.? The president? If he truly cared about protecting Bartlet and the administration, he wouldn't have leaked the story in the first place. And given his history of fighting for principled losers, I doubt that the presidential campaign was his primary concern. No, I think it was most likely a desire to save C.J. from having to take the bullet. That's why he confessed, and that's why he confessed to C.J. -- he wanted her to be first to know. I think I feel worst for C.J., really. We've been set up since the end of last season to think that she was the leak, and I was convinced of her guilt until her conversation with Babish three or so episodes ago, when she seemed genuinely astonished to be the main target of the probe. So to be facing a searing investigation, then suddenly to learn that one of her closest friends was responsible all long -- ugh. How wrenching.
Will we ever see Toby again? From time to time, perhaps, but his life as a regular on the show is almost certainly done. And that's the hardest part. A Bartlet administration without Toby? A West Wing without Richard Schiff, being surly and angry and snarky and right? Oh Toby. I know why you did it. I might even agree with your reasons. But I am going to miss you.