Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 6 Review: The Call

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Old professors, ethnic cleansing and confessionals were the main events in Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 6 which was another strong outing. Madam Secretary is really hitting its stride, and I hope anyone turned off by the ho-hum pilot episode has come back to the fold.

One complaint that I've had on and off is that sometimes the stakes are high, but they don't feel high. There is no strong sense of urgency or fear as a viewer. I'm not on the edge of my seat or hyperventilating on twitter. And on a drama, that is a bit of an issue.

This episode the stakes did feel higher. Perhaps, it was because it was a bit more personal. Coming to the aid of friend to only be betrayed later does create tension, which in turn creates good television. More please.

One of Henry's favorite professors (and the only one to give him a B) stops by for a visit or more like an ambush. Ethnic cleansing is occurring in the Republic of West Africa. His family, along with 50,000 other innocent civilians, are at risk. He needs Elizabeth's help. 

The truth is you have the power to answer the desperate prayers of thousands.

Father Vasseur

Her team is more focused on an upcoming speech Elizabeth has at the World Affairs Committee, but this is a higher priority to her. She reminds them who sets the priorities: she does, not them. Elizabeth is really starting to take charge of her team and set the agenda, which I like. Initially, she deferred greatly to them. In part, because she was feeling her way and respecting the loss of their former boss, but it's time for her to lead the way.

They still keep trying to make a thing between Daisy and Matt. And it's really not working. I assume that we are supposed to be shipping them. But I'm not. Maybe you are? I just don't care enough about them to ship them, nor do I really sense a ton of unrequited sexual chemistry between them either, which is a necessary ingredient.

While Matt and Daisy try to create some chemistry together, Elizabeth gives an impassioned speech to President Dalton and Chief of Staff Russell to convince them to take action in the Republic of West Africa. They both claim it's not their fight.

Elizabeth: I am a realist. But there are events that transcend national interests, and I believe this is one of them.
President Dalton: I know you do. But I don't.

I like that I can see both sides, instead of Elizabeth so clearly being right. Ethnic cleansing is horrible and I'm fully onboard with Elizabeth. But I can also see the pragmatic side too, even though I don't necessary agree with it. Again, that makes a more compelling story when both sides at least have some merit.

Elizabeth, being the outside of the box thinker that she is, (at least according to all the CBS promos) won't back down from doing what's right. Stevie gives her Mom a much needed pep talk.

Stevie: Honey, you are the descendant of some of the greatest heroes and villians the commonwealth of Virginia has ever seen. If you have got one thing running through your veins, it's guts. And don't call me back until you've reached the top of that mountain, little girl.
Elizabeth: I actually said that?
Stevie: Yup.
Elizabeth: What a pain in the ass I am. And why did I sound like Dolly Parton?
Stevie: I got to the top of the mountain.
Elizabeth: I bet you did.
Stevie. You'll think of something.

Elizabeth goes off script during her presentation to the World Affairs Committee and informs them of the atrocities happening in the Republic of West Africa. She asks them if they have the guts to take action. Elizabeth has gone full rogue.

Elizabeth: Let me guess ... The White House loved the speech?
Nadine: Russell Jackson has already texted several times.
Elizabeth: With lots of smiling faces?

I appreciate Elizabeth sticking her neck out, even when she knew it might get her fired, which she assumes is imminent when she receives a late-night summons to the White House. She and Jackson exchange words, and she demands he treat her with respect. He admits that he is partly angry because her ploy worked. The President supports action, but will not provide ground troops or air support.

Before they can even celebrate the newly formed coalition, Henry finds out that Father Vasseur kept a very big secret from them. One that could completely undermine their entire operation and the President's reputation.

Blake: The White House is on the line.
Elizabeth: Of course they are. I just tied The President to a drug dealer.

Elizabeth manages to convince President Dalton to continue moving forward, but the African Union forces meet resistance for the local war lords. Air strikes are out and the coalition will retreat and disband within 12 hours. They need someone who can negotiate with these criminals.

Hmmmm ... who do they know who isn't afraid to get dirty if it helps his people? Henry visits Father Vasseur in his confessional and Vasseur agrees to be the intermediary between the US and the war lords. They back down and the troops stabilize the region. 

Meanwhile Blake continued his investigation into Nadine and is clearly terrified of her. Ultimately, she comes up clean and loyal, so Elizabeth confesses to Nadine that she investigated her and who is next on her list: Vincent Marsh.

All in all another fast-paced episode. I appreciate them trying to make Matt and Daisy interesting, but the affair/shipping isn't happening for me. Try again. Making the stakes personal and the ongoing Vincent Marsh investigation does keep me intrigued and looking forward to what's next.

What did you think of tonight's episode? Are you feeling a romantic connection between Daisy and Matt or does it feel forced to you too? What do you think Elizabeth will uncover when she investigates Vincent Marsh? And don't forget, you can watch Madam Secretary online via TV Fanatic if you need to get caught up on all the DC action. 

The Call Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

Elizabeth: I am a realist. But there are events that transcend national interests, and I believe this is one of them.
President Dalton: I know you do. But I don't.

The truth is you have the power to answer the desperate prayers of thousands.

Father Vasseur