Madam Secretary recap: Hijriyyah
Madam Secretary again revolves around Hizb al-Shahid and finding its mysterious leader, Jibral Disah. We have all the time in the world to talk about that because it looks like the rest of the season may be dedicated to the topic, which is why I first want to talk about Jareth, “the Goblin King.”
Between her older boss and the drug-addicted son of the president, Stevie’s had her fair share of bad boyfriends — but now there’s Jareth (played by Chris O’Shea). He’s British, adorable, and although we didn’t get a glimpse, he probably does have a cute butt indeed. Hopefully they keep him around for awhile because I could listen to him talk all day long.
Stevie invites him to dinner with the family, but as usual more important things are happening, so Bess, Henry, and Alison all miss the occasion. The tense dinner includes some burnt risotto and Jason revealing to Jareth that Henry was in the hospital. Stevie finally tells him that they were in the explosion and that’s why she’s been blowing him off. I have a hard time believing the media didn’t report on the fact that the Secretary of State’s husband and children were in the bombing. If John Kerry’s wife and daughters were at an event where a bomb went off and exposed to subsequent radiation poisoning, the world would know about it… but all right let’s go ahead and believe Jareth had no idea where his girlfriend was.
After an awkward dinner, Stevie assumes Jareth will never speak to her again. But he’s not a jerk, so he shows up with scones for the whole family in the morning. He makes a David Bowie-Labyrinth joke and is almost instantaneously McCord-approved. Congratulations Stevie, it’s about damn time.
Now back to the drama at hand. In case you forgot, Henry has been asked to join a top secret intelligent group tasked with finding and terminating Jibral Disah, the man behind the US bombing. We meet the team, given the not-so-great nickname Murphy Station, which is comprised of Henry, Jane Fellows, Mimi Jacobs, and Jose Campos. They had to make some tough decisions this week, including a decision that led to a death of a team member, but in return they are one step closer to finding Disah.
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The episode opened with a boat of 243 Libyan refugees attempting to flee to Italy, but are caught in a dangerous storm. One of the men, Moussa al-Mukhtar, says he has information about Disah, which convinces Italy to make the journey to rescue the boat. The US has 20 minutes to decide whether or not to take him seriously. He tells them Hizb al-Shahid blindfolded him, brought him to the desert, and forced him to fix a car. He said that he was with one of his wives, but her face was covered. He kept mentioning red clay, which was oddly specific. They assume he’s lying because Disah’s two wives haven’t left Saudi Arabia since the bombing. They give him back to the Italians and send them back to Libya.
However, Henry soon realizes that he was telling the truth because a CIA informant, Shamekh, mentioned in an interview that Disah would make frequent visits to an area of Libya known for their red clay flats. Now they have to stop the Italian ship from dropping Moussa off in Libya, where he will be back under Hizb al-Shahid’s control. Naturally, Italy is pissed at the change so they tell the US that they will bring back the refugees, but now all 243 of them are America’s problem.
NEXT: Elizabeth McCord v. Arizona
Shamekh says he has information on Disah and wants $5 million in exchange for talking. They send Mimi to Libya to deal with it, which as we all know, doesn’t go so smoothly. In a very stressful scene, Shamekh has a bomb strapped to his chest that detonates killing everyone around, including Mimi.
Henry figures out that right before the explosion Shamekh yells “Hijriyyah,” which is the key to the puzzle. Hijriyyah turns out to be the name of the woman that Moussa saw Disah with when he was fixing the car. I had to rewind a few times to make sure I was understanding this next part, but in the simplest terms: Hijriyyah is the daughter of Idris Al Bouri, a warlord who pledged his allegiance to Disah one day before Moussa saw him in the desert. It turns out that Hijriyyah is Disah’s new bride, making her his third wife. The wedding was kept a secret, meaning Disah cares for the girl and in turn the US can use her as leverage. Find Hijriyyah, find Disah. “Murphy Station” now has a plan.
As we start to get close to the end of the season, we can assume that things are only going to keep getting more and more dramatic, especially with Henry in this new role. It’s going to be interesting to see how the hunt for Disah affects him. As we all know, Henry gets very invested in people and situations.
Now onto Bess’ drama of the episode.
Having grown up in Arizona, I am all too familiar with the conservative immigration stance from politicians there, so for me at least, this plotline was quite entertaining (and not to mention accurate).
Despite Daisy’s attempts to keep the refugee swap under wraps, Arizona Senator Carlos Morejon figures out what’s going on and is planning a press conference because he has opinions on the topic. Even though his family fled to America from Cuba, doesn’t mean anyone else gets to seek refuge here. Bess makes sure to remind him of that, too.
Although they keep Morejon quiet for the moment he strikes back by suing the president. In classic Bess fashion she shows up and reminds the Arizona senator that the president is allowed to take in refugees as he sees fit. She also reminds him that the president pledged to accept 20,000 Libyan refugees and that he has the power to choose which state they go to. They would feel right at home in the desert of Arizona.
There’s nothing like a good Bess take-down, am I right?
It looks like we have another Sunday without Madam Secretary next week and then the show will return on March 20. Henry will be busy searching for Hijriyyah, while Bess checks out colleges with Alison. According to the press release, there’s a character named “Douche Guy,” which can only mean exciting things.
- My favorite line from tonight’s episode was Jason telling Jareth to get out while he can. Jason with the comic relief since Blake was pretty much MIA tonight.
- Does the Arizona senator look familiar? It’s because José Zúñiga has literally guest starred on every TV show ever.