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S02.E23: Vartius

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This is the best show on tv!! Really!! I watch it several times with On Demand-- just to be sure I didn't miss anything and get some clarity in some of the "heavyscenes".....

The ending blew me away!!!

Love the overall theme that an actual married couple is being portrayed as a great partnership and not enemies!! 

Can't wait for new season...i found this site because I dont know anyone in Memphis who watches this show!

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Loved this finale. Loved the wedding thing, the job thing, the spy thing, the commencement thing, everything. They've got me for next season.

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Stevie continues to surprise me with her mature attitude, so at odds with her Season One self.  I find I quite like her, now.

Mike B. still an asshole, so some things don't change.

Surprised that the Secretary's speech-writer would be acceptable as a last-minute stand in for the secretary herself.  Not that I have anything against Matt, but just saying!

If Bess is to become VP, the title would presumably need to change.  I expect that before this happens, S3 will involve considerable electioneering.

Having quite rightly and correctly spit on Henry's shoes, can anyone explain why one glimpse of Elizabeth peeping out of the car, and Dimitri whips around and throws himself on Henry's  neck?

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Oh, Stevie. That's my girl! I was worried there for a good five minutes, but thought it was great how her real feelings came tumbling out immediately. Love her relationship with her parents.

As soon as Bess started going off on Dalton, I knew she would be wrong. I love the VP idea, but they'll have to change the show's title...or she'll have to decline. I'd absolutely hate to see her decline, but how does this go?

I really liked Elizabeth's pitch about Buckley/Dmitri. Yay, Dmitri!

Great episode. Only disappointment was that Elizabeth bailed on the commencement speech. Matt was great and he had a great message, but I dug the idea that the Secretary of State would do commencement at a place that wasn't fancy.

Looking forward to season three.

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Why didn't President Dalton first ask Elizabeth if she would like to be the V.P. before vetting and selecting replacements for Secretary of State?

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49 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

Having quite rightly and correctly spit on Henry's shoes, can anyone explain why one glimpse of Elizabeth peeping out of the car, and Dimitri whips around and throws himself on Henry's  neck?

Dmitri probably doesn't know that it was Bess and Dalton who gave him back to the Russians. If Professor Arm Candy showed up with more spy goons, I'd think he was there to make me an operative again.  Bess being there means it's a rescue mission.  Ish.

Edited by Saylii
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I uttered a "thank you" when Dmitri spit on Henry, too.  I think he recanted after seeing Bess because he realized that the deal was bigger than Henry, and that the US Gov't. made the effort to get him out.  Just my thoughts.  However, I am puzzled by why Russia would even want Peter Buckley.  Yes, he was their asset, but that was 20 years ago, and he is not a Russian national who would be a hero, but an American who turned on his own country (as far as we know).  He certainly doesn't have any more intelligence to share.  And then the Russians try to throw in a ringer?  Really?

That's the second time that Bess has ranted a bit without realizing that the other person might just have something to say that would cancel out that rant.  Ease up there!

I loved how Bess offhandedly threw in the news to Henry that she's a VP candidate.  "Big day, huh?" 

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Another possible explanation for Dimitri's change of heart upon seeing Bess's face, is that it might just be seeing her sorrowful look, which would likely be the polar opposite of what he's seen during his time in captivity as a spy in Russia.

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1 hour ago, Dowel Jones said:

I uttered a "thank you" when Dmitri spit on Henry, too.  I think he recanted after seeing Bess because he realized that the deal was bigger than Henry, and that the US Gov't. made the effort to get him out.  Just my thoughts.  However, I am puzzled by why Russia would even want Peter Buckley.  Yes, he was their asset, but that was 20 years ago, and he is not a Russian national who would be a hero, but an American who turned on his own country (as far as we know).  He certainly doesn't have any more intelligence to share.  And then the Russians try to throw in a ringer?  Really?

That's the second time that Bess has ranted a bit without realizing that the other person might just have something to say that would cancel out that rant.  Ease up there!

I loved how Bess offhandedly threw in the news to Henry that she's a VP candidate.  "Big day, huh?" 

Yeah, I didn't really understand it either. I guess a real world equivalent to the Russian spy in the US would be a combination of Aldrich Ames and Robet Hansen

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If not Bess as VP, then Russell could jump in the slot.  There is TV precedent on "The West Wing". 

I think it would be cool if they did a season of her part-time campaigning, then they win and it's re-titled "Madam VP".

I also thought Tea's face looked SO gorgeous in that half-opened car window, watching Henry & Dmitri....Her eyes are so expressive.  

That hug was perfect.  After the spit, I was pretty sure he was going to turn back around.  

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The Russians have always done their best to repatriate their spies.  Pour encourager les autres, I expect.

9 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Another possible explanation for Dimitri's change of heart upon seeing Bess's face, is that it might just be seeing her sorrowful look, which would likely be the polar opposite of what he's seen during his time in captivity as a spy in Russia.

Then he should have thrown himself on her neck.  Under the circumstances, Dimitri's first action would be to look for a rock with which to beat out Henry's brains.  Yet here he is, weeping on his shoulder with gratitude?  Balls!  That's just the writers inability to have Henry appear on screen as anything other than a superhero.

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Then he should have thrown himself on her neck.  Under the circumstances, Dimitri's first action would be to look for a rock with which to beat out Henry's brains.  Yet here he is, weeping on his shoulder with gratitude?  Balls!  That's just the writers inability to have Henry appear on screen as anything other than a superhero./

The only reason you can see for someone who's been captured, tortured, beaten, etc. to break down in tears on being set free is to make Henry look like a superhero?

1 hour ago, leighdear said:

I also thought Tea's face looked SO gorgeous in that half-opened car window, watching Henry & Dmitri....Her eyes are so expressive.  

Didn't she? I thought that was a really great and lovely moment.

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Elizabeth as VP and Henry as Secretary of State otherwise you'd lose all those excellent state department characters.  Keeps Henry busy as well.

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Just now, madam magpie said:

The only reason you can see for someone who's been captured, tortured, beaten, etc. to break down in tears on being set free is to make Henry look like a superhero?

From Dimitri's perspective, Henry is entirely to blame for his being captured, tortured, beaten, etc.  From turning him into a spy in the first place, extorting him into dangerous behaviour, and finally abandoning him on the sidewalk when literally two seconds from safety.  So, spitting on Henry's shoes was entirely within character.  But then boo-hooing on his collar?  Only as a means to get close enough to put the ice-pick in his spine.  Anything else is bad writing.

In any case, should Dimitri return in S3, the question remains -- Who is he working for now?

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12 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

From Dimitri's perspective, Henry is entirely to blame for his being captured, tortured, beaten, etc.  From turning him into a spy in the first place, extorting him into dangerous behaviour, and finally abandoning him on the sidewalk when literally two seconds from safety.  So, spitting on Henry's shoes was entirely within character.  But then boo-hooing on his collar?  Only as a means to get close enough to put the ice-pick in his spine.  Anything else is bad writing.

You can't see a situation where the spy who's been caught and betrayed by his country could understand that his handler's country may have done something similar? Or that he could have been so dependent on his handler that he was overjoyed to see him in that moment, despite the awful circumstances? That's not bad writing. It's a story choice. Maybe one you don't like? But I thought it made perfect sense.

Edited by madam magpie
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Oh, I can see that happening.  But I don't see it happening here.  One minute he is gobbing on Henry's boots, and the next moment with a beatific smile, he is hugging Henry with devotion?  Sorry, but for me it didn't ring true at all.

Obviously our opinions differ on thi, and thankfully, that's allowed!

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Oh, I can see that happening.  But I don't see it happening here.  One minute he is gobbing on Henry's boots, and the next moment with a beatific smile, he is hugging Henry with devotion?  Sorry, but for me it didn't ring true at all.

I didn't see a beatific smile. To me, he looked completely exhausted, battered, and relieved, suddenly aware that he'd been rescued.

Edited by madam magpie
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Who would Dmitri go to work for?  Well, he could be a guest lecturer in Henry's ethics classes.  One other question occurs to me.  What if Buckley did not want to be repatriated?  Most American spies have done it for the money, rather than some ideological affinity with the USSR/Russia.  Being shoved off your home, prison notwithstanding, to a completely foreign environment, would be devastating.  Also, the Russia Buckley spied for in the early 90's is long gone now, replaced by the Putin kleptocracy.  Good luck, old man.  Maybe you can get a gig with Anna Chapman on the Russian version of Survivor.

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1 hour ago, madam magpie said:

You can't see a situation where the spy who's been caught and betrayed by his country could understand that his handler's country may have done something similar? Or that he could have been so dependent on his handler that he was overjoyed to see him in that moment, despite the awful circumstances? That's not bad writing. It's a story choice. Maybe one you don't like? But I thought it made perfect sense.

me, too. If only because it was a face he recognized, and one that was not sneering at him. I think I'd hug Charles Manson if he was the first person I saw as I was being released from captivity and it appeared that he was responsible for it.

ETA: (perhaps Charles Manson is a bit too far to prove my point.... maybe replace with a Kartrashian)

ETA2: CLEARLY Dmitri is going to move into the McCord house.

Edited by betsyboo
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53 minutes ago, betsyboo said:

ETA2: CLEARLY Dmitri is going to move into the McCord house.

I assumed that was why Stevie stopped the wedding, so that she could realize Dmitri is her one true love, and Henry can have the Russian spy son he never had.

It's either that, or he adopts him.

Edited by Scott · Reason: Steve != Stevie
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13 hours ago, Netfoot said:

Having quite rightly and correctly spit on Henry's shoes, can anyone explain why one glimpse of Elizabeth peeping out of the car, and Dimitri whips around and throws himself on Henry's  neck?

Because no one I mean none can stay mad at Professor Arm Candy for long.

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Just now, tom87 said:

Because no one I mean none can stay mad at Professor Arm Candy for long.

My point exactly.  It was all about the glorification of Henry.

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I was wondering too why Russia would want Buckley. And why they would keep Dimitri alive? But I did like him spitting on Henry too. If only they would have kept it there. Loved Bess being asked to be Vice President.

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6 hours ago, madam magpie said:

I didn't see a beatific smile. To me, he looked completely exhausted, battered, and relieved, suddenly aware that he'd been rescued.

I think that you have the right perspective on his reaction and it possibly explains why the producers left his name off the guest cast and why Dmitri had no lines at all in the scene. As you said, that's not bad writing. It's a story choice. I thought it made perfect sense as well. This was a very lighthearted episode for the most part for a season finale. The engagement/wedding scenario and the VP option were just filler in the episode to reach that last scene in order to resolve the Dmitri issue for both Henry and Elizabeth. Also, I thought it was important that the writers got Dalton to admit that he had made a terrible mistake over the Dmitri extraction. I doubt that the VP question and Stevie's engagement will go past one episode next season while getting little traction especially the VP choice because it would reset the whole premise of the show. IMO. For the first time, Elizabeth told Henry that she loved the SoS job.

Edited by VinceW
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I didn't realize it was the season finale, though I thought things wrapped up nicely and was surprised there were no previews.  I loved this episode. 

The only part I didn't like was Matt's commencement speech.  I like Matt, but it just would be such a let down for the students who were expecting the Secretary of State.

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I am so glad at least the McCord were in better harmony this episode. Henry was being such a pouty, insufferable ass recently I was hoping they would trade him for Dmitri!

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Dmitri knows that the McCords saved his sister.  I would think his gratitude would be mostly for that, then for his being rescued.  Otherwise, she would have been dead.  

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Sorry, but there is absolutely NO WAY the president would've agreed to that spy exchange after those polling numbers that were discussed. Certainly not in an election year. The best solution would've been to wait until after the election when (assuming he was reelected) Conrad wouldn't be running for anything again.

Quote

Elizabeth as VP and Henry as Secretary of State otherwise you'd lose all those excellent state department characters.  Keeps Henry busy as well.

And since it's so trendy now, Henry could transition to female and they could still keep calling it "Madam Secretary."

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6 hours ago, madam magpie said:

QUOTE

Then he should have thrown himself on her neck.  Under the circumstances, Dimitri's first action would be to look for a rock with which to beat out Henry's brains.  Yet here he is, weeping on his shoulder with gratitude?  Balls!  That's just the writers inability to have Henry appear on screen as anything other than a superhero.. You can't be serious;  Elizabeth made the exchange/rescue happen.

The only reason you can see for someone who's been captured, tortured, beaten, etc. to break down in tears on being set free is to make Henry look like a superhero?  Good question...

Edited by VinceW

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I had no problems at all with Dmitri's apparent reactions - the trauma he experienced and is still experiencing usually doesn't make for clear cut, logical responses to situations.  I got it completely and didn't take it all for making Henry the superhero (and I really don't like Henry in that ridiculous role) - The anticipation to what was really going to happen to Dmitri and in whose hands he was really being turned over to, would it actually happen without him being killed, etc - All of it must have been a huge jumble of fear and emotions.  

His trauma, if portrayed realistically, should be extreme until he gets some help and time passes.  I loved how it was filmed. His realization that it was real and that Henry wasn't just there to use him again - most moving moment of the show for me in a long time.

I also liked the father/daughter talk about the quick wedding - they went in exactly the opposite direction with it that probably 99% of shows would have gone in - and, that too was really well done.  I don't usually pay attention to who is writing which episodes but whoever wrote this one - well done (except for her getting ginned up by the creepy guy with the dog into believing she was being booted) - and a stupid President not mentioning this possible situation to her prior to when he did.  DC is a sieve - That was just stupid.

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5 hours ago, VinceW said:

...I doubt that the VP question and Stevie's engagement will go past one episode next season while getting little traction especially the VP choice because it would reset the whole premise of the show. IMO. For the first time, Elizabeth told Henry that she loved the SoS job.

They could have the Dalton/McCord ticket lose and the new prez want Bess to continue as SoS, although I wouldn't want the show to ditch Keith Carradine.

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The only part I didn't like was Matt's commencement speech.  I like Matt, but it just would be such a let down for the students who were expecting the Secretary of State.

Right, Bess seemed to just blow it off because her schedule got a little busy.  Her absence would have been a lot more believable/forgivable if she had cancelled right before her trip to Finland.

That being said, I loved Matt's speech. I would love to have a copy of it. Matt really rose to the challenge.

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Madame Secretary  Madame Vice President.  or, if something happens to POTUS,  Madame Vice President Madame President.

I'd rather Elizabeth remains SoS, unless she winds up as president.  (Don't know that I'd like that.)  What story lines would the VP have?  When I go to the funeral for the King of Sweden, can I stop off in Oxford and see Stevie?  Or do I fly straight to Stockholm?  Decisions, decisions.  

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7 hours ago, buckboard said:

Madame Secretary  Madame Vice President.  or, if something happens to POTUS,  Madame Vice President Madame President.

 

Oh the show could go into an entirely different direction  and just call it Madame.

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That was such a great season finale! 

I love the fact that Stevie had the good sense to agree with her dad that she's not ready to get married yet.  I thought she would protest a bit before letting Henry persuade her to remain engaged but instead she agreed with him.  I thought it was very adult of her to realize as much as she loves this guy, she's not ready to settle down yet.  Yeah, I do believe if a couple is committed to each other, they could take their time to get married.

I'm trying to imagine Elizabeth McCord as VP of the United States.  That would be pretty cool!  But the show is about Madam Secretary!  What would the Show be then called if Bess becomes VP?

I tell you, the scene where Henry is waiting anxiously to see Dmitri was so tense and moving.  When the Russians wanted to pull a fast one and give the U.S. agents another guy, my heart sank.  I thought for sure that Dmitri was really dead.  I was really happy to see Dmitri slowly come out of that vehicle and move towards Henry.  Oh, poor Dmitri!  He looked like shit, all scrawny and bruised up.  I was not surprised when he looked at Henry and then spat on Henry's shoes.  But I guess the realization that he was indeed being returned to the U.S. when he saw the car with Bess in it, he was just so grateful and relieved that he went and hugged Henry.  I interpret Dmitri hugging Henry as relief and exhaustion and gratefulness at that moment.  But I don't think he has really forgiven Henry for abandoning him.  I'm real curious to see if they will continue the storyline with Dmitri next season of "Madam Secretary".  I've grown to care about the relationship between Henry and Dmitri and I'd like to see how it will now progress.

Well, I guess we'll all meet and comment again for next season!

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On 5/9/2016 at 6:47 PM, shapeshifter said:

VINCEW SAID:

...I doubt that the VP question and Stevie's engagement will go past one episode next season while getting little traction especially the VP choice because it would reset the whole premise of the show. IMO. For the first time, Elizabeth told Henry that she loved the SoS job.

SHAPESHIFTER SAID:

They could have the Dalton/McCord ticket lose and the new prez want Bess to continue as SoS, although I wouldn't want the show to ditch Keith Carradine.

BUCKBOARD SAID:

Madam Secretary  Madam Vice President.  or, if something happens to POTUS,  Madam Vice President Madam President.

I'd rather Elizabeth remains SoS, unless she winds up as president.  (Don't know that I'd like that.)  What story lines would the VP have?  When I go to the funeral for the King of Sweden, can I stop off in Oxford and see Stevie?  Or do I fly straight to Stockholm?  Decisions, decisions.  

GAZEBO SAID:

I'm trying to imagine Elizabeth McCord as VP of the United States.  That would be pretty cool!  But the show is about Madam Secretary!  What would the Show be then called if Bess becomes VP?

Well, I guess we'll all meet and comment again for next season!

VINCEW SAID:

Recall that Elizabeth was briefly President in episode 1 this season. Look at the gyrations the writers went through to get Morgan Freeman in the episode. It could be that Keith Carradine might not be coming back because of another project. It seems unlikely that the show is getting rid of any secondary characters on Elizabeth's current staff. I watch for Blake and Nadine as well as the McCord family dynamic. Check back at episode 2 in season 3. There presents little reason for things to change much for Elizabeth as a woman in a power position like SoS. IMHO.

Edited by VinceW
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Just an FYI: The quote directly above^ is not mine.

The quote feature has been wonky since the upgrade. Hopefully they're working on it.

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40 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Just an FYI: The quote directly above^ is not mine.

The quote feature has been wonky since the upgrade. Hopefully they're working on it.

The multi quote feature is not working; text loses hierarchy when you try to quote from a multi item post.

A lot of edits needed to get things right.

Edited by VinceW
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They can keep all of Bess' staff if she becomes VP - they could introduce some characters and get rid of some dead weight, too.

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Or the show could go into an entirely different direction  and just call it Madame.

But unfortunately Wayland Flowers is no longer with us.

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17 hours ago, VinceW said:

 Look at the gyrations the writers went through to get Morgan Freeman in the episode.

Isn't he an executive producer of the show?

Edited by pennben

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16 hours ago, pennben said:

ON 5/10/2016 AT 2:06 PM, VINCEW SAID:

 Look at the gyrations the writers went through to get Morgan Freeman in the episode.

PENNBEN SAID

Isn't he an executive producer of the show?

You missed the point. He is the executive producer, but so what? They put forth a nonsensical premise about succession to the Presidency just to give the big kahuna a part on the show as Chief Justice.  CBS did the same thing in order to bring on dinosaurs like Bob Schieffer and Madeleine Halfbright.

Edited by VinceW

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When we found out that they were looking for a replacement for SOS, but before the VP announcement, my husband and I were joking that, in order to keep the same title for the show, they would have to give her another cabinet position, like Secretary of Agriculture - every week there would be a new threat to US crops, and the season finale would be Elizabeth trying force Japan to take their beetles back before the grass shortage reaches crisis level.  

On 5/9/2016 at 9:19 PM, K-9 said:

Why didn't President Dalton first ask Elizabeth if she would like to be the V.P. before vetting and selecting replacements for Secretary of State?

Well, from a show perspective, they would lose a big chunk of their script and would miss out on Bess's sticking her foot in her mouth the second week in a row.  From a real world perspective, Dalton would rather have a second choice VP and keep Bess as SOS, if he couldn't find someone good enough to replace her, so he had to make sure that he had replacement before he made any promises/proposals.

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1.  Veep!

2.  Good thing Henry has better facial recognition skills than I do.  Uh, Dmitri?  That you, son?

3.  Matt's speech was awesome.  And meaningful.  And memorable!  I had a bigshot give the address at my graduation, but it was blahty blah blah blah.

4.  I thought the direction for Dmitri's behavior was perfect.  He would have imagined that loogie of disrespect scene ten thousand times in his mind, through all the pain from betrayal and torture.  The whole trip to Finland would have been excruciatingly tense.  He couldn't have been sure it wasn't a ruse, but he kept it together long enough to limp across the border with dignity and deliver the big move he'd mentally rehearsed.  Then he saw Elizabeth, got overwhelmed that it was all really happening and collapsed against the only person standing there he'd ever trusted.  He might not trust Henry tomorrow, but that night Henry meant safe.

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Well I guess Delgado had more than a wonky gallbladder when he threw up on the Chinese ambassador. Or, are they the "health issues" that crop up when the numbers aren't good? (Does he need to spend "more time with his family?")

I'll follow and see where it goes. Though there is already a show called Veep. ;-)

I think that Keith Carradine has finally found the right level of gravitas for his Presidency.

Also: Mikey B. knew that they were looking to replace Elizabeth but DIDN'T know that she was under consideration for VP? Or he didn't intuit it? I don't buy that.

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On ‎09‎.‎05‎.‎2016 at 0:19 AM, K-9 said:

Why didn't President Dalton first ask Elizabeth if she would like to be the V.P. before vetting and selecting replacements for Secretary of State?

He said that he didn't want to ask her before he couldn't give her the Name of a suitable replacement. Which I took to mean that he wanted to be able to give her a Name.

What I was actually wondering about was why the wife of the replacement already put their (unborn) child on a pre-school waiting list when Dalton hadn't even gotten the official okay. I guess they did that because they needed to be able to present Bess with proof that it was really happening but couldn't say the replacement had officially accepted because Bess hadn't said anything about the VP position yet. Still... the wife seems to have accepted the position for her husband already ;-)

 

On ‎09‎.‎05‎.‎2016 at 10:42 PM, buckboard said:

Madame Secretary  Madame Vice President.  or, if something happens to POTUS,  Madame Vice President Madame President.

I'd rather Elizabeth remains SoS, unless she winds up as president.  (Don't know that I'd like that.)  What story lines would the VP have?  When I go to the funeral for the King of Sweden, can I stop off in Oxford and see Stevie?  Or do I fly straight to Stockholm?  Decisions, decisions.  

But maybe that's the reason why they want to go there? I can't remember who said it or when and where they said it but someone connected with the show, I think it might have been either Hall or McCreary or Leoni, said that someone thanked them for making foreign policy not so foreign. So maybe they like the challenge of giving the Vice Presidency a bit more recognition, too?

All in all, I absolutely loved the finale. I've had mixed feelings about a few episodes - 16 and 17 to be specific - and I didn't like the way they handled Jose's character because I felt he was too obviously an antagonist (just like Sterling was). But this finale really made up for it all for me. I think the only thing which I didn't like about it was Stevie's supposed wedding dress. Otherwise, the episode had it all - intensity, humor, Bess-Henry moments, family moments... I also didn't mind the predictability of a couple of scenes. And my favorite part - there was no cliffhanger. For the second season in a row. I think they're completely unnecessary and feel that pretty much like you will buy another book from an author if the first book you read is well-written, a TV audience will be back to watch a show with or without a cliffhanger as long as it's well-written. So, 10 out of 10 for that finale from me!

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10 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

He said that he didn't want to ask her before he couldn't give her the Name of a suitable replacement. Which I took to mean that he wanted to be able to give her a Name.

What I was actually wondering about was why the wife of the replacement already put their (unborn) child on a pre-school waiting list when Dalton hadn't even gotten the official okay. I guess they did that because they needed to be able to present Bess with proof that it was really happening but couldn't say the replacement had officially accepted because Bess hadn't said anything about the VP position yet. Still... the wife seems to have accepted the position for her husband already ;-)

You need to get your name on early, but it's fairly easy to take your name OFF the list. I don't think the name on the list is indicating that the replacement thought it was a done deal - just that there's a pretty good chance and it's better to be prepared.

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22 hours ago, secnarf said:

You need to get your name on early, but it's fairly easy to take your name OFF the list. I don't think the name on the list is indicating that the replacement thought it was a done deal - just that there's a pretty good chance and it's better to be prepared.

Well, Dalton says the replacement hasn't unofficially accepted the unofficial offer yet. And yet, the wife already put the name on the list. I would think that she would put the name on the list after she and her husband agreed that he was going to (unofficially) accept or her husband told her that he was going to (unofficially) accept. That's where the confusion (if you want to call it that) came from. It sounded as if the wife decided her husband was going to (unofficially) accept before the husband did/had told the President he was going to (unofficially) accept.

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