This review contains spoilers!
The latest Madam Secretary episode felt like a fresh start for the show, because gone was the McCord stalker story line and the suspense that came with it. But it’s place also wasn’t kept vacant for long, since this episode we got to see new and big story lines that couldn’t have been told with the stalker plot in place.
What I am talking about? Of course I am talking about the case of the week in Madam Secretary, the suicide bombing in Elmhurst, Illinois and the Secretary’s team dealing with it and all that came with it. Only this time, the case was very personal for one of the team, Matt, Elizabeth’s speechwriter, because not only it was Matt’s hometown, where the bombing happened, it was Matt’s childhood mosque that was suspected to be somehow involved with turning the suicide bomber radical and funding the attack. And although in the end it was discovered that someone close to the Saudi government actually was responsible for the attack, it wasn’t any easier on Matt, because it came out that he was also a donor for the previously suspected mosque.
Like I said, it was a big story line and very important to modern society at that, because things like Islamophobia and terrorism are very hot and very important topics right now. But I almost think that this plot lone was also extremely important for another reason – it showed the direct impact that both Islamophobia and terrorism has on people. And I am not talking about the families, who lost somebody in terror attacks, be it 9/11, Paris bombings or another attack entirely, although that is important to showcase, too, this time I am talking about people, who are suffering just because of their religion and race. I think Madam Secretary really brilliantly used Matts character to show how Muslims and anyone else who have been brought down because of their race or religion feel, whenever they are the targets of intolerance, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. And the speech that Matt gave to his co-workers, about how he won’t speak out and defend himself publicly, because if he was white and someone white shot up a black church, then nobody would ask him to speak out and denounce the attack, was so moving and so on point. I really hope this gave some perspective to everyone who watched the episode, and made them think about these topics more than just a passing thought, because, as long as people don’t change their views on things like religion bias, no real change can happen.
The other heavy topic of this episode also was Henry having to help Dmitri, his former asset, who he rescued from Russia last season. Since Dmitri returned to the United States he was given new identity, relocated to a new city and given a job that he is very overqualified for. And him seeing the terrorist attack on the TV he finally snapped and landed himself in jail, because he felt useless even though he knows that he could do some good with his skills and knowledge. Luckily Dmitri’s handler contacted Henry and Henry jumped at the chance to help the young man. But it wasn’t a smooth reunion and Dmitri was resentful towards Henry. It was really hard to watch these scenes, because we saw a man desperately grabbing at straws to find something to live for, and I was grateful that at the end Henry found a way how to bring some light to Dmitri’s life by bringing his sister to the US. It was a happy reunion and also happy ending to the whole Dmitri story line. It looks like Madam Secretary writers truly are trying to warp up old story lines, I just wonder if it is because soon we will be seeing another multi-episode plot line for Elizabeth or Henry, or maybe even both.
On a lighter note, this episode we also saw Henry and Elizabeth helping Allison decide on the topic for her college essay. It was hilarious to see how both McCord parents were worried, when Allison told them she was going to write about her YouTube make-up tutorial, that got a lot of hits. But c’mon, guys, did you really think that Allison would write some meaningless essay about make-up? She is a McCord after all and surprised her parents by using the video as a metaphor for bigger, more worldly problems, which made her parents very proud. Additionally to these less heavy scenes, we also saw Nadine asking Jay to hang out with Matt, who was down about the whole bombing-donation-mosque-speech situation, and Jay interpreting it as if she was asking him out on a date. It was truly hilarious, and probably also why it ended up as my Quote of the episode. Let’s see where the next Madam Secretary episode takes us..
Highlights of the episode:
• Matt in this episode
• Henry and Elizabeth helping Allison
• Nadine standing by Matt when he talked to Russell
• Nadine getting Jay and Matt to do male bonding
• Matt’s speech to his co-workers
• Elizabeth figuring out how to make Saudi government take responsibility for their part in the Illinois bombing
• Henry figuring out how to get Dmitri back on his feet
• Henry getting teary-eyed over Allison’s essay
Let-downs of the episode:
• Russel again thinking more about the election than the people around him
• Dmitri being so resentful against Henry
Quote of the episode:
Nadine: Jay, do you have any plans for this evening?
Jay: Going home to my wife and child, whom I love very much.
Nadine: In your dreams, Whitman.