The episode otherwise known as 'Why Everyone Should Listen to Madeleine Albright.'
Credit: Sarah Shatz/CBS
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“If you’re going to go down, then you’ve got to fight hard and you’ve got to hit them where it hurts.”

Move over Morgan Freeman, Madeleine Albright stole your spotlight on Madam Secretary this week. Elizabeth McCord solicits advice from the former Secretary of State when she starts to feel like she’s losing influence over President Dalton, now that Craig Sterling is lurking around with terrible ideas. I have a strong suspicion I will be bashing Sterling a lot throughout the season, so prepare yourselves for that.

Besides Madeleine Albright’s amazing minute in the spotlight, where she super casually mentions grabbing lunch with “Condi” (Condoleezza Rice), this episode has two main plotlines: Russia is in serious trouble and America’s failure to grant visas to Afghan citizens working for the US. Let’s start with the visa situation.

The show opens with US State Department employee, Tom Garrity, being kidnapped in Afghanistan by what the team thinks is a terrorist group — Taliban, ISIS, etc. — so Elizabeth puts the embassy on it and puts the kidnapping on high alert. However, soon after, she receives a video saying that the three kidnappers want to speak with her directly and has four hours to call them.

Of course Sterling has convinced President Dalton not to let her speak with them because “we don’t negotiate with terrorists,” except for the fun fact that they aren’t even terrorists. The three kidnappers are actually three Afghans who were contracted by the US and promised visas to America for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, they have been denied seven different times over 11 years and were scrambling to come up with a plan since the Taliban found out they were working with the US and are coming after them — and their families.

With Russia’s help, they find the location where the three Afghans are holding Garrity and send a seal team to get them. The bad news? The Taliban knows too and it becomes a race to the location. The seal team and the Taliban pretty much get there at the same time. Shots are firing everywhere as the US grabs Garrity. Elizabeth argues that they need to save the Afghans, but Sterling says they have their man and should leave.

Dalton decides to evacuate, leaving the men behind for the Taliban to kill. I blame Craig for this and so does Secretary McCord. Like I said, Craig is the worst.

NEXT: Drama in Russia

Russian President Ostrov is missing and everyone is speculating on his whereabouts throughout the episode. Also, in case you forgot, we met Ostrov last season when he took Henry hunting with him, hence the joke about the President getting caught by a Siberian tiger. I prefer the tummy tuck theory, but in any case his disappearance has caused quite a stir. Things get even more suspicious when Russian Foreign Minister Gorev randomly pops into DC.

With Ostrov missing, the US is deciding which leader to back as his replacement in the case of his death: Gorev or General Doroshevich (the guy who Henry and the DIA are trying to spy on). Personally, Gorev sounds better to me at the moment, but I’m not politically inclined.

The debate was put to rest when Ostrov was finally spotted at a parade in St. Petersburg.

Onto Henry though, because he’s intertwined in the Russia drama. We find out that Dmitri is going back to Russia because his sister has cancer, which pretty much messes up Henry’s whole plan to bring him in as a spy. They decide to bribe him into working with the DIA by offering a medical trial to his sister. But Dmitri gets very upset about because he refuses to betray Russia, and Henry realizes that he’s lost him.

In the final moments of the episode, Gorev shows up at Elizabeth’s house and asks her and Henry to keep an eye on his daughter if something should happen to him. He reveals that President Ostrov is dead, leading us to believe that Gorev was probably behind it somehow.

Henry uses the information to force Dmitri’s hand and agree to become a spy. I have to be honest here, I feel awful for Dmitri. This poor kid just wants to care for his dying sister and now he’s about to become a traitor to his country? Damn you, Henry! If you weren’t so damn sexy when you persuade people, I would be very mad at you right now.

Minor Debriefings:

  • The guy who plays Cyrus Beene’s prostitute husband, Michael, on Scandal made a cameo as Lieutenant Colonel Mike Wilkerson. I was excited about it as a Shonda Rhimes junkie.
  • Speaking of junkies, Harrison may still be doing heroin and they lose Stevie for the day. We then learn that she ditched class to take the LSAT because she has no idea what she wants to do in life and she felt like a screw up. Also, I checked, and the LSAT is administered four times a year and you’re not allowed to just walk-in the day of and register. Maybe she name dropped her mom, but I still don’t think it just happened to be one of those four days of the year.
  • All hail the magical talking stick.

Episode Recaps

Madam Secretary
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