The season premiere of Madam Secretary opens with a slew of coincidental events leading to Elizabeth McCord being sworn in as acting president by none other than Morgan Freeman.
It took the CBS drama quite a number of episodes to really get its feet off the ground in the first season. The characters didn’t quite mesh together well and it seemed like each of them didn’t really know how to play up their quirks or interact with one another. If you’ve stuck through to season 2, that all changes in the premiere episode. Maybe it was Morgan Freeman’s TV directorial debut that pushed everyone to perfect form? Because finally, these characters have developed the connections that make you wish you were a part of the team.
“The Show Must Go On” opens with a political golf game — because in the world of politics you can’t be the president or vice president without putting skills, it’s pretty much a mandate. Right before the veep tees off with the Chinese foreign minister he gets violently ill. Nothing like a little throw-up before tee-off to set the mood of the entire episode.
Soon after that we learn that all communications are lost with Air Force One somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, even though one brave soul continuously mentions how it’s impossible for the system on the Air Force One to just fail (but no one listens). Of course President Dalton is on board.
Therefore, it’s time to call in an acting president, which is supposed to be Senator Gates, but since he believes Ronald Reagan is the current president, all eyes turn to our Madam Secretary. Again, I feel it is important to remind you that Morgan Freeman swore her into office because how often does Morgan Freeman grace us with his presence on TV? The answer is not often enough.
Elizabeth finds out that the current National Security Adviser is stepping down and she wasn’t consulted to help find a replacement. In fact, a man named Craig Sterling is on board the missing Air Force One with the President and apparently has already accepted the position. Back in the day when Elizabeth was in the CIA, she knew Sterling and is not so subtle about her distaste for him, meaning there’s going to be some major drama this season with him. You can already feel the tension.
On top of her presidential duties, there is a very important talent show event at the Pacific Rim Economic Forum and it would be very offensive if Elizabeth did not sing at said talent show. The bad news? She’s tone deaf and terrified to sing. Somehow though, her entire staff know how to perfectly harmonize, but more on that later.
NEXT: Oh, Henry![pagebreak]
Let’s talk about good old professor Henry McCord, who took a new job last season as a teacher at the National War College. Just a quick reminder: Henry was hesitant to take the job because he knew he would have to work with the Defense Intelligence Agency behind the scenes, but Russell pretty much forced his hand. Now we see him in the new job, sparking debates, doing his hot professor thing, but he’s already being taken into secret meetings with his DIA handler Jane Fellows.
They basically ask him to assess the personality of one of his Russian military students, Ivan, (also a closeted homosexual) to see if it’s possible to blackmail him into being an asset for the United States. As you can imagine, Henry is pissed about it — yet he knew this was coming. He decides that Ivan isn’t good and recommends they look at Dmitri Petrov, who based of his background, would be better because blackmailing is essentially a terrible idea. Now Henry is tasked with bringing him in and being his handler. I assume this plotline will go pretty deep into the season, but at least we have a general idea of what’s up next for Henry.
With a brief thought that she might have to shoot the plane down, Elizabeth gets word that everyone on the plane is alive and well.
Secretary McCord is off to the talent show, where she pretty much has a panic attack over singing onstage. Let’s analyze this because she just ran the entire country for a day, but can’t handle belting out a few tunes. Makes sense. Luckily her team is full of professional singers and they get up on stage and sing Billy Joel’s “For The Longest Time,” complete with political puns.
In the final moments, we learn that the communication loss was due to a malware virus. See someone should have listened to the dude earlier when he tried to tell them it couldn’t have been a spontaneous loss of power. The final line uttered by Elizabeth, “This was an act of war,” has us all wondering who was trying to kill the President of The United States.
Elizabeth and Henry learn that Stevie and the President’s son have been hooking up in hotel rooms and are not cool with it. Probably because he’s a recovering heroin addict. At this point it’s a coin toss over who’s worse for Stevie: Her 40-something boss or the recovering addict. I have a feeling there’s more of this to come this season.
Since Conrad didn’t consult with her before hiring Craig Sterling, Elizabeth took it upon herself to pardon journalist Erica James, who was jailed for not revealing her sources. As she so gracefully tells an inquiring Russell about the release, “Don’t worry about it, the President can do whatever the hell she wants.”