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S04.E14: Refuge

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Jay and Kat devise a way to help persecuted foreign LGBTQ citizens escape their country while their U.S. homeland security applications are processed. However, when the country closes its borders, Jay and Kat are forced to change that plan quickly, as it could now threaten their relationship with neighboring allies.

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Jace, normal people may change course frequently in their lives. Few paths are permanent. Many options are totally unexpected. The rule is, whatever choice you make will be the right one considering the circumstances and information you had at the time. And well done!

When children are afraid or reluctant to bring news to their parents, the parents should be looking hard at their own past behavior, not automatically blaming the child.

Strange that the LGBTQ group took such care with their security procedures, but made no provision to keep a handful of armed soldiers from walking right in.

It must take great effort for State Department staffers to keep reminding themselves that they can't save the world, no matter how horrible conditions are in a sovereign country.

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The translated words of the LGBT survivor of torture were taken from a piece I heard on NPR detailing the same, real situation that occurred to a gay man, also in a real former USSR nation. While the use  of these words might not violate the 4 factors of Copyright Law, the NPR piece was only able to be produced because of donations from individuals and foundations, so it seems a commercial enterprise like CBS should at least want to footnote the source of those words so that sympathetic viewers might contribute too. Right?

ETA: And wouldn't not at least citing the source of the monologue constitute plagiarism? Or is that a non issue since they only used the words of the primary source (the torture victim) and not those of the interviewer?

Edited by shapeshifter
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I know much of the activity on the show is in deference to plot furtherance, but in real life, would the SoS speak directly to the President (or other ruler) of another country?  The equivalent agency in other countries would be something like the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I doubt they would have immediate access to the US President, acting or elected.  Just a nitpick.

The team really stepped in it this time.  As soon as they came up with that plan, I was saying 'You better check that one with the boss.'  Bess showed amazing restraint at the end there.  If any of the actors were actually at the end of a contract, that would have been their exit.  Not that I've ever thought up a plan without permission or anything....

Another question:  Was it established in earlier seasons how Henry ended up as a USMC aviator?  I ask this because his statement about enlisting caught my ear.  If he was Jason's age, he would not yet have graduated college, and in most cases aviation school requires an officer rank which requires a college degree.  But then, he's Henry.  It was great advice to Jason, though.

Favorite line of the night:  "A 1995 film based off of a Jane Austen novel"  "Clueless."  Silent pause...

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I thought this was a great episode. It was complex and nuanced, it all seemed pretty plausible, and personal issues were relegated to the C-plot as they should be. Dr. Captain Armchair Candy, Esq. was just doing housework instead of galloping around hostile countries doing espionage. BD Wong is always welcome on my screen. And maybe Matt will stop mooning after Daisy for a while.

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Jason- your eldest sister dropped out of college, dated a guy 30 years older, and then a Russian drug addict. Your middle sister is back home for the semester.

Your Dad just quit his job. He’s a stay at home dad. 

Your parents are more realistic in your expectations than you think.  

Edited by mythoughtis
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I thought they were going to say Jason tested positive for drugs, he looks so pale and out of it. And he does have a goal: he wants to be the John Cusack character in "Say Anything" to his girlfriend, and stand outside her window holding up a boombox. I don't think it was too rough for Uncle Eric Stoltz to take him to visit some of the wounded veterans. Jason does have a privileged life, and needs reminders that not everyone has all the choices he does.

I particularly liked the callback to Jay's awakening in the first season about the persecution of LGBTQ people. Bess was kinder to him then, but both he & Kat deserved the ass-kicking they got from her with their off-the-grid attempt to be saviors. And I'd love to see B.D. Wong recurring more often. Also really appreciated the bonding scene between Jay & Kat in which she finally filled him (and us) on her gender fluidity. (And I do have to say, I think Sara R. looks GREAT with her awesome hair, wallet chain and funky suits.)

I'm fine if Matt & Daisy's relationship remains in the past, and I hope Matt does get together with his trivia partner. (Daisy's KIND OF BUSY right now with an infant at home.) We need to see more of what's going on with Blake, given his early season directive from Bess to prepare for his next steps.

And Tim Daly is a GREAT TV dad...I bet much of the audience prefers when he's just doing that to flying all 'round the world as a superhero. I like hearing more about his background: how he joined the military to piss off his dad (I've known kids who have done this). And the military probably paid for all his degrees, which made a difference (once again, opportunity) for a working class kid. Between his comforting of Noodle last week, and his steady patience with Jason, THAT's his real superpower.

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One thing I liked about this show (as opposed to say, "Scandal" or "Designated Survivor") is that they always (or pretty much always) use real countries as part of their storylines. So why the change with "Abkhazia" this week?  Also, I'm pretty sure there are no signs at the border between Turkey and Bulgaria that say, prominently IN ENGLISH "Thank you for visiting Turkey" and "Welcome to Bulgaria." Give us a little credit, show.

Oh, and the closed captioners struck again: When Bess referred to "the Caucasus," we got "caucuses."

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On ‎19‎.‎03‎.‎2018 at 3:32 AM, Dowel Jones said:

I know much of the activity on the show is in deference to plot furtherance, but in real life, would the SoS speak directly to the President (or other ruler) of another country?  The equivalent agency in other countries would be something like the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I doubt they would have immediate access to the US President, acting or elected.  Just a nitpick.

Yes, the Sec of State does speak directly to foreign leaders. She also meets with them and attends events that are attended by head of states/leaders. (Well, or he ;-)) How much probably depends on the President but generally, it seems that the Secretary of State is the one who travels and represents the country internationally while the President deals with domestic issues. Considering the size of the country, it's understandable. It also seems that the Secretary of State is the second most prestigious position after the President.

 

On ‎19‎.‎03‎.‎2018 at 3:32 AM, Dowel Jones said:

Another question:  Was it established in earlier seasons how Henry ended up as a USMC aviator?  I ask this because his statement about enlisting caught my ear.  If he was Jason's age, he would not yet have graduated college, and in most cases aviation school requires an officer rank which requires a college degree.  But then, he's Henry.  It was great advice to Jason, though.

We've had bits and pieces. They've been pretty consistent about Henry having wanted to stick it to his dad. I don't know if they were as consistent about his enlistment. There was something about a father-son event in the episode in which Henry's father died and I thought that happened at college. If it did then it would have been hard for Henry to have enlisted right out of high school since from what they've said, he also enlisted so that he could then pay for college (he said so in S1 when Jason had to write a report on one of his parents' jobs for school).

 

3 hours ago, J-Man said:

One thing I liked about this show (as opposed to say, "Scandal" or "Designated Survivor") is that they always (or pretty much always) use real countries as part of their storylines. So why the change with "Abkhazia" this week?

They probably thought it best to use a made-up country for this one as there was fallout after the episode with the President from the Phillippines. They demanded that they pull the episode, if I remember correctly. So, I guess, they feel comfortable when they're tackling world issues but not when they're doing something so sensitive. As crazy as it sounds, I also believe that something like that has the potential to cause diplomacy issues.

 

On ‎19‎.‎03‎.‎2018 at 1:36 AM, Bobbin said:

When children are afraid or reluctant to bring news to their parents, the parents should be looking hard at their own past behavior, not automatically blaming the child.

I didn't think they were blaming Jason. I also think that they addressed the "why" and I was under the impression that it was Jason himself who put pressure on himself. I think we've seen hints here and there throughout the show and it makes sense. He's the youngest and yes, his sister dropped out of college but then she went to Georgetown and considered law school and now she's interning at the WH for the Chief of Staff. He's got a dad who fought in a war, and who still serves his country (even if Jason doesn't know all the details) and he's got the mother who the President wanted to be his Sec of State so much he came out to her horse farm in person and who the WH now wants to be President. His middle sister is in college now, too, and she has a clear vision of what she wants. Jason doesn't. I'd probably feel a little overwhlemed and kind of insignificant, too. So far, he's also just been the rebel and/or smartass who is smart but that's really it. I also think that part of why he is the way he is, is because of the pressure he's putting on himself. It's easier to stand out as the rebel in that family. He definitely has to find his way and I hope Henry can help him do it.

I thought the commendation thing was stupid. What really did the team do other than get an agent kidnapped, and a safe house blown up and then stumble into the leak? It sees like it would have made a lot more sense had Henry gotten the commendation for his work with Dmitri. That seemed a lot more significant. Maybe because they devoted more time to it but the commendation seemed unnecessary. However, if that means Henry's now done with intelligence work, at least with anything above being an asset himself, he can get ten commendations if it makes them happy.

I loved the scene between Henry and Jason. Henry is so good at this. Maybe he should consider that motivational speaker thing Bess was suggesting in one of the earlier episodes? ;-)

I also liked that Jason went to see Will. Sounds about right that a teenager might see his uncle first. And the condoms added a moment of much needed relief.

This was the first episode in which I thought Kat was okay. She wasn't so overeager and more subdued and I thought it was well-played and I liked it. I also liked that Jay was the one who was pushing it and that both Kat and what's-his-character's-name seemed more reluctant about it. Jay was clearly trying to make up for the stoned Iranian. But, I would really like to know what he thinks he could have done to stop the stoning. There was absolutely nothing he could have done at any point and thinking that he could have is ridiculous.

There was a tad bit too much of Matt. I'm a bit torn because I like Blake and Matt and I liked the scenes, I just thought there was one too many of them. One more Henry and Bess scene instead would have been nice but I guess, the actors had some time off hence so much of the rest of the cast.

And it's a pet-peeve of mine but do they really have to drink wine at home to wind down in every episode? And did Stevie have to drink wine for dinner in the previous episode? Just because she's of legal drinking age doesn't mean she has to. Non-alcoholic beverages work just as well at dinner and when you want to have a quiet moment with your spouse.

The scene between Bess, Kat and Jay was brilliant. It's one of my favorite scenes of the whole show. I thought Leoni's acting was spot on, she was upset but she didn't yell but you could hear how angry she was in every word she said.

And I also like that they're actually showing what happens when you don't look at the bigger picture but the individual. We've had so many episodes when it was about the bigger picture and when Bess chose the bigger picture. The Iran deal over the stoned Iranian, peace with Russia over Dmitri etc. We've seen the show "give up" the "little guy" and were told it was for the greater good and I think they've always done a good job of portraying that it was never an easy decision for Bess. But I like how they're now actually showing how easily this can snowball and get out of hand.

I also think it underscores just how difficult this job is. Jay and Kat did the right thing and at the same time, they completely screwed it up.

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So much agreement with the previous post. I have to say because of the pretty good continuity from season to season that a lot of plot points are stronger, that the characters are showing believable growth, and you generally don't feel jerked around by an out-of-left-field plot twist. I think that the Bess McCord (as she is written and portrayed) WOULD make a good president. I mean, Jed Bartlet level good!

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Kat and Jay really screwed up. I was hoping Kat would be fired, but knew it was unlikely as they had just given her a backstory beyond avocados.

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2 hours ago, deaja said:

Kat and Jay really screwed up. I was hoping Kat would be fired, but knew it was unlikely as they had just given her a backstory beyond avocados.

In theory, it should have been Jay. He's screwed up one too many times. I also don't think that it would have been fair to fire Kat and not Jay since Jay was the driving force behind it. Kat just went along for the ride.

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I could see it either way. Jay has more mistakes, but he also has more seniority and victories under his belt.

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6 hours ago, deaja said:

I was hoping Kat would be fired, but knew it was unlikely

They'd fire Elizabeth first.

3 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

In theory, it should have been Jay. He's screwed up one too many times.

And because I never liked him much.

1 hour ago, shksabelle said:

Jason’s crisis was a perfect PSAT score 

Because he redefines the term spoilt!

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2 hours ago, shksabelle said:

Jason’s crisis was a perfect PSAT score 

No, his crisis wasn't a perfect PSAT score. His crisis was that he was afraid that it would lead to expectations he couldn't fulfill. As he explained to his uncle.

 

1 hour ago, Netfoot said:

Because he redefines the term spoilt!

What is spoilt about a child being worried that something will lead to expectations that he's afraid he won't live up to?

I don't agree with what Jason wants for his future but I don't think he knows what he wants himself. I think that what he says he wants he wants only because it's the opposite of what is "normal" and because it's different from what everyone else in his family did. But we don't know what interests him/what he could imagine himself doing and it seems, that he's not quite sure of that himself. All we know is that he likes computer games and that he does the opposite of what his sisters and parents did and do but I don't think that this has anything to do with being spoiled. It's fear of failure because he's got quite the achievers in his immediate family and on his mother's side.

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6 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

His seniority could also be an argument against him. He's got the experience, so he definitely should have known better!

6 HOURS AGO, DEAJA SAID:

I could see it either way. Jay has more mistakes, but he also has more seniority and victories under his belt.

I agree, but IRL, either one could have been fired without the other, which would leave one feeling it wasn't fair and the other felling guilty, and the person doing the firing not having to explain. I'm guessing there is some safety in the numbers: Two is not so many that you can fire "the leader," and it spreads out the blame beyond just one.

It probably also helped that POTUS was still not in the White House, so Bess was under less pressure to make heads roll.

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1 hour ago, shapeshifter said:

I agree, but IRL, either one could have been fired without the other, which would leave one feeling it wasn't fair and the other felling guilty, and the person doing the firing not having to explain. I'm guessing there is some safety in the numbers: Two is not so many that you can fire "the leader," and it spreads out the blame beyond just one.

It probably also helped that POTUS was still not in the White House, so Bess was under less pressure to make heads roll.

I'm not so sure about that. Bess could have fired one of them/made them resign. Kat would have looked odd since Bess just hired her but it would probably have lasted a news cycle and then the media would have moved on. Jay has been with Bess for a long time, so, same. Both at the same time would have been a story though.

I would imagine that they're not going to advertise the screw-up. They'll probably keep the refugee story low profile. I don't know how public their (the US') involvement was/is. And they'll never admit to any concessions that they made in exchange for the refugee's safe passage to Bulgaria, if the whole story is even known to the media. However, the moment Bess fires her two most senior staff members right after this, I would imagine that it won't go away with a single news cycle and that it'll spark some curiosity. So, I would imagine that for as long as things are quiet doing nothing that draws attention to anything is the best option from a media point of view, at least.

Edited by CheshireCat

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