Madam Secretary recap: Waiting For Taleju
The drama with Russia was put on hold this week while the Secretary dealt with matters a little closer to home.
At this point tons of people have sent risqué photos to someone. Unfortunately for Stevie, when you’re the daughter of the Secretary of State and you’re dating the president’s son, you have to be extra careful about stuff like that getting out (as many celebrities learned in the massive nude leak of 2014). The best policy is not to take these photos in the first place, and Stevie figures that out the hard way this episode.
Elizabeth is already in a bad mood because of Craig Sterling (shocking, right?), when Daisy comes in to inform her that she’s received an email with a photo of Stevie and Harrison in bed together. The email, sent anonymously to various publications states, “Available for sale. See teaser photo below.” The teaser photo, while relatively tame, provides proof that the seller is ready to give out more photos to the highest bidder.
Before Bess gets a chance to talk to Henry about the photo, Russell Jackson calls her in and tries to put together a plan to shut the scandal down before more photos of the ex-couple leaks. By the way, although they never officially broke up on screen, this episode definitely confirms that Stevie and Harrison are dunzo. While the team is working on killing the photos, Daisy suggests that in light of the situation, everyone should probably go through and delete things that they wouldn’t want out there, leading to one of the best quotes of the night from Matt: “So, if I’m on Tinder, that’s not a problem, right?”
Elizabeth and Henry sit down with Stevie to break the news prompting her to say, “Harrison said he was going to delete them. He promised me.” Maybe he meant it, but she put a lot of trust into someone who a) she’d only been dating for a few weeks, b) is someone who was lying to her about his drug use, and c) is a person who didn’t password protect his phone. Harrison is strangely absent this episode despite the entire episode revolving around him and Stevie.
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Henry goes on CSPAN2 to talk about his book and is attacked by a caller who questions his expertise on morality and ethics when there are nude photos of his daughter on the web. Normally the rational parent, Henry loses it on live TV and goes off into a wonderful speech about what a terrible person that caller is and who could blame him really? It’s impossibly hard not to give into trolls who are attacking your family, especially on live TV, even if it is only 100 people watching CSPAN2 in the middle of a work day.
Conrad learns that the photos were stolen and released by a disgruntled former security service agent who was let go a little while back. In Stevie’s most mature moment to date, she decides to sit down with the agent Ronald and speak to him like an adult about his actions to hurt her. “I just wanted to get to know you as a person so I wouldn’t reduce you to one stupid thing that you did.” She’s starting to sound a lot like her mother, no?
For now, the photos are gone. Let’s just hope they stay that way.
NEXT: Bess to the rescue
As we know from earlier episodes in the season, Elizabeth is struggling to keep her voice heard in the White House and losing the deal between Russia and Ukraine last week was a horrible loss for the Secretary. It pushed her out of the decision-making process and is making it much harder for her to solve problems and save the day like she normally does.
So where are we with Russia? Besides a harmless tabloid story about Maria Ostrov and Elizabeth McCord, Conrad blames Bess for every single problem happening in Russia. As we learned during the incredibly awkward dinner at the White House, Conrad is not about to let it go anytime soon.
Besides the Stevie drama, this episode is really about helping Nepal and Craig Sterling’s defense initiative. After a disaster, Nepal is counting on the US to pass a disaster relief bill, which is set to pass in the beginning, but is reversed because of the photo scandal. Just like that, thousands of lives are in danger in Nepal. Bess has to break the news to Nepal’s most spiritual figure, the Kumari, that she won’t be able to help.
A quick history lesson: The Kumari is a pre-pubescent girl, selected as a child to be worshiped by Hindus and Buddhists. They believe that the Kumari is an incarnation of the goddess Taleju. A new Kumari takes over as soon as the current Kumari hits puberty. A royal Kumari is not allowed to walk outside of their palace, but must be carried, because her feet are sacred. The reason they remain silent is because showing emotion can mean different things and silence is a sign that their wishes have been granted.
That being said, after Elizabeth breaks the bad news, the Kumari blesses her anyway.
Meanwhile, we also learn China is building a new weather station in the Arctic, which seems relatively harmless, except Craig Sterling is convinced Russia and China are working together. The one thing I will agree with Sterling on this episode is that they are very ill-equipped when it comes to cyber attacks. Bess is tasked with somehow telling China that they better not share information with Russia.
Unsurprisingly, our Madam Secretary comes up with a way to appease everyone in the end because she’s a political magician. Her plan? To build an observatory in the Himalayas where America can stealthy keep an eye on China, while paying Nepal a yearly amount for the land equaling the money they were going to give them for disaster release by only taking away 10 of 400 military vehicles in the defense budget. Boom. Craig Sterling can take a seat now. Bye, Felicia.
- Daisy goes on a date with the cyber security guy, Oliver, and it looks like we may have a new couple to ship. Sorry for those of you who wanted Daisy and Matt to work out, but I think I’m a fan of these two. While I love that Madam Secretary sticks to politics with very little room for romance, I do enjoy a good dating plotline.
- We finally get a taste of Lydia Dalton, the First Lady, and she’s pretty much as wasp-y as you can possibly be. I imagine that it definitely won’t be the last we see of her. She’ll make a great addition to the show — despite the fact that I didn’t agree with anything she said the entire episode. But I love her attitude when it came to alcohol!