The newest Madam Secretary episode was all about peace and Buddhism. Yet it also was about politics and intercultural conflicts. This was an interesting episode of the show, to say the least, so without further ado, let’s see what happened on Madam Secretary season 3 episode 16.

Warning, spoilers ahead!

Case of the week

This week Elizabeth and her team were dealing with a mess that had two distinct contributing parties. First of which was the Dalai Lama himself, who announced that he has found his successor in a 2-year-old American boy. And that messed with the appearance of United States’ neutrality in the China-Tibet conflict. The second of which was a Virginia senator, who jumped the gun and endorsed the Dalai Lama successor, so causing a rift between the US and China, since China viewed this senator’s move as the US supporting Tibetan independence.

It had Elizabeth, her team as well as President Dalton and Russell Jackson scrambling for ways to remedy this situation and to ensure that China did not pull out of the global climate deal the State Department was negotiating. And with Nadine and Vice President Teresa Hurst’s help, Elizabeth found a way for all parties to be happy.

Of course, it took a verbal ass kicking from Dalton and some not so pleasant conversations for Elizabeth, but in the end, things turned out for the best. The 2-year-old boy didn’t pass the Lama test, meaning that the US went back to being neutral in the China-Tibet conflict, even in China’s eyes. So in the future Madam Secretary episodes, we might be seeing Elizabeth achieving another carrier-making milestone of a global climate deal.

Henry’s Op

Meanwhile, Henry was still dealing with the infiltration operation he was overseeing on Madam Secretary season 3 episode 16. Now that Ian had killed one of the doomsday cult members, FBI’s supervisors wanted to pull him out, since covering up a murder wasn’t in the FBI handbook. But Henry and Mo convinced them to hold on that. And it turned out to be the right move.

Ian earned the cult’s leaders’ trust, by waiting out their judgment and by not admitting or denying that he had something to do with the murder. And that earned him a place on the council of the elders, meaning that he now has a bigger than ever chance to find the bomb and to stop the cult from killing a lot of innocent people. This story line is slowly shaping up to be one of the most interesting ones of the season. So I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Jay’s tough place

Finally, as far as story lines go, on this episode, we saw Jay continue having marriage problems which resulted in his wife asking for the sole custody of their daughter. And Jay did not take it well.

Instead of listening to what his wife had to say and really thinking of what’s best for their daughter, Jay ran to their attorney for legal advice on how to fight his wife’s decision. But in the end, it turned out that it wasn’t even necessary, as Jay’s wife had a valid point of why she should have custody of Chloe. That way she could not only provide stability to their daughter, but she is also home much more often than Jay, which means that she could actually spend more time with Chloe.

Luckily Jay also realized that and apologized to Abby. So in the next Madam Secretary episodes, we might be seeing improvement in Jay’s mood and attitude. However, I have a feeling that his marital problems, that started in episode 13 aren’t quite over yet.

Last thoughts on Madam Secretary season 3 episode 16

Something I really liked about this Madam Secretary episode was how they used cut scenes of the Buddhist monks creating the Sand Mandala to break up the politically intense story. It was not only an interesting take on the practice because most shows usually use city landscapes or B-roll footage for this purpose, but also a very visually pleasing one. And the last scene of the monks dismantling the Mandala was simply beautiful. So peacefully intense and beautiful.

Episode highlights:

• Elizabeth and Henry being proud that Stevie cares so much about politics now
• Russell being worked up about Elizabeth meeting with the Dalai Lama
• Henry and Mo working together
• Blake not understanding Buddhism
• Elizabeth’s interaction with Jay’s daughter and the Dalai Lama
• Elizabeth’s conversations with Chinese Foreign Minister Chen
• Madam Secretary asking Nadine for help
• Dalton welcoming the senator to Washington
• Nadine giving Jay advice on his daughter
• Ian moving up the ranks in his undercover mission

Episode low points:

• Jay overreacting about Abby wanting full custody of their daughter
• Dalai Lama forcing Elizabeth’s hand
• Henry questioning his ethical beliefs

Quote of the episode:
Blake: I still don’t get the point.
Elizabeth: That is the point.
Blake: No! All due respect, ma’am, not getting the point can’t possibly be the point. You can say that about anything.
Elizabeth: Exactly!

Promo for Madam Secretary season 3 episode 17: