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S04.E08: The Fourth Estate

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Secretary of State McCord and her staff work with the Mexican government to extradite a Mexican cartel leader to a U.S. prison in an effort to diminish the opioid crisis. But after he escapes during transport and a journalist who secured a gloating interview with him while on the lam is murdered, Elizabeth’s urgency to find the leader escalates.

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OMG, those scenes with Stevie & Dmitri were more painful to watch than when Bruno Kirby took over the broadcast from Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam!

And WTF?  Is SuperHenry now authorised to discuss the most sensitive of secret materials with Sen. Asshole?

Does Blake getting delayed-fired indicate that he wants to leave like Nadine?  Or are we looking at the show winding down to a grand finale? 

How can Madam Secretary make such negatory comments about Mexico and get away with it?  When Top Gear does it, they get hammered!

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3 hours ago, Netfoot said:

Does Blake getting delayed-fired indicate that he wants to leave like Nadine?  Or are we looking at the show winding down to a grand finale? 

Or maybe a graceful exit for the actor should he land a juicy part on Broadway?

 

Ugh. Segue anvils that are really piñatas filled with oxycodone as we went from the heart-to-heart between Bess and Dalton that closes with the Dalton's intensely personal and sad remark about once an addict, always an addict, and then the scene immediately changes to show Dimitri, who is meeting Stevie in the bar again.

 

I did laugh at the meeting between Henry and Senator Asshole, wondering whether at this point the scripts have his character's lines noted as "Senator Asshole."

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5 hours ago, Netfoot said:

And WTF?  Is SuperHenry now authorised to discuss the most sensitive of secret materials with Sen. Asshole?

I believe he is legally required to, unless it is deemed something that cannot be disclosed at that time (But it has to be disclosed as soon as feasible) - as Senator Asshole is on the Intelligence committee. But it can't be discussed out in public like that - anyone could be monitoring it.

Edited by bros402
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2 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

"Senator Asshole."

The Honorable Senator Asshole on stationery.

This episode brought up a question from me.  As I am not an attorney, I assume the legalities have long since been assumed, but what authority does the USG have over foreign nationals who operate in their own country, even though they are allegedly violating US laws?  I see quite often news items about the US Coast Guard intercepting ships off the coast of Chile and searching them for drugs or other contraband.  The ships' registry does not seem to matter.  And is this reciprocal?  Does any nation have the legal right to arrest a US citizen in America and put them on trial for violating their own laws?  Thanks for any accurate replies.

Along those lines (heh, bad pun), what the hell were you thinking, Mr. Pres.?  An armed incursion by the US Army into a sovereign country?  Not to mention that the closest border point from Veracruz is 500 miles away.  It's more than a little unlikely that someone wouldn't notice a fleet of USA helicopters flying through Mexican airspace.  Not that we haven't done it before (coughGrenadacoughPanamacough), but the risk far, far outweighs the reward.

By the way, producers, according to CDC data, deaths from prescription opioids outrank deaths from heroin.  Maybe that's why it's so hard to fight the epidemic.  They could have touched on that. 

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I thought the scenes with Dmitri and Stevie were awkward and kind of cute- much like real-life first dates can be. But watch out, Dmitri. Stevie seems to be going by the advice to get over her ex by getting "under" someone else- she's a rebound girl on a mission, and Dmitri just seems so fragile in a way.

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9 minutes ago, TVForever said:

I thought the scenes with Dmitri and Stevie were awkward and kind of cute- much like real-life first dates can be. But watch out, Dmitri. Stevie seems to be going by the advice to get over her ex by getting "under" someone else- she's a rebound girl on a mission, and Dmitri just seems so fragile in a way.

I like the building up of the chemistry between them too. First time they met in the supermarket, both were awkward and weird. Then the first date started off awkward but finished with fun and joy. The second date there was chemistry and hint that something will happen in the future. 

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5 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

I see quite often news items about the US Coast Guard intercepting ships off the coast of Chile and searching them for drugs or other contraband.  The ships' registry does not seem to matter.

A ship at sea is answerable only to the country of it's registration, or to the country whose territorial waters through which it is travelling.  If it is on the "high seas" it is only answerable to the country of registration.  To stop any vessel without these conditions being met, is technically an act of piracy.  (Or an act of war.)

As I understand it, the US Coast Guard routinely bypasses this legality and boards/searches vessels at sea.  It manages to do so by the expediency of having a person with suitable legal authority on board the US Coast Guard vessel.  So to stop a suspected drug-boat in Bahamian waters, they will have a member of the Bahamian Coast Guard on board, supposedly participating in "joint maneuvers".  This Bahamian will have the authority to stop Bahamian registered vessels.  The stop is then technically performed by the Bahamian Coast Guard, assisted by the US Coast Guard.  

I'm not sure whether the US Coast Guard vessel can make a request of the Bahamians over radio and be granted permission to stop a vessel in Bahamian waters without an actual Bahamian officer being physically present.  I am pretty sure that if they decide they want to stop you, they will not allow anything so trivial as the rule of law to prevent them.

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Argh. So much not to like.

I don't want Stemitri. Period. And I HOPED that Dmitri would stick to his word when he said they couldn't go out again. Along with the fact that it's a very, very bad idea for a guy with a past like that to date pretty much anyone, can you imagine Stevie dealing with someone who has that much PTSD? But this show brings up PTSD when it wants to: Bess is apparently cured of hers (that she got when she was blowed up real good in Iran). And Henry, I guess, never has PTSD, despite being a combat veteran, having been blowed up real good in Pakistan and shot in both legs in the good ol' USA. And saving someone seriously injured in a dirty bomb and getting radiation poisoning.

But PTSD really does come with the territory: The CIA director said as much when he referred to his ex-wives, and was able to get Dmitri into a treatment program (presumably one where they send other agents to clean up/dry out, because the US govt better have a secure rehab.) He yelled at Henry, but clearly he had an SOP for agents with substance problems.

And back to the opioid epidemic at home: where Conrad really goes out of character (and Carradine was trying very hard to play it realistically) because his son is a junkie and capturing a big cartel leader will fix that. There hasn't been anything mentioned about the domestic side of the crisis: even Elizabeth was surprised when she was called in on it. Of course, the SOS can't really deal with Big Pharma, and Congress cutting programs that treat addicts. 

And I actually did believe that Blake might have parents like that: people who can't see how much their son is doing, and just be proud of him, instead of wanting him to make a lot of money. (Though reminding him he wanted to "make a difference" is not really an argument to use with someone who is a high-ranking State Department official.)

I think Elizabeth was right to give him the year; it's a callback to when President Bartlet told his bodyman (Charlie? Dule Hill) that once he graduated, he had to graduate from his role at the White House. (And of course they kept him on the staff.) So maybe Blake ends up with a more senior role and stays on (or if he gets a big role on stage gets sent overseas for something.)

I hope they give Sara Ramirez something more to do than run into the room with Jay, all excited. Though Elizabeth definitely had her boss hat on when she gave the character props. Elizabeth is actually the  best people manager on the show. 

ETA that I think Senator Asshole might actually be the leak, and they are trying to catch him by making him "part of the operation." We've seen John Cullum's character (the party leader) before, and while he is venal (like making Elizabeth give him her plane for a junket), they've never hinted any worse than that.

Edited by kwnyc · Reason: additional thought.
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2 hours ago, kwnyc said:

Though reminding him he wanted to "make a difference" is not really an argument to use with someone who is a high-ranking State Department official.

Well, he mostly keeps Bess on time, up to date and hydrated, rather than contributing directly to State matters.

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...and yet where would she be without him? (Actually, his job is a perfect one for someone who wants to make a career in foreign service or the upper levels of government.)

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Blake is as they say - a grown ass man.  What gives his boss the right to fire someone who is doing a wonderful job just because she thinks he can aim higher? She’s no better than his parents. It’s Blake’s decision what kind of a job to have. 

If Bess thinks he’d be good at something, then she can offer him the position/ that’s as far as she should go.   

I hate hate hate Stemitri.  

I have no idea why I am continuing to watch this show. 

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17 minutes ago, mythoughtis said:

Blake is as they say - a grown ass man.  What gives his boss the right to fire someone who is doing a wonderful job just because she thinks he can aim higher? She’s no better than his parents. It’s Blake’s decision what kind of a job to have. 

If Bess thinks he’d be good at something, then she can offer him the position/ that’s as far as she should go.   

I hate hate hate Stemitri.  

I have no idea why I am continuing to watch this show. 

I think if Blake really said he wanted to stay, she would keep him on. It's easy to get stuck in the lull/comfort of every day routines, and stop trying to further your career. This is just forcing him to really think about what he wants in life, and trying to help him get there.

Unlike his parents, who had a clear idea of where Blake should end up, Bess doesn't really care where he ends up, as long as he is doing something he really wants to do.

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8 hours ago, kwnyc said:

...and yet where would she be without him?

But someone else can do it.

8 hours ago, kwnyc said:

Actually, his job is a perfect one for someone who wants to make a career in foreign service or the upper levels of government.

Uh huh. Even his parents said his experience would translate well to another job.

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I liked the line where Blake asked Bess if she wanted him to put firing him on her calendar as a reminder.  

That was the only part I liked of the episode.

As far as what I didn't like?

Kat is obnoxious.  She's so over the top in every sentence.  Her rambling on about science fiction authors and how she couldn't believe Bess hadn't read them, I was like "GET TO THE POINT." We lose Nadine and get her.  Life truly is not fair.

Dimitri and Stevie.  Is there not a better way to set up a dilemma for Henry?  Come on.  And Stevie - desperate is not a good look. 

No real McCord family stuff.

The President who usually is pretty level headed being a reactionary hothead.

Henry just spilling national security secrets out in the open. 

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I liked how the principled journalist's editor/publisher admired the assassinated reporter's journalistic ethics and principles, but had the respect that his reporting was so thorough and well done that his notes really did have the potential to effect a greater good, so he released them to Bess.  It was nicely done, and Bess acknowledged the principles and echoed the respect for the reporter's (ultimate) life's work.

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20 hours ago, mythoughtis said:

Blake is as they say - a grown ass man.  What gives his boss the right to fire someone who is doing a wonderful job just because she thinks he can aim higher? She’s no better than his parents. It’s Blake’s decision what kind of a job to have. 

If Bess thinks he’d be good at something, then she can offer him the position/ that’s as far as she should go.   

I hate hate hate Stemitri.  

I have no idea why I am continuing to watch this show. 

I think Blake is excellent at his job, but could do so much more. I think Elizabeth feels like he is family now and wants the best for him. It was very unselfish of her to say that she thought he could do better.  I think he is somewhat timid about himself and has perhaps 'settled' for a job that is exciting and prestigious, but below his capabilities.  He may really need a kick in the butt to get moving on to something more demanding and aligned with his talents. Her 'one year deadline' is forcing him to have to do some introspection and make a bold career move or realize he is happy where he is.

On 11/27/2017 at 9:31 AM, kwnyc said:

Argh. So much not to like.

I don't want Stemitri. Period. And I HOPED that Dmitri would stick to his word when he said they couldn't go out again. Along with the fact that it's a very, very bad idea for a guy with a past like that to date pretty much anyone, can you imagine Stevie dealing with someone who has that much PTSD?

ETA That I think that Senator asshole might actually be the leak, and they are trying to catch him by making him "part of the operation." We've seen John Cullum's character (the party leader) before, and while he is venal (like making Elizabeth give him her plane for a junket), they've never hinted any worse than that.

Re: Stevie + Dmitri  - What?   I love Dmitri. He is smokin' hot and Stevie knows it.  She is moving on him like a freight train.  He is finding it hard to resist a woman who is so 'willing'.  Too bad she doesn't know this attraction will end up being more than she has bargained for.

Re: Senator Asshole - I wondered that same thing. Is he the mole?  I also still wonder about Dmitri being a double agent.  

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4 hours ago, HurricaneVal said:

I liked how the principled journalist's editor/publisher admired the assassinated reporter's journalistic ethics and principles, but had the respect that his reporting was so thorough and well done that his notes really did have the potential to effect a greater good, so he released them to Bess.  It was nicely done, and Bess acknowledged the principles and echoed the respect for the reporter's (ultimate) life's work.

Yes. The world would probably really appreciate a whole movie based on this plot point right now—and last I checked, Morgan Freeman (one of this show's producers) still has the moral standing to produce it. The episode title would serve perfectly as the movie title. IDK. Do people still watch movies that aren't big cinematic, special effects heavy, superhero epics? Maybe a limited series would be better.

Edited by shapeshifter
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Is Stevie feeling a tad desperate?   Not that Dmitri is unattractive, but she is just throwing herself at him.  And anybody else think that Dmitri looked uh, stoned, when he met Stevie in the restaurant at the end of the show?  

And good to read that Blake isn't going anywhere as per the actor's Twitter.  I miss Nadine and frankly, I ain't feelin' it for the new woman, who is making me miss Dog Guy from the previous seasons.   She just seems so over the top, especially for a person in her position.  

Finally, speaking of OTT - Blake's Parents!  I guess I would've pictured them as being Mainline Patrician and maybe having some elegance and class.  These people came across as anything but - as in the words of Oscar Wilde - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. 

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2 hours ago, 12catcrazy said:

I ain't feelin' it for the new woman, who is making me miss Dog Guy from the previous seasons.

Waoow!  You really don't like her!

Sorry to say you got to get used to her now, because...  politics!

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I'm singing this show on Netflix and even on a small laptop screen I can see how messed up Stevie's teeth are up close.  I hope the actress isn't bulemic.

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