Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 4 Review: Shutdown

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Do we think that the reporter asking the leading question about an immigrant works for Breitbart or Alex Jones? 

From blogger trolls to narcissistic garbage Senators, Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 4 took on a range of modern political flashpoints. Okay, fine, the Trump Tower House of Representatives is more likely to have characters like Morejon, but they just don't have the power needed for the shutdown story to play out. 

Quality Time - Madam Secretary

These takedowns were not nearly as effective as Bess' rant against the spread of conspiracy theories and journalistic responsibility from Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 1, but they weren't toothless. 

Unfortunately, Russell was painted as a bad guy so that Elizabeth could emerge as the heroine above such tawdry tactics. Admittedly, the White House chief of staff was about to get way to dirty for comfort, but I can certainly understand his reasoning.

And I don't disagree with it. Maybe knowing that Russell and Dalton have this information about his wife that would paint him as the country's biggest hypocrite will keep him in check indefinitely, but I doubt it. 

Elizabeth: Why not use it as leverage? Why drag the family into it?
Russell: Because I want him *destroyed* by the same monster he created. He wanted to whip his base against immigrants and refugees, let them rip him apart. [laughs] Thought you'd appreciate the poetic justice.

Morejon has proven that he has a killer communications team that can change the conversation at the drop of a pin, so I can only imagine that he'll work out a strategy to release his wife's background on his terms. Or he'll take the opportunity to cover up any evidence. 

I never expected Russell to instinctively take the high road (isn't that what we love about him?), but it was disappointing to see the divide it caused between him and Elizabeth. Especially after his comment about having her run for office someday.

Russell: What's the one thing you have that Morejon doesn't?
Elizabeth: A conscience?
Russell: An approval rating!

I was a little annoyed that the whole Ebola thing was so puffed up in the promos. It barely even registered -- nothing more than an off-screen plot device to use a leverage with the wayward Senator.

On the other hand, we didn't have to suffer through some ridiculous thing where the whole country is dying, and somehow Elizabeth saves the day in a completely ridiculous way at the last minute.

No, I'll take the empty office and hunt for a new chief of staff.

Elizabeth [to Jay]: You don't have divided loyalties. You won't feel like you've been demoted, and I do not have to wonder whether or not you'll crack under pressure.
Blake: He's already been kidnapped.
Elizabeth: You've already been kidnapped! And you didn't quit. That right there -- I mean, you're either totally nuts or the most loyal person I will ever find.

I was a little confused that it took So. Damn. Long. For somebody to propose Jay as Nadine's successor. The jokes about Blake taking over did almost make the wait work it. Almost. 

But it did give Jay a chance (after a pep talk from Matt of all people) to figure out what boundaries he needed to set so that he doesn't abandon Chole. Speaking of the little girl, here's a fun fact: The State Department childcare service is actually called Diplotots. That is not a Hollywood creation.

Also, am I the only one that thinks Chloe needs to be recast? I sound terrible for picking on a toddler, but at least one of those babies can't act. She had absolutely no reaction to Matt! And her fist bump was more of a punch. 

Uncle Matt - Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 4

And for more things I think need to be reworked, stat: Henry.

As much as I loathe the whole Henry working for the CIA nonsense, I like Dmitri even if it makes no sense that somebody who is in an asset protection program is still in daily contact with a prominent figure from his old life.

Seriously, what are the chances that the GRU doesn't have Henry under surveillance? He's the Secretary of State's husband! And Henry, c'mon. Way to screw things up with your asset. If you're trying to make it up to Dmitri and "save" him, maybe don't give him the impression that you only care about the information he can give you. 

The only way this will pay off for me is if Stevie and Dmitri hook up after she breaks up with Jareth. I can't wait for that awkwardness. 

Step 9 Season 4 Episode 4

Okay, if you didn't see that breakup coming (I'm considering the relationship over, even if it's not official), then you need to get our eyes checked. That engagement was DOA.

To be fair, it's not that Jareth's terrible. So, yeah, he does expect her to prioritize him before her family and her career a lot of the time, and he always makes sure she knows what he gave up for her, and guilts her into doing things she's not really interested in...

Yeah, mainly Jareth seemed wonderful because Stevie's past boyfriends were not great. The drug addict first son who somehow managed to disappear from her life and any public notice, and her forty-year-old boss. It's hard not to seem great compared to them. 

Elizabeth: Look at the two of you, bonding over espionage.
Jason: It's the DC equivalent of building a pinewood derby car.

The breakup still won't be official when Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 5 airs, but that doesn't matter because Jareth is still in England. Or something. Who cares? 

What we will care about is that Elizabeth is going to put the smackdown on a US ambassador. I hope she does anyway. If you make such a misstep that a Kyrgyzstan threatens to cancel an anti-trafficking conference, you should probably lose your posting. 

An Elizabeth McCord lecture of shame would be getting off easy in my opinion. 

Elizabeth: Something elevator worthy?
Blake: Itinerary for the Global Economic Conference in Paris this weekend, top five resumes for your new chief of staff, and a latte, extra foam.
Elizabeth: Oh, that is definitely elevator worthy. But you didn't pay for this out of your own money, did you?
Blake: There's a slush fund for essentials, ma'am.

Errant ambassadors aren't the only thing worrying M. Sec though. She and Henry will continue to helicopter parent, this time worrying that Allie comes home too often.

Look, it's probably just that laundry is free and the food doesn't suck. It's a little early for her to be failing out. 

If you need to catch up before "Persona Non Grata" airs on November 5th, you can watch Madam Secretary online, or read all the past Madam Secretary reviews like a true Fanatic. 

Family Dinner - Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 4

Share your thoughts on "Shutdown" in the comments section below! Is Henry focusing too much on Dmitri and not enough on Jason? Why do you think Stevie is so in need of approval that she ignores her feelings? Is Blake due for a promotion too? Let us know!

Shutdown Review

Editor Rating: 3.6 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (32 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 4 Quotes

Elizabeth: Something elevator worthy?
Blake: Itinerary for the Global Economic Conference in Paris this weekend, top five resumes for your new chief of staff, and a latte, extra foam.
Elizabeth: Oh, that is definitely elevator worthy. But you didn't pay for this out of your own money, did you?
Blake: There's a slush fund for essentials, ma'am.

Elizabeth: Look at the two of you, bonding over espionage.
Jason: It's the DC equivalent of building a pinewood derby car.