Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 10 Review: Collateral Damage

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Secrets were exposed with varying degrees of consequence on Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 10. This was another overall solid episode, although it did feel a bit sprawling in scope.

I'd rather have a meaty A story with a solid B story. Tonight we had what should have been a really meaty A storyline that didn't get the time it deserved because we had so many competing B stories. I wish they would have skipped Nadine and the foreign services officer storyline and used that time on Elizabeth's past in Iraq instead.

Nadine's best moments came in the beginning and end when she found out that Vincent Marsh planned to run for President. It was a slap in the face to the woman who loved him because it meant she would have had to disappear. I'm not sure he deserved to be murdered for his transgressions, but he wasn't exactly a great man, either.

Elizabeth's past came back to haunt her, specifically an event that occurred in Iraq during her CIA days. I always love learning more about Elizabeth. It felt like there was so much more we could have learned and didn't. For me, it was a missed opportunity, because her actions there seemed to significantly conflict with who she is today. 

But, before we do a deep dive on Elizabeth's story, lets take a closer look at the most compelling B story: Matt meeting Daisy's fiance, Win. Now I have openly not been a fan of what I feel is an extremely forced relationship between Matt and Daisy, but I was looking forward to meeting the elusive Win. 

He honestly didn't make that much of an impression but being locked in a room with Matt did force the truth out and led to Win breaking off his engagement to Daisy. Undoubtedly, some viewers rejoiced at the break-up, but I'm just still hoping this is the resolution to a storyline that I have very little interest in continuing. 

Don't get me wrong – I like both Matt and Daisy. But they aren't characters where the sexual chemistry is so off the charts that I have to fan myself every time they are together. Matt said all the right things tonight.

Daisy: What did you do?
Matt: You deserve someone who will fight for you. It can't be him.

My heart should have been melting – but it wasn't. I just don't see them together, so here's hoping they both can move onto better relationships and juicy storylines. Matt already has one with his role as Elizabeth's double agent, and Daisy needs/deserves her own great story too. It's just not the two of them together. 

Now let's examine the real intriguing story of the night. A member of the Iraqi delegation threatened to expose a secret from Elizabeth's old CIA days. We learned that Elizabeth helped hunt and capture an Iraqi terrorist named Safeer. When she could not break him in interrogation, she allowed the military to step it up. 

Stevie: What did stepping it up mean?
Elizabeth: Stress positions. Physical abuse. Waterboarding. I wasn't in the room when they did it. But I knew what was happening, obviously.
Stevie: Why are you telling me this?
Elizabeth: 'Cause I have to.
Stevie: Well, I really wish you hadn't.
Elizabeth: We were at war. Changes the landscape. It forces you to face things you didn't even want to know.
Stevie: Yeah, like the fact that your mother is not the person you thought she was at all.

Arguments can be made for both sides, but what matters in this instance was how Elizabeth felt about what happened. I would have liked to see this played out a bit more. It was apparently an incident that had a profound impact on her. She indicated that it was one of the reasons why she left the CIA.

I wish we could have seen more of the interrogation between Elizabeth and Safeer. We only saw a few seconds before she gave up and allowed him to be tortured. It felt like they played it safe, maybe to protect our affection for Elizabeth, but I would have preferred they go all in or not go there at all.

We needed to see her truly reach the breaking point where she was so enraged and frustrated that she was okay with him being tortured and the moment when it stopped being okay. I didn't want to just hear about it; I wanted to see it. Seeing Elizabeth's response on that occasion, not years later, would have provided an incredibly powerful, intense character moment; something this shows lacks at times.

Stevie understandably didn't respond well and decided to move out. It would be hard to find out your Mom wasn't exactly the person you believed her to be. Coupled with the lies Elizabeth told her about where she had been and what she had been doing, she started to wonder if she knew her Mom at all.

Elizabeth: If you never listen to anything I say again for the rest of your life, please hear this: Everything is more complicated than you think it is right now. And the only way you come to know that is through experience. And that's what this whole process of growing up is all about.
Stevie: Yeah. I know. I gotta go do that now.

There was a great speech by Elizabeth and reaction by Stevie. When you find out your Mom or hero wasn't quite the white knight you thought, you need time to process and grow up. Sometimes we do ugly things that we eventually regret or not and I like that Madam Secretary doesn't shy away from those topics. 

What did you think of tonight's episode? Do you think Elizabeth resolves tensions that have existed for centuries too easily? Were you surprised that Win broke his engagement to Daisy? And don't forget, you can watch Madam Secretary online via TV Fanatic. It would make the perfect Thanksgiving binge fest!

Collateral Damage Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (34 Votes)
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Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 10 Quotes

Daisy: What did you do?
Matt: You deserve someone who will fight for you. It can't be him.

Stevie: What did stepping it up mean?
Elizabeth: Stress positions. Physical abuse. Waterboarding. I wasn't in the room when they did it. But I knew what was happening, obviously.
Stevie: Why are you telling me this?
Elizabeth: 'Cause I have to.
Stevie: Well, I really wish you hadn't.
Elizabeth: We were at war. Changes the landscape. It forces you to face things you didn't even want to know.
Stevie: Yeah, like the fact that your mother is not the person you thought she was at all.