Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 7 Review: Baby Steps

at .  Updated at .

Madam Secretary continuously focuses on the way US policy has global effects that most people might never consider.

Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 7 drove that point home. 

Elizabeth's desire to create a worldwide coalition to stop the persecution of surrogate mothers came into direct conflict with the Vice President's need to focus only on the surrogate who was carrying her grandchild.

(TALL) Elizabeth Makes a Speech - Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 7

I could see both sides of it. Elizabeth was thinking globally. Her politics are focused on how women are treated worldwide, and she saw an international crisis that needed her attention

Theresa's focus may have been more narrow, but it made total sense that she feared that a response to a worldwide crisis could backfire and result in retaliation against the woman carrying her grandchild. 

No wonder she was willing to risk her future career to defeat Elizabeth's plan for a coalition!

Theresa is going to be a formidable opponent for the Presidency -- but will Elizabeth's dedication to global causes help her campaign more than it hurts it?

Related: Get CBS All Access via Prime Video Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!

It seemed like both women were willing to risk their careers to get what they most wanted.

Elizabeth couldn't believe that Theresa would leak negative press about herself just to kill Elizabeth's coalition, but Henry was right: she was desperate to protect her family.

And while Elizabeth's passion for her cause was just as strong, her solution allowed Theresa to look like the hero.

She [Theresa] had a likeability problem. Now I kind of like her. That means you have a problem.


It may have been noble of her, but Russell was right that that's a problem for Elizabeth.

Thanks to Elizabeth's plan, Theresa bounced back from the scandal she brought upon herself by leaking an exaggerated story to the media and when the voters head to the primaries, they may remember her as the woman who brokered a deal with Laos to get surrogate mothers freed from jail.

That'll make it look like Theresa is the one who gets things done, not Elizabeth.

Elizabeth and Jay - Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 7

To a certain extent, this is a problem with being Secretary of State. Although Elizabeth is third in the line of succession to the Presidency, most ordinary Americans have no idea of how hard she works day in and day out to resolve problems around the world. 

Unless she runs a smart media campaign, her activities will remain behind the scenes and make it hard for her campaign to gain traction.

I'm not sure how I feel about Elizabeth running for President.

Obviously, if she doesn't win and the next President doesn't keep her on as Secretary of State, there goes the premise of this show. And I love this show and want it to continue.

Related: Get PBS Masterpiece via Prime Video Channels for World-Class British Dramas & Award-Winning Series

But I'm not sure she will fight as dirty as she needs to fight to beat Theresa and then beat the candidate from the other party, and I'm not sure I want her to.

To be fair, Elizabeth doesn't hold back when she needs to be tough. Just ask the Turkish ambassador what happened on Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 6 when he tried to mess with her staff's ability to get food while stranded in an airport!

But will she be willing to put aside causes she's extremely passionate about so that she can win an election? That takes a different kind of skill than what she's used to, and so far her commitment to her ideals is blinding her to good political strategy.

That's sad to say. Her idealism may make her a great President but a poor candidate -- and if she isn't able to market herself to voters, she won't get a chance to see what she could do as President.

Elizabeth and Henry - Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 7

I'm glad she has Henry to balance her out!

Henry and Elizabeth may not always see eye-to-eye, but they respect one another and do their best not to take it personally when they get in each other's way.

I was impressed with how well they were able to talk through Henry going against Elizabeth's coalition at the conference with President Dalton.

Elizabeth could have easily ripped into Henry for sabotaging her chances of getting her coalition approved, and Dalton made it even harder for her to negotiate afterwards by denying any further aid to Laos.

It wasn't that long ago that she demanded Henry get on the same page with her and he worried that her Presidential ambitions would tear apart their marriage, so the scenes in the back of the limo were twice as powerful.

Elizabeth: Theresa can't be the leaker. She's too much of a political animal to sabotage her own career.
Henry: When family's involved, you'd be surprised.

Henry's differing viewpoint is sometimes important because he sees things that Elizabeth doesn't.

In this case, he realized right away that Theresa had leaked the negative press about herself, while Elizabeth thought that was crazy, and she's going to need his perspective as she moves forward with her campaign, especially if she actually wins.

I wasn't terribly thrilled with the Stevie storyline. At first it seemed like filler -- why have Talya follow her for it to be resolved in about 30 seconds?

But that wasn't the real storyline. This was a continuation of Stevie and Dmitri's love story, and I won't be surprised if Stevie risks everything to see Dmitri again.

Hey dude. Believe it or not, the powers that be gave me permission to write you a letter back. This is a one time thing so I guess I'd better get to it. First off, I'm fine. More about that later. And I miss you too.


When she went to the hotel to read his letter, I thought that's exactly what she was doing, since they'd had secret meetings in hotels before.

I'm glad I was wrong, at least for now.

But I predict that Stevie will learn about some danger Dmitri is supposedly in and throw caution out the window before the end of Madam Secretary Season 5 and that the press will get wind of it just as Elizabeth's campaign is heating up.

Related: Get Shudder via Prime Video Channels for Spine-Tingling & Provocative Films, TV Series, & Originals!

Also, what is with only one of the kids being featured per episode?

The McCord kids are getting older -- two of them are adults and the other is about to graduate high school -- but it still feels unbalanced to have a story revolving around one of them while the other two are mysteriously absent.

I'd rather see more family interaction if we're going to have the kids on at all.

Blake: You know, this garden is a symbol of peace after the worst bloodbath in human history and you have the audacity to use it for self-promotion. Your ego is so big I can't believe that it even fits into that tiny little car. And I'd better not see this showing up in my office again. [slams watch box into Uzuki's hand.]
Uzuki: Nobody talks to me like that!
Blake: Yeah, well, someone just did.

Blake's storyline seemed silly compared to the international crisis Elizabeth was dealing with, but I loved it.

After initially panicking, he proved he knew exactly how to handle the rich Japanese mogul who was used to getting his own way all the time.

I thought his sharp rebuke to Uzuki was a not-so-subtle rebuke at real-life American politicians, but it worked because it made sense in the context of the story.

It was also risky. 

Blake - Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 7

Uzuki could easily have decided to pull out of the deal and take his hurt feelings home, and I thought he was going to do just that.

His respect for Blake because Blake put integrity above pandering to Uzuki's desires was a nice twist, and Blake got to save the day.

And who knew that a Japanese garden dedication could be so fraught with tension -- or that it could hold the key to solving another internation dilemma?

So what did you think, Madam Secretary fanatics?

Will Elizabeth's passion for her ideals make or break her Presidential campaign?

How soon do you think Stevie and Dmitri will sneak off for another secret rendezvous? 

Weigh in below, and don't forget you can watch Madam Secretary online if you missed anything.

Baby Steps Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
  • 4.7 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (13 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

Show Comments
Tags: ,

Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 7 Quotes

Dalton: We're withholding aide to all Tier Three countries.
Elizabeth: Sir, that could have a negative effect on populations. It would be more fair to approach this on a case by case basis.
Dalton: Fair? Women in these countries are being ripped from their homes. I want fairness for them.

It won't be long now. Soon we'll be holding our baby girl in our arms.