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shapeshifter

S06.E01: Hail to the Chief

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Season 6 begins tomorrow, Sunday, October 6 at the last prime time hour (10/9C).
From thetvdb.com:

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Elizabeth must fend off a baseless investigation into her past that threatens to derail the first major legislation of her presidency. Also, First Gentleman Henry squirms after his appearance on THE LATE SHOW with STEPHEN COLBERT results in heightened scrutiny of the romance in the First Couple’s marriage.

Edited by shapeshifter

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YEAH! She's BACK and she's PRESIDENT. I knew she'd pick Morejon (whom I guess we'll have to stop calling Senator Asshole.)

And I knew she'd find a way to pull Russell back in. Are we really going to go without Jay?

And Stevie...geez. Her last several years have given the opposition enough to sink several admins, from sleeping with her boss at an NGO, to having an affair with  an ex-spy in the Witness Protection program.

I suspect the rest of this season will be examinations of things going on in the Real World, it will be interesting to see their takes.

Also: I want to see Conrad again.

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So glad my show is back! And by that, I mean it's better than it was. I've been sitting through a few premiers lately, and this is the first one that made me feel all warm and fuzzy, even with the drama that I'd rather not think about. But this is the better alternate universe version, so I'll take it. Hail to the Chief on Madam Secretary!

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Mike B continues to be the complete worst, I think it's weird that Alison is apparently MIA for the season (why couldn't it have been Jason?), I didn't miss Matt or Kat at all, and I missed Jay so much.

I was rooting for Bess to slug Miller but good, but I guess that wouldn't be becoming of a president.

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I liked this premiere - I missed Matt & Kat & Jay - it should be interesting to see how this show views some real world issues, especially given how much has happened in the last two weeks, let alone month.

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Well.  Is the new Madam Secretary going to continue to load up that kitchen table on the 7th floor with every pastry in DC?  At least Minister Chang is still around.  Somewhere.

I can't believe Henry actually put that silly hat on his head during the Colbert show.  Everyone in DC knows that optics mean something, and he just made himself out to be First Frat Boy of the United States.  The cuts to Jason looking bored/irritated in the audience are foreshadowing something, too.

I ran the ff after the first segment, so I missed the first flashback where it returned to Bess in campaign mode.  I sat there for a moment thinking "You're the President.  What are you doing in sweats on a campaign bus?"

Does anyone know if they cleaned house, or are the actors coming back?

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2 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

Does anyone know if they cleaned house, or are the actors coming back?

They announced over the summer that several actors either had their roles reduced to recurring, or would no longer be on the show. 

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29 minutes ago, txhorns79 said:

They announced over the summer that several actors either had their roles reduced to recurring, or would no longer be on the show. 

Ah. Thanks. I’ve been avoiding spoilers. So I guess since Bess only explained the absences of Noodle and Jay, that we are to assume that Kat and Matt will pop up eventually. 

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I don't think Jason looked bored.  I think he was embarrassed by his father's  performance on Colbert.  And I think he knew that his dad's comments were wrong and could hurt POTUS.  

I think it was ballsy of Bess to bring in a stylist for her hubby, while her clothes could use a complete makeover, not to mention her hair.  She wears basically the same thing----white blouse with some kind of bow or tie and black pants and black jacket.  She has an almost androgynous look.  And the "gown" she wore at the beginning was awful----shapeless and very ill fitting.  Nothing that says feminine whatsoever.  You don't have to dress dumpy because you're a world leader.  Even though Hillary wore pant suits all the time, she wore colors, even a lot of pastels, and she looked professional.   And Liz needs a major hair makeover.  It always looks messy and very unkempt.  Again, a sleek haircut is easy to maintain and would look so much better.  

I just hope this final season isn't going to be nothing but a Congressional Hearing.  I'm already sick of this in real life, and I don't need it on my escapist TV.  And we all know she's not guilty. 

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One other thing - what about that chocolate fountain?  Can you say decadence?  Of course, in the interest of science, I would be willing to test it on a variety of small bites of pastry.

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1 hour ago, KLovestoShop said:

I don't think Jason looked bored. 

I thought Jason looked judgmental, as usual.

6 minutes ago, Dowel Jones said:

One other thing - what about that chocolate fountain?  Can you say decadence?  Of course, in the interest of science, I would be willing to test it on a variety of small bites of pastry.

Heh. Chocolate Diplomacy. That seems to me like it should work.

Plus, since the WH already has a fondue pot, and chocolate is cheap, why not?

Well, there may be some deforestation or poverty-inducing wages involved with chocolate production . 😒

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1 hour ago, KLovestoShop said:

I don't think Jason looked bored.  I think he was embarrassed by his father's  performance on Colbert.  And I think he knew that his dad's comments were wrong and could hurt POTUS.  

I think it was ballsy of Bess to bring in a stylist for her hubby, while her clothes could use a complete makeover, not to mention her hair.  She wears basically the same thing----white blouse with some kind of bow or tie and black pants and black jacket.  She has an almost androgynous look.  And the "gown" she wore at the beginning was awful----shapeless and very ill fitting.  Nothing that says feminine whatsoever.  You don't have to dress dumpy because you're a world leader.  Even though Hillary wore pant suits all the time, she wore colors, even a lot of pastels, and she looked professional.   And Liz needs a major hair makeover.  It always looks messy and very unkempt.  Again, a sleek haircut is easy to maintain and would look so much better.  

I just hope this final season isn't going to be nothing but a Congressional Hearing.  I'm already sick of this in real life, and I don't need it on my escapist TV.  And we all know she's not guilty. 

Whoever picks out her clothes for the formal events needs to be replaced.  They are all hideous.  Last night's choice looked like an old trench coat in long length.  Agreed about how she looked dumpy and hair style was really old fashioned.

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1 hour ago, cameron said:

Whoever picks out her clothes for the formal events needs to be replaced.  They are all hideous.  Last night's choice looked like an old trench coat in long length.  Agreed about how she looked dumpy and hair style was really old fashioned.

I too thought Bess's styling was pretty far over on the frumpometer, but then I fanwanked that was to make her look more like current known women politicians of her age, whereas Tia's body is more like AOC's.
ETA: Elizabeth Warren's body type is not unlike Tia's, but she never wears form-revealing outfits either.
So there ya go.

Edited by shapeshifter
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Does anyone else suspect Mike B of being involved in the Miller smear?

Didn’t notice that Matt was missing. The only one I missed — but not for long — was Russel. 

Liked his acceptance of a small drink and then his gesture for more, “I wanna taste it.”

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Did Bess run as an independent or go back to her party?  If independent, wouldn't she have had two opponents?

The dark blue outfit with 3/4-length sleeves at least did not have a wrist-length blouse under it.

Waiting for First Dude Henry's new superpowers. Predictions?

How many episodes are in this season?  Ten?

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36 minutes ago, Driad said:

Waiting for First Dude Henry's new superpowers. Predictions?

This^ reminds me of how much I enjoyed the shout-outs about Henry being Mr Everyman --and not in the usual sense of the word.

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Glad this show is back. Gotta admit though, I was secretly hoping that the show was going to follow the example of the old British series that went from Yes, Minister to Yes, Prime Minister for its last(?) series, and rename the show Madame President to reflect Elizabeth's change in status.

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1 hour ago, TVForever said:

Glad this show is back. Gotta admit though, I was secretly hoping that the show was going to follow the example of the old British series that went from Yes, Minister to Yes, Prime Minister for its last(?) series, and rename the show Madame President to reflect Elizabeth's change in status.

It seems they're handling it like "Jane the Virgin" and "Veep" did, keeping the original title as  the situation changed, but changing the logo within the show (at least JtV did).  They flipped the logo from Madam Secretary to Madam President a couple of times last night during the show.

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25 minutes ago, buckboard said:

It seems they're handling it like "Jane the Virgin" and "Veep" did, keeping the original title as  the situation changed, but changing the logo within the show (at least JtV did).  They flipped the logo from Madam Secretary to Madam President a couple of times last night during the show.

Thanks, I missed that. I'll pay cloesr attention in the future-I hope they continue it through the season.

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2 hours ago, Driad said:

Waiting for First Dude Henry's new superpowers. Predictions?

I was shocked he wasn't in the Situation Room with Elizabeth offering strategies on how to handle Iran, and that he hadn't somehow been made Co-President.

As to Blake, I kind of thought the whole point of Bess forcing him out of his role as her assistant at State was so he could grow, and develop his skills in other areas.  It was a little sad to see him back in that position as though nothing had changed. 

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I didn't know they were doing a time jump, or that actors were leaving, so this episode was a bit jarring for me.

I am not sure I am a fan of having this whole investigation happening. I thought a good/optimistic ending for the show would be Bess being elected president.  Having her be president and be overshadowed by scandal kind of takes away from that.

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1 hour ago, KaveDweller said:

I didn't know they were doing a time jump, or that actors were leaving, so this episode was a bit jarring for me

Same^ for me.

1 hour ago, KaveDweller said:

I am not sure I am a fan of having this whole investigation happening. I thought a good/optimistic ending for the show would be Bess being elected president.  Having her be president and be overshadowed by scandal kind of takes away from that.

Yes to this too, but the show seems to be giving at least a slightly more positive spin than IRL, like with Bess and Morejon teaming up for the good of the country. 

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In the past, this show has been in my top 3 of “must see”.  I’ve admired Bess and I enjoyed her relationships with her Super-Husband and her team.  I felt cheated in this first episode that it’s already 100 days into her Presidency???  I mean, we’ve been along with her on the ride and now she’s WON, been to the Inauguration, said goodbye to some staffers and a daughter we knew very, very well, moved into the White House — I could go on and on.  I didn’t like the new vibe at all.  The entire episode felt very off to me.  What I did like:  seeing Russell and Blake, Russell’s reactions — “Carol, call the gardener” and wanting more liquor to be poured, the gorgeous (though weirdly quiet) White House hallways, the funny scene in the bedroom when Bess and Henry were talking about Bess being his superior and he didn’t know how to respond.  Hated the Colbert segment (not a fan of SC in the first place) and there was no doubt in my mind that Jason thought his dad was responding all wrong as FGOTUS.  The prospect of multiple episodes covering the election investigation — boring and major UGH.  So disappointed because I loved this show when she was just Madam Secretary.

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13 hours ago, cameron said:

Whoever picks out her clothes for the formal events needs to be replaced.  They are all hideous.  Last night's choice looked like an old trench coat in long length.  Agreed about how she looked dumpy and hair style was really old fashioned.

Where's Noodle when you need her?

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15 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

like with Bess and Morejon teaming up for the good of the country. 

Unless VP Asshat is scheming to cut her off in the investigations, so he can get the gig.

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18 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Yes to this too, but the show seems to be giving at least a slightly more positive spin than IRL, like with Bess and Morejon teaming up for the good of the country. 

This show has always felt like it was in a fantasy world where people always come together over their differences, find compromises, etc.  Our real life politicians aren't anywhere close to being that cooperative with their opponents.

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I missed Jay; Matt not so much.  Hopefully, he'll pop in here and there.

When Elizabeth told Henry to keep an open mind in his meeting, I knew it was about clothes.

Not sure I'll be a fan of the season as they want to continue their ripped from the headlines trend. 😕

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Apparently "Jay", Sebastian Arcelus, was caught off guard with his dismissal from the show...he was upset about it so don't expect him make an appearance unless it's permanent.

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21 hours ago, kicksave said:

Apparently "Jay", Sebastian Arcelus, was caught off guard with his dismissal from the show...he was upset about it so don't expect him make an appearance unless it's permanent.

I absolutely loved Jay and the actor is outstanding.  Darn it -- I am sorry he was surprised -- I assumed he'd moved on to better things now that this show is winding down.

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1 hour ago, MerBearHou said:

I absolutely loved Jay and the actor is outstanding.  Darn it -- I am sorry he was surprised -- I assumed he'd moved on to better things now that this show is winding down.

Me too...I first saw him on House of Cards. Apparently, the powers that be decided to change things up and the Jay character was written out. I think he would have been great as Chief of Staff and could have brought a lot to the role. He would have also been good as Press Secretary. I think bringing the Russell character back is not very creative and really, not something that would happen in real life. In fact, that has never happened in any administration, that I know of, that any new President would bring in Chief of Staff that had just served eight years with the previous President. Burn out and exhaustion make it impossible for someone to take on that position after eight years...let alone someone with a bad ticker! I am disappointed in this decision...I always respected the way the producers  and writers gave us  pretty realistic glimpse into the political workings of the Presidency and Congress...so this just doesn't ring true to me in terms of what would really play out in a cabinet position of this level.

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11 hours ago, kicksave said:

Me too...I first saw him on House of Cards. Apparently, the powers that be decided to change things up and the Jay character was written out. I think he would have been great as Chief of Staff and could have brought a lot to the role. He would have also been good as Press Secretary. I think bringing the Russell character back is not very creative and really, not something that would happen in real life. In fact, that has never happened in any administration, that I know of, that any new President would bring in Chief of Staff that had just served eight years with the previous President. Burn out and exhaustion make it impossible for someone to take on that position after eight years...let alone someone with a bad ticker! I am disappointed in this decision...I always respected the way the producers  and writers gave us  pretty realistic glimpse into the political workings of the Presidency and Congress...so this just doesn't ring true to me in terms of what would really play out in a cabinet position of this level.

I mean I could understand if Bess had had Russell as the Interim Chief of Staff before finally convincing Mike B to be her Chief of Staff

the other way around is a bit odd

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I am very sad this show is ending, but since it has got to its end game (Bess becoming President) I understand it. Sad nonetheless.

But focusing on the positive, I enjoyed this premiere, although I will admit it was a bit confusing with the flashbacks so I had to watch it a second time once I figured out the strategy they are going for.

I missed Ali, Kat and Jay terribly, but Matt not so much - as I was watching it I kept thinking to myself: "who's missing, I feel like there was another character but who the Hell is it?!" Drove me crazy until I re-watched the first episode of the second season - then I was like Matt!

I wasn't super surprised Bess chose Senator Morejon because I figured with Ali and the Senator's son (whose name escapes me) were dating at the end of last season and theoretically got to know each other better in a non-rival way. (Of course that all depends when Ali left for her internship...)

I am perhaps in the minority but I adore Mike B,, for as aggressive as he is I believe he has a heart and wants the absolute best for Bess and team. He also provides some necessary comic relief.

I am stunned that no one prepped Henry for the Colbert appearance, sort of running through any possible situations / questions / or trip ups he could pull. Especially since this is the very first First Gentleman. Henry looked so uncomfortable on Colbert but he should have had the presence of mind not to put the hat on.

Blake, honey ROTUS - No just NO. You're downgrading yourself (in my opinion).

RUSSELL!! I legit squealed when I saw Bess go to Russell and he accepted! I realize in the real-world this would never happen but for a TV show I loved it!!

I can't wait for the rest of the season!

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On 10/7/2019 at 10:44 AM, KLovestoShop said:

I don't think Jason looked bored.  I think he was embarrassed by his father's  performance on Colbert. 

My take was that he was embarrassed by the questions rather than his father's performance. I mean, who wants to hear about their parents' sex life and who wants it to be made fun of while you sit in the audience? I would have been uncomfortable in Jason's place, too. I'm also not sure why Jason had to go with Henry in the first place. Did he want to?

On 10/7/2019 at 10:44 AM, KLovestoShop said:

I think it was ballsy of Bess to bring in a stylist for her hubby, 

She didn't. That's the stylist that Russell got her in the pilot (same actress, too!) and who, I'm assuming from what was mentioned throughout the show, she used until Alison took over. They mentioned here that Bess asked her to fill in for Ali.

On 10/7/2019 at 10:44 AM, KLovestoShop said:

while her clothes could use a complete makeover, not to mention her hair.  She wears basically the same thing----white blouse with some kind of bow or tie and black pants and black jacket.  She has an almost androgynous look.  And the "gown" she wore at the beginning was awful----shapeless and very ill fitting. 

There's a tumbler account from someone who looks up the fashion from the show and if she found the right dress (which I think she did), it costs more than $1,000. That said, I wasn't a fan of it either, mostly because of the belt that was tied around the waist. I'll never understand haute couture.

On 10/7/2019 at 12:07 PM, shapeshifter said:

Heh. Chocolate Diplomacy. That seems to me like it should work.

Until someone starts arguing over whether they want dark, milk or white chocolate and if white chocolate should even be an option because it's not "real" chocolate. 😉 It could also get very sticky.

And as someone who doesn't like banana, I couldn't stop staring at the already sweet banana covered in even more sweet chocolate. And he ate it, too. 😛

On 10/7/2019 at 5:10 PM, mojito said:

Does anyone else suspect Mike B of being involved in the Miller smear?

If there's a tape, is it really a smear? Sounds like the newspaper was reporting facts.

Would the tape be part of the divorce records, though?

On 10/7/2019 at 7:45 PM, TVForever said:

Glad this show is back. Gotta admit though, I was secretly hoping that the show was going to follow the example of the old British series that went from Yes, Minister to Yes, Prime Minister for its last(?) series, and rename the show Madame President to reflect Elizabeth's change in status.

A while ago, I read somewhere that they'd then lose their syndication status. I don't know if it's the same for every network and if it's still true today but that might be why they decided against it.

On 10/7/2019 at 10:49 PM, KaveDweller said:

I didn't know they were doing a time jump, or that actors were leaving, so this episode was a bit jarring for me.

I knew and it was still weird. We left her announcing that she's running and all of a sudden, she is President and she wasn't just elected, she's already been President for 100 days. It felt like she and everyone around her had those 100 days plus the transition to get comfortable with the idea whereas we, the viewers, didn't. To them, it was normal, to me, it was not.

Hall and/or McCreary said that it felt a little bit like doing a pilot and I can definitely see why they said so.

On 10/10/2019 at 10:49 AM, deaja said:

I missed Jay; Matt not so much.  Hopefully, he'll pop in here and there.😕

Jay was a great policy advisor. I'd have loved to see him as a senior advisor but I don't mind that he isn't her chief of staff. I just don't think he was the right kind of person for that job. He just seemed too nice and diplomatic.

On 10/7/2019 at 7:04 PM, Driad said:

Did Bess run as an independent or go back to her party?  If independent, wouldn't she have had two opponents?

Yes, Bess ran as an Independent. She never belonged to a party. Russell says so in S3 Ep 2.

They also mentioned a second opponent in the flashbacks. Hubbard, I think. From what they mention, he doesn't seem to be doing too well, so, I guess, it's possible that as they get closer to the election and after Bess announced her choice of VP, he slipped in the polls and Miller was her main opponent.
 

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Some thoughts on the episode.

I agree with everyone, I'm not thrilled about the investigation. I'm not thrilled about the hack story either. Mostly, because I don't think they had to go there. I read that they didn't do the campaign because the primary campaigns are ongoing and they didn't think it was what people wanted to see but I'm not convinced. First of all, they could have done whatever they wanted, so they could have easily kept the campaign above the belt and gone for clean campaigns. Second, if they thought viewers didn't want to see a campaign, what made them think that they'd want to see an investigation? To me, it sounds like CBS had a say in the matter or, at the very least, that CBS' decision to cancel the show played a role in their choice of story.

I'm also torn about them showing the presidency in the first place. Bess getting elected at the end of the show would have felt like a nice conclusion of that chapter of hers as Secretary of State. Now, they've kind of opened the next chapter but we're only going to see a very small part of it. On the other hand, I do like that we get to see it. I'd just have liked to be able to see it for longer than 10 episodes if that happened.

Maybe it’s just me but what was up with the many times that they referred to Bess as commander-in-chief? I know that she is the commander-in-chief, I just thought they overdid it a little. The stylist did not need to refer to Bess as that, for example. She could have just said she got the President to sign off. I thought that was a little odd.

Bess and Henry dancing was a cute moment and made me smile. (Although, for a second, I thought they were going to start making out :P) And Bess pulling Henry away from the couple to keep him from telling his joke made me grin. Nice call-back bringing that joke back.

I wasn't 100% sold on Henry's involvement with the arts. Yes, he wrote books and is well-read but it never seemed to rise to the level that would make me think he'd be interested in making the arts one of his issues as First Gentleman. I think it would have been nice if they'd dropped a sentence or two tying it his interest to Allison and her career choice.

I don't think they'll have many "jobs" after this one, so Henry's wish to have jobs in their house from now on may not be that much of an issue. (That exchange made me curious as to what they'd do after her presidency. I find it really hard to guess with the two of them).

I love Colbert and I loved him even more when he got to say that the word for guys like Henry was annoying. He's certainly spoke for me, at least, with regards to Henry's many "talents".
I wonder if it was weird for Colbert though. I mean, he's had Daly on the show and suddenly, he had Daly on the show as his character Henry.

I’m not sure if they did it on purpose, but I thought it was an interesting contrast, switching from Henry at Colbert to Bess in the Sit Room. Very defining of their current roles.

I get what Mike B said about wanting to work behind-the-scenes and it's probably right with regards to his character, (and I think Kevin Rahm killed it when he was talking about relationships with people) but I absolutely loved the dynamic he and Bess had in this episode and that we got to see a couple of different dynamics between them.
I thought that he had to correct himself as he addresses Bess came across as very authentic to the character. Loved the exchange after Bess emerged from the bedroom and the moment when he talked to her about Gordon and we got to see his softer side.

I like Blake as Bess' assistant, probably because he's been one more or less the entire show, so I don't mind that he's "ROTUS" (seriously?) but I'm with Mike. I'm not convinced it's a promotion.

I think Morejon was the obvious VP choice. I don't know if they had plans to go there as far back but ever since the Christmas party in S4 when she pushed him to do the right thing about the landmines, I assumed that he might end up as her VP pick down the road. Why turn an adversary around otherwise?

I'd have loved to see why Morejon decided to join the ticket. Of course, he was kidding himself thinking he could control Miller. If Miller became President, all he'd have to do was give an order and Morejon would have to follow it. But did he realize that? If so, what made him realize it? Or did he tell his wife about Bess' offer and did she sort of steer him into accepting? Darn 10 episodes.
I liked when he acknowledged that he didn’t have Bess’ courage. It was one of my favorite moments of the episode and showed how far they had come and that no matter their disagreements, he really respects her. (And, I guess, he did have the courage after all).

And speaking of, something else I'd have liked to see explored was Iran's response to the retaliatory strike. Especially since all we got was "Israel says it's Iran and we're saying it, too, so they did it". I wish they'd have had the time to spend some more time at confirming that Iran was actually behind the hack. But, I guess, since we didn't see any fallout we're supposed to assume that that was the case.

Holding the press conference to announce the Iran hack is so very Bess but after all these years, did she really not see the response coming?

I’m in love with the bedroom scene, when Henry comes in, Bess asks questions and then continues to talk until she expects Henry to answer. Whoever wrote that really did a great job observing life! And I thought it was brilliantly acted, too. (The whole episode was, really).

I thought the look Bess gave Henry when she mentioned that people could talk about their sex life was priceless and I liked the call-back to the pilot right after. But I think it would have worked better if they had changed the end to the dialogue, with Henry actually saying the right thing this time. It felt a bit awkward this way. Although, I did love that he just gave back the remote.

Who picked out the rusty wall color for the living-room/den and what’s more, who picked out that animal painting? Does that go with the mountain scene from one of the potential campaign headquarters they showed in the S4 finale? 😛
It does not look like something Bess and Henry would pick out.

Whoever cast Miller did a fantastic job. That guy really came across as gross and creepy. I guess, the way they dressed him played a huge part in that. But I did wonder who’d want to have an affair with him. Ew!
Loved when he sort of lost his temper with Bess and all she did was give him a look and he pulled himself together.

Bess showing up at Russell’s was another nice call-back to the pilot when Conrad showed up at Bess’ place. And this time, they did change things a bit and I thought it worked really well.

The dialogue was great, especially, the way that Russell greeted her and that he compared weeds to lobbyists. That is so Russell. And something about Bess apologizing for dropping in unannounced cracks me up. I think it’s the fact that she’s travelling around with a multi-car motorcade and dropping in unannounced makes it sound like she’s snuck up on him which seems rather impossible.

I think the speech Bess gave at the end of the episode is one of the best they ever wrote, if not the best. And we got quite a lot of it, too. Loved it.

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