Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Blame Canada

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War, fake reports, office romance and secret investigations are all front and center in Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 5. This week, Iran and Canada were creating problems for Elizabeth. 

Madam Secretary continues to do a good job building their world and giving us an inside look at the characters. They tend to be far more interesting than whatever situation Elizabeth must fix, which is both good and bad.

Sometimes the story drags a bit when it's just trying to move the plot along or make us care about characters we barely know. Am I the only one who can never remember the names of Elizabeth's staff? Because I'm not 100% vested in Daisy and Matt, their affair means little to me at this point.

They both appear to be in relationships with other people, but we don't know them well enough to really care one way or another. But at least they are trying to make us interested in them.

The person I am most intrigued by is President Dalton. Thus far, he has been a relatively minor character; presidential, in a "get it done" kind of way, but no real sense of what kind of a man or President he is.

Now we know what makes President Dalton tick, and it's energy. He wants energy independence to be his legacy, and he's not afraid to launch a few bombs against Iran to make it happen.

Elizabeth: What do you need, sir?
President Dalton: For you to fix this. Have I been unclear about that?
Chief of Staff Russell: Sir. In fairness, she inherited a lot of this, including Allen Bollings. This was Marsh's agenda.
President Dalton: Vincent Marsh is dead. When are you going to do your job?

I was initially thrown by President Dalton's intensity. Not that I expect a President to be mellow and laid back, but his anger at Elizabeth seemed misdirected to me.

Later he explained that he wanted to be the president who brokered peace in the Middle East.  He wanted to give energy independence to the next generation. That's honorable, but I'm not sure bombing Iran would actually help make it a reality.

Of those 10 that came before you, how many got us into trouble, giving us something other than the facts, including leading us into war?

Elizabeth

Now, let's talk a little bit about Mr. Bollings, shall we? It was clear from the get-go that he didn't respect Elizabeth or want to make any sort of peace offering to Iran. He was also her predecessor's hire. If you recall, Elizabeth kept most of Marsh's hires in place, which has had some mixed results, especially when it comes to loyalty.

When Elizabeth manages to covertly meet with Iranian Ambassador Javani (with a little assist from Canada), she finds out that Bollings lied to her and the President when he said Iran rejected their peace offering. He never made one. Javani wants peace, but that would be impossible with people like Bollings in power.

In the end, Elizabeth has the great honor of firing Mr. Bollings. He admits that he wanted a military solution as he believes that was the only way to respond; anything else showed weakness. Then he drops his own nuclear bomb. He claims that Vincent Marsh would have been the next President and he would have had Elizabeth's job.

It's my job now. And you're fired.

Elizabeth

I loved Elizabeth's response, but let's dig a bit further into Mr. Bollings claim. I have been thinking about Secretary of State Marsh's desire to become President and how it may have gotten him killed all week.

Points to you Madam Secretary for staying on my mind. 

Here's my question: Has an incumbent President ever NOT received their party's nomination for reelection? I know incumbent Presidents have lost reelection bids for second terms, but not receiving their party's nomination to be their Presidential candidate has to be very, very rare.

Most candidates who run against an incumbent President for their party's nomination are doing it more from an exploratory aspect. They want to see if they are viable candidates for the following election and are generally not a real threat to the incumbent President.

Why did Marsh believe that he would get his party's nomination over Dalton? What did he have on Dalton that would turn his party and voters against him? Now that is a mystery! And if you can think of any incumbent President who didn't receive his party's nomination, please share in the comments. 

President Dalton is definitely an interesting character. On one hand, he seems honorable, but he also has a short fuse. He is comfortable getting results through somewhat questionable means, such as wanting Elizabeth to release an environmental report written by oil lobbyists. 

Layered characters are always more interesting, so it will be fun to see who President Dalton really is. And more importantly, what Elizabeth will do if he pushes the line too far. 

Nadine and Elizabeth seem to be getting along better since Nadine confessed that she had an affair with Secretary Marsh. Girl bonding, I guess. Of course, Nadine gave an impassioned speech as to why Marsh had an oil lobbyist write an environmental report. 

I don't know if I bough her argument, but I did buy that she believed Marsh was a good, honorable man. But was he really? And that question is obviously on Elizabeth's mind as she opened an investigation into Nadine. I admit that surprised me. Not that she would open a secret investigation, but I would have guessed Marsh, not Nadine.

Tell me, what do you think of Bollings claim that Marsh would have been President? Possible or hot air? Why do you think Elizabeth opened an investigation on Nadine? Were you expecting it to be someone else? And don't forget, you can watch Madam Secretary online via TV Fanatic anytime to get caught up on all the DC shenanigans. 

Blame Canada Review

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Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Of those 10 that came before you, how many got us into trouble, giving us something other than the facts, including leading us into war?

Elizabeth

Elizabeth: What do you need, sir?
President Dalton: For you to fix this. Have I been unclear about that?
Chief of Staff Russell: Sir. In fairness, she inherited a lot of this, including Allen Bollings. This was Marsh's agenda.
President Dalton: Vincent Marsh is dead. When are you going to do your job?