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S03.E13: The Beautiful Game

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When an influential rabbi organizing a symbolic Iran/Israel soccer game is killed, Elizabeth and Jay’s peace treaty plans for the two countries are jeopardized. Also, Elizabeth’s name is floated for a Nobel Peace Prize; Jay’s tireless work on the Iran/Israel peace deal strains his marriage; and Daisy makes a connection with new work colleague, Kevin Park.

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Looooooooved the Jay/Abby stuff. People who do Jay's job (or the basic equivalent in other areas of the government) have a crazy high divorce rate and the show did a great job showing how two people that love each other like Jay and Abby might still hit an impasse in their relationship due to the rigors of his job, a job that Abby can't, in any good conscience, ask him to give up. Really well done stuff there. I'm sappy enough that I hope that they work things out, but I loved the realism of how it was handled so far.

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Some good stuff and I love this show. But lately I'm having trouble following all the detailed intricacies of these peace deals/foreign policies. Anyone else feel a bit overwhelmed?

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Noodle is still the best kid! Jason is still a jerk. 

I liked the nuances of Bess's ascent into international celebrity (as well as diplomat). She's on the cover of a national magazine (NewSource? They couldn't come up with a better name than that?) but also has to put up with being airbrushed to the point of non-recognition and having the social media world focus not on her achievements, but on her blouse and legs.

That asshole that Daisy was cultivating is also a pretty bad actor. And as a character in that world, is probably not going to have much of a career, since he's not willing to cultivate allies in other departments or help out someone who needs a favor. Also yuck: pouring the coffee back in the pot?

Poor Jay. They probably did not intend it, but the wife came off as a bit selfish. Went right to "we need to separate" rather than "can we talk to someone" or "would you consider your priorities regarding your family."

Also, as good as he is as a superspy/handler, Daly is best at his reactions to his wife and children. Henry's a GREAT husband, as well as an all-rounder in the US intelligence community. More o'that please. Though I bet we'll probably see it when they have to film around his injuries.

Also: Dana Ivey was excellent as the UVa prez. Though HOW far away is Charlottesville from DC? Just looked...over 2 hours. 

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1 hour ago, kwnyc said:

Also yuck: pouring the coffee back in the pot?

What?  He was supposed to pay five bucks for a cup of coffee?  Points for telling her exactly which orifice to insert it in, without uttering a word.

Henry's undercover guy is lucky he didn't get a double-tap to the head, with that performance.  I must assume Henry is too Holy to carry.  Also, and will Hollywood please take note -- you don't kick firearms around, especially on rough concrete.  It ruins the finish!

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I'm sorry, I messed up in previous post - I hit reply before having replied (obviously) and I haven't been able to edit in a reply. Maybe a nice admin can delete the post?

 

4 hours ago, kwnyc said:

Noodle is still the best kid! Jason is still a jerk. 

 

Jason is 13 or 14. I think all teenagers had their "moments" at that age ;-)

 

3 hours ago, Netfoot said:

What?  He was supposed to pay five bucks for a cup of coffee?  Points for telling her exactly which orifice to insert it in, without uttering a word.

Henry's undercover guy is lucky he didn't get a double-tap to the head, with that performance.  I must assume Henry is too Holy to carry.  

Would Henry be licensed to carry?

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22 hours ago, Brian Cronin said:

Looooooooved the Jay/Abby stuff. People who do Jay's job (or the basic equivalent in other areas of the government) have a crazy high divorce rate and the show did a great job showing how two people that love each other like Jay and Abby might still hit an impasse in their relationship due to the rigors of his job, a job that Abby can't, in any good conscience, ask him to give up. Really well done stuff there. I'm sappy enough that I hope that they work things out, but I loved the realism of how it was handled so far.

The Jay/Abby conversation scene at the end of the episode displayed the epitome of the vision driving the series created by Barbara Hall.  I hope the segment means the writers will further develop that theme in the remainder of this season rather than the foolishness that continues with the Daisy relationship issues.  I feel that the storyline about the Nobel Peace prize rumor for Elizabeth was more of a projection on the now defunct SoS who is thankfully out of that position after the last US election. The political drama around the Iran peace discussions is wearing very thin after 2+ seasons. The Iranian leadership will never recognize the right of Israel to exist or cut ties with Hamas. Likewise, Israel will never confirm the existence of its nuclear weapons. A soccer game will never change those facts.

Edited by VinceW

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6 hours ago, kwnyc said:

Poor Jay. They probably did not intend it, but the wife came off as a bit selfish. Went right to "we need to separate" rather than "can we talk to someone" or "would you consider your priorities regarding your family."

I thought she did. I admit I usually think that way when the spouse starts complaining they never get to see their FBI husband or wife or Doctor husband or wife, etc on TV. These aren't careers where the spouse is home most evening. They knew what career path their spouse wanted when they were dating and when they got married. 

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13 hours ago, Brian Cronin said:

Looooooooved the Jay/Abby stuff. People who do Jay's job (or the basic equivalent in other areas of the government) have a crazy high divorce rate and the show did a great job showing how two people that love each other like Jay and Abby might still hit an impasse in their relationship due to the rigors of his job, a job that Abby can't, in any good conscience, ask him to give up. Really well done stuff there. I'm sappy enough that I hope that they work things out, but I loved the realism of how it was handled so far.

Jay and his wife appear to spend less time together than Elizabeth and Henry and their kids.  Surely the Secretary of State can understand Jay's predicament and adjust his schedule so that he's not working more hours than she is.

ETA: Also loved the shout-out to forum fans when the son said his dad had been called Dr. Eye Candy.

Edited by buckboard
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2 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

I thought she did. I admit I usually think that way when the spouse starts complaining they never get to see their FBI husband or wife or Doctor husband or wife, etc on TV. These aren't careers where the spouse is home most evening. They knew what career path their spouse wanted when they were dating and when they got married. 

You mean like Henry knew Bess would be Secretary of State one day when they dated and got married? ;-) Judging from the background we got, I'd say he didn't even know she would be a college professor.

In other words, you're certainly right for some cases. Others, things just happen and go differently than planned and yet again, in other cases people know the career path but think it will be different because often times you only know the reality of a job once you have it. It's not always that simple.

Edited by CheshireCat

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8 hours ago, kwnyc said:

That asshole that Daisy was cultivating is also a pretty bad actor. And as a character in that world, is probably not going to have much of a career, since he's not willing to cultivate allies in other departments or help out someone who needs a favor. Also yuck: pouring the coffee back in the pot?

I will wager that he is where he thinks he wants to be, right there in the budget office and everyone has to kowtow to him.  The coffee thing was just to show that he didn't think that the SoS floor was all that and a cup of coffee.  I wouldn't be surprised to see him getting taken down a peg or two in a future episode (beyond Daisy's reply).

7 hours ago, Netfoot said:

Henry's undercover guy is lucky he didn't get a double-tap to the head, with that performance.

I was thinking at the time that it was going to go the other way, and that would be the lead in to Henry's reduced appearances on the show.  But, obviously, they wouldn't have known about the injury while they were writing the episode, unless the scene was added as an afterthought.  Oh, never mind.

Also, there was a moment in the episode where Jay mentions that they had released the identity of the bomber, but Elizabeth brushed it off.  Was that significant?

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16 hours ago, Brian Cronin said:

Looooooooved the Jay/Abby stuff. People who do Jay's job (or the basic equivalent in other areas of the government) have a crazy high divorce rate and the show did a great job showing how two people that love each other like Jay and Abby might still hit an impasse in their relationship due to the rigors of his job, a job that Abby can't, in any good conscience, ask him to give up. Really well done stuff there. I'm sappy enough that I hope that they work things out, but I loved the realism of how it was handled so far.

Admittedly, my husband bar was very low before the divorce, but I would not only have been proud of a spouse with Jay's job, and grateful that he didn't use his time away from home to cheat, but absence can make the heart grow fonder. Of course, being home alone with a toddler can make one lose both sleep and perspective.

 

11 hours ago, scribe95 said:

Some good stuff and I love this show. But lately I'm having trouble following all the detailed intricacies of these peace deals/foreign policies. Anyone else feel a bit overwhelmed?

<my best Yiddish accent>What's so complicated about pistachios for oranges?</accent>

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I don't know why all the hate for the budget office guy.  (BTW played by the wonderful Justin Baldoni of the equally wonderful "Jane the Virgin.")   He got po'd when he realized that Daisy was using him and when he said he wasn't able to wangle some money for her -- which didn't seem to be an unreasonable statement considering government red tape -- she got upset and charged him five bucks for a cup of coffee.  So I had no problem with him pouring the coffee back into the pot.

He fit in filming Madam Secretary while Jane was on break, so we can expect to see him once more.

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4 hours ago, buckboard said:

Also loved the shout-out to forum fans when the son said his dad had been called Dr. Eye Candy.

Not sure if it wasn't the other way around -- the forum posters got the term Arm-Candy (or Eye-Candy?) from an early episode of the show.  But yes, it was fun to hear the reference.

2 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

unless the scene was added as an afterthought.

No, because if it had been added after his skiing accident, he wouldn't have been able to play the scene.  Oh, never mind! :)

25 minutes ago, buckboard said:

So I had no problem with him pouring the coffee back into the pot.

Me neither.  She is the one who got all stroppy when he said essentially, that he couldn't help her steal funding out of other people's budgets.  I don't know what her problem was.  And it isn't like he'd been sipping on the coffee before pouring the rest back, or anything.

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5 hours ago, buckboard said:

ETA: Also loved the shout-out to forum fans when the son said his dad had been called Dr. Eye Candy.

Arm Candy - and it wasn't a shout-out to us, it was a call-back to an earlier episode when a magazine voted Henry 3rd hottest DC spouse - "arm candy". I believe the forum took the name from the show, not the other way around.

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16 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

You mean like Henry knew Bess would be Secretary of State one day when they dated and got married? ;-) Judging from the background we got, I'd say he didn't even know she would be a college professor.

In other words, you're certainly right for some cases. Others, things just happen and go differently than planned and yet again, in other cases people know the career path but think it will be different because often times you only know the reality of a job once you have it. It's not always that simple.

:-) I hear what you're saying... But I think she was already working for the CIA when they got married...? Am i making that up? I would think he knew then she would be not the dinner-on-the-table wife. (But your point is spot-on.)

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Not trying to minimize but I have never truly understood the wife's lament. "I am pissed that you are never home so I want you to leave" makes no sense to me.  

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1 hour ago, betsyboo said:

:-) I hear what you're saying... But I think she was already working for the CIA when they got married...? Am i making that up? I would think he knew then she would be not the dinner-on-the-table wife. (But your point is spot-on.)

Well, she said to Henry "you married a spy" in the S1 finale, so I would assume she was already in the CIA when they got married. He, at least, knew that she would be in the CIA. Still, they also had the fight in the same episode because he didn't want her to go do Iraq as, after she pointed out he married a spy, he replied that he had married one with a desk job.

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3 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

Well, she said to Henry "you married a spy" in the S1 finale, so I would assume she was already in the CIA when they got married. He, at least, knew that she would be in the CIA. Still, they also had the fight in the same episode because he didn't want her to go do Iraq as, after she pointed out he married a spy, he replied that he had married one with a desk job.

It was not as simple as her having a desk job. Henry didn't want her to go to Iraq because she would be leaving behind three young children for at least a year. Henry told her that she could change the world from where she stands and he could not guarantee that things would remain the same when she returned. Bess told Henry the same thing about changing the world years later after she became SoS and he was prepared to lie at the Senate hearing over the classified material issue to keep her out of jail.

Edited by VinceW

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35 minutes ago, VinceW said:

It was not as simple as her having a desk job. Henry didn't want her to go to Iraq because she would be leaving behind three young children for at least a year. Henry told her that she could change the world from where she stands and he could not guarantee that things would remain the same when she returned. Bess told Henry the same thing about changing the world years later after she became SoS and he was prepared to lie at the Senate hearing over the classified material issue to keep her out of jail.

Um... the conversation was about whether or not Bess was already in the CIA when she and Henry got married and whether or not he married a dinner-on-the-table wife and what he was expecting the future to hold when they got married/that that Bess would end up Sec of State was probably the last thing he expected when they got married.

Edited by CheshireCat

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5 hours ago, thewhiteowl said:

Not trying to minimize but I have never truly understood the wife's lament. "I am pissed that you are never home so I want you to leave" makes no sense to me.  

I don't know that I have ever been convinced of this on a TV show before, but I think it's a combination of (repeatedly) dashed hopes (no relationships = no expectations = no disappointment) and wanting the freedom to explore other relationships (or having already found another relationship!).

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37 minutes ago, MerBearHou said:

Major nitpick -- I'm so bugged by Daisy constantly wearing sleeveless dresses when everyone else is in winter clothes from head to toe.  

Good point. Maybe she's always hot though. I remember that I saw a snippet on YouTube with Keith Carradine about the new Oval Office set and he said that, since Leoni is the star of the show, temperatures are usually adjusted more to her liking, at least, in scenes she's in and he mentioned that he's always hot in his suit and tie. Maybe Miller likes to be cool, too.

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20 hours ago, J-Man said:

Abby was played by Sebastian Arcelus's real-life wife, Broadway star Stephanie J. Block.

This compelled me to look up Sebastian and Stephanie -- wow, they are an accomplished couple on Broadway.  I must be the last person to know this about Sebastian, his family history and his musical theater talents -- what a fascinating background he has.  

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11 hours ago, thewhiteowl said:

Not trying to minimize but I have never truly understood the wife's lament. "I am pissed that you are never home so I want you to leave" makes no sense to me.  

I also don't understand the logic of "I don't see enough of you, so I want to see none of you". It would make sense if she were already thinking of a relationship with someone she would see more of, but it's way early in their relationship problems for that to be on her mind. And while of course she should ultimately do what's right for herself, without what interaction Jay does get with her and the baby, he'd surely burn out.

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1 hour ago, MerBearHou said:

This compelled me to look up Sebastian and Stephanie -- wow, they are an accomplished couple on Broadway.  I must be the last person to know this about Sebastian, his family history and his musical theater talents -- what a fascinating background he has.  

Nope you're not the last person ;-)

16 minutes ago, Noneofyourbusiness said:

I also don't understand the logic of "I don't see enough of you, so I want to see none of you". It would make sense if she were already thinking of a relationship with someone she would see more of, but it's way early in their relationship problems for that to be on her mind. And while of course she should ultimately do what's right for herself, without what interaction Jay does get with her and the baby, he'd surely burn out.

Maybe it's a knee-jerk reaction? I think we all have been at the point when we've said something along the line of "if you haven't done it yet, you don't need to bother doing it at all"

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1 hour ago, MerBearHou said:

This compelled me to look up Sebastian and Stephanie -- wow, they are an accomplished couple on Broadway.  I must be the last person to know this about Sebastian, his family history and his musical theater talents -- what a fascinating background he has.  

Your not. I looked him up too. What an amazing background and talent. And on a shallow note, he's really good looking.

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Not trying to minimize but I have never truly understood the wife's lament. "I am pissed that you are never home so I want you to leave" makes no sense to me. 

I have to agree.  It sounds so dumb.  Another is "I need time to think."  Uh, isn't that what you've had all this time he's been too busy to come home?  Perhaps it has to do with what secnarf about dashed expectations.  Maybe what she really should have said is "I need time to think about our relationship without the constant pressure of not knowing whether you're going to come home or not."  Or something like that.

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I must be the last person to know this about Sebastian, his family history and his musical theater talents -- what a fascinating background he has.  

The musical credits of several of the cast members are as long as your arm! (NB: Conrad has an Oscar for Best Song.) I SO want a musical episode. Can it be in a fever dream or something?

If I start a topic for musical & theater backgrounds of the cast, will people post?

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23 minutes ago, atlantaloves said:

Can somebody help me and tell me if this was the last episode of the season? Thanks a million folks!

Next episode, Labor of Love, is going to be on March 5th, according to the sources I've seen and the Wiki.

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On ‎2‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 3:06 PM, atlantaloves said:

Can somebody help me and tell me if this was the last episode of the season? Thanks a million folks!

From the Futon Critic(most accurate; often referenced by Wiki):

MADAM SECRETARY
Air Date: Sunday, March 05, 2017
Time Slot: 9:00 PM-10:00 PM EST on CBS
Episode Title: (#MS314) "Labor of Love"

MADAM SECRETARY
Air Date: Sunday, March 12, 2017
Time Slot: 9:00 PM-10:00 PM EST on CBS
Episode Title: (#MS315) "Break in Diplomacy"

Edited by VinceW

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On ‎11‎.‎02‎.‎2017 at 3:06 PM, atlantaloves said:

Can somebody help me and tell me if this was the last episode of the season? Thanks a million folks!

According to the Futon Critic VinceW referenced to, this season consists of 23 episodes in total.

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21 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

According to the Futon Critic VinceW referenced to, this season consists of 23 episodes in total.

Episode line items are not confirmed until you see a colored link in the episode title column.

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52 minutes ago, VinceW said:

Episode line items are not confirmed until you see a colored link in the episode title column.

I have no idea what line items are but I went by the fact that it states on the right that the current season is season 3 and then it says 23 episodes. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/showatch/madam-secretary/listings/

I don't remember if I saw that the network had ordered 23 episodes elsewhere, I might have. But last season, Futon Critic was accurate, too. And judging from the fact that they're still filming, I think we can be sure that they're going past 15 episodes. :-)

Edited by CheshireCat

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22 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

I have no idea what line items are but I went by the fact that it states on the right that the current season is season 3 and then it says 23 episodes. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/showatch/madam-secretary/listings/

I don't remember if I saw that the network had ordered 23 episodes elsewhere, I might have. But last season, Futon Critic was accurate, too. And judging from the fact that they're still filming, I think we can be sure that they're going past 15 episodes. :-) quote the CheshireCat

'line items' is tech talk which describes each entry item on the FC episode list. I was not disputing the episode count per se , but rather just giving out further details to help others confirm when an episode airs on the network which is what atlantaloves was asking about.

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This season is a dream come true for a I-love-it-when-they-pick-up-old-stories-again-lover like me. Hopefully, they'll keep the call-back to previous episodes up next season.

Anyway.

Who did that photoshop on Bess/Leoni's face? They did a hell of creepy job. I certainly would have been upset if I had been in Bess' position. And I adored Henry's answers in that opening. They were straight out of "The husband's perfect reaction" guide. ;-)

Jay freaking out over the table being rectancular was hilarious and nice twist that Blake was the calm one in the situation when he's usually the one who gets all worked up.

I don't get Abby. She obviously can see Jay without her daughter being present, she was also able to dress herself in yoga pants, so why couldn't she have put on something else? The child is two years old, not two days or even two months. I didn't think that it made her very sympathetic.

I think that they did a good job highlighting the complexity of those deals even though they dealt with it very little. But even the few scenes that they had made obvious just how much hinges on nothing more than the people involved and that they're the weaknesses. And I certainly could see both Bess' and Israel's position. Iran's not so much.

I'm not a fan of Ian's but I think if I were a seasoned agent and was suddenly faced with a greenhorn like Henry who wouldn't be in that office were it not for his personal connections (because, let's not kid ourselves) and he told me how to do my job, I probably would have had an attitude, too. Henry can tell him all about religious fanatism that he wants but telling Ian when an op starts to fall apart or be put in jeopardy? I don't think so.

Although, I guess, Ian is lucky that no one saw him pointing a weapon at the Secretary of State's husband. Unless it was cleared with his superiors (which I doubt) he would have been in a hell of a lot of trouble, to say the least. I get why he did it but it does make him seem a little stupid, too.

On a shallow note - I want Bess' blue leather gloves ;-)

And she's a math major? Okay. Not what I would expected since she speaks five languages and four of them fluently, and you usually have a knack either for languages or science. I also always thought that she would have learned at least two of the languages she speaks fluently before she was recruited for the CIA, so again, math/science doesn't entirely make sense. Also a bit confusing is that the math major then became a political science professor and was on the debate team, and not the chess team for example. Debate, languages and political science all seem to go together, math seems to be the odd one out. I think a political science or language major would have made more sense, it also would have made sense that Conrad recruited her because of her language skills. Anyway, I think I I'll file the math major under "she needed to be a math major for episode 12 and 13 even if it doesn't entirely make sense with what they've set up so far". (Although, political science and history certainly weren't "girls subjects" when I was in school (and Bess would have been several years ahead of me)). Moving on...

I loved how Bess and Henry sipped champagne simultaneously when that economist started talking. And even more than that I loved how Henry put his arm around Bess when he realized that Bess needed to keep her cool. I love it when they do scenes like that!

That said, why do Bess and Henry always have another drink when they come home semi-drunk already?

And boy, did Jason not get what Bess was upset about regarding the article/cover photo. I wish that Henry had actually explained why it was different and not just said it was though I'm assuming he did it off-screen? I certainly hope he did.  And I felt so sorry for Bess in that scene in their bedroom after. Couldn't Henry have hugged her, even after his unfortunate misstep?

I think I wouldn't have gone out with Kevin if I had been in Daisy's place. I'm pretty sure she gave him access to the 7th floor because she liked him and then hoped for a favor, a little number crunching for a good, peace-deal-making cause. And he has that attitude with her? Yeah, no thank you.

ETA: As a general observation, I'm not sure the title of the episode was a fortunate choice. While the soccer game itself may have been beautiful, I don't think that these peace deal negotiations (whether it's these from the episode or others) are a beautiful game. Last season, Bess herself had said that peace was a beautiful thing while making it wasn't. So, I thought the title was a bit odd.

Edited by CheshireCat

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On 5/14/2017 at 9:30 PM, CheshireCat said:

I think I wouldn't have gone out with Kevin if I had been in Daisy's place. I'm pretty sure she gave him access to the 7th floor because she liked him and then hoped for a favor, a little number crunching for a good, peace-deal-making cause. And he has that attitude with her? Yeah, no thank you.

I thought she gave him access because he was good looking and she hoped for something more.  the potentiality for a favor was a bonus.  But yeah, his attitude wasn't great, but then, its more understandable later on.

I too am not a fan of Abby and how she treated Jay (esp in later episodes), and the whole thing that she wanted him to leave to see less of him, made me ask, even less than she already does?  And not sure what "pressure" she has wondering if he'll come home or not.  Just assume he isn't and he's to text/call if he is.  That way, she can plan some dinner.  

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I am binge watching the show on Netflix and to me, there are times when Tea sounds drunk even if she's not drinking...slurry.  Is that just an affectation of her speech patterns?    I like the staff a lot, especially Blake.

This episode was lovely--soccer, peace and such. 

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