Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 20 Review: The Necessary Art

at .  Updated at . Comments

The Cold War was heating back up again on Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 20 when a Russian submarine broke away from its fleet and entered U.S. water near Alaska.

Guess who just happened to be in Russia lecturing? Why Henry, of course! I was ready to roll my eyes at this convenience until it became clear that Henry's invitation had always been a ploy by Russia to use him as propaganda. An intentional convenience is marginally better.

Elizabeth ought to make Henry an official diplomat. He has become quite the peace negotiator.

Sometimes politics is all about bluffing, posturing and saving face, and we saw all of that tonight. It's kind of scary when you think about it, given the military strength and power behind some of it. 

Elizabeth remained the calm, pragmatic voice, which was impressive considering that Henry was a quasi hostage of President Ostrov. Sadly, his plan to use Henry fell apart after his little demonstration suffered a major catastrophe.

I wonder what his real intent was with the demonstration. Obviously he wanted NATO troops to not be sent to Latvia, but what was his plan? Was he just going to show us that he now had superior weaponry over us? He couldn't have truly intended to use it against us because that would have led to lots of bombs falling on Moscow.

Sure, they would have retaliated, but we hit the big red button first, so there.

President Ostrov had a camera crew with him, which I assume he doesn't have with him typically, so he likely had some form of public humiliation planned using poor Henry as a way to stick it even harder to Elizabeth.

Sadly, his superior submarine and its fancy stealth technology malfunctioned, killing two-thirds of its crew. He quickly went from cocky Russian President to a worried President who was still posturing as though things were great.

I'm in no need of miracles. You may be. But not me.

President Ostrov

Henry saw through his facade and confirmed Elizabeth's suspicion that something wasn't going to plan. I give President Dalton credit for listening to Elizabeth, even when his military advisors made a compelling case to respond with force.

I loved that they went old school and used Morse code to communicate with the Russian soldiers. Elizabeth's plan to allow Russia to save some face worked but was somewhat depressing. I'm sure 20 lives might not mean much when trying to protect your military might (and apparently awesome, although still needs some refining, stealth technology), but it's sad to think how little lives can mean too.

Elizabeth's team, minus Nadine, bought the fake news story, which surprised me since they knew something was going on. I would think they were all smart enough to not fall hook, line and sinker for a planted story. I knew the news story had to be fake because it's not Elizabeth's style to make unnecessary sacrifices.

Stevie also had a big night. Allison posted a picture of Harrison and Stevie together, which led to the somewhat cool name "Starrison". You know you've officially made it when you have an intertwined couple name.

Or take attention away from the Kardashians. 

You and Harrison are just filling bandwidth between Kardashians.


I'm proud to admit that I had to look up how to spell Kardashians. 

Stevie got Daisy involved, mostly to lecture Allison. Ultimately, though, she was the one who got the tough love from Daisy. 

Daisy: Three words that can never go together in this town: "Boss", "Internship" and "Sex".

Ummmm. ... very true. And it's a little extra hilarious when you think that Hillary Clinton made her presidential run official today.

Stevie took Daisy's words to heart and broke with both Arthur and Microloans. This wasn't really a huge surprise because they never seemed like a long-term couple. 

Henry was a little less sad about the news while Elizabeth offered some sage advice.

Listen, I just want you to know, even when it's hard and no matter how much it hurts right now, that it's not the end of the world.


I am curious as to when we are going to learn what happened to Juliet and her plea to come in. Typically at the end of season, shows ramp up, but we seem to be winding down or treading water. There are only two more episodes left to the season, so fingers crossed that they leave us wanting more.

What did you think of tonight's show? What do you think President Ostrov's original plan was? Were you surprised by Stevie's break up? Don't forget that you can watch Madam Secretary online via TV Fanatic at your convenience. 

The Necessary Art Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (15 Votes)
Tags: ,

Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 20 Quotes

I'm in no need of miracles. You may be. But not me.

President Ostrov

Daisy: Three words that can never go together in this town: "Boss", "Internship" and "Sex".