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S06.E03: Killer Robots

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Elizabeth considers using autonomous unmanned weapons to pursue the mastermind of the gas attack. Blake is questioned. The First Couple search for the perfect dog.

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Blake is engaged! Military guy engages in treason and is perp-walked out! Henry proves that he was born to be FGOTUS by coming home with the perfect dog.

I love how Russell's behavior toward Bess has changed. And that she has very good reason for the world powers NOT to develop and use killer robots. (Though I wonder if her SoS felt diplomat-blocked by Bess's meeting with the Russian and Chinese ministers.)

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FDOTUS looks like a winner.

The PSA on killer robots was a little bit of a stretch; I don't think it's that easy to wrap up and put a bow on it even if China and Russia held hands with the US and sang Kumbaya, no matter how nice that would be.

So, no Stevie + Blake.

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Good job on the trilateral negotiations between the US, China, and Russia.  Because, you know, no other countries in the world have the skills or the technology to develop software like that.  Ask the Sony Corporation about North Korea.  Instead, the US should be working hard on developing anti-AI programs, if we don't want to get involved in using killer robots. 

Of course Henry picks a lovable mutt to be the FDOTUS.  But, the search for the right dog did ring a bit true.  People in power always, always look at the optics of their choices.

Note to Ambassador Harriman - Even in the afterlife, the lug nuts aren't located under the hood.  And I want one of those chingaderas in your toolbox, whatever it was.

Although he went about it all wrong, I tend to side a bit with the Admiral.  We should not be sacrificing our military when there are better solutions available.  The bunker buster bomb wasn't the answer, either.  The one we dropped earlier in Afghanistan did not do nearly the damage that the military wanted.  Rather than commit troops to a ground operation, they could have set a guidance crew on the ground at a safe distance and used highly accurate missiles.  That's been done before in real life.  But, the entire purpose of that choice, I acknowledge, was to have the discussion about the ethics (ding ding ding, paging Henry) of using AI to kill each other. 

I got a kick out of Blake pressing the Senator's buttons by describing his relationship drama.  But will he cheat on him with Stevie?  Stay tuned!

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There is a 0% chance Elizabeth McCord, POTUS and former Secretary of State, wouldn't know that South Ossetia is a semi-autonomous, lawless region within the Caucasian country of Georgia.  That is one of those problem areas of which any competent SoS or POTUS would be aware.  Really, of course, the writers just think the viewers need it spelled out for them very obviously, and it was really condescending.  I hate it when they make characters who should know things not know those things because the writers think we the viewers are too stupid to follow along.  It was very lazy writing.

I agree wholeheartedly on killer robots being a really, REALLY horrible idea, but it was really heavy-handedly dealt with here.

Awww, Blake and Trevor!!  I like Blake and Stevie as friends, so this was a lovely development.

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6 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

But, the search for the right dog did ring a bit true.  People in power always, always look at the optics of their choices.

I was surprised that "rescued dog, not from a breeder" did not come up in the first conversation.  And beagles (one of the "approved" breeds) were bred as hunting dogs.

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And Bess expressed interest in the DEA washout beagle when she was SOS. (The one that Daisy took home.)

I like that we can see a departed character in a dream...and the callback to him with the picture Bess has of him in her office with the button she gave him. (And, Harriman's influence still being felt in Russell's new assistant.)

I'm hoping that Keith Carradine is available for guest spots, because Bess has talked about what Conrad would do a couple of times now. And I can see her turning to her longtime mentor for insights,

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1 hour ago, Driad said:

Article just came in:  Military artificial intelligence can be easily and dangerously fooled 

(Not everyone will be able to read the full article, but the headline gives the idea.)

The author of that article (Will Knight) is cited in this public article, which mentions military use of AI, Russia and Chinahttps://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R45178.pdf
I wonder if the writers or their experts read it. 

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People in power always, always look at the optics of their choices.

I'm with @Driad on this. Why wouldn't their first choice not be a mutt from the pound? I thought they might adopt a disabled dog (fondly remembering Ben-Hur Brown). 

I think it's good this show is winding down. Go out with some dignity intact.

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I'm really tired of having Henry sit in those White House meetings.  Don't think that it's his place.  The show is really wearing on me.

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I'm happy for Blake because I love him, but who the heck is Trevor?  Am I clueless in having zero idea there was a Trevor in Blake's life -- and a quite serious, long, now-fiancee relationship at that?

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1 hour ago, MerBearHou said:

I'm happy for Blake because I love him, but who the heck is Trevor?  Am I clueless in having zero idea there was a Trevor in Blake's life -- and a quite serious, long, now-fiancee relationship at that?

Now that you mention it, I’m guessing the same black hole that swallowed up Jay and Matt spit out Trevor. 

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3 hours ago, MerBearHou said:

I'm happy for Blake because I love him, but who the heck is Trevor?  Am I clueless in having zero idea there was a Trevor in Blake's life -- and a quite serious, long, now-fiancee relationship at that?

I want to say he showed up once before a few seasons ago as someone Blake once dated.  I don't know that he has been seen since.  I agree that Blake's serious relationship with him seems to have come out of nowhere. 

And am I the only one who rolled their eyes when Henry was in the killer robot meeting?  

Also, Bess' blue silk tie with blue vest combo felt like it was something a stripper might wear as part of their routine.  All she needed was a straw hat and cane.  She's worn variations of that look before, and it has never looked good to me.  

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1 hour ago, txhorns79 said:

Bess' blue silk tie with blue vest combo felt like it was something a stripper might wear as part of their routine

LOL. She had at least two of those silk, noose-like ties. If they are going to be part of her regular attire, I will be glad this is the last season.

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An interview with whoever chooses Bess's outfits would be interesting. Remember the 3/4 sleeve jackets over long sleeve blouses. I would like to know what image of Bess they are trying to get across ... maybe she never looks at photos of herself?

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Tea Leoni is so attractive and I think she wants Bess to be someone who *almost* doesn’t give a shit about being attractive.  She’s put-together just enough to look professional but doesn’t want to call attention to herself because of her looks.  She wants Bess to be seen for her smarts, not her looks.  Therefore, her clothes are basic, boring sometimes, borderline frumpy sometimes.  Oh, gosh, yes — the 3/4 jacket over the long-sleeve blouses!  The black bras under the ivory tops that are almost always untucked in the back.  A sporty girl from a horse farm.

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38 minutes ago, MerBearHou said:

Tea Leoni is so attractive and I think she wants Bess to be someone who *almost* doesn’t give a shit about being attractive.  She’s put-together just enough to look professional but doesn’t want to call attention to herself because of her looks.  She wants Bess to be seen for her smarts, not her looks.  Therefore, her clothes are basic, boring sometimes, borderline frumpy sometimes.  Oh, gosh, yes — the 3/4 jacket over the long-sleeve blouses!  The black bras under the ivory tops that are almost always untucked in the back.  A sporty girl from a horse farm.

Yes, and I’ve expressed similar sentiments about her wardrobe, but the ties really bother me. 

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2 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Yes, and I’ve expressed similar sentiments about her wardrobe, but the ties really bother me. 

Ditto — I hate the ties!

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7 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

LOL. She had at least two of those silk, noose-like ties. If they are going to be part of her regular attire, I will be glad this is the last season.

Can't stand those ties around her neck; come to think of it starting to feel the same way about the show.

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What's the deal with the Wentworth Miller mustache-twirling, growly voiced, bad guy routine?  I know he's actually in his 40's, but he looks about 19 up there.  It's approaching laughable territory.  And every question they had him ask had such an obvious answer by Blake & his lawyer. 

Really a waste of time, as we know they won't find anything improper at the end and they have so many other storylines they could use to help wrap up the show.

And seriously?  No FCOTUS?  Haven't they heard recently that the White House has rodent problem?  

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9 hours ago, Kleav said:

The McCords are definitely dog people.

Well, horse people too. (I confess I would've liked to see a storyline about her trying to open the White House stables back up. The lines about losing Lady could've just as easily been about Buttercup.)

I appreciated the nod to Gordon, but none for Waffles?

The business with the 6-week-old puppy was odd; why not just put her back with her litter until she's a little older then? Her breeder wouldn't keep her for that much longer after weaning whether she went to the McCords or anyone else. (Indeed, I'd bet they already had a buyer lined up for her before they realized they had a chance for one of their dogs to be FDOTUS.) But yeah, all said a shelter dog was the obvious politically-correct choice.

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I did some research after my original post, as I had never heard of a Portuguese Water Dog.  President Obama did state that they were actively looking for a shelter dog, but instead chose two PWDs from breeders, although one was a returned animal, and the other was a gift from Sen. Kennedy.  I thought, at the time, that it was an odd choice, being rather rare, but everyone has their reasons. 

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On 10/21/2019 at 9:33 AM, Driad said:

And beagles (one of the "approved" breeds) were bred as hunting dogs.

So are Dachshunds.  So what?

On 10/21/2019 at 3:26 PM, cameron said:

I'm really tired of having Henry sit in those White House meetings.  Don't think that it's his place.  The show is really wearing on me.

He still has a closet in the Whitehouse, where he stands all day, waiting to pop out when someone desperately needs to know what Thomas Aquinas would say about something.

And yes, this show would improve tremendously if Henry would get himself swallowed by a squid.  Or something equally dramatic... but final.

21 hours ago, Kleav said:

The McCords are definitely dog people.

Cats are OK.  Especially when your dog gets hungry.

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2 minutes ago, Netfoot said:
On 10/21/2019 at 9:33 AM, Driad said:

And beagles (one of the "approved" breeds) were bred as hunting dogs.

So are Dachshunds.  So what?

Someone in the discussion said no working dogs or hunting dogs, because their ancestors were exploited.  But the two recommended breeds were beagles and cocker spaniels; both originated as hunting dogs.

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9 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Allergies, IIRC.

Yup, one of the girls. I recall talking to some owners not long after that who were worried about a 101 Dalmatians effect, but fortunately it doesn't seem to have happened, or at least I haven't noticed a huge uptick in the numbers of them walking around.

Honestly, that should be a factor in a FDOTUS pick too. They can call Hope a mutt, but she looks like a lot of border collie blood to me, and considering their intelligence and energy requirements, they would make a really bad 'trendy' pet. (At least Bess's staffers will have more fun trying to tire her out than they would have had constantly grooming the sheepdog!)

3 hours ago, Driad said:

Someone in the discussion said no working dogs or hunting dogs, because their ancestors were exploited.  But the two recommended breeds were beagles and cocker spaniels; both originated as hunting dogs.

More to the point, beagles are still very visibly used as working dogs, which the show knows perfectly well - see again: Waffles. They're not put at risk as often as most military/LE dogs (eg shepherds), but yeah, that was a weird line considering their conclusions.

Edited by Emma9
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3 hours ago, Netfoot said:

Cats are OK.  Especially when your dog gets hungry.

Yeah, I don't find that in any way funny since my first cat was, in fact, killed by a neighbor's dogs (all dalmatians, by the way, so fuck dalmatians forever) when I was a kid.  That same neighbor came over six months later with two of her fucking horrible dogs, and one of them almost killed another of our cats right in our yard before our Australian shepherd went absolutely ballistic on the dog for attacking one of her sheep.  So, no, joking about dogs eating cats does not amuse me.

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Bo's a good boy, but I was crushed when the Obama's dog process boiled down to accepting a high-end gift dog.  Talk about optics--imagine the good that would have come from the wildly popular First Family visiting a rescue facility, checking out the hybrid vigor.  : )

Then there was the announcement about the allergies and, okay, maybe, I guess.  There were probably the same 47 layers to be weighed and considered as on the tv show, but I'm still annoyed with Ted Kennedy.  Butt out with your impeccably bred Portuguese Water Dog; Petfinders.com could have rustled up a hypoallergenic pup if they'd had the chance. 

[Ha, thanks for reading, if you made it this far.  It's still such an issue that people don't realize they can get any kind of purebred dog from rescue.  PSA!  Spread the word.]

P.S.  Agree that Hope is a border collie with a small mystery contribution somewhere in there.  Is there room at the WH for a sheep meadow?

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17 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

I will be happy if he pees on VP Asshat's leg.

Nah, VP has potential for good; probably better not to irritate him. Let’s save the leg-peeing for some other asshat that they can’t diplomatically effect any other way. Unless VP does some new dirty dealing. In that case, yes, let it squirt!

*************
 

18 hours ago, candall said:

Ha, thanks for reading, if you made it this far.  It's still such an issue that people don't realize they can get any kind of purebred dog from rescue.  PSA!  Spread the word.]

I didn’t know that. Is there any chance that this could turn out to be the case with the presidential pooch without them knowing in advance? If so, political Dog Drama would ensue. 

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21 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

I will be happy if he pees on VP Asshat's leg.

I wonder if Noodle is still dating Morejon's son? Presumably, the McCords and Morejons got to know each other a little better when their kids were dating.

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So forgive these somewhat insignificant questions - 

What's up with her hair. She grew it out but is wearing it up - like in updos - in every scene in which she is "presidential." I find this odd. 

Also, why the loose ties with her blouses? They spend a lot of time focusing on her gender as the first female president and then she wears a tie to what? Look like a man?

Edited by Bobcatkitten

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It's interesting that even as a fictional President the number one discussion people are having about her is her wardrobe and physical looks. 

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On 10/27/2019 at 12:51 PM, Bobcatkitten said:

So forgive these somewhat insignificant questions - 

What's up with her hair. She grew it out but is wearing it up - like in updos - in every scene in which she is "presidential." I find this odd. 

Also, why the loose ties with her blouses? They spend a lot of time focusing on her gender as the first female president and then she wears a tie to what? Look like a man?

I agree...I don't like the loose tie/scarf look...I think it looks too 'casual".   But then her hair being in an up-do/bun type thing seems to convey "more serious", I guess.  It would be like if Elizabeth Warren was elected President & she would grow her short hair out long & then would put it up in a bun, people would wonder why did she do that?

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On October 28, 2019 at 6:26 PM, Grrarrggh said:

It's interesting that even as a fictional President the number one discussion people are having about her is her wardrobe and physical looks. 

I don't know if I'm the most objective party here, but: I seldom notice what Elizabeth is wearing either positively or negatively, and I don't consider that a bad thing. Contrast that with shows like Scandal and Suits, where it was obvious that the viewer was supposed to drool over the awesome clothes that, frankly, I thought looked terrible most of the time.

So while I agree with the sentiment, I can't be sure whether it's for feminist reasons or because I apparently just have bland taste in fashion.

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On 10/23/2019 at 7:41 AM, Emma9 said:

I appreciated the nod to Gordon

 I think my favorite exchange of the episode was this:

Mike B: None of these dogs can be a Gordon! That was only one.

Elizabeth: (very compassionately)  I know.

On 11/5/2019 at 10:40 AM, Emma9 said:

So while I agree with the sentiment, I can't be sure whether it's for feminist reasons or because I apparently just have bland taste in fashion.

I don't really have any issue with the ties or most of what Elizabeth wears. (Well, except the black bra under a white / light-colored shirt.) Her style seems to be similar to Kathryn Hepburn: mostly classic shirts and dress pants, maybe a little bit masculine in style. It seems fitting for her character's personality and "I don't give a damn about fashion" sort of attitude. (She definitely doesn't share Noodle's passion for fashion.)

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On 10/21/2019 at 12:37 AM, shapeshifter said:

The PSA on killer robots was a little bit of a stretch; I don't think it's that easy to wrap up and put a bow on it even if China and Russia held hands with the US and sang Kumbaya, no matter how nice that would be.

Agreed. I think it would have been nice if they had made it into an arc like they did with the climate deal in S5 but they only had 10 episodes, so I understand why they didn't.

 

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So, no Stevie + Blake.

And I thank them for that!
 

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Instead, the US should be working hard on developing anti-AI programs, if we don't want to get involved in using killer robots. 

Uh, that would have been nice if that had received a mentioning. Oddly enough though, the show stayed away from North Korea. If memory serves, the only mentioning North Korea received was in S1, in the episode when Bess realized that Russell and Conrad had a motive to get rid of Secretary Marsh and she's called into the Sit Room at the very end of the episode. I think it was #9. Other than that, I don't remember that they mentioned it. Maybe they thought it too complex to touch and therefore, didn't even think about mentioning it here?

 

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Rather than commit troops to a ground operation, they could have set a guidance crew on the ground at a safe distance and used highly accurate missiles. 

Would they have been able to execute that within the time frame, though? They only had 24 hours max before they thought the Russians would move in.

 

On 10/21/2019 at 11:35 AM, Driad said:

Article just came in:  Military artificial intelligence can be easily and dangerously fooled 

(Not everyone will be able to read the full article, but the headline gives the idea.)

I remember reading that Lori McCreary said that they scared themselves a little when they researched the episode.

 

On 10/21/2019 at 9:39 PM, txhorns79 said:

I want to say he showed up once before a few seasons ago as someone Blake once dated.

You would be correct. He's the guy Blake dated when he was working for the financial firm or whatever it was and who he reconnected with in S3 when they were in Rome. I guess they kept in touch?

 

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And am I the only one who rolled their eyes when Henry was in the killer robot meeting?  

I didn't mind Henry being there because this is the kind of thing Bess would have talked to him about in the Residence anyway. The only thing I didn't like was that Russell introduced him as Conrad's former ethics advisor (I mean, everyone knows he's Bess' husband and everyone can probably also imagine that this is something Bess would seek her ethic-professor husband's advice on anyway) and that Henry kept looking at Ellen Hill while discussing instead of his wife. He wasn't having an ethics discussion with staff, among staff, he was discussing something for the benefit of the President in the Oval Office with the President present.

 

On 10/22/2019 at 12:02 AM, buckboard said:

There is a framed photo of a woman on the table behind Elizabeth's desk.  Does anyone know who that is?

Someone somewhere speculated that it might be Susan B. Anthony. From what I've seen, it could be possible.

 

On 10/23/2019 at 8:41 AM, Emma9 said:

Well, horse people too. (I confess I would've liked to see a storyline about her trying to open the White House stables back up. The lines about losing Lady could've just as easily been about Buttercup.)

Horses are expensive though. Since a designer breed (or however they called it) would have painted her as an elitist, I don't know what opening up the stables for horse would have painted her as.

I guess, it could have been possible to build a story around opening the stables and use the horses to allow poor children to get riding lessons for free or something but that would probably not have worked as a side story.

 

On 10/25/2019 at 12:32 PM, kwnyc said:

I wonder if Noodle is still dating Morejon's son?

Since she's overseas, I'm guessing that the answer is no. Unless he was the one, she doesn't strike me as the kind of woman who would do the long distance thing.

 

On 10/27/2019 at 12:51 PM, Bobcatkitten said:

What's up with her hair. She grew it out but is wearing it up - like in updos - in every scene in which she is "presidential." I find this odd. 

I like it.

 

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Also, why the loose ties with her blouses? They spend a lot of time focusing on her gender as the first female president and then she wears a tie to what? Look like a man?

I read that that was the reason. I don't agree with their choice. Being the first female President is a big deal, so why dress her in a way that makes her look more masculine? That makes little sense and seems to undermine the point of the country should have a female President by having one.

 

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I think this was my favorite season 6 episode so far. It was intense and yet, had elements of humor and we finally got to see the magnitude of the office. Not that she wasn’t doing presidential stuff before but I guess, that’s the difference to her previously held job. There are a lot more elements going into the presidency than being Sec of State, so we had a few of the less intense-lives-hang-in-the-balance kind of stuff.

That said, why did Bess not seem overly busy? They way they set it up gave me the impression that she didn't have anything else on her schedule other than the AI weapons. While it certainly was a delicate issue, it did not strike me as the kind of issue the President would clear her schedule for.
I get that the fact that it's the final season put them on a tight budget and since the White House was never the focus of the show, they didn't have a set-up around the Oval Office like the West Wing. But I'm sure they could have found and afforded a few extras to move in and out of the office and thrown in a few lines about her next appointment waiting or a meeting happening in five minutes or whatever.
She did seem to have been elsewhere before she came into the Oval to check if they had gotten word back from Russia and China and Henry came in with the dog but even then she seemed very calm and not like she just came from another meeting. I imagine they did that to give her the appearance of being in control but to me, it just looked like she had all the time in the world. (Which was very much at odds with her comment in the previous episode when she wondered when Presidents ever had time to play golf).

Again with the dream. Did they have to? I'm not a fan of dreams anyway and I didn't feel like it was essential to the story or helped moved it forward. Yes, it was nice to see Harriman but I wouldn't have missed it one bit if it hadn't been there.

I think sometimes Stevie is just so full of herself. Sure, there are a lot of issues in the world but seriously? She can't take 30-45 minutes to have dinner (with her parents)? What about the fact that there are a lot of children in the places she mentioned who would give anything to spend one more minute with their parents but can't because they're dead or vice versa? To them, she would probably come across as taking something for granted that she should cherish and value. (Not to mention that if she doesn't eat properly, she won't be any help to anyone and will only use up resources when her medical bills have to be paid).

So, Stevie just made me roll my eyes a little but I loved the conversation Bess and Henry had before and after. I never knew the White House had six floors. Always thought it was half that. But I thought it was a nice way of letting us know that they were still getting used to it all.

If anyone says “Lady” and “floppy ears” I’m thinking Lady and the Tramp and Cocker Spaniel, so that their dog was a bullmastiff came a bit of a surprise. And you kind of knew that something was coming when Bess said that she didn’t want to make a big deal out of the search but I did not expect this and it made me laugh. Bess' reaction was perfect (and kind of mirrored my own). And leave it to Mike B. to put out a poll about what dog to get. And to choose a dog based on its usefulness with regards to governing.
I also loved the contrast to Henry who just went to a shelter to get a dog which is probably what they should have done all along especially from an “optics” point of view. What could be better optics than a President getting a rescue dog? Too bad we didn’t see Mike’s reaction though.

I loved the dynamic between Russell, Bess and Mike B. during that dog scene. I think they fit well together and play off each other extremely well. Add great dialogue and I chuckled throughout that scene.

Someone in the CG department missed inserting an image when Ellen Hill hands the smart weapons brief to Russell the first time and now I can’t unsee that green image on the front of the brief where the picture later went.

I was a little surprised that Ephraim Ware was so firmly in the “smart weapons” category. I would have thought he’d be more on the fence about it and why not? Even if he maybe would have had to take a side when Bess asked where everyone stood, I think it would have been nice if he hadn’t been so decisive and bit more hesitant. On a subject like that it strikes me as perfectly acceptable to not be sure which arguments weigh heavier.

At the same time, I found it a bit odd that Russell said the risks outweigh the benefits and was so clearly in the "seals" category. I guess, that's because he's been so supportive of – to use Bess words – Conrad’s more hawkish streak for the past five seasons. Yes, he was Conrad’s CoS and unless asked specifically like this time around, he'd be arguing for the President. But, aside from the episode where Conrad had the tumor, I can only recall one other episode in which he told Bess to get another idea and fast so that they wouldn’t go to war. And he always seemed genuine in his support when he supported Conrad. (He also seemed genuine here, still, for some reason I expected him to react differently).
That said, it probably would have taken too much time and been too complex if Bess had had to argue with her CoS and convince him of her opinion first. It would also have added another point of contention between them and that would probably have been too much.

I like that they continued with the “adjustment period” and that Bess pointed out that he should advise her as a President and not as a woman. It kind of emphasized what he was struggling with in the episode before, that he was seeing a woman President rather than just a President. From that perspective it might not have been such a good idea to ask him to her CoS. The question is, would others with his level of Russell's experience have had an easier time adjusting to a female President or would they, too, see woman President and not just President?

I agree with Russell that Bess seems to have an overwhelming need to explain herself but I guess, the questions she was faced with in the previous episode and the scrutiny she’s under were merely an example and haven’t let up. Likewise, I imagine that Russell is not the only one who's seeing a woman President and would compare what she does to what the men have been doing (even if Russell didn't compare it), so, I find it understandable.
I don’t agree with Russell on the issue of creating fear. I don't think that honesty and transparency create fear, to the contrary. People are usually afraid of the unknown and/or things they don't have all the information on, so I think the Oval Office address was the right call.

I loved the scene between Bess and the family of the fallen soldiers. I would have loved it even more if they had shown that she took what they said about standing behind her decision to heart. I think they were trying to tell us that she did with her decision to hold an oval office address, aggressively pursue the smart weapons ban treaty and with the oval office address itself, but it would have been great to see Daisy put out a statement in which she would have stood behind her decision.
Althought, now that I’m writing it, I wonder if maybe she couldn’t do that because she would have shown her hand. Up until then it was just a rumor and Moscow and Beijing didn’t have confirmation that they had achieved breakout capability, so such a statement might have meant that the respective foreign ministers would have left before she could meet with them.

Interesting choice of “leaker”. His reasoning sounded a bit twisted as soldiers are meant to defend and protect the country, just like the President, so it would make little sense if a President’s prime directive was to protect the troops. But considering that given his position, he'd probably spent years worrying about how to keep those under his command safe, it also makes sense that he'd lose sight of the bigger picture.
I’m not sure what to make of Bess thanking him for his service. On the one hand, she’s acknowledging everything else he’s done, on the other hand, it seemed a cruel.

Why could Blake and Stevie not watch the Oval Office address from behind the camera in the actual Oval Office since it was just steps away from where they watched it and there was basically no one else in the Oval Office?

I loved Blake’s appearance before the committee and that Hanson had heard enough at the end. Serves him right.

Stevie/Wallis Currie-Wood could not sell the argument about likeability of women and that glass ceilings were meant to be shattered, though. For some reason that just sounded fake and like someone thought it absolutely had to be in the script whether it fit or not, so Stevie had to deliver that line somewhere.
I liked the rest of the Blake-story. I loved Blake’s parents the first time around and loved them here again, too. They should have appeared more often. And for some reason, it made me incredible happy that they brought Trevor back. We only met him once but I liked Blake and Trevor together. (And I’m far more interested in their relationship than I am in Stevie’s relationship(s)).

Naming the dog Hope was a nice way to end the episode.

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Loved the dogs, and am glad they got a rescue dog. 

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