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'Madam Secretary' recap: 'Unity Mode'

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Sarah Shatz/CBS

Madam Secretary

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
2
run date:
09/21/14
performer:
Tea Leoni, Geoffrey Arend, Tim Daly
broadcaster:
CBS
genre:
Drama

Madam Secretary welcomes viewers back with an explosion and two major deaths and they give us pretty much all the answers we need before the opening credits roll. 

Let me start with a brief recap of how the show ended before the hiatus. After finding out that Maria Ostrov killed her husband, Bess and Dalton use the information to leverage a peace deal with the Russian leader. In the process they gave up Dmitri’s name and signed a deal. As they were leaving the peace talks, a man fired an explosive, leaving us all to wonder, who’s going to die? 

Ding dong, the witch is dead. 

We’ve been waiting for Maria Ostrov to be murdered for months now and somehow, they chose the one time we don’t want her dead to be killed. Thanks, Lori and Barbara!

Bess and Dalton manage to get out of the explosion unharmed and soon learn that a Ukrainian nationalist group led by a man named Olek Zelinski was taking responsibility for her death. Why is it that every time the US tries to fix something or help Ukraine, they always manage to do something super annoying to mess it all up? I understand the politics of why they need to stand by Ukraine, but it’s pretty infuriating. At this point they don’t believe the Ukraine government is involved with the attack, but knowing Bozek and the threats Foreign Minister Melnik made, I wouldn’t be too surprised. 

Elizabeth tries to convince General Doroshevich to honor the peace deal that Maria signed before her death, but he tells her after they mourn their loss (three days’ time), they will strike back against Ukraine. 

Bess stops Melnik’s plane in Switzerland and has an even less successful conversation with him about the attack. He claims the Ukrainian government had nothing to do with it and they have no idea where Zelinski is hiding. Bess basically tells him to get off his ass, find Zelinski, and turn him over to Russia before the war resumes. She also casually threatens terrorism charges for hacking Air Force One if he doesn’t get on board with the plan. Go, Bess! 

Meanwhile, as you can imagine, Henry is having a rough time dealing with Dmitri’s capture. In an attempt to keep his word to Dmitri he tries to convince his sister to go to America where she can stay safe, but she declines. 

Now for the worst news of the episode: The DIA confirms that Dmitri is dead. 

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Seriously? Maybe I’m in a state of denial, but I am not 100 percent convinced that he’s gone. It seemed so fast and they built him up to be a major character and we don’t even get to see him one last time? Something seems off with the way that went down. 

Clearly Henry doesn’t handle the news well and we see him struggle with it throughout the episode. In the end, he quits the DIA, which is probably a smart move. While he’s good at being a handler and his instincts are obviously good when it comes to people, he did get too close to Dmitri and the situation. That’s one of Henry’s best qualities despite it being bad for the DIA, and I don’t want to see the best parts of Henry change over a job that kind of sucks. 

The US finds Zelinski before Ukraine does (because apparently they can’t do anything on their own) and lose six war heroes in the process. They give Zelinski to Ukraine and instruct them hand him over to Russia to prove they weren’t involved with the attack, hopefully salvaging the peace deal. Melnik reluctantly agrees after Bess threatened to pull US advisers out of Ukraine. 

On top of all the drama surrounding Maria Ostrov’s death, Bess also has to attempt to make a deal between China and Russia. As if her job weren’t hard enough, right?

NEXT: Houston, we have a problem

[pagebreak]

Nadine’s fling, Glenn, reveals that a North Korean satellite exploded causing debris to damage the International Space Station, trapping six astronauts on board. In the simplest terms, three Russian cosmonauts are trapped on one end in a pressurized safe area, while one Japanese and two American astronauts are trapped on the other side without suits. Essentially the suits that are already up there are too bulky to pass over to the trapped passengers.

The Russians are planning on sending up an unmanned ship for their three men to get out and come home, but China has special space suits that can be taken apart in small pieces and put back together. The suits could save the three other passengers. 

Bess’ task: Convince China to give Russia three suits, then convince Russia to put the suits on their ship. 

The problem? The US blocked China from participating in the ISS and now they need help saving it. Awkward. 

China agrees to give the suits over as long as the US recognizes China as space partners, allow technology sharing, and let them use ISS. Russia agrees to let the suits go up as long as they get sole credit for saving the astronauts. Finally, everyone agrees to the terms. It’s kind of amazing how six lives are on the line and all anyone can think about is themselves. Politics, am I right?

What happened next was pretty amazing, though. In a live feed of the mission, it showed ground control warning the Russian cosmonauts that there was too much debris to try and save the other three. They urged them not to attempt a rescue, even the Americans told them not to try, but the Russians refused to back down. 

Finally … we get a moment of real peace between Russia and the US. 

At the very end Bess and Dalton sit down to talk with General Doroshevich and interim president, Prime Minister Salnikov. “I’m getting tired of sending good people to their deaths,” Dalton says. The new president agrees and it seems like they finally might find a compromise. We don’t know much about the new guy yet, but so far he seems like he may be a decent leader for Russia. Unfortunately, he’s not the official president yet, so I imagine that while we ended on a good note this week, things aren’t over yet. 

Before I wrap this up, I want to talk about what’s happening with Bess and Henry. Their relationship is clearly strained after everything that happened, and yet, somehow, they are still the best couple in the history of the world. They take time to process things and then sit down (or in this case take a walk) and talk about things rationally. 

Plus, my heart pretty much melted when Henry said, “You’re not getting rid of me that easy.”

Minor Debriefings: 

  • As a kid who grew up in public schools, I find it absurd that Bess and Henry have to volunteer or Allison gets kicked out of a school they probably pay a ton of money for her to attend. Does the Dean not watch the news? Bess is busy trying to stop World War III and was almost just blown up. They need to back off. 
  • Best line of the episode: “If you think I’m bluffing you little son of a bitch, try me.” #nailedit 
  • We need more Blake. I know that this show is about Elizabeth McCord, but they could dedicate more time to the secondary characters and their lives outside of the state department. I would like to see more of their personal lives. Am I the only one?

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