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S04.E21: Protocol

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When terrorists threaten to cause a flood in the Middle East that could kill millions of people, Elizabeth’s hopes of getting a neighboring country to close the dam fade after the government suddenly goes dark during a coup. Also, Stevie is tasked with finding Russell an activity that will help manage his stress.

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Bumping this in case people think there is no thread for this episode.

Which dam did the people go into: the one in Turkey or Iran?

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The one in Iraq, which was being held by the ISIS militants.  

I'm kind of disappointed Blake isn't going to join the protocol team.  That would have been a fascinating addition to the mix (although probably pretty hard to write interesting TV about).  Since that didn't pan out, I certainly hope the writers have something good planned for him.

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The relationship between Blake and Bess is a big favorite of mine.  I also dig the Stevie and Russell relationship.

 

Russell preparing to build the airplane model with such gleeful precision and that small hungry sigh of satisfaction was awesome.  As was the performance from Mrs. Russell, snapping "Why did you bring him coffee?!?" followed by a remorseful "Please apologize for me to Stevie."  She really captured an exasperated woman at the end of her rope, someone who clearly loves her husband, loves who he is, but who recognizes that who he is...is killing him, and is desperate for something to change.

Edited by HurricaneVal · Reason: Unsure exactly which airplane model Russell was working on...
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3 minutes ago, HurricaneVal said:

Russell preparing to build the Corsair model with such gleeful precision and that small hungry sigh of satisfaction was awesome. 

Quite so.

I've never built a corsair.  Perhaps some day I will build one.  I'd go a bit bigger, though.  And I'd have to save up 8-10 grand.....

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Heh.  I edited my post because I was thinking about it later, wondering if I'd mis-remembered the airplane model, got confused between a Corsair and a Corvair, and edited to make my post more generic.  Then I googled and found this Wikipedia on the Corsair and now I think my first instincts were correct.  But I'm not going to re-edit.

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8 minutes ago, HurricaneVal said:

Then I googled and found this Wikipedia on the Corsair.....

Yes, the Vought F4U Corsair is an iconic aircraft from the Pacific theater of WWII, and a very popular subject for modelers, esp. American modelers.  There was also an A7 Corsair II some decades later, but it was nowhere as iconic or as popular with modelers as the F4U.  Here is a screen-grab of Russell preparing to build his model.

russell-f4u.thumb.jpg.7c5608bb24f0f86736ea9857ded8d6cd.jpg

You can clearly see the box label says it's an F4U Corsair, and there is a (horrible) illustration of the aircraft as well.

That kit (Revel, 1:48 scale) is available from Amazon for less than twenty bucks.  Unfortunately, the one I would like to build is the Don Smith 1:4 version, which costs $505 for the basic frame components.  To which would have to be added quite a bit more for undercarriage, cowl, canopy, engine, etc.  But it would be 12 times bigger.....

corsair.jpg

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Good episode. I was expecting them to milk more comic relief out of Bess, of all people, participating in a fast, but she ended up being too busy to worry much about it.

On a similar continuity note, I thought the Panda Cam would get brought up with regards to Russel's relaxation methods. Isn't he still watching that?

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I thought maybe after Blake's work with the team he was going to tell Elizabeth that he doesn't want to move "up" and that he sees the work he does for her has great value, just as the work the protocol team has great value. He organizes so many things for her, and it's important and sometimes even crucial.

I hope they have something good in store for him, whatever it is, because he's my favorite and I don't want him to go anywhere if it means I won't see him anymore.

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On ‎14‎.‎05‎.‎2018 at 1:34 PM, Scott said:

I'm kind of disappointed Blake isn't going to join the protocol team.  That would have been a fascinating addition to the mix (although probably pretty hard to write interesting TV about).  Since that didn't pan out, I certainly hope the writers have something good planned for him.

That and how would you incorporate the protocol team into each episode? Plus, it would mean three additional characters and I think the number that we have is more than enough.

 

On ‎14‎.‎05‎.‎2018 at 3:37 PM, HurricaneVal said:

The relationship between Blake and Bess is a big favorite of mine.  I also dig the Stevie and Russell relationship.

I'm actually so ready to see Stevie move on from the WH. I don't think it does anything for her story nor does she do anything for the WH or Russell stories. And that's fine. I don't want her to and she doesn't need to.

 

On ‎15‎.‎05‎.‎2018 at 1:53 AM, Emma9 said:

Good episode. I was expecting them to milk more comic relief out of Bess, of all people, participating in a fast, but she ended up being too busy to worry much about it.

I think that they didn't do it because it could have been seen as offensive to Muslims. Yes, Bess fasting could have a lot of comic potential but Ramadan in itself isn't a comic matter. It's probably a fine line between fun and tacky and might have distracted too much of the episode.

That said, a comment from Bess to Henry that she was way too busy to realize that she was hungry would have been nice.

 

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On a similar continuity note, I thought the Panda Cam would get brought up with regards to Russel's relaxation methods. Isn't he still watching that?

Maybe he wasn't able to sit still for that either anymore?

 

On ‎16‎.‎05‎.‎2018 at 10:13 AM, theartandsound said:

Small thing, but they finally gave lines to the redhead who shadows Elizabeth around! Two lines! I was shocked and pleased.

She actually had a few lines in S3 Ep7. She was the one who told Nadine that her phone had been ringing and she wasn't sure of what the protocol was and picked it up and that Mrs Marsh was on her way up. (I'm watching this show far too often, obviously ;-))

 

On ‎16‎.‎05‎.‎2018 at 7:50 PM, sinkwriter said:

I thought maybe after Blake's work with the team he was going to tell Elizabeth that he doesn't want to move "up" and that he sees the work he does for her has great value, just as the work the protocol team has great value. He organizes so many things for her, and it's important and sometimes even crucial.

I don't think Blake wants to move up. It's everyone else who wants him to especially his parents. I think the point is that he is talented and that Bess realized in that episode that while she values his work and it's important, he's far too talented to keep that job forever. But Blake likes what he's doing and he's comfortable and he doesn't seem to be the guy who likes to get out of his comfort zone which is why Bess is pushing him out of it and gave him the deadline.

 

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I hope they have something good in store for him, whatever it is, because he's my favorite and I don't want him to go anywhere if it means I won't see him anymore.

I'm so with you on that. I would think that he'll stick around one way or another. I certainly hope so.

 

The episode had much more comic relief in it than I expected it to have. I laughed out loud several times because line delivery was so good. Bess' "not if you want to have sex in the next month", Russell "what" to Stevie, Henry's reaction to Russell saying that he knows that he knows, just to name a few.

I was a bit freaked out by the weird coincidence of the Turkey story. Obviously, a lot of it was modelled after events from a few years ago but the creepy thing was that Turkey announced that they'll move up their elections a month ago, so there really are going to be elections soon and I'm pretty sure they'll be monitored. But the announcement came after the episode would have been filmed, so that was weird.

Also, the resemblence between the RL Turkish President and this one was a bit freaky. I'm assuming it was a coincidence, still, it was weird seeing it.

Funny thing, in 2015 my mom asked a customs agent about what exactly it was that could be taken through customs and back then, dried fruit was actually allowed. Of course, it could have changed by now or they just made it up anyway. The recital of the violation by the customs agents made me laugh, too.

I expected the foreign minister to decline asylum but I'm glad he didn't. I like him. Can we keep him around as eye candy? ;-)

I'm not sure why Kat insists to take the blame for the Turkey debacle when it was Jay who was the driving force behind it. Is she doing it because she's the new girl or the LGBTQ girl or both?

I'm a bit torn about Carol's reaction. On the one hand, I can totally understand her. On the other hand, she's been married to Russell long enough to know what kind of a guy he is and I think work makes him happy. He loves what he's doing so as much as she wants to keep him alive, what good would him being alive do if he's sitting at home unhappy? She probably needs to have a chat with the ambassador's wife from S3 Ep2.

I liked how they resolved that though and I'm so glad that someone seemed to have put some thought into what would go with Russell's character. I could not have seen him do any of what Stevie listed but model airplanes really work, I think.

I enjoyed how they used Henry in this episode. He could make use of his knowledge and interact with someone other than his family or students without playing super hero. He really should consider the motivational speaker's circuit again.

The scene between Henry and Stevie was also fun particularly, the end. They way Henry eyed that sandwich... I really expected him to cave and keep it a secret from Bess (to come out later, of course) but I guess, we know from the event at the State Department that he didn't cave.

I thought the two assistants from the Office of Protocol seemed a bit snobbish. The Ambassador worked just fine but the guy and the woman came across as arrogant.

Loved how Blake and the ambassador connected. Maybe he could be a love interest for Blake? He deserves someone in his life although, I guess, with his current job it would be rather hard.

I liked how relaxed that office scene somewhere in the middle was when Blake was typing some stuff on Bess' computer and she was sitting on the desk.

I also liked the late-night Oval Office scene after the event at the State Department. We get far too few of those.

And the "pull aside" was also well done. Since we knew that Bess wanted the pull aside, I didn't think that she had a phone call but I didn't expect that they'd end up meeting in the elevator. Someone must have watched too much NCIS :-P

Lastly, I'm curious what they'll do with Turkey next season. I hope it'll come up again especially after that ending of this episode.

Edited by CheshireCat
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9 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

I think that they didn't do it because it could have been seen as offensive to Muslims. Yes, Bess feasting could have a lot of comic potential but Ramadam in itself isn't a comic matter.

I can't imagine why she participated in the observance of Ramadan in the first place.

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20 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

I can't imagine why she participated in the observance of Ramadan in the first place.

Oops, typo. Thanks.

I thought she only did this one day, so that she'd know what it feels like.

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7 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

Funny thing, in 2015 my mom asked a customs agent about what exactly it was that could be taken through customs and back then, dried fruit was actually allowed. Of course, it could have changed by now or they just made it up anyway. The recital of the violation by the customs agents made me laugh, too

Thanks for sharing this; I think it might actually explain the slightly humorous delivery by the customs agent. Also, it fits that the accusation of a violation that got them pulled out of the boarding line would be a bogus infraction since the real motive behind getting them off of the flight was assylum.

 

 

7 hours ago, CheshireCat said:
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On a similar continuity note, I thought the Panda Cam would get brought up with regards to Russel's relaxation methods. Isn't he still watching that?

Maybe he wasn't able to sit still for that either anymore?

Ooo. I think more likely the writers forgot the Panda Cam (sadly, as did I).

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Yeah, I thought about the Panda Cam, too! (And they could certainly have pulled strings to get Russell a gig petting baby animals at the National Zoo. 

I thought of this New Yorker story when the dam plotline came up. It could still collapse! 

And the Chief of Protocol was delicious! Peter Francis James (I had to look him up) also played...Colin Powell!

I think Blake would be brilliant at protocol, but I also think that we were meant to see that he's also someone who can take command when he needs to. I think he is going to develop into a policy guy like Jay. They will keep him in the cast, of course, but give him more to do with specific programs and when the show ends, send Blake off as the head of a big NGO or something.

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3 hours ago, kwnyc said:

I think Blake would be brilliant at protocol, but I also think that we were meant to see that he's also someone who can take command when he needs to. I think he is going to develop into a policy guy like Jay. They will keep him in the cast, of course, but give him more to do with specific programs and when the show ends, send Blake off as the head of a big NGO or something.

If Bess moved to the WH, sending him to an NGO sounds like it would be a demotion.

I really loved that brief moment when he stood up to the protocol guy. I think they should let Blake be firm a little bit more often. Not too often but a little bit more often. I also like that character trait of Blake's, that he's really a dutiful public servant most of the time but when it matters, he can be firm and stand up for and against the people he needs to stand up for and against.

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I really loved that brief moment when he stood up to the protocol guy. I think they should let Blake be firm a little bit more often. Not too often but a little bit more often. I also like that character trait of Blake's, that he's really a dutiful public servant most of the time but when it matters, he can be firm and stand up for and against the people he needs to stand up for and against.

Absolutely. After all, I imagine he must have to be pretty firm with people who demand Madam Secretary's time but aren't allowed to have it.

I loved that moment when he stood up to the other guy. That guy even raised his eyebrows like, huh... kid's got guts. LOL. I felt Blake earned his respect in that moment, and I'd love to see Blake get more opportunities to shine like that.

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Blake to Elizabeth fasting morning, "No purse muffin?" Hawwww, Haww, Haw! I want to always have a purse muffin.

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