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S04.E22: Night Watch

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Elizabeth and cabinet members brace for the fallout at home and abroad as President Dalton prepares for a retaliatory nuclear attack on a country that has reportedly just launched missiles bound for the U.S.

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Wow.
Intense episode.
Great acting all around, and great script—including Jay/Sebastian Arcelus sharing his thoughts and feelings about being "on the list."
Perhaps Emmy-able.

Once again I was irrationally worried that Russell was going to have a heart attack—which would have seriously derailed the plot outcome. So glad I'm not married to that man/character.

Flashbacks to The Day After from the 1980s, which I first watched in the 2000s. 

Henry's description of his thoughts mirrored my own when I got my stage IV cancer diagnosis in 2016, which similarly, I survived—expecting to live to see the first woman POTUS, but, hey, at least the show's renewed.

 

One criticism or maybe just my own inattention:
What was the role of philandering guy with bed head hair and divorce papers?
Was he the one that set up the test?
And then he lost clearance because of his divorce papers?? 
Which bought time before the launch was iniated, right?

 

ETA: I briefly thought Officer Bed Head Hair was in bed with Kendra from Designated Survivor. If DS really is cancelled, mixups like that won't happen anymore for me when watching.
 

Edited by shapeshifter
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I spent half the episode wondering how Henry was going to personally recall all those nukes!

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19 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

I spent half the episode wondering how Henry was going to personally recall all those nukes!

With his phone booth and cape, of course. He would then use his super strength and super speed to spin the earth backwards to before the fake alert went off. I can picture the old comic book frame where that happens.

 

ETA: I am so glad they finally realized Henry doesn't have to be a spy or spy handler to have relevant scenes in the show. 

Edited by shapeshifter
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Loved this episode and oh my gosh, I love this show.  Very tense situation and It seemed all too real.  

Yes, the philandering husband was a plot device to buy a few minutes to allow the idiot Bradley to realize and abort.  If not for the general being unable to access his codes, the time would have run out to turn back the president’s order of retaliation.

Loved Bess saying she was going to stay with her family — great call.

I got teary when she said she wants to run when the time is right — I just love Elizabeth McCord and Henry’s response was perfect.  I know and I’m with you.

The McCord kids were so great.  Just so normal — their dialogue is just right IMO.  Jason is funny.

I liked that the two generals pushed back on Bess — very realistic.

Sara Ramirez has toned down her character’s mannerisms and isn’t coming on like a bull in a china closet — I’m enjoying her a *smidge* more.

Blake.  Oh, Blake.  How I love Blake.

Jay and Matt were great together — great banter.

Daisy in the park with her rescue dog and kiddo in the stroller — cute guy magnet apparently!

Bess losing her cool when Stevie kept talking about the destination wedding — spot on.  Stevie had no idea and was talking perfectly normally, but Bess’ nerves were fried.  Henry was a bit much with the Socratic method but I get it that it’s his background, his go-to, his training, so I suppose it’s realistic.  It did get Bess to the right conclusion — go to the people.  

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8 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

One criticism or maybe just my own inattention:
What was the role of philandering guy with bed head hair and divorce papers?
Was he the one that set up the test?
And then he lost clearance because of his divorce papers?? 
Which bought time before the launch was iniated, right?

The guy who set up the simulation went away for the weekend.  The man who was in charge while he was away was the one served with the divorce papers and lost his clearance, thank goodness.

This episode was very well done and scary as hell.  Imagine if, IRL, we had someone in the WH who didn't know what he was doing, didn't take advice from people who do, and wouldn't hesitate for a second to consider the impact of his actions.

If Elizabeth McCord ran for president, I would vote for her :)

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1 hour ago, babs1226 said:

This episode was very well done and scary as hell.  Imagine if, IRL, we had someone in the WH who didn't know what he was doing, didn't take advice from people who do, and wouldn't hesitate for a second to consider the impact of his actions.

Stop!

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Every time I watch an ep. of Madam Secretary, I try to picture our current president in similar situations. Someone who doesn’t read, thinks he is smarter than everyone in the room, and takes advice from no one is NOT who anyone would want with the nuclear codes.  No question the writers wanted viewers to envision such a circumstance.

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2 hours ago, Words said:

Every time I watch an ep. of Madam Secretary, I try to picture our current president in similar situations.

I watch to pretend for an hour each week that we have a functional administration in the WH.  I agree that the writers wanted people to envision what could happen with someone irresponsible in charge.  

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13 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I am so glad they finally realized Henry doesn't have to be a spy or spy handler to have relevant scenes in the show. 

Look at the first post in this topic.  It shows a picture of the primary character of the show, and their spouse, who is a secondary character.

You should have no difficulty determining which is which . . . . .

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27 minutes ago, babs1226 said:

I watch to pretend for an hour each week that we have a functional administration in the WH.  I agree that the writers wanted people to envision what could happen with someone irresponsible in charge.  

I don't think that that's necessarily the case. I think that it's currently an issue that is more prominent but there were two people with knowledge on nuclear weapons/protocol live-tweeting (one for East Coast, one for West Coast) during the episode (I'm assuming they advised the writers on the episode as one is also a former State Department advisor). I read the East Coast live-tweets and, apparently, the debate of making changes has been going on for a while and there are a lot of groups which deal with that issue on a day-to-day basis. She also tweeted links to articles documenting that there have been close calls before. (The tweets were probably scarier than the episode). For anyone interested, the tweets I read were from Alexandra Bell.

Anyway, to make a long story short, while I do believe that this subject is now more current than it was a couple of years ago, I don't think that this was the only inspiration and the only reason they decided to do this episode.

From the short TVLine interview with McCreary and Hall it also seems like they wanted a big event to push Bess towards running. (I'll post the link in the media thread).

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Great performances from everyone, especially Elizabeth, Conrad, and Russell. The latter two really captured the holy-shit absurdity of going from a golf course to a chopper where they need to decide a course of action for the end of the world within minutes, which in turn lent authenticity to their decisions later on; as for Bess, on most shows, a moment like her and Henry just standing there watching the kids play for what they thought would be their final few minutes of life would feel eye-rollingly cheap because the viewer knows full well a deux ex machina will save the day in time, but not here. 

Then again, (Deep Impact spoilers)

Spoiler

Téa Leoni has had practice turning down a seat on the chopper that was supposed to ferry her away from doomsday, choosing instead to stand with family and wait for the end to come, and she's only become a more amazing actress since then.

 

4 hours ago, MerBearHou said:

This show could be retitled "Madam President" if and when the day comes and keep on going...

Would love to see it. And who knows...every year I expect this show to get cancelled and every year I'm pleasantly shocked. Especially this season, with Scandal and Designated Survivor both getting the axe; in my opinion Madam Secretary is the best show of the three by miles, but my taste so rarely aligns with what the networks think.

 

5 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

She also tweeted links to articles documenting that there have been close calls before.

I'd heard of the '79 incident mentioned and a few others. What I'm curious about is the typical timeline on declassifying these events; obviously those ones are public knowledge now, but I'm not clear on when exactly the disclosures happened.

Edited by Emma9
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6 hours ago, MerBearHou said:

This show could be retitled "Madam President" if and when the day comes and keep on going...

The TV show Jane the Virgin did not change its name after you can guess what happened.

Edited by MaryHedwig
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Guessing that the philanderering general lost his clearance because he told his colleague at the elevator about his marital issues/divorce papers, and that colleague reported him.  Maybe that general's position is not allowed to be on duty with outside stressors; could falter on entering the code, etc.

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26 minutes ago, K-9 said:

Maybe that general's position is not allowed to be on duty with outside stressors; could falter on entering the code, etc.

Far more likely, I think, the fact that he was engaged in an affair made him vulnerable to blackmail, therefore reducing his security rating.  

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1 hour ago, Netfoot said:

Far more likely, I think, the fact that he was engaged in an affair made him vulnerable to blackmail, therefore reducing his security rating.  

Or perhaps some accusation in the divorce papers that the peeved wife sent to TPTB. Even if he was innocent of the accusations, it would seem prudent to revoke his ability to launch/cancel nuclear weapons until the accusations could be verified.

 

 

8 hours ago, babs1226 said:

I agree that the writers wanted people to envision what could happen with someone irresponsible in charge. 

I didn't see it that way at all ("that the writers wanted people to envision what could happen with someone irresponsible in charge").
For one thing, the planet was ironically saved because Bed Head Hair guy was in charge for precisely the right amount of time to prevent catastrophe.
But more importantly, I saw the point being that the protocols were totally out of date—if they had ever made sense. Rewriting the policy for nuclear launch could be on par with coming up with a psychological test for whomever gets the launch codes, but they didn't go there.
The guy in charge did seem to be in his right mind (I only say "did seem to be" because it wasn't too many episodes that he had a brain tumor making him not mentally capable).

Just my interpretation, but YMMV.

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Minor nitpick, but didn't this family live in Charlottesville (a two-hour drive from DC) and didn't Bess work for the CIA? So how exactly was this their first family trip to see the sights in DC?

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3 hours ago, J-Man said:

Minor nitpick, but didn't this family live in Charlottesville (a two-hour drive from DC) and didn't Bess work for the CIA? So how exactly was this their first family trip to see the sights in DC?

Probably closer to 2:30-30 hrs with traffic. They'd also have to go back, so that's 5 hours spent in a car only to see the sights.

I think it's plausible. Bess quit the CIA at a time when the kids were still little and I would think that their weekends were then busy with shuttling the kids around to friends and/our activities. Alison, at least, played soccer. They also lived on a horse farm and while they probably had help, Bess also seems to like to get her hands dirty. Bess and Henry would also have papers to grade. You have to wonder what they did during summers though. But maybe they didn't want to take the kids before they were all old enough to appreciate the monuments? Jason was 12 or 13 when they moved to DC so he would only just then have been at an age when they maybe could have interested him. Or maybe not considering that he thought of himself as an anarchist.

I visited many of Berlin's sights for the first time when I was a teenager and it's my home town. When something is close and you have the chance to see it every day you don't take the time to do it and do other stuff.

 

I know they didn't film in DC but would the Lincoln Memorial really that empty early in the morning? I've only ever seen it in the afternoon and it's packed then.

I've got mixed feelings about this episode. On the one hand, it was intense, especially the beginning and I basically liked every single scene. On the other hand, it seemed like there was too much going on and it should have been a two-partner. I much prefer when we get to see the process, like we did in ep9 when Bess was trying to get the votes for the landmine treaty or in S2 ep7 when she was trying to get the votes for the Cuba embargo. It just felt like we were missing out on things. Also, I didn't like the style of the beginning with the repeats/overlaps. I know that they did it to let us know what happened simultaneously but it didn't work for me.

I think the thing that I found the most difficult to believe about this entire episode was that Jay said that you'd get to resurface after a few years. After 30 years, there still is an exclusion zone around Chernobyl and they still find radiation levels in boar shot in southern Germany that are too high for the boar to be sold. That radiation comes from rain that seeped into the forest soil. So, that sounds like something someone should do some serious thinking about as well. Just saying ;-)

I get that Jay can be emotional at times but did it ever occur to him that he could just not go, like Bess chose to?

I also thought that it was kind of ironic that these were the same people who were just championing nuclear power just a few episodes ago.

SecDef's and Hill's attitude made me mad. Extending the response time by a few minutes isn't going to cause harm when you have 20 minutes to respond in total. I know that their response was very realistic but it's almost as if they didn't grasp just how close Conrad came to starting a war because of a mistake and didn't only because some guy was getting a divorce and had his security clearance revoked. It seemed that they needed the time to think about it and actually let reality sink in. I don't know if SecDef has kids but after the way Hill acted when her son wanted to do something different, you'd think that she'd get it once she took a long hard look at him and hugged him.

I also didn't know what their problem was in the end. They were arguing about being made more vulnerable but Russia signed the treaty.

Additionally, I thought that SecDef was way out of line. Bess may be a woman but just because she's Sec of State and not Defense doesn't mean that she doesn't know about these things. She worked in the CIA for quite a while and she's proven more than once that she can set emotions aside if need be. That woman thought it was more important to secure Pakistan's nuclear warheads than making sure her husband was safe a couple of seasons ago. And isn't the Sec of State considered to be the highest ranking cabinet member? Wouldn't that mean she sort of even outranks him?

I usually like Gordon but he was really un-likeable in that episode. Unfortunately, he was also very realistic.

The Oval Office scene seemed just about perfect. I thought everyone's emotions were just like they should be. I don't think that the experience and argument was good for Russell's blood pressure though.

I liked how they made Bess emotional but still kept her reasonable. She made a lot of sense. I also liked the small role-reversal between Henry and Bess. Usually, Henry is the one who reacts and acts on emotion but in this episode he really needed to be her pillar of strength.

I loved how Henry reacted when Bess snapped at Stevie and also, how he held her right after they learned that Night Watch was off. I think that was my favorite scene of the episode. It was so good and so real! (Although I'm surprised her security detail stayed after all. Didn't she tell them to get the deputy? Would they have dispatched a different team to get him?)

I thought the dialogue of the kids at the beginning was a bit too much and over-acted.

The Pentagon scenes were great especially the one when the guy who was responsible burst in and aborted the launch. What I don't get is how he learned about it. Didn't SecDef say that he started the simulation because he wouldn't come in on the weekend? Or was the guy who aborted not the guy who launched the simulation?

I liked the bits of continuity throughout the episodes, like Bess' being good at golf, the juicing (I laughed out loud at that one. Conrad so clearly did not have a nice chat with his son) and then the parts they carried over like the 300 dead Russians, the model airplane (who did tell Conrad? Could only have been Carol, right?) and Blake. So, I guess, it's going to be policy for Blake? Makes me wonder if Arcelus is leaving and they're moving Jay out, Kat up to CoS and Blake into policy advisor.

On the one hand, it would make sense given that Jay has Chloe and I think if his wife moved, for example, he'd move, too, so that he could be near Chloe. On the other hand, there's the thing that he wanted to go to WH with Marsh. But then, I guess, fatherhood changes you. Or they all stay and find a different way to involve Blake in policy.  

I also liked that Conrad came to see Bess. In hindsight, what was Henry doing there? That was not a conversation he should have been part but okay. I didn't even realize it until now, so he wasn't bothering me like he was in that scene from a few episodes ago when he was in the Oval Office with Bess and Conrad and did all the talking even though he had no business being there.

Another thing that cracked me up was the Grand Cayman money laundering conference. That was great. As was Bess' enthusiasm.

Bess and the Russian foreign minister - another great scene. Loved how he didn't want to let her in and how she then let him know that it wasn't exactly a military excercise without telling him. The dialogue and acting were spot on.

And then, of course, the end. I think they were leading up to this moment the whole season, still, they could have carried it over into next season, so it was nice to get it.

On a shallow note, I loved Bess' grey suit and the shoes she was wearing with it and most of the dress pants she was wearing.

And fall can't come quickly enough!

Edited by CheshireCat
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4 hours ago, J-Man said:

Minor nitpick, but didn't this family live in Charlottesville (a two-hour drive from DC) and didn't Bess work for the CIA? So how exactly was this their first family trip to see the sights in DC?

I live an hour from NYC and i've never gone to the city to see the sights! My dad never took us because he works in the city and never wanted to go in on the weekend

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3 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

 I didn't like the style of…the repeats/overlaps. I know that they did it to let us know what happened simultaneously but it didn't work for me.

I too thought the execution of the flashbacks marred an otherwise Emmy-worthy, potentially classic episode.

And thanks, @CheshireCat, for noting all the excellent bits.

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6 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I too thought the execution of the flashbacks marred an otherwise Emmy-worthy, potentially classic episode.

And thanks, @CheshireCat, for noting all the excellent bits.

I forgot to mention the bathroom scene ;-) Like I said in my previous post, I don't think there was a scene that I didn't like. They all really brought their A+ -game for this one.

Something that I realized afterwards is that when SecDef pointed out that the system that alerted them to the missle launch can't be hacked, someone should have reminded him that Air Force One was supposedly non-hackable, too. But I guess, that is why they had to remove Bess from the group. She would have been the voice of reason and she likely would have kept Conrad from giving the order. She probably would have gone right where Conrad went himself: why? And it wouldn't have made sense and Conrad would likely have agreed. I thought this moment of hesitation when he gave the order again was brilliant.

Also, the end was a nice call-back to the pilot and Conrad telling Bess that he believes they can affect real change in the world. They just did and it was very fitting that they used that as a reason to have Bess decide that she wants to run. I wonder if they thought that it was likely that they'd get cancelled.

It's also interesting that Bess chose to run even though she just saw the fate of the world resting on one of her closest friends. I wish I had Bess' confidence in public service and the system. Usually, I do after watching Madam Secretary but somehow, I couldn't get the confidence from this episode. Maybe because the time jump made it seem too simple. We didn't see the struggle in between and I think it would have been good to see some of it. Like I said, this episode deserved to be longer.

Edited by CheshireCat
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So, it looks like the election is Kirkman v. McCord, right?

I liked Russel's comment that the general's paramour should get a medal.  Such snark.  And I audibly gasped to myself when the other general told Bess she "was being emotional".  Personally, although her response was righteous, I thought she should have delivered it about 6" from his face and about 20 decibels louder. 

Henry using the Socratic method with Bess was a clever move by the writers to avoid having him mansplain to her how to get a policy changed. They're changing his character as we go.

One thing did occur to me afterward, as I was way to wrapped up in the exposition of the attack scenario to think of anything else.  Wouldn't an attack of over 2000 missiles from Russia be visible to Eastern Europe, and perhaps Western Europe?  I know the trajectory would probably be polar, but that many contrails should be visible and the alarm given worldwide in a manner of minutes.  Other countries have detection systems also, so one course or another should be obvious.

Edited by Dowel Jones · Reason: Get your names straight
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5 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

Wouldn't an attack of over 2000 missiles from Russia be visible to Eastern Europe, and perhaps Western Europe?  I know the trajectory would probably be polar, but that many contrails should be visible and the alarm given worldwide in a manner of minutes.  Other countries have detection systems also, so one course or another should be obvious

While I really don't like two-part or 2-hour season finales, a special, commercial-limited (just enough for a potty or refill break), hour-to-90 minute long season finale can work, and would allow time for at least a line acknowledging some effort to verify what, say, France is seeing—with maybe weather conditions between Russia and the US impeding visibility. And maybe sunspots interfering with the ISS and satellite communications.

 

 

5 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

So, it looks like the election is Kirkman v. McCord, right?

Ahggh. Please don't do that to me. I had to scroll up to see which board I was on, heh. 

And now I'm imagining the view from the ISS as one US missile that did launch (perhaps due to a glitch triggered by the opening of the silo door—similar to my apartment's 25-year-old washer and dryer, but a bit more devastating) and Bess is the designated survivor after the fallout settles.

No thank you. In spite of the Dmitri plot mess, this show is pretty solid the way it is, whereas Keifer's has floundered from the beginning, and could easily suck the Madam Secretary White House into the Designated Survivor vortex of chaos.

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Henry using the Socratic method with Bess was a clever move by the writers to avoid having him mansplain to her how to get a policy changed. They're changing his character as we go.

That's not how I took it and I don't think it was supposed to be that. It felt like two call-backs. The first one to the pilot when Bess didn't know how to get through to POTUS because Russell kept stonewalling her. Henry said he'd take the "socratic approach" then. It was more subtle but Bess didn't have the patience for subtle this time around.

The second call back is to S1 ep17 when she had PTSD and not sure how to solve the China-Ecuardorian rain forest conflict. It was Mike B who talked her through it then and he even said that he was being her when he spun out the idea.

That's how this felt to me, too, that Bess would normally have had come up with it herself but the aftermath was making her unable to think straight. I think the dialogue was meant to show it and I also think that they showed it in the acting. I also think that if Bess had all come up with it herself, she would have come across more like Henry, the SuperHero. This made her human. Who of us hasn't been in a situation when the solution was right in front of us but we couldn't see it because something else was on our mind?

I also thought that Henry guided/tried to guide her but she only let him guide her to an extent.

 

Quote

One thing did occur to me afterward, as I was way to wrapped up in the exposition of the attack scenario to think of anything else.  Wouldn't an attack of over 2000 missiles from Russia be visible to Eastern Europe, and perhaps Western Europe?  I know the trajectory would probably be polar, but that many contrails should be visible and the alarm given worldwide in a manner of minutes.  Other countries have detection systems also, so one course or another should be obvious.

 

That's a good point. But considering how little time there was and that the voice of reason (Bess) was unreachable, I also think that it's not that unlikely that they didn't verify. (If I were Conrad, I'd so prohibit Bess to ever be unreachable again ;-)) Look at SecDef. He said that the system is impossible to hack and no one questioned him even though Air Force One was hacked and nowadays, nothing is impossible to hack. So, I find it easy enough to believe that they were confident to the point of arrogance, that their system wasn't failing.

Edited by CheshireCat

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The other thing that knocked me back a bit was the title itself.  When the show opened with everyone enjoying regular type activities, I was expecting a segue into that night when the usual crisis du jour would happen on the other side of the world, and Bess would spend the entire night dealing with it (and the usual group of cranky, groggy White House staff).  Boy, was I surprised.

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Wow! Just got to watch this (I was out of the country for a week) and it did not disappoint. One thing that occurred to me is that if Henry hadn't met Bess, he might have ended up becoming a priest. (A warrior priest?) His strength is his ability to listen and ask the right questions. I don't think he needs to be Superman; he's both a teacher and a mentor down to his bones.

I'm glad Bess finally said she wanted to run; they've been building up to this all season, and it wasn't a surprise, and it does make sense. She's been through a lot this year, and the more she knows about what she can affect, the more she wants to do the right thing. 

In the world of the show, Dalton has, what, 2-1/2 years left? Unless they jump ahead (like they did in the last year of West Wing), she has work to do and a campaign to build: does she want Russell as her chief of staff/campaign chair? What about the Veep, who also wants to run? What about Senator Asshole?

Ideally, since we've all seen many brutal campaigns in real life and on TV, I'd LOVE if the last episode was a jump ahead...to her Inauguration Day. (No doubt, Henry would write the inauguration poem...)

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17 hours ago, kwnyc said:

In the world of the show, Dalton has, what, 2-1/2 years left? Unless they jump ahead (like they did in the last year of West Wing), she has work to do and a campaign to build: does she want Russell as her chief of staff/campaign chair? What about the Veep, who also wants to run? What about Senator Asshole?

 

Maybe Senator Asshole or Veep will become Elizabeth's Veep?

21 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

 Look at SecDef. He said that the system is impossible to hack and no one questioned him even though Air Force One was hacked and nowadays, nothing is impossible to hack. So, I find it easy enough to believe that they were confident to the point of arrogance, that their system wasn't failing.

The reason it was impossible to hack is that it's airgapped, which is not the case for Air Force One.

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52 minutes ago, Efzee said:

The reason it was impossible to hack is that it's airgapped, which is not the case for Air Force One.

They claimed AF1 was impossible to hack because it's got firewalls in front of firewalls and whatever else Oliver Shaw said. He even went so far as to say that the plane has to have crashed, so he was very convinced that hacking is impossible. If someone says that and it still gets hacked, no one should just take SecDef's word for it especially since he's not a computer expert. That aside, I believe that every system can be breached because every system has a vulnerability.  Just like there is no accident-proof car or accident-proof nuclear power station or unsinkable ship. Something is always going to happen that we didn't foresee or someone is always going to be smarter or just manages to crack a code by accident. (Plus, the expert who live-tweeted also said it's not impossible to hack the system but even without knowing that, I'd never believe that a computer can't be hacked. We've been proven wrong too many times in real life and on the show. The belief that something can't be hacked or can't sink or can't blow up alone is a vulernability that makes it possible).

Edited by CheshireCat

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5 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

 I believe that every system can be breached because every system has a vulnerability.  

...which is, of course, how Elizabeth got her job: the previous SoS's plane was compromised. Not a computer hack, but a good part replaced with a bad one (which Henry figured out, of course).

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50 minutes ago, kwnyc said:

...which is, of course, how Elizabeth got her job: the previous SoS's plane was compromised. Not a computer hack, but a good part replaced with a bad one (which Henry figured out, of course).

Good point. I hadn't even thought about that. That is a pretty scary thought, though, that someone could manipulate the tracking system because they were paid to do it. I think I'll try to erase that from my mind again ;-)

And I guess, while the computer wasn't hacked, the system did fail. And I'd say, if it can fail, it can be hacked.

That said, I don't think their "it can't be hacked" attitude was unrealistic. I also thought it was well-portrayed. It didn't infuariate me, it just made me roll my eyes.

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Great episode.   One nitpick.   Doesn't it seem strange the Air Force general who was away for the weekend showed up in his full dress uniform to abort the attack?  It appears 2 minutes was the difference between status quo and disaster.  Yet the general had time to change.   Seems unlikely he'd already be in uniform when informed of the situation.

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1 hour ago, Johnny A said:

Great episode.   One nitpick.   Doesn't it seem strange the Air Force general who was away for the weekend showed up in his full dress uniform to abort the attack?  It appears 2 minutes was the difference between status quo and disaster.  Yet the general had time to change.   Seems unlikely he'd already be in uniform when informed of the situation.

True, but I'll give it a pass without bothering to fanwank since heretofore unknown general in his pajamas on a TV show would have left too much 'splaining to do.

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i loved all of it. every last earnest preaching too-emotional minute of it. I wish they had spent a couple more seconds with the kids watching Dalton explain what had happened, and them realizing what their parents had been thinking for those 20 minutes. 

The convo b/w Conrad and Russell: "Do I call Carol? ....?" "What's the point?" GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH <allsob>

I want to know more about SecDef's history - do we know if/when he served and rank? (I feel like we must, but that I haven't been paying attention.)

Fascinating that all of the people the Pres needed to make his decision were with him, except Bess. So he can just notify the Joint Chiefs and not ask for input?

I liked the first guy Daisy met. More of him, please! Waffles FTW!

Matt annoys me. 

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2 hours ago, betsyboo said:

I want to know more about SecDef's history - do we know if/when he served and rank? (I feel like we must, but that I haven't been paying attention.)

Not to my knowledge. But he said "decades in the Pentagon" not military, so he might not have served at all. From what I gather, SecDef is traditionally a non-military person or has been out of the military for at least 20 years (otherwise congressional approval is needed) so that there aren't military heads in the departments and the image of a "military government" is avoided, especially since POTUS is already commander-in-chief.

ETA: Considering that the show started before the current craziness, I would assume that they adhered to what had been normal at the time. So, a non-military SecDef or someone who had been out of the military for at least 20 years. I don't think that Becker is old enough to have spent "decades" in the Pentagon and have been out of the military for at least 20 years by 2013 when he would have been appointed, so my conclusion would be that he hasn't served. Or if he did, only for a very short time.

 

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Fascinating that all of the people the Pres needed to make his decision were with him, except Bess. So he can just notify the Joint Chiefs and not ask for Input?

He can but he probably shouldn't. State is a permanent member of the NSC and, I think it's safe to say, there's a reason why. But she wasn't actually the only one. Director of National Intelligence wasn't there either. (I guess, the actor was unavailable or maybe he would have provided too much technical/computer knowledge and couldn't be there any more than Bess could be. Conrad had enough doubts as it was, so they had to remove everyone who could have put further doubts in his head).

 

2 hours ago, betsyboo said:

I liked the first guy Daisy met. More of him, please! Waffles FTW!

Me too. I would have preferred if Daisy had met him again and not a second guy.

 

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Matt annoys me. 

The more I think about it, the more Jay annoyed me in that episode. Lecturing his friends about how horrible it is to be on the list when all he had to do was not go? Like his boss. The Secretary of State. Who is leaps and bounds more important than him. But she didn't care and she had the courage to stay behind and face death. He didn't. But that's not the fault of his friends, so, he should shut the hell up and stop snapping at them. They didn't make go when he got the alert. He made the choice all by himself.

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Who is deputy secretary of state?  Have we met this person?  Was s/he there with Dalton during this crisis?

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2 hours ago, Driad said:

Who is deputy secretary of state?  Have we met this person?  Was s/he there with Dalton during this crisis?

We saw the deputy in S1, the episode when Bess and Henry celebrated their anniversary and the Governor of Texas took a Mexican criminal hostage. His name is Cushing.

And that reminds me: that episode, how he mishandled Texas and didn't want to call Bess earlier, along with the fact that the Senior staff was sure that he was never going to get elevated to Secretary of State and that he wasn't even a viable option when Conrad was looking for a replacement when he offered Bess VP, have left me with the impression that he's not the person you'd want to have instead of Bess. I kind of see him as average, not willing to go the extra mile. Since Bess didn't ask Conrad to appoint a new deputy after re-election, I guess he's not but I wish they'd have shown us something other than negative impressions. But the way it is now, I can't help but think that it's a bad trade-off each time it is mentioned that he could take Bess' place (like in this episode or the one from S2 when Henry was in the hospital with radiation poisoning).

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But the way it is now, I can't help but think that it's a bad trade-off each time it is mentioned that he could take Bess' place (like in this episode or the one from S2 when Henry was in the hospital with radiation poisoning).

Yep, and the way Bess & her family get put in harm's way, you need someone who could step right into the job. (Wishful thinking: Nadine.)

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On 5/21/2018 at 12:31 PM, babs1226 said:

I watch to pretend for an hour each week that we have a functional administration in the WH.  I agree that the writers wanted people to envision what could happen with someone irresponsible in charge.  

Unfortunately for us, he already is in charge. This episode is about two years too late, and I doubt anyone who needs to pay attention, would take it seriously. 

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I was bothered that they just let their kids keep playing whatever they were playing, as they stood there and waited to be annihilated. Nothing was broadcast, it was all kept secret? I'm going to have to watch it again, because when I watched it last week, I was getting ready to go out.

Nice to see Russell was on her side for this. 

I need to catch up with this show. The DVR wasn't recording it properly (or at all, at times), before, and Henry kept taking the spotlight, so I stopped watching. The show is called "Madam Secretary" not "Henry". 

Is her daughter still engaged to the English guy? I'll google, or I'll have to wait to see it on Netflix. 

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6 hours ago, Anela said:

Is her daughter still engaged to the English guy?

No, they broke up before she got involved with Dmitri.

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On 12.6.2018 at 8:15 AM, Anela said:

I was bothered that they just let their kids keep playing whatever they were playing, as they stood there and waited to be annihilated. Nothing was broadcast, it was all kept secret? I'm going to have to watch it again, because when I watched it last week, I was getting ready to go out.

Yeah, but what were they supposed to do? Let the kids freak out for their last 10 minutes left alive on earth? Better to die oblivious and happy, right.

On 12.6.2018 at 8:15 AM, Anela said:

I need to catch up with this show. The DVR wasn't recording it properly (or at all, at times), before, and Henry kept taking the spotlight, so I stopped watching. The show is called "Madam Secretary" not "Henry". 

 

Ugh, I know, right? That's why I stopped watching for a while back in Season 2 I think it was. But this season pleasantly surprised me, Henry has been more of a supporting character for the most part, with no annoying petulant child drama on his part.

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