Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8 Review: Ships and Countries

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Things are not looking good for the McCord administration.

On Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8, both Canning and Hanson spread wild conspiracy theories about Elizabeth, leaving her and her family with little recourse as the impeachment hearings got under way.

With only two episodes to go, will Elizabeth's administration survive a partisan, misogyny-based attack?

(TALL) Things Get Personal - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8

Canning and Hanson were almost cartoonish in the way they spun things to discredit Elizabeth.

Canning's attack on Stevie was especially irritating.

This is just the latest partisan attempt by Congress to interfere with a duly elected President.


Canning took normal adolescent/young adult behavior completely out of context to paint a picture of both Stevie and Elizabeth as manipulative liars.

Stevie keeping a boyfriend secret from her parents is something thousands of teenagers and 20-somethings do every day, and her comment about Elizabeth's positions on the Iraq war was typical young adult disdain for a parents' opinions.

Love Transcends All - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8

Yet Canning got away with turning altogether normal episodes in Stevie's life into proof of poor character.

Even worse, his nonsense about Dmitri nearly derailed Stevie and Dmitri's relationship.

Intentionally or not, Canning's accusations triggered every one of Stevie's insecurities, and if she had broken up with Dmitri, it would have been mostly because Canning planted doubts in her head about Dmitri.

Canning and Hanson don't seem to realize that the McCords are actual human beings with lives outside of their politics and that the ridiculous spin they're putting on the family's actions affects more than whether Elizabeth remains in the White House.

Or maybe they do and don't care.

Russell v. Mike - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8

The two of them have probably repeated their own stories so often that they believe them. 

Hanson thinks Elizabeth is the devil incarnate who is single-handedly ruining America and so crazy with power that she will make up a story about a kidnapped American citizen out of whole cloth just to distract people from the impeachment.

And Canning called Henry delusional, never realizing that that word applies more accurately to himself.

Mike: I think I can be confident that I will not be convicted of the murder of a state Senator.
Elizabeth: You plant enough doubt in the public's mind and they'll believe anything.

It's a shame that Henry's testimony had to be behind closed doors.

Averting The Latest Crisis - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8

The American people needed to see Canning frothing at the mouth and insisting that Henry's decisions were based on trying to get Elizabeth to the Presidency -- a full six years before she decided to run.

That might have made it clear who was out of touch with reality and put an end to the shenanigans.

Or would it have?

There's a certain percentage of people who react strongly to words like "patriot" and "treason," so Canning and Hanson suggesting that Henry was part of a nefarious plot to destroy America might have resonated with some.

Dealing With Impeachment - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8

The hearings are a ridiculous waste of time and taxpayer money, and the American people are the losers.

Elizabeth can't do her job effectively, and her enemies are so convinced she's the enemy of American democracy that everything she does is more proof to them that she's got to go.

You are obsessed with destroying me and you're willing to pull the whole country down with you.


Hanson was disturbed that Elizabeth visited him at home over his inane comments, and even more disturbed that his son overheard their conversation.

That was a golden opportunity for Elizabeth to point out that Hanson now knew what his idiotic attacks on her family felt like, but she was far too principled to do so.

Navigating Complicated Terrain - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8

And, just as Cannings' attacks made Stevie question her relationship with Dmitri, Hanson's made Elizabeth wonder whether America would ever let her lead the country despite her gender.

The emphasis on misogyny throughout Madam Secretary Season 6 has been annoying.

Undoubtedly, sexism exists, and women in politics have to deal with it just like women everywhere else.

But for the most part, the claims of misogyny have come out of nowhere, with no real proof that that's what's going on.

That may be part of Hanson's problem, but his fear seems to be more ideologically based than anything else. He thinks Elizabeth is too far left and has no qualms about playing dirty to get rid of a President whose policies he despises.

A Diplomatic Crisis - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8

Whether he would react the same way to a male President is an open question, since Conrad didn't pursue the types of progressive legislation that Elizabeth espouses.

Yesterday turned an internship and a boyfriend into a bloodbath. We're not gonna throw another one of you to the lions.


The impeachment hearings focused mostly on whether Russell and Conrad were more likely to hire members of Elizabeth's family because they knew Elizabeth.

This was silly.

Confronting Hansen - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8

While the argument that nepotism has no place in politics has merit, it is hardly an impeachable offense, especially since Stevie and Henry were qualified for their positions. 

Besides, Russell and Conrad are not the ones on trial here. They were the ones who made the hiring decisions, not Elizabeth.

Anyway, despite the nonsensical impeachment hearings, Elizabeth managed to do her job well, averting a potential nuclear war and getting an American hostage safely home.

That was doubly impressive considering the cloud of impeachment hanging over her head.

Stevie Must Testify - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8

Iran acting up couldn't have come at a worse time, leaving viewers to wonder whether it was a coincidence or not.

But in any case, Elizabeth handled the situation well -- including the Iranian ambassador's misogynistic comments about how women don't speak directly enough.

Even Hanson's ludicrous claims can't counteract that.

She's likely to get a bump in approval rating now that the impeachment may not be able to counteract.

We're in the home stretch, Madam Secretary fanatics.

With only two episodes to go, it's anyone's guess how this is going to end.

How do you think the impeachment proceedings will get resolved? Will Elizabeth win in the end?

Will Stevie's insecurities get the better of her, or will she end up with Dmitri after all?

Hit SHOW COMMENTS, and add your thoughts. And if you missed anything, watch Madam Secretary online to get caught up.

Madam Secretary continues to air on CBS on Sundays at 10 PM EST/PST through December 8, 2019.

Ships and Countries Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (16 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.

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Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 8 Quotes

Mike: I think I can be confident that I will not be convicted of the murder of a state Senator.
Elizabeth: You plant enough doubt in the public's mind and they'll believe anything.

Henry: Let's hope Olivia is right and it's not a circus like the Senate hearings.
Elizabeth: Just an impeachment trial.