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S05E02: The Chaos Game

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When Elizabeth discovers that the White House attackers had support from overseas, she tries to hunt down those responsible without starting a war. Also, Henry comes face to face with one of the attackers.

Sunday, Oct. 14

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Henry comes face to face with one of the attackers.

Of course he does ?.  I don't know how else you could write the character and still have him be relevant, but sometimes his mere presence annoys me.

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5 hours ago, Skycatcher said:
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Henry comes face to face with one of the attackers.

Of course he does ?. 

I'm hoping for an Into The Badlands level martial arts display from him.  (He picked it up when he was the abbot of a Tibetan monastery before becoming a military test pilot/published poet/teacher at the Bolshoi/etc...)

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Netfoot - Was that before or after he surreptitiously developed the heart transplant in a secret government lab, and then taught it to Dr Barnard of South Africa?

Edited by Skycatcher
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I liked Bess's bench speech with her Russian agent friend. It was the first dominoe illustration since the Vietnam War that didn't just sound like propaganda.

The rest of the episode seemed like retreads.

What was up with the ominous bass and/or cello music when Russell left Henry after his message of hopelessness?

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11 hours ago, Skycatcher said:

Of course he does ?.  I don't know how else you could write the character and still have him be relevant, but sometimes his mere presence annoys me.

At least if he takes the Ethical Adviser position that is at least a role that he fits in to, even though it is just a random role he made up to suit his skills

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1 hour ago, bros402 said:

At least if he takes the Ethical Adviser position that is at least a role that he fits in to, even though it is just a random role he made up to suit his skills

And something that I find completely ridiculous. As I said in another thread, what does Conrad need that for this late in his Presidency and wasn't Bess Conrad's "ethical advisor" up until now? She was always the one who pushed him to do the right thing. He lost his primary because she appealed to his conscience and he chose truth over politics. It doesn't get more ethical than that. Henry is not needed. Also, it will put him at odds with Bess, and, as I said in the previous episode thread, the campaign ads for her opponent will write themselves.

Also, if Henry takes the position, does that then mean that Conrad will take Henry's advice over Bess' every now and then? His secretary of state? (And the only woman in the trio?) I can't imagine that would be very popular... I know that I would probably have a hard time finding it credible. They have done a very good job of establishing that it's never black and white but that a lot of the decisions that they make are grey and have to be grey. Henry's ethics are commendable but they are also idealistic and often not applicable in the real world. The world doesn't work in theory. He should stick to teaching the theory and be Bess' ethical advisor.

I'm hoping, I'm getting upset over nothing but with the way things have gone on the show, I'm not so sure :-(

ETA: I'm having Craig Sterling flashbacks, only with Henry being at the opposite end and us not being allowed to see him as the enemy.

Edited by CheshireCat
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2 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

Henry is not needed.

That's it in a nutshell. 

I'm not going to be able to take Henry as Ethics Advisor - all he needs is yet another platform he can pontificate from.

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4 hours ago, mwell345 said:

I'm not going to be able to take Henry as Ethics Advisor - all he needs is yet another platform he can pontificate from.

Agreed.  He should go back to teaching theology.

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41 minutes ago, Driad said:

He should go back to teaching theology.

He should have rushed out and defended the Whitehouse by blocking that missile with his manly chest!  

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4 hours ago, Netfoot said:

He should have rushed out and defended the Whitehouse by blocking that missile with his manly chest!  

Heh.

I wonder if the writers thought making Henry the new Ethics Advisor to the POTUS would quell our digs about him being a superhero. Plus, I the way he treated Dimitry had to be Henry's evil twin at work. Maybe someone pointed that out.

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6 hours ago, Driad said:

Agreed.  He should go back to teaching theology.

To be fair, he did teach military ethics. But like I said, that's theory. Life is different and he's welcome to point out the ethical dilemmas but the final decision should always rest with Bess and POTUS (if it's a decision they are both involved in) and it should be made looking at what's best for the country. I think that politics is always about saving ten strangers and not the one family member. It may not always be the most ethical thing to do but Bess and POTUS are public servants. And as long as they do what's best for the country, they shouldn't need some ethics Professor to tell them what they should do. (Like Bess said in S2, giving up Dmitri was the necessary wrong. Was it ethical? Probably not. But it was necessary.)

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Russia may not have had such an easy time of creating the rumor that the US was behind the killing of the Polish MP, if the FBI had not been tasked with kidnapping him in the first place.  True, it was secret, but someone in the Polish government likely knew something about it and possibly talked.  While on that subject, what was Conrad thinking with his "Let's go in and kidnap a member of a foreign government and bring him back to the US (or a black site) for interrogation"?  Are those rules reciprocal?  Do other countries have the express right to grab members of Congress or the administration and take them to another country for interrogation on what they believe was a terrorist attack from the US on their own soil?

Russell sure was blunt in his eulogy at the church.  Throw them darts!  It also surprised me when he met Henry with the question "Is Bess home?"  You ought to know what the SoS itinerary is by now.  Or maybe that was just an opening for them to start their conversation.

Dumb kid was the worst terrorist ever.  He buys up two pressure cookers at one place and is blunt to the store clerk about it.  Yeah, that wouldn't attract attention.

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On 10/17/2018 at 8:18 AM, Dowel Jones said:

Russia may not have had such an easy time of creating the rumor that the US was behind the killing of the Polish MP, if the FBI had not been tasked with kidnapping him in the first place.  True, it was secret, but someone in the Polish government likely knew something about it and possibly talked.  While on that subject, what was Conrad thinking with his "Let's go in and kidnap a member of a foreign government and bring him back to the US (or a black site) for interrogation"?  Are those rules reciprocal?  Do other countries have the express right to grab members of Congress or the administration and take them to another country for interrogation on what they believe was a terrorist attack from the US on their own soil?

It's about as ludicrous as the plan to get the rest of the EU to take the US's side against Poland - ???

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On ‎17‎.‎10‎.‎2018 at 3:18 AM, Dowel Jones said:

 It also surprised me when he met Henry with the question "Is Bess home?"  You ought to know what the SoS itinerary is by now. 

Henry looked like he was thinking the same. But Russell genuinely did not seem to know. I was under the impression he expected Bess to be home. Or maybe he just looked that way because he was so upset over Conrad's decision.

 

On ‎20‎.‎10‎.‎2018 at 1:08 PM, Xantia said:

It's about as ludicrous as the plan to get the rest of the EU to take the US's side against Poland - ???

Not really. Let's just say, the EU and Poland aren't friends at the moment.

 

I loved the beginning and Russell's beginning to his eulogy. I just wish they wouldn't just have pulled June out of a hat to make her this character without her ever having been on the show before. But, considering how many people work in the WH, I think it worked a lot better than on other shows.

Would Bess really have been allowed to sit in the third row? I think they would have had her sit where they could remove her more easily in case of emergency but I guess, this was easier for filming purposes.

Jason definitely needs to work on his sensitivity skills! Loved the look Alison gave him.

I loved how Bess had this moment when she didn't shut up right away when Conrad talked in the make-shift situation room. (I'm assuming it's a make-shift one. I'm kind of confused about that, because in the previous episode Bess' detail said they'd get her to the presidential ops center and the room looked like this, too, so I'm assuming they can't use the Sit Room because of the attack?) Anyway, I don't know if it was intentional but I thought it showed that Bess still is not entirely a politician and that she has no problem talking back and over the President.

Yay, for once, we got to keep the Attorney General!

Blake is such a gem, even if he just anticipates what Bess wants from him when she hasn't uttered a coherent word about it. I'm going to miss him if they're really going to make him get another job. (Even if he still ends up with Bess, it wouldn't be the same).

While I'm not a fan of bringing Henry in, I thought the scenes between him and Russell were great. That was some great dialogue and acting and, again, I don't know if it was intentional, but I felt that there was some ignorance when Russell just lumped a white supremacy group together with religious fanatics. Sure, in the end they're all terrorists in one way or another but they're still motivated by different things.

Great last scene between Henry and Russell as well, some very great/intense acting.

I really enjoyed that Russell wasn't impressed by Henry's brief tantrum (last week you didn't want my opinion, this week you do). I just wish Russell would also have pointed out that no one is asking Henry to go on TV and tell the nation what he thinks about the kid that they have in custody and that they're two very different things. He also happened to be in agreement with his wife, which brings me to my next point: Bess already told them that it was wrong to go to Congress. Why did they need Henry to tell them that, too? I get why they needed him, Russell was hoping that he sides with them (seriously, Russell? Intentionally trying to pitch Bess and Henry against one another?) but why would Conrad want Henry as an ethical advisor? He has Bess. She told him the same and much earlier and for the best reason out there: it was the wrong thing to do. What more does Conrad need? Why do they keep pushing Henry into the WH?

And when did Henry become a skilled interrogator?

In any case, I really liked the scene between Stevie and Bess. I was waiting/hoping for Bess to mention her own ordeal from season 1, at the same time, Stevie might not have been ready to hear that. It made me realize though, that both Stevie and Bess were hit in the back. I wonder if they did that on purpose or simply chose to do that because it's the only body part where one wouldn't be immediately aware of an injury. (And what was that drink Stevie was getting when she collapsed?)

I'm assuming it was a weekend and that is why Alison and Jason could go to bed and continue to sleep when Bess and Henry brought Stevie home?

Was it a coincidence that the terrorist kid looked so much like Dmitri? And didn't they hold the kid way past the 30 hours that the DNI mentioned at the beginning?

I loved the scenes between Bess and Henry as well. Leoni really plays being tired very well. I also loved how she hesitated after she go Jay's call in the hospital. You really were under the impression that she would have preferred to stay but had to go.

That baby carrot conversation was kind of cute. I liked how they were talking about something as trivial as baby carrots that weren't really baby carrots while they were under such pressure.

I always enjoy the chemistry between Bess and the Russian foreign minister. And they got me intrigued. I doubt they would have flown to Berlin to film (and I wouldn't know where the wall would have gone through a park like that) but they found a great spot for filming and they also found some extras who speak German.

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2 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

Not really. Let's just say, the EU and Poland aren't friends at the moment.

 

Yeah, but the fighting is going on within the family. Other EU governments agreeing to put pressure on a EU partner country to extradite an elected parliamentary representative would just not be the done thing - also complicated by the issues around the US use of the death penalty and torture. The negotiated rendition attempt side stepped all of that nicely. EU countries are siblings fighting in the back seat of the car, it can be brutal and blood may be lost - but if passengers in another car try to pick on one of them they'll unite.

I enjoy the show as a kind of continuation of the politics fantasy world of the West Wing - has some great walk and talks, lovely stately sets and a nice family/marriage for handy character development. But as a non american I'm always aware it's made in the US for a US audience.

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7 hours ago, Xantia said:

Yeah, but the fighting is going on within the family. Other EU governments agreeing to put pressure on a EU partner country to extradite an elected parliamentary representative would just not be the done thing - also complicated by the issues around the US use of the death penalty and torture. The negotiated rendition attempt side stepped all of that nicely. EU countries are siblings fighting in the back seat of the car, it can be brutal and blood may be lost - but if passengers in another car try to pick on one of them they'll unite.

But the majority of EU countries are also NATO allies. Looking at how politics sometimes work, and that Bess would have just leaned onto something that has already been floated anyway, I don't think it would have been impossible per se. But I doubt she would have been able to get all countries to agree. Why would she have been able to achieve what the EU can't achieve?

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