Bess comes up with a plan to release a group of Nigerian school girls from captivity
Credit: Sarah Shatz/CBS

The Jibral Disah problem is still happening in the background on Madam Secretary, but there’s a different terrorist group the State Department is dealing with this week.

Before we get to the Marburg virus and terrorism, let’s talk about the best part of the episode. Bess finally told Stevie that her choice in men has been pretty terrible over the years. Between the drug addict and the older gentleman, she probably should have figured that out on her own, but at least she has Jareth now. We like Jareth, minus the fact he shares his name with the Goblin King.

Now to the other issues at hand: The episode begins in Maroua, Cameroon, with a man named Chris Santumari, who’s trying to negotiate the release of 106 Nigerian school girls for five fighters of the Boko Haram terrorist group. The leader of the group, Hadi Bangote, laughs at the deal and casually threatens to murder one of the school girls if Chris doesn’t leave now. A man who kills innocent women is always a great start to Sunday night TV, right?

One of the major points in the episode is the fact that the US is trying to have these girls released, even though America “doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.” Chris was there negotiating on behalf of Iraq and later in the episode, they figure out a way to intervene for the Cameroon government. As long as it looks like someone else is negotiating with terrorists, it’s cool, I guess.

Chris gets back to America and is in a meeting with Jay to discuss what he learned of Hadi and Boko Haram when he drops to the floor. He accidentally contracted the Marburg virus. The virus — which according to the internet lives in African monkeys — can be fatal and attacks the body with a hemorrhagic fever. Needless to say, it’s not fun. Jay and several other members of the State Department are rushed to the hospital.

So now there’s an Ebola-like outbreak of this Marburg disease in Cameroon and if they don’t contain it, it’s going to spread like wildfire. Unfortunately the outbreak is where Boko Haram resides. They decide to send in a health team to treat people and the Cameroon ambassador promises that their military will be there to protect the aid workers.

Obviously that plan was going to hit a snag because most of the plans that Bess didn’t come up with fail.

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Right as the team is setting up and the military is securing the tents, a man comes in complaining of a fever and all the symptoms of the disease, except he’s a suicide bomber. Seven people died in the explosion and most of the survivors were infected with the disease.

Dalton’s only plan at this point is to send in the 82nd Airborne Division with hazmat suits so they can fight Boko Haram without contracting the disease. Everyone is pretty much against the plan, but Dalton says they need to go with that unless someone has a better plan to fix everything. I believe that’s Bess’ cue to step in and save the day as usual.

NEXT: Jibral slips away

It looks like Chris isn’t going to survive the virus, so Bess heads to the hospital to thank him for his service. When she gets there, she learns that they’ve injected him with an experimental drug that hadn’t been tested on humans yet. The drug actually works, but there are only three doses left in existence. Bess then realizes that Hadi had contracted the disease, which is why he wasn’t on a newly released video by Boko Haram. Her plan? She’s going to offer one of the three cures to him in exchange for letting them contain the disease in peace.

Naturally giving a cure to a terrorist over an innocent person is met with distaste, but it really is the only way to stop the outbreak. They send Chris back over to Cameroon and he makes the deal with Hadi, adding that if he wants the cure, he needs to release the 106 school girls, too. In the end they stopped the outbreak and saved the girls, so I guess making a deal with the devil worked out this time.

Elizabeth McCord, saving the world, one terrorist group at a time.

Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure Russell Jackson is going to have a heart attack before the season is over because of Jibral Disah.

Henry’s group suffered some set backs in their hunt for the Hizb-al Shahid leader. If you remember from last episode, Disah’s wife Hijriyyah opened the attachment in her email giving away her location to the group. They sent a drone over the compound, but there was no movement for a week. The group soon discovers there’s a secret tunnel in the compound leading to a local gas station. Trucks have been making stops there, meaning they’re bringing supplies in through the tunnel and there’s a good chance Disah is with them.

When they finally get a positive ID on Disah, they’re about to attack when one of Jose’s spies warns him that the Americans are about to attack. Disah jumps out of the truck at a market place and they lose him, again.

At the very end of the episode, Russell sends a team in to safely get Hijriyyah out of the compound before they blow it up. They want Jibral to think his wife was blown up, while she’s secretly working with them to take him down.

Now they just have to hope that Hijriyyah will help them.

It looks like next week Hizb-al Shahid will be back in the spotlight. According to the episode description, Bess will make a speech to the UN condemning the terrorist group. It looks like she wants to team up with Russia, but it creates drama with Henry, who’s trying to keep Dmitri’s sister safe. Bringing back the Dmitri issues may mean trouble in paradise for Henry and Bess.

Minor Debriefings:

  • Blake needed more lines this episode because you can never have too much Blake.
  • This episode seemed a bit dull in comparison to the rest of the season. Maybe they’re building up to an exciting season finale? They just seems to be filling episodes, saving the Jibral conclusion for the last episode.

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