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S04.E16: My Funny Valentine

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As the 20th anniversary of the American embassy bombing in Mali approaches, emotions run high among the State Department staff, who had personal connections to lives lost that day, including Elizabeth, who must decide if the U.S. should lift sanctions against the country deemed responsible. Also, Henry tries to help Jason break up with Piper.

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I liked the nuanced story about the bombing and the impact it still has on people and policy.

But Henry needs to take a giant step back from his son's relationship. Wow. I'm all for him telling Jason that it is disrespectful to just drop Piper and that he needs to talk to her in person. But the whole "text her right now, we're going over there" was a bit much. He deserved every bit of that awkwardness with the mom.

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I would have put money on Bess and Matt conjuring up that discussion to set up Daisy to adopt that dog, but I guess not.  He/she was a cutie, though. 

I did like the way that Bess let the Ugandan chief know that "we know you are supporting terrorism but we're not going to say it publicly, and for that you owe your Don a service", or words to that effect. 

Slight nitpick:  The promo lists the bombing as taking place in Mali, not Uganda.

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As a Beagle mom myself, I was of course joining in the aw-chorus over Waffles. Gotta say, though, I don't know how well Daisy adopting him is going to work out. He's a young dog accustomed to regular training and stimulation; that's not a great fit for a tired single working mother. Particularly for a breed with a notorious (deserved) reputation of being loud, stubborn, and relentless in hunting down every unsecured scrap of food in the house.

Elizabeth taking him would have made more sense, with the kids around the house so often (and Henry clearly having too much time on his hands!). Of course, I'm definitely not biased because the viewers would see a lot more of him if he were running around in the background of future McCord home scenes...

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4 hours ago, Emma9 said:

As a Beagle mom myself, I was of course joining in the aw-chorus over Waffles. Gotta say, though, I don't know how well Daisy adopting him is going to work out. He's a young dog accustomed to regular training and stimulation; that's not a great fit for a tired single working mother. Particularly for a breed with a notorious (deserved) reputation of being loud, stubborn, and relentless in hunting down every unsecured scrap of food in the house.

Elizabeth taking him would have made more sense, with the kids around the house so often (and Henry clearly having too much time on his hands!). Of course, I'm definitely not biased because the viewers would see a lot more of him if he were running around in the background of future McCord home scenes...

Clearly, Matt WANTS the dog...and I hope they don't use his visits to help out to rekindle Matt & Daisy. And I wonder if the writers were inspired by the story in the news last fall about the CIA dog that didn't care for sniffing explosives.

And I laughed (along with Bess) at Capt. Arm Candy's comeuppance for insisting on taking Jason over to break up with his girlfriend. He's clearly got too much time on his hands. Even though he's still a doofus, Jason has his moments, and something has gotten through to him about how to treat women. 

And I always enjoy seeing Skipp Sudduth (who played the diplomat who resigned over the sanctions being lifted). He's such a good actor (remember him on Third Watch? And he had a recurring role on The Good Wife). I'm glad he ended up getting offered the job as UN Ambassador, and that last conversation with him & Bess was beautifully written and played. 

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5 hours ago, kwnyc said:

I wonder if the writers were inspired by the story in the news last fall about the CIA dog that didn't care for sniffing explosives.

While in Scotland last year, I met a sheep-dog who didn't like sheep.  There were equestriennes amongst his people, so they allowed him to look after the horses instead.

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9 hours ago, kwnyc said:

And I always enjoy seeing Skipp Sudduth (who played the diplomat who resigned over the sanctions being lifted). He's such a good actor (remember him on Third Watch? And he had a recurring role on The Good Wife). I'm glad he ended up getting offered the job as UN Ambassador, and that last conversation with him & Bess was beautifully written and played. 

OMG, he was fantastic in every scene. Rather than a H!ITG! appearance, this was Emmy worthy throughout.

In spite of being such an emotionally heavy episode, I chuckled at least twice.

 

 

14 hours ago, Emma9 said:

As a Beagle mom myself, I was of course joining in the aw-chorus over Waffles. Gotta say, though, I don't know how well Daisy adopting him is going to work out. He's a young dog accustomed to regular training and stimulation; that's not a great fit for a tired single working mother. Particularly for a breed with a notorious (deserved) reputation of being loud, stubborn, and relentless in hunting down every unsecured scrap of food in the house.

Elizabeth taking him would have made more sense, with the kids around the house so often (and Henry clearly having too much time on his hands!). Of course, I'm definitely not biased because the viewers would see a lot more of him if he were running around in the background of future McCord home scenes...

ITA with all of the above. I'm guessing somebody with the show couldn't resist the real Waffles, because that makes more sense than tired single working mom of a baby getting a dog. I don't even have kids at home anymore and can't afford a pet, nor can I provide companionship for one. And, no, using Waffles to get Matt and Daisy back together is not fair to Waffles either. But real Waffles is an actor, and an actor's gotta eat.

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16 hours ago, kwnyc said:

And I always enjoy seeing Skipp Sudduth (who played the diplomat who resigned over the sanctions being lifted). He's such a good actor (remember him on Third Watch? And he had a recurring role on The Good Wife). I'm glad he ended up getting offered the job as UN Ambassador, and that last conversation with him & Bess was beautifully written and played. 

I, too, heart Skipp Sudduth. I hope we see more of his character. 

 

“Tell me the story again? She said ‘let’s get together before prom’ and you said ...” <gales of laughter>

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This episode had some real meat to it, without actually having a crisis.  I like that, I think that is more representative what the usual work at the State Department is like.  This episode showed some strong diplomacy issues which were all wrapped up in human stories.  Now that the guy with the tragic story is the UN Ambassador, I really hope we see a lot more of him. 

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Henry can dog sit Waffles for Daisy, and thus spend less time interfering so glaringly in his son's love life. Helicopter Matchmaking/Parenting at it's finest extreme. 

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The fact that Piper calls Henry by his first name blows me away.  Whatever happened to showing some respect for your elders.  And Henry needs to get a life besides butting into his son's life.

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Add me to the Waffles 'love train"..he stole his scenes :) And Skipp Sudduth was one of my favorite actors on "Third Watch", so good to see him again, and his scenes were full of emotion...loved the scene of Bess talking to him about the guilt he felt, and Bess feeling her guilt over the bombing, it was a nice bonding moment. 

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On ‎10‎.‎04‎.‎2018 at 9:06 AM, cameron said:

The fact that Piper calls Henry by his first name blows me away.  Whatever happened to showing some respect for your elders.  

Since Henry mentions something about Jason and Piper having been inseparable for five months (if I understood correctly) I'm assuming that's how long the relationship has been going and that Henry offered Piper a first name basis. Bess told her that she could call her Elisabeth when they first met, I see no reason why Henry wouldn't have done the same.

 

I loved the episode. It was heavy and emotional and yet compelling and very well done. I think they're usually doing an excellent job of balancing heavy a-plots with some lighter b and in this case c plots even if they were both serious subjects, too. But I think they did a really good job of using them to losen up the episode.

The only thing that made me go "huh?" was Henry showing up in the Oval Office with Henry. Why? What was the point? Did they give Tim Daly a few more minutes on-screen because the time that he'd been on screen didn't match what was specified in his contract or what? It made absolutely no sense. It made even less sense that he had so much dialogue when this was something that should have been between Bess and Conrad. I don't know if Conrad was still at the CIA when it happened, it sounded like he might have been. This is something that they share, additionally, they were both involved on capturing the terrorist hiding in Sudan, so, fine, let Henry be there but don't let him hijack a scene that should have been about Bess and Conrad.

Moving on to the good part.

Henry's actions cracked me up. What in the world was that? I'm so with everyone who says that he deserved the awkwardness his actions caused. Talking to Jason yes, taking him straight over there, no. Absolutely not. Although, I'm with Alison: if Jason wants to break up with Piper, he should do it to her face.

I'm not a dog person but even I thought that Waffles was adorable. That look that he had on his face each time they showed him just made me want to cuddle him. And Matt was such a child when he tried to convince Daisy to get the dog but I think it was okay and welcome considering the heaviness of the rest of the episode.

I liked what they did with the envoy for Sudan. I think we learned that he was a reasonable guy the last time we saw him but this time, we did even more so. I really liked him as a character (more so than the woman they had for the other Africa episodes, I can't remember what her title was) and am sad to see him go. But maybe now that he's ambassador to the UN they'll find a way to use him again.

I don't know why but I liked that Bess was a bit at odds with Conrad although, she was probably more at odds with the DNI. I also liked that there were a couple of times in the episode when it was clear that the officials were doing something that they didn't really want to do but did so because of the job that they were having: Conrad told Bess he was sharing her reservations about lifting the sanctions but he did so anyway and Bess signaled the Sudan envoy that she agreed with him but told him they were executing the President's policy. I also enjoyed that Bess didn't have any reservations about asking Conrad in front of everyone if State's recommendation was even needed. That's why I love her!

The way Leoni says "sure, why not" in response to the Sudanese foreign minister after the arrest just cracked me up. She so doesn't care about the complaint. I also like Leoni's ability to see things that aren't there. When she was talking about the pieces on the chess board in S2 it seemed like she could see it and in this episode, as she was talking to the Sudan envoy at the end, she mentioned that they couldn't see how the pieces fit together and it seemed like she could again, see the puzzle pieces.

And we got the self-reflecting side of Bess again. I couldn't help but think that we wouldn't have seen that from Henry had he been the one. But this is part of the reason I love the character of Bess. She might make decisions for the Greater Good and she might be making those decisions while putting her emotions aside but she still has those emotions and she thinks about those things and they do stay with her.

I liked that we got a lot of Bess-Henry scenes out of the episode even if the topic was heavy (well, no so much when Bess laughs at Henry in the bedroom) and I absolutely loved the final scene. The conversation between them felt so real and she finally got to apologize to someone. Even if it might not be what she wanted. And the Sudan envoy put things in perspective when he said that it was everyone's failure, not just CIAs and he, too, got to unburden a little. It was a satisfying conclusion to an episode that can't really have a satisfying end because the mistakes will still have been made and the victims will still be dead and the world will move forward and sanctions will be lifted.

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One additional thought: I thought it was kind of cute that Bess felt bad for "snapping" at her staff. I didn't consider it snapping, I thought it was more in the category of forceful and wasn't really bothered by it since she had a point and I also think she has a right to get upset from time to time as well. This was personal. But I thought they did it in a good way so that Bess didn't come across as some "I can never raise my voice because I've got to be so perfect" warrior. It sounded like she felt genuinely bad about it even though she didn't have to.

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Since Henry mentions something about Jason and Piper having been inseparable for five months (if I understood correctly) I'm assuming that's how long the relationship has been going and that Henry offered Piper a first name basis.

Henry and Elizabeth totally imagine themselves to be the "cool" parents who are on a first name basis with the teenage children's friends.  I think in real life, it's not really appropriate, but it makes total sense within the context of the show that Henry and Elizabeth would have Piper be on a first name basis with them. 

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