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S03.E11: Gift Horse

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When the Mongolian government sends Elizabeth a horse as a gift, she thinks accepting it could upset other Asian countries, but she stirs up more controversy when she considers returning it to Mongolia. Also, Gov. Sam Evans threatens to sue Ohio for putting President Dalton on the election ballot, and Stevie has an interesting first day as Russell’s new intern.

 

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LOLed when poet Hobbs face planted at the bar, and then loved the physics inspired poem, although I was bit upset thinking that Hobbs likely had no idea the poem came from Gareth's words.

I also liked the horse story, even though they pretty much retconned Bess's love of Mandy's species.

And then there was Russell giving some of us a vicarious pleasure by reigning in a mentally unfit wannabe POTUS. *Sigh* Too bad there's no Russell Jackson counterpart IRL.

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I thought the gift horse and foreign influence was an interesting choice of subject, and I also enjoyed Stevie's day with the poet.   Glad to see Russell on his feet and back in business.  All in all, I liked that this episode was less intense with the drama. 

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Haven't seen the episode yet but can anyone explain to me why they put a new episode up against the Golden Globes? Why not delay the return for a week? They went against the World Series, against the Golden Globes, sounds like they're begging for low ratings.

 

1 hour ago, izabella said:

I thought the gift horse and foreign influence was an interesting choice of subject, and I also enjoyed Stevie's day with the poet.   Glad to see Russell on his feet and back in business.  All in all, I liked that this episode was less intense with the drama. 

Unfortunately, Hollywood seems to like drama. In the article in the Washingtonian from last year there was a mentioning of how reality in the state department is a lot less spectacular but that people would not want to see that. Paraphrasing, can look up the exact wording though if you'd like, but what I took away from that statement was that they feel like they have to put so much drama into the episodes. But, at least, Barbara Hall also said that the show isn't dark(er) because that's not her, so, I really appreciated that.

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I've noticed that most shows these days have amped up the drama to 11 as often as possible, and cram all kinds of drama into shows.  I think it doesn't leave room for character development, nor for stories to breathe a little.  They've always had the strong family aspect in this show, and I think it adds so much that they do that, and I look forward to that more than the crises.

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6 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

Haven't seen the episode yet but can anyone explain to me why they put a new episode up against the Golden Globes? Why not delay the return for a week? They went against the World Series, against the Golden Globes, sounds like they're begging for low ratings. . . .

Yes, I wondered about that too. I can see CBS airing Madam Secretary and Elementary against sports, since they are different audiences, but not so much the Golden Globes, even if neither show was nominated. Both shows this week had an emphasis on fashion; Elementary always does with Lucy Liu's wardrobe, but MS wrote it into the plot in a way that paralleled the Globes with the designer dress for the big event. So similar audience appeal. Ah well, few watch live anymore, or so we are told. Anyway, I was as relieved as Bess that "Noodle" wasn't crushed when her Mom said no to the dress. They did poor it on a little thick with Noodle giving voice to not being ready yet for prime time fashion; IRL it would have been a parent's line. Still, with all the real life drama these days, I can certainly enjoy watching an OTT emotionally mature teen interacting with a loving parent.

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Good ol' Noodle, again the most mature and sweet McCord kid. It annoyed me that Stevie had to call her boyfriend to help with the drunken poet. (And I know a lot of poets., some of 'em drunks, and that guy wouldn't have made it past the first round when they were talking about who to invite! ) Though Reed Birney was completely awesome. :-)

I also kind of like Henry & Russell's bromance. "It's MICE." "I didn't tell him that."

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11 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I also liked the horse story, even though they pretty much retconned Bess's love of Mandy's species.

And then there was Russell giving some of us a vicarious pleasure by reining in a mentally unfit wannabe POTUS. *Sigh* Too bad there's no Russell Jackson counterpart IRL.

At the beginning of the show (Season 1), the McCords lived near Charlottesville and had horses, and in a later episode, Elizabeth was truly broken up when her horse had to be put down, so we knew she loves horses.  So not really a retcon IMHO.

Amen to Russell having no reallife counterpart.  

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12 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

 

I also liked the horse story, even though they pretty much retconned Bess's love of Mandy's species. 

Oh, I thought you were saying that you didn't think Bess was interested ENOUGH in the horse, and that THAT was the retcon. But yeah, otherwise, as zoey mentioned, Bess is a huge horse lover. 

By the way, I'm no huge poetry fan, but there's no way that I'd want to be involved with someone who is as douchily dismissive to a creative endeavor like Stevie's fiancee was. 

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1 hour ago, Brian Cronin said:

Oh, I thought you were saying that you didn't think Bess was interested ENOUGH in the horse, and that THAT was the retcon. But yeah, otherwise, as zoey mentioned, Bess is a huge horse lover. . . .

Yes, that's what I meant. I thought it was a retcon for Bess to be okay with killing the horse so long as no political fall out was involved. Maybe that wasn't the intended message, but it was my interpretation of Bess's lines and delivery.

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I think Bess' horse-loving cred was sufficiently front, center and obvious.  She cut Blake off from telling her any more about the horse while they were on the phone because she knew that she could get attached too easily, and she was horrified by the idea of the horse being euthanized if it went back to Mongolia.  But her personal feelings about horses were not going to carry the day with Russell in any discussion about how to handle the situation.  And the fact that she can also see and deal with the political implications doesn't diminish her other feelings.  Most things are more complicated than black/white/either/or.  

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A reminder. This is not the place to discuss Real World politics or opinions about real people. There are many places on the 'net to do that. The topic here is the show. Thanks.

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4 hours ago, kwnyc said:

Good ol' Noodle, again the most mature and sweet McCord kid. It annoyed me that Stevie had to call her boyfriend to help with the drunken poet. (And I know a lot of poets., some of 'em drunks, and that guy wouldn't have made it past the first round when they were talking about who to invite! ) Though Reed Birney was completely awesome. :-)

I also kind of like Henry & Russell's bromance. "It's MICE." "I didn't tell him that."

"Didn't tell him that as I was telling him he was *our only hope.*"  Pretty genius.  

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Poor Blake... how dare someone throw excrement at him! (I love how they assessed the level of Blake's trauma reaction based on apparently how upset he got when birds got into his apartment. LOL.)

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On 1/8/2017 at 9:25 PM, CheshireCat said:

Haven't seen the episode yet but can anyone explain to me why they put a new episode up against the Golden Globes?

As always, networks are about making money.  Quality, as it occurs, is often a secondary concern.  Putting your strong show up against someone else's strong show and managing to still pull in decent ratings (I don't know if this actually occurred) shows that your show will always be a strong pull with audiences, and  the advertiser then needs to pay more money to be seen.  At least, that was the pre-DVR theory, which explains why the ratings companies are still struggling, as I understand it, with quantifying DVR viewing. 

On to the episode.  Great scene in the bedroom when Noodle brings in the dress.  Bess utters an enthusiastic but noncommittal response, and then surreptitiously slaps Henry's leg to bring forth and equally enthusiastic, but noncommittal, response.

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11 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

As always, networks are about making money.  Quality, as it occurs, is often a secondary concern.  Putting your strong show up against someone else's strong show and managing to still pull in decent ratings (I don't know if this actually occurred) shows that your show will always be a strong pull with audiences, and  the advertiser then needs to pay more money to be seen.  At least, that was the pre-DVR theory, which explains why the ratings companies are still struggling, as I understand it, with quantifying DVR viewing. 

On to the episode.  Great scene in the bedroom when Noodle brings in the dress.  Bess utters an enthusiastic but noncommittal response, and then surreptitiously slaps Henry's leg to bring forth and equally enthusiastic, but noncommittal, response.

"Oh, it has alllllll of the colors" about her dress was just BRILLIANT.  That struck me as a real "mom" moment.  There are many times as a parent when you know your child has put a lot of passion, enthusiasm, and effort into something and they are feeling extremely proud of something that is objectively slightly horrible. I have more than once found myself struggling to celebrate my child's . . . enthusiasm, without actually lying and falsely praising something ghastly (we've all got at least one of those things up on the fridge).  Reminiscent of Seinfeld's "breathtaking" baby!

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18 hours ago, sinkwriter said:

I love how they assessed the level of Blake's trauma reaction based on apparently how upset he got when birds got into his apartment. LOL.

His face!!!

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On ‎1‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 1:42 AM, izabella said:

I've noticed that most shows these days have amped up the drama to 11 as often as possible, and cram all kinds of drama into shows.  I think it doesn't leave room for character development, nor for stories to breathe a little.  They've always had the strong family aspect in this show, and I think it adds so much that they do that, and I look forward to that more than the crises.

 CBS Sunday Primetime:

 11/20/2016     8:30pm   NCIS-LA           10.43

11/27/2016     8:30pm   NCIS-LA           11.39

12/18/2016     8:30pm   NCIS-LA           10.37

 1/8/2017         8:00pm   NCIS-LA           10.41

 11/20/2016     9:30pm   MS (#7)             8.52

11/27/2016     9:30pm   MS (#8)             8.97

12/11/2016     9:00pm   MS (#9)             7.82

 12/18/2016     9:30pm   MS (#10)           9.05

1/8/2017         9:00pm   MS (#11)           9.00

The sports overrun doesn't seem to effect NCIS-LA that much, but they do continue to crank up the drama most weeks especially with so many on location shootouts. The MS drop off this season might persist because of the much promoted VP misdirection and the lengthy election arc with all the hard-to-follow legal wranglings involved to elect an independent presidential candidate. IMHO.

Edited by VinceW

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On 1/9/2017 at 1:15 PM, scribe95 said:

I don't think she was ever okay with killing the horse. The idea was to find a place to send it where it could live. 

 

On 1/9/2017 at 1:01 PM, shapeshifter said:

Yes, that's what I meant. I thought it was a retcon for Bess to be okay with killing the horse so long as no political fall out was involved. Maybe that wasn't the intended message, but it was my interpretation of Bess's lines and delivery.

Oh, sorry, I misunderstood.  But I didn't think that Bess was ever OK with killing the horse under any circumstances.  

But $2 million?  That's a nice chunk of change.  According to a wiki article, horses in Mongolia are revered, but depending on the use of the horse and the quality, $1,000 or less will usually buy a horse in Mongolia.  Perhaps this one was from a royal bloodline or some such.  Glad they found a home for Mandy.

:Did love Russell getting back in the game.  He's a difficult character to like sometimes, but he's a useful character as well.

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1 hour ago, zoey1996 said:

 

:Did love Russell getting back in the game.  He's a difficult character to like sometimes, but he's a useful character as well.

Russell has grown on me. Love the dynamic he has developed with Bess even when they're at odds because while they are, they're not necessarily (like in episode 14 of S2 when she wasn't supposed to attend the conference she was hosting and he understood and was prepared for her objection) and I absolutely love when they team up like they did against Sterling.

I think Russell's character growth was subtle but he really developed.

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In the earlier episodes Russell was shown as Bess's nemesis. I am so glad he and Bess are now on the same team (even if he does still bark at her on occasion) but Russell still gets to be a nemesis to evil or annoying characters.

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On 1/9/2017 at 7:53 PM, sinkwriter said:

Poor Blake... how dare someone throw excrement at him! (I love how they assessed the level of Blake's trauma reaction based on apparently how upset he got when birds got into his apartment. LOL.)

Ditto. Full-on guffaw. And that each knew that the birds were the top of the bar. HAHAHAHAHAH

On 1/10/2017 at 0:56 AM, Dowel Jones said:

On to the episode.  Great scene in the bedroom when Noodle brings in the dress.  Bess utters an enthusiastic but noncommittal response, and then surreptitiously slaps Henry's leg to bring forth and equally enthusiastic, but noncommittal, response.

"You can't wear that. You ..... have to seem ... sane."

"Blake. I thought we talked about decaf."

When Matt bobbled the candlestick or whatever it was, I automatically blurted out my family's go-to: "All good! Nothing to see here!"

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OK, can someone please refresh my memory --- who is supposed to be the Vice-President now? I remember at some point Conrad asked Bess to be on the ticket, but I can't recall how that storyline developed. For some reason I thought she was going to be VP and that that might pave the way for Evans to be offered the Secretary of State position.

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There's a woman...the Senator from Pennsylvania? We haven't met her or seen her, and she hasn't been referred to since the episode in which Bess agrees to step aside so Conrad can run as a third party candidate. (Also: is everyone who was in his cabinet/major staff staying? Did anyone else leap over the side and go "nuh uh")?

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Did it seem to anybody else that Russell was back in full work mode very soon after his heart attack?  I know there was the treadmill and the new diet, but he was at death's door and then back full time.  I enjoy him and think the rapport with Bess is one of the strongest points of the show.  And I thought it was cute when, at the close, Nadine called the horse Mandy.

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5 hours ago, kwnyc said:

There's a woman...the Senator from Pennsylvania? We haven't met her or seen her, and she hasn't been referred to since the episode in which Bess agrees to step aside so Conrad can run as a third party candidate. (Also: is everyone who was in his cabinet/major staff staying? Did anyone else leap over the side and go "nuh uh")?

Considering he had a lot of turnover during his first administration (he's on his third National Security Advisor, second Sec of State, second AG and third? CIA director) he can probably get away with keeping his staff for the time being. ;-))

Edited by CheshireCat
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3 hours ago, schnauzergirl said:

Did it seem to anybody else that Russell was back in full work mode very soon after his heart attack?  I know there was the treadmill and the new diet, but he was at death's door and then back full time.  I enjoy him and think the rapport with Bess is one of the strongest points of the show.  And I thought it was cute when, at the close, Nadine called the horse Mandy.

I could be wrong, but I thought there was a line about it having been three months since he had the heart attack.

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16 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

I could be wrong, but I thought there was a line about it having been three months since he had the heart attack.

Well, some time would have to have passed. They finished off with the election, didn't they, and now they started a day or so before Inauguration Day. Although, if my math is correct, it would be closer to two than three months but that would be nit-picking.

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On ‎1‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 11:48 PM, shapeshifter said:

I could be wrong, but I thought there was a line about it having been three months since he had the heart attack.

The line was actually about a three week cruise watching whales. I would guess two months at most since the heart attack because the US House vote happened in the last episode before hiatus. When it was presented in the episode preview that Stevie was now his intern, I expected that he might work from home with her assistance for at least one episode, but not at all.  In fact, he dismissed the intern position per se on her first day working with him.

Edited by VinceW
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I think this is one of my favorite episodes. The only thing I didn't like was Henry's entitlement. Seriously, who does he think he is, demanding to be let in on an op? He's an asset who was used a handler and that's it. I really wish Russell had told him to get out of his office because he (Henry) was way out of lines and going leaps and bounds above his paygrade.

But other than that, I had nothing but love for this episode. What kind of a weird jacket was Bess trying on at the beginning with all the buttons? Where'd she dig that one up? Liked Henry's line that she's taking it out on her clothes and Bess' comment that Russell is more bark than bite. She's really gotten to know him. I also noticed that she wasn't bothered by Russell just showing up at her office later in the episode. Nadine seemed a bit miffed but Bess seemed okay with it. I know I've said so before but I really love how they've portrayed the relationship between Bess, Conrad and Russell in S3 so far.

I don't know why but the candlestick falling apart cracked me up. So did Blake, repeatedly. Erich Bergen is fantastic at this kind of acting. I loved how lost Bess was without Blake/how dependent she's become on him for the little things.

Whoever came up with the whale cruise? And three weeks, really? I think I can feel Russell's pain. Loved the look that Bess and Conrad shared when Russell ranted about the cruise and I thought Russell's comment that the painkillers had worn off when he suggested to use the opposition research was spot on. And I liked that Russell is including Bess when he's talking to Evans about the oppo research. He's kind of protecting both, Conrad and her - which circles back to what I said above, that I really like how they've developed the relationship between them. Also, I thought it was totally in character for Russell to use the oppo research in that way.

One thing that I was wondering - considering that Conrad changed his foreign policy approach during the campaign because of Bess, wouldn't Evans have known that he'd never get State? In other words, didn't he say that he'd only take State without having the intention to because he knew? Or was he really such a ... butt (to put it nicely) to believe that Conrad would give him State?

I felt sorry for Bess that she couldn't keep it but her ordering her staff not to bond with it was cute.

Not sure about the purpose of Stevie's internship but okay.

And the scene with the dress was pure gold. Bess almost having a panic attack and Henry's look of stun... So awesome! And such a cute resolve to it, too. I wouldn't have minded to get a glimpse of Bess and Henry at the Inaugurational ball. I like them dressed up.

On a shallow note, I liked Bess' outfit for the Inauguration. One little note - where was Conrad's family? Couldn't they at least have found actors looking somewhat like his wife and son and put them in the seats if the actors weren't available/they didn't want to pay them? Just seemed odd.

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Catching up on this series.  I had thought I recalled Bess was offered VP, but yeah, she did step aside and opt to remain as Sec of State.  I assume at some point we'll see the new VP.

Back to the good ole times when a potential mental incapacity actually caused a candidate to reconsider.  I knew Russell would pull out that oppo research and use it anyway.

That was a real fugley dress.

Good chuckle over the poet getting his inspiration from the boyfriend.

MIC, oh didn't tell him it was MICE.  Lol.  Ego indeed.

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On ‎04‎.‎04‎.‎2018 at 12:04 PM, Hanahope said:

Catching up on this series.  I had thought I recalled Bess was offered VP, but yeah, she did step aside and opt to remain as Sec of State.  I assume at some point we'll see the new VP.

Back to the good ole times when a potential mental incapacity actually caused a candidate to reconsider.  I knew Russell would pull out that oppo research and use it anyway.

That was a real fugley dress.

Good chuckle over the poet getting his inspiration from the boyfriend.

MIC, oh didn't tell him it was MICE.  Lol.  Ego indeed.

She was in the S2 season finale. They address the issue in the first episode of S3.

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