Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 3 gave us everything that made this show special that's been missing since Elizabeth took over the Oval Office.
The majority of the hour was devoted to international affairs, and the President had to make a tough decision after getting input from Henry, Russell, and the Secretary of State.
This time Elizabeth was behind the President's desk instead of President Dalton, and she had to live with the consequences of the decision.
It was refreshing to get back to the way things used to be when Elizabeth was Secretary of State.
Back then, she merely advised Dalton. Sometimes she won, and sometimes she lost, but the decision to send troops, weapons, or anything else was on him.
But now it was up to her -- and the enormous responsibility of her decision weighed heavily on her.
Elizabeth struggled with guilt after her decision to send human soldiers on this mission resulted in the death of 9 members of the SEAL team.
No, ma'am, you have done something wrong by staying silent. They deserve a President who will stand by their sacrifice and not apologize for it.Man
Despite her CIA training, she is far more human-oriented than military-oriented, and she saw the deaths of the nine soldiers as unnecessary. It made sense that the families of the deceased didn't see it that way..
From a more military-oriented perspective, those SEAL team members had willingly put their lives in danger to protect America, and their sacrifice was something their loved ones took pride in amidst their grief.
If anything, they were offended that Elizabeth apologized for leading a successful mission. Yet she still wanted to use her Oval Office address to explain her decision.
Russell: The President's job is to lead, not to explain or ask for support.
Elizabeth: When you put it that way, you sound like the patriarchy telling me to do things the way they've always been done.
She felt that Russell's advice to lead decisively instead of apologetically was misogynistic, but he happened to be right this time.
Elizabeth had no reason to apologize. She made the decision that she thought would best protect American lives and some SEAL team members perished.
Henry understood that because of his experience flying fighter jets. So why didn't the admiral that leaked the decision to the press?
The admiral's reasons for leaking classified information didn't make much sense. Even if he thought Elizabeth made the wrong call, how did informing the press about it help anything?
It wasn't as if that would bring the SEAL team members back. It just made Elizabeth -- who as Commander-in-Chief was his commanding officer--look bad.
He deserved the legal problems he's about to face, and I'm glad Elizabeth stood her ground on that.
Elizabeth's negotiations with her old contacts from Russia and China was a nice bonus to this storyline.
It REALLY felt like old times when she met with them.
As always, they initially balked at her proposal, but her willingness to play hardball got them to come around just in the nick of time.
Russell: If there were no Checkers, there would be no Nixon.
Elizabeth: Actually, that's a good argument for not getting a dog.
Elizabeth's quest for the perfect puppy added some lightness to balance out the international crisis, plus gave her and Henry some badly needed family time.
Mike B and Russell's analysis of what dog breeds would play best with voters was ridiculous, but I had a feeling it was realistic.
In today's world, people are more concerned about their leaders' personalities and personal lives than about what they are doing to lead the country in a positive direction.
Henry and Elizabeth aren't into that, though. Leave it to Henry to get a dog from the shelter instead of trying to match some silly poll about the ideal White House dog.
Hope is an adorable dog, and Elizabeth gave her the perfect name.
The Senate Intelligence Committee nonsense wasn't as annoying as usual on Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 3.
It helped that Blake's flashback story was interesting.
I guess I was hoping after all this time for something more emotional than economies of scale.Trevor
I didn't blame either Trevor or Stevie for being annoyed.
Blake treated Trevor like a policy problem at work, presenting him with economic reasons to move in together, then let his parents think he and Stevie were dating after the Trevor thing fell apart.
I expect better of Blake than that, and so did his boyfriend and his best friend.
But Blake made up for it by enjoying himself at the hearing. That Senate Intelligence Committee chairman was irritated that he had to hear all about Blake's dating drama. But he asked for it with his attempt to uncover a non-conspiracy, and Blake was happy to oblige.
Stevie's fight with Shelton Anderson reminded me of on Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 16 when Elizabeth prioritized climate policy over the backing of a mega-billionare.
Elizabeth made it clear that she'd rather lose financial backing than compromise on her principles, and Stevie had a similar attitude.
In Stevie's case, of course, Anderson wasn't interested in offering financial support and what she ended up losing was her ride home from the party.
But like her mother, Stevie refused to back down in the face of sheer idiocy, standing up for her family and feminist ideals instead.
It didn't endear her to Blake's parents either, but since she wasn't dating Blake that didn't matter, and their relief upon learning that Blake's mystery partner was Trevor was comedy gold.
What did you think, Madam Secretary fanatics?
Did you enjoy Elizabeth's return to international diplomacy?
Did she make the right decision regarding the mission to kill the terrorist mastermind?
And what did you think about the dog she and Henry adopted?
Share your thoughts in the comments, and don't forget you can watch Madam Secretary online if you missed anything.
Madam Secretary continues to air on CBS on Sundays at 10 PM EST/PST.
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