Late to the party:
They never sold the family farm, so I would imagine that they'd go there rather than the house in DC. I think it would be much more convenient in terms of security as they'd have the land to build a guest house for the Secret Service and you have fewer tourists stopping by. I don't think anyone would want to live in Georgetown after having been President and even less so when you've been the first female President.
From what I understand, it was ony for one night though. Blake said it would need an act of Congress and the President can't overrule that. So, unless they addressed that issue off-screen and she got it done, I don't think the President has any more power over that than over the Secretary of State's motorcade.
What I believe she could do is getting more fuel efficient cars though.
Do you mean throwing out the pitch? Since she didn't embarrass herself, I didn't mind that she had difficulties at first. I think it's pretty realistic - if you don't normally throw a ball it's probably likely that you're not good at it right away.
I could have done without the nightmare or, at least, I could have done with a shorter one, and I thought the press conference at the beginning was just this much too long (maybe drifting into a voice-over style half-way through would have been a good idea?) but other than that, I liked the episode.
While predictable, I liked that they touched on the gender issue and especially, how they touched on it and dealt with it.
Absolutely loved Russell in this episode. He’s such a great character and while it may be a stretch that he’d have truly come back, I don't mind that they brought him back at all.
I’m glad that they didn’t just brush past the fact that he was somewhat antagonistic at times during Bess’ tenure as Sec of State and acknowledged the changed dynamic. I also thought it was a cute touch that she was chalking up his niceness to the fact that he had to be nice to her now. It’s not "he had to be not nice to her before" or he might be genuinely complimenting her, no, it’s he has to be nice now.
That said, I imagine that it would be a bit difficult to believe that he’s sincere now after he’s been so critical for four plus years. I also find it a bit weird that he’s calling her ma’am now. “Madam President” feels okay, probably because he’s referred to her as Secretary of State or Madam Secretary before but ma’am is just a little odd. (It’s those moments that make me miss campaign and transition episodes. It feels like the characters all had time to get used to the change and the viewers didn’t).
Russell’s expression when he was offered breakfast was priceless. So was Henry’s when he and Bess were talking about the food. And I could certainly relate to Bess' comment about cashew cheese. It's not something I would want to try.
I'm curious though what the whole healthy eating thing is all about. Since it hasn't come up with Conrad and he didn't strike me as the kind of guy who would have kept a diet that included cashew cheese and old-fashioned oats, did Bess and Henry hire a chef who specializes in that kind of food? If so why? I recall Bess making a comment about all the state dinners and her liver being able to metabolize gasoline, so did they decide to go the healthy food route to eat healthy when they don't have state dinners? But even if they did, couldn't they just tell the chef to make something else if they wanted something else? Or did they hire one of those people who are immensely proud of what they do and get offended when you ask them to move away from their specialty?
Anyway, I thought it was a bit confusing.
Loved the scene of Russell coming back into his office bumbling and talking to his assistant while he didn’t catch a word. And while I get where Nina was coming from, I also understand that Russell can’t afford an assistant who can’t tell when she is worked for information and I don’t think that is something that you can necessarily learn or that you have the time to learn. Even less so when this is the administration of the first female President.
Would Russell really have hired all those young assistants, though? Yes, he needed to so he could hire Nina but it seems a bit out of character for him.
I think my favorite part of the episode was the conversation between Henry and Russell. For once, I didn’t mind Henry getting involved. I did think it was a bit presumptuous of him to tell Russell what his job was after he’d done it for eight years, but Russell’s push back was great – although I’m not sure it’s a smart idea to tell the husband that he’s getting twice as many threat reports about the wife than he did for her predecessor.
But I loved the dynamic and how the conversation went and that they both were right in their own way and I especially loved what Henry said at the end of the conversation. The scene just works and I could watch it over and over.
Also loved the scene in the Oval Office afterwards, how Bess picked up on Russell having something to say and that she did not dismiss what Russell had to say outright. Russell is such a loyal servant and balancing loyalty and protectiveness with all the attacks and whatnots that he sees can't be easy.
I liked how they used the protesters to show that Bess is a different President and comes from a different (diplomatic) background and that they sort of built on what happened during the campaign town hall, and that she does listen.
On the other hand, I wish they had not used a gas tax as I don’t think that is the right issue she should have given in to. The last thing she did as Secretary of State was a climate migration deal and as her tenure as Secretary she also did a climate change deal, so, I think it would have been more fitting if they had used the issue to encourage people to drive more fuel efficient cars, to walk rather than drive short distances and to push for improvement to public transport in the cities, for more cities to get public transport and to make it more affordable etc.
I also have little sympathy for protesters who label her as out of touch when what she says was true. Sure, you have to spend a few minutes checking your tire pressure regularly but they did have the time to protest, so I'm sure they could do that as well. (Although, part of that should probably also have been the media's job. While they didn’t give us information on that, I wasn’t under the impression that it happened).
Enjoyed the moment when Bess stops on her way out to throw the pitch to let them know that she would be backing off the gas tax. It was so very Bess.
I really liked the conversation between Bess and Henry after Bess’ nightmare or rather, I loved the little nuggets in it – the part about Allison and that Henry only hears from her when he’s lurking on her Instagram (it feels so true for a young adult like Allison) and Bess saying that she loves when it’s not up to her. It was just that one sentence but I still felt that it was relatable in so far that it made me aware of the tremendous responsibility resting on her shoulders. She certainly had decisions to make as Secretary of State but she also had to run several by someone else first and some decisions she didn’t have to make. Now, she has to make them all.
Did they really have to bring back Dmitri? If they had to bring back someone couldn’t they have brought back Jareth? Or how about Stevie simply has a normal relationship with a normal guy? The one she's dating now she seems nice. Not that I know why she has to be dating and why we have to give prescious minutes on screen to her dating life in the first place but since we apparently have to, why not without Dmitri?
I’m still not sure what to make of the Senate investigation/the Iran hack. I like that they use it to incorporate things from the campaign and that they’re still showing us parts of the campaign and even though I don’t think that they’re adding much to the actual story, I’m not sure I’d want to miss the flashbacks because I feel like this shortened season kind of robbed us of a campaign/transition (half)season.
I also don't mind the general idea of a Senator like Hanson and that he would launch an investigation (even if it does eat up precious screen time, too) as I don't find it hard to believe that it could happen.
But did it have to be an Iran hack/possible election interference? From interviews I’ve read, I understand their motives and what they want to achieve but I'm sure they could have achieved that with another election issue or non-issue or maybe even something election-unrelated (that does in some way connect to the campaign so that they can still show the flashbacks). Hanson does not strike me as the kind of guy who would have needed much of a reason to launch an investigation anyway, so they could easily have let him make an issue out of a non-issue and go from there.
Would vulnerability really have been Bess’ “superpower”? I can see how it would make her relatable. I could also see how some voters would have scoffed and taken it as proof that she was not tough enough to be commander-in-chief (even though she was at CIA, in Iraq, went to Iran, Algeria and Libya, just to name a few of the things she did that should proof that she’s plenty tough).
And whoever thought of including Mike’s comment about his own divorce is genius. I don’t think they mentioned that he’d gone through a messy divorce after S1, so kudos for remembering and throwing that in!