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S04.E18: The Friendship Game

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Elizabeth’s negotiations for a security agreement combatting gang violence in South America becomes complicated when she attempts to free an American recently kidnapped there.

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Random thoughts:

I called that faux-kidnapping almost immediately (and I'm guessing I'm not  the only one). 

And the only thing more boring than Stevie's love life is Elizabeth's staffer's love lives. Seriously show, who cares?????

At least Henry was quiet for most of the episode. I'm thinking that it probably wasn't continual cancellations that cost them friendships - it was probably his endless pontificating.  Pipers parents probably couldn't get out of there fast enough.

A blah episode.

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Pipers’ parents were too busy playing the ‘ look at us - we know important people too’ game. 

I was really annoyed at the whole Henry/Bess needy/willing to take all couples as friends subplot.   Although the ending sentence from their long term friends was perfect

’ Get in here, you two’. 

Very annoyed at Russell and Dalton giving even a moments thought to keeping the actions of that president secret and continuing to support her possible re-election. 

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This show makes me want to never ever become a foreign aid worker.

I'm fine with seeing the love lives of the characters as long as it doesn't dominate the show. And I'm even fine with seeing Matt on a date as long as it isn't with Daisy.

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9 hours ago, mwell345 said:

I called that faux-kidnapping almost immediately (and I'm guessing I'm not  the only one). 

Nope.

Now it's time for the Rasmussens to be secret lobbyists for some nefarious corporation that wants a lucrative contract for widgets or whatever.

Note to camera folks/post production folks:  You need to blur out the street signs a bit more.  Duck Pond Drive (the Rasmussen's street) has several locations on the East Coast, but none of them remotely close to DC.  Busted.  And, please, get better CGI for the backgrounds. That aid worker scene was groanable. 

The way Jay rattled off his spiel in Spanish, I was really hoping the parents would look at him astonishment and say "We don't speak Spanish that well anymore."

I had to laugh at Bess's straightforward "Seven times" reply to the Honduran President's question at the US meddling.  Hey, it's what we do.  She could, however, have sold the plot as "intelligence revealed that elements within the military have been implicated."  Of course, the truth would out eventually and the Honduran President would likely go down, but I think it would be seen more as an internal matter than something that the US had meddled in.  Their better path would be to find something with which they could hold the opposition guy's feet to the fire in either case.  At least the show did touch on the world of realpolitik, in which various nations do what is in their own best interest, regardless of the morality.

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Loved this episode!

The McCords attempt to find friends was hilarious. So funny how Bess was hell bent on finding friends and Henry went along for the ride and even recruited Piper's parents. I love how supportive he is of her even down to getting the right cheese so she can woo their friends back. They are so cute! I adore the fact that Bess can be so awkward and silly but is a total badass at her job. 

Almost died with laughter when the Honduras president plagiarized Dalton's speech! His face!!!!! And then Russell being all sketchy. I love that team so much!

Didn't mind the Matt plot either. I really enjoyed this ep. I found it to have a great balance of political plot and humour. This one was up there for me!

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6 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

Now it's time for the Rasmussens to be secret lobbyists for some nefarious corporation that wants a lucrative contract for widgets or whatever.

Nah. At least I think that was the point of showing the shot of the Rasmeussens' relatively modest home at the end. And regarding:

6 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

Note to camera folks/post production folks:  You need to blur out the street signs a bit more.  Duck Pond Drive (the Rasmussen's street) has several locations on the East Coast, but none of them remotely close to DC.  Busted

I missed the sign, but "Duck Pond Drive" would also add to the Rasmeussens' Wholesome Family cred. Anyway, it's a current health craze to cultivate friendships to lower your cholesterol and whatnot. I'm guessing that was the point of the B plot. And/or the actors who play the kids were all too busy.

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Mellowyellow said:

Almost died with laughter when the Honduras president plagiarized Dalton's speech

Yes, that was a highlight, but:

3 hours ago, Notwisconsin said:

They stole the "c plot" from The Big Sick. The writers go to the movies.

Did they really? Like plagiarism levels of "stole"? I haven't seen The Big Sick. Anyway the restaurant scene should've been funnier than it was.

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14 hours ago, Mellowyellow said:

The McCords attempt to find friends was hilarious. So funny how Bess was hell bent on finding friends and Henry went along for the ride and even recruited Piper's parents. I love how supportive he is of her even down to getting the right cheese so she can woo their friends back. They are so cute! I adore the fact that Bess can be so awkward and silly but is a total badass at her job.

I completely sign on to this entire paragraph.  That was awesome.  "Wall worthy" indeed.  That's like Elaine's "sponge worthy" from Seinfeld!

The facetime call with the Honduran president was oddly framed, with Bess standing well behind Dalton, and Dalton in the foreground.  It seemed to minimize Dalton in a way that I don't think would actually be good optics in real life.

The drive to the Rasumussens had me all wigged out because I thought Henry was driving, and he just didn't seem to be properly attentive to the road, and that big ass gift basket was in the way.  Then I realized they were being driven (probably by the Secret Service, duh) and the empty seat behind Bess and Henry was actually the third row seat in the black Suburban.

 

My favorite par though?  "Nadine would be proud."

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On ‎23‎.‎04‎.‎2018 at 6:30 AM, mwell345 said:

Random thoughts:

I called that faux-kidnapping almost immediately (and I'm guessing I'm not  the only one). 

Definitely not. That one was easy. I thought that the amount of $30 million would lead to the discovery though, that it was maybe a certain amount reserved for something in the aide package.

 

On ‎23‎.‎04‎.‎2018 at 10:24 AM, mythoughtis said:

Pipers’ parents were too busy playing the ‘ look at us - we know important people too’ game. 

I didn't think that this was it but rather that both Henry and Bess and Piper's parents were looking for something that they could talk about. Piper's parents seemed a little awkward, too.

 

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I was really annoyed at the whole Henry/Bess needy/willing to take all couples as friends subplot.

I had a different take on that, too. I think they were just trying to make friends/get to know people who don't have anything to do with their respective jobs and or the government. I can easily see how this could become an issue. They moved, so becoming friends with people you work with is natural but I definitely understand the desire to meet someone that isn't connected to work.

 

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  Very annoyed at Russell and Dalton giving even a moments thought to keeping the actions of that president secret and continuing to support her possible re-election. 

I interpreted it as a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation. If they revealed the truth, it could be seen by the Hondurans as an attempt to get the other guy elected. If they didn't reveal the truth, it would become a cover-up (as Bess said) once the US media found out and would probably be spun into the US covering it up to help the current President win the election. I think ultimately Bess was right because all they did was tell the truth, the Honduran President only had herself to blame and their primary concern should be how they're viewed in the US.

On the one hand, I'm surprised that Russell didn't want to reveal the truth especially since Bess was involved. He should know that everything will come out in an election so since it looks like either Bess or the VP will be candidate in the next election he should want to avoid anything that can become an issue. At the same, refugees can become an issue, too, as I'm strongly assuming that Morejon will run against whoever is running for "the good guys" and he probably thought that if it came out, it is an easy spin.

 

This was the third episode in a row that I absolutely loved. In S2 and 3 it was more of an up and down, not that I thought they were bad, I just didn't go "gaga" over them. But I thought this episode was well-balanced and hit all the right marks and I laughed a lot. Not just at the Matt story but the friend-story and Bess stressing about cracked me up a few times, too.

I love when we are shown or get implications of events that Bess and Henry attend. I think we get far too few of what's happening outside of Bess' office but still has to do with her job anyway (like cabinet meetings, receptions etcs). And additionally, we got a cute Bess-Henry scene right at the beginning so who could ask for more?

Totally random, but the way Daly placed his foot/leg on top of the table made me wonder if his leg was acting up from last year's accident. It just seemed an unnatural thing to do, putting up just one leg, but it is very natural for someone who's had an injury that can act up again every now and then.

I liked the friendship sub-plot. I didn't like that the Rasmussen's brushed them off though, initially. I can understand that they might have felt like they're taken for granted: they are the ones that Bess and Henry feel they can always cancel out on. At the same time, a strong, long-term friendship should be able to endure that and Bess' job is demanding. I'm sure she'd have preferred to meet with them rather than cancel and deal with whatever problem she had to deal with. I'm not sure why Henry felt the need to take the blame though. Considering Bess' job and that they may have heard on the news what Bess was up to when they cancelled, it doesn't really make sense. True friends should also understand if they cancel because Bess is simply exhausted. I'm sure there are many instances when Bess came home from something totally sleep-deprived and didn't want to see anyone for days. The Rasmussen's could also have gone over sponatenously just for a drink. No one says that you always have to have hour-long dinners. Sure, maybe Bess wouldn't have been there but I don't think there's a rule that says couples can only meet as couples.

My favorite line of the episode was probably that Henry pointed out that they were how they were and either friends accepted that or not. That's what I was thinking for quite the duration of the episode: her job does lead to cancellations, that's just the way it is. Although, it seemed that in that moment, Bess needed to accept that, too.

I did like the end though. That made me smile and happy for Bess and Henry but especially Bess. I loved her venting that she wasn't fun anymore and her awkwardness both with the Rasmussen's and Piper's parents. As great as she is when she's in her comfort zone, she's as awkward when she's outside of it. Another thing that makes her human and that I love.

One thing that's really just nit-picking is that I have a hard time believing that they'd let Bess go in anywhere without clearing the house first. They have no idea who's in the house along with the owners, so, maybe having a quick look would be an idea? They've done that since the start of the show, but I'd like to actually see them do it at least once. They've also started to neglect letting Bess' security detail be around her when she's in a restaurant. They did that in S1 but then she and Russell went into the bar without Bess' detail to get a Senator's vote in S2 episode 7 and here, they did it again. I can maybe get behind her detail not caring too much about a bar that is apparently, frequented by people working on the Hill. But a random restaurant? How do they know that someone won't just grab a knife and stab Bess for whatever reason or if someone has a gun? I just don't find that credible.

Although, Bess' reaction to Matt bringing her her phone was cute. I also liked that she was totally overthinking it especially her remarks about the Macaroons. She should give herself a break, if the French foreign minister gave them to her, there's nothing wrong with mentioning it. She is Sec of State, they know who she knows.

And there they went again with the liquor, this time to calm nerves.

For once, I actually liked a subplot involving Matt. I thought it was really well-done and Matt, Blake and Jay were great together and the dialogue was well written. Something that struck me is that everyone seems to gel with one another in that cast. There doesn't seem to be anyone who doesn't have some kind of chemistry with someone else. And that scene in the restaurant when the boyfriend showed up was so Matt. That guy has a really big heart. Oh, and for once, it were the guys who were gossipping. Come to think of it, it's usually the guys who gossip on that show. I like that.

In a way, it was nice to see Jay struggle in his job even after he's had it for a while. I was wondering for a moment there if they were leading up to his departure as he seemed awfully defeated in that scene with Bess but he did say that he was up for it, so I guess not.

Apart from the fact that the fake-kidnapping was simple to figure out, I also liked the crisis of the week. What I did not like was the backdrop for the aide workers. That looked SO fake! But whoever thought of the Honduran President using Dalton's words is a genuis. That was a great moment. And it was nice to get that scene between Bess and Daisy at the end as well. It highlighted that even if it's not the right move, it actually is.

Edited by CheshireCat
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20 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Yes, that was a highlight, but:

Did they really? Like plagiarism levels of "stole"? I haven't seen The Big Sick. Anyway the restaurant scene should've been funnier than it was.

They just re-used the idea of Pakistani parents setting up their kids and a kid hiding their relationship with a white person. It sounds like that may be a common realistic thing, though.

I enjoyed the storyline though. I've been thinking they were going to put Matt and Daisy back together, so this was an interesting surprise.

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37 minutes ago, KaveDweller said:

They just re-used the idea of Pakistani parents setting up their kids and a kid hiding their relationship with a white person. It sounds like that may be a common realistic thing, though.

I wouldn't be surprised if it is. A friend from Europe married a guy from India (in India) and, apparently, his parents were so opposed that they didn't speak with their son until their grandchild was born.

 

37 minutes ago, KaveDweller said:

I enjoyed the storyline though. I've been thinking they were going to put Matt and Daisy back together, so this was an interesting surprise.

Me too. I thought they were breaking up Matt and Ronny so that they could get Daisy and Matt back together. While I didn't mind them I don't think they should. Matt and Ronny seem to work out well and I like them as a couple as well.

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Another thought: while I'm okay with Stevie being absent, it would be nice if they mentioned her and told us what she's up to (even if she's just working at the WH, I would simply like her mentioned since this is the third (or fourth?) episode that she is absent from)

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7 hours ago, CheshireCat said:
On April 23, 2018 at 9:24 AM, mythoughtis said:

Very annoyed at Russell and Dalton giving even a moments thought to keeping the actions of that president secret and continuing to support her possible re-election. 

I interpreted it as a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation. If they revealed the truth, it could be seen by the Hondurans as an attempt to get the other guy elected. If they didn't reveal the truth, it would become a cover-up

I thought it was supposed to be an allegory of the US then-FBI Director's decision making process regarding whether to reveal unsecured emails found on a laptop of a female presidential candidate a couple of weeks before an election. But maybe I'm reading some analogy into it that's not there. Emails in the wild are not really equivalent to taking hostages.

Both this show and Designated Survivor (I don't know why I watch any TV show with "Survivor" in the title) do a remarkable job of mirroring current politics without (IMO) getting political.

Edited by shapeshifter

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16 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I thought it was supposed to be an allegory of the US then-FBI Director's decision making process regarding whether to reveal unsecured emails found on a laptop of a female presidential candidate a couple of weeks before an election. But maybe I'm reading some analogy into it that's not there. Emails in the wild are not really equivalent to taking hostages.

I'm not sure if seeing it as an analogy works for me. I didn't really see a common denominator other than that it was about a woman and they were deciding whether to disclose the truth or not. But there was nothing in there that makes me think yes, it was about that incident and not about an investigation into a presidential campaign that remained undisclosed, for example. I think this one was just generally about truth vs keeping something secret. Of course, the general principle of truth vs keeping a secret applies to the situation you mentioned as well, but it applies to a lot of other situations, too.

I don't think it's the first time they touched on truth vs keeping a secret. Bess has always been a believer in full disclosure. In S1 she asked Conrad for 6 more months to write a new pipeline report and specifically asked him how many other Presidents before him got bogged down in the middle east because they weren't entirely truthful. She also told Congress the truth about talking to Henry about classified information in S1. And more recently, she wanted to mention her own involvement in the bombing of the Ugandian embassy and told the family of the killed CIA agent that their son was in the CIA. One could even argue that Conrad running as an Independent happened because Bess pushed him to admit the truth about the US's military bases instead of continuing to deny that truth.

 

16 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Both this show and Designated Survivor (I don't know why I watch any TV show with "Survivor" in the title) do a remarkable job of mirroring current politics without (IMO) getting political.

They definitely do and did with the subject of that episode.

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On ‎4‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 2:42 PM, CheshireCat said:

 

For once, I actually liked a subplot involving Matt. I thought it was really well-done and Matt, Blake and Jay were great together and the dialogue was well written. Something that struck me is that everyone seems to gel with one another in that cast. There doesn't seem to be anyone who doesn't have some kind of chemistry with someone else. And that scene in the restaurant when the boyfriend showed up was so Matt. That guy has a really big heart. Oh, and for once, it were the guys who were gossipping. Come to think of it, it's usually the guys who gossip on that show. I like that.

In a way, it was nice to see Jay struggle in his job even after he's had it for a while. I was wondering for a moment there if they were leading up to his departure as he seemed awfully defeated in that scene with Bess but he did say that he was up for it, so I guess not.

 

I was dying at Blake getting his life from Matt's re-telling of his date! Along with his filling Jay in the important details that he was missing. I agree on the chemistry, they all have that air of having worked together for a while, so naturally parts of their private lives will make it's way into everyday conversation.

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Random side note: nice touch, having Matt use an inhaler after running to catch up with his girlfriend before she left. I remember an episode where he stayed at Nadine's and told her he had asthma, so I like that they added that little detail in this episode. I heart continuity.

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Yes! I think Matt has found his cool, nerdy match in Captain Ronny, and I hope they find a way to make it work. 

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