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S05E05: Ghosts

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Henry finds himself at the center of an international incident, when he comes to the aid of an ex-girlfriend at a religious freedom conference in Thailand, after she is imprisoned for condemning the monarchy. Also, Elizabeth helps Jason navigate the pressure of preparing for college.

Sunday, Nov. 4

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It is such bull that Jason has a chance at 3 scholarships. I don't buy that he could get into any school. I hope that school does not allow him to submit his application. 

Everything else was bleh. 

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7 hours ago, memememe76 said:

It is such bull that Jason has a chance at 3 scholarships. I don't buy that he could get into any school

With perfect SATs and a great essay, getting accepted doesn't surprise me for many schools,* but my bubble of suspension of disbelief burst with the son of the SOS and another high salaried parent getting scholarship offers. When I was a single parent with an income not too far above the poverty line with no child support and my youngest daughter won a scholarship essay contest, she was permitted to "keep" the "honor" of the award but not the money because most of her tuition (but none of her room and board or other fees) was already covered by an agreement among a consortium of academic institutions including the one where I was employed. Either the show writers don't know how scholarship awards work, or it's different with more prestigious schools.

*Editing to add after reading @NUguy514's post: I was so WTHed by the scholarship BS that I forgot that the daughter mentioned above did not get accepted at Kenyon College because of a C in AP Chemistry her sophomore year (when she was having some social-emotional difficulties).

Edited by shapeshifter

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As a Northwestern alum, I pray that Jason chooses any other school because he is the worst, and I don't want his fictional shittiness to darken my real school's doorstep.  As someone whose day job is tangentially involved with college admissions, I can tell you his perfect SAT score and (allegedly) great essay wouldn't get him into Northwestern or Vassar (or fakeVanderbilt, where I assume he'll go in the world of the show) on their own and wouldn't yield scholarships from either school.  To gain admission to Northwestern now (unlike when I attended in the Mesozoic Era), he would need at least a nearly perfect GPA for starters, not to mention interesting extracurriculars; we don't know what his GPA is, but if he indeed got a few Cs in high school, he'd never get into Northwestern, Vassar, or fakeVanderbilt.  Also, thankfully for me, since it made it affordable for me to matriculate, financial aid at Northwestern is need-based, which I think we can assume Jason wouldn't qualify for; scholarships are not given for whatever reason the show was trying to portray.  I'm fairly sure Vassar's financial aid is similar (realVanderbilt's financial aid, too).  Finally, Jason's private (I think) college counselor would never, ever know about Jason's admissions before he did; I'm not sure he hadn't already known he got in and was just waiting to hear about scholarships, but the show made it seem like he got in AND received scholarships to all three schools at the same time.  Each school would send him an email the day its admissions were disseminated, so he'd be the first to know.

I really hate how ignorant TV shows are about the college admissions process; it's not that damn difficult to reflect it truthfully.[/rant]

In related news, I was surprised at how sensible Stevie was with Jason; she's at her best as the eldest sibling.

Color me shocked, Henry actually exhibited a bit of self-awareness!  I still think Bess's life would be immeasurably improved if a helicopter fell on Jason and Henry, though.

I've been to both airports in Bangkok; whatever tiny, muddy back-country road Henry's taxi was taking to get to (I assume) Suvarnabhumi Airport was utter bullshit.  Bangkok is a city with a metro population of almost 15 million people; it has large, paved highways to get people to and from the airport for fuck's sake.

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4 hours ago, NUguy514 said:

As a Northwestern alum, I pray that Jason chooses any other school because he is the worst, and I don't want his fictional shittiness to darken my real school's doorstep.

Heh. I also have another daughter with a personality like Jason's who went to Nameless Important University on scholarships. As she now approaches middle age and is facing yet another crisis, she is finally taking responsibility for having screwed things up (which doesn't make me feel any less like I failed her). I guess Madam Secretary will end more than a decade before Jason arrives at this point in his life, and he would never really arrive there because his parents would always be able to pay for him to start over at an expensive grad school—more than once.

I do love this show and appreciate that they created annoying kids rather than perfect ones, but still: Argh!

4 hours ago, NUguy514 said:

really hate how ignorant TV shows are about the college admissions process; it's not that damn difficult to reflect it truthfully.[/rant

—especially when the college admission process was critical to the B plot! Kudos for showing child-of-privilege Jason having the advantage of a private admissions  counselor (which I didn't even know existed), but the fictionalized rest of the story was totally removed from the experiences of most viewers.

Edited by shapeshifter
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4 hours ago, NUguy514 said:

Color me shocked, Henry actually exhibited a bit of self-awareness!  I still think Bess's life would be immeasurably improved if a helicopter fell on Jason and Henry, though.

Henry can stay he's good for pep talks and he did exhibit self awareness this episode like you said.

Jason however...ugh...let a house drop on him!!!!! The McCord kids aren't perfect (I'm fond of the other two who are human but still very likeable) but he's bloody awful. Gawd what a long and dreary life one would have with a kid like that. Having to put up with that attitude day in, day out, at family gatherings.

*now I need to go burn sage so I don't jinx myself cuz my kid is still very young and loves cuddles, all the cuddles, lives for cuddles*

***

Henry dodged a bullet with that ex! And ended up with Bess too! Talk about an upgrade! 

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Jason -- here is a one-way ticket to a faraway place where nothing happens that concerns the US.  Go work there and be so settled you never want to come home.

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Thank goodness for Henry!  He is the real reason the Ex got that award, dont'cha know.  And then when the foooolish cow got herself arrested, of course Henry (being the President's very important Thomas Aquinas advisor) naturally talks the king into a pardon in 3.7 seconds in a language the King doesn't even speak!  (I was for a moment hoping for a matching 60-year sentence for him, but only because I forgot where I was for a moment.)

Naturally, he had to be rescued by Special Forces, just for some additional draaama.  And he managed to avoid being declared PNG for life, and the matter didn't even develop into a diplomatic incident.  Whadda guy!

No wonder, in the closing moments of the episode, Elizabeth herself affirms what the entire viewership has had hammered down their throats for five seasons:  She couldn't possibly become POTUS without Henry!

Jason is a nasty little shit, and for one reason only:  He didn't get his ass whupped enough when he was growing up.  The people who are proud that they never raised a hand to their children almost universally fail to recognize that those kids grow up to be anti-social assholes.

Mike B.  I'd have fired his ass on the spot.  But then, I'd have fired him 3 seasons ago.

Edited by Netfoot
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44 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

And then when the foooolish cow got herself arrested, of course Henry (being the President's very important Thomas Aquinas advisor) naturally talks the king into a pardon in 3.7 seconds in a language the King doesn't even speak! 

 

Makes one wonder how he learned anything during his time at... Oxford, I think his translator said it was?

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Maybe he took his translator to Oxford with him?

Also... we're told he went to Oxford, not that he actually learnt anything there!  

Did we hear exactly how he died?  Seemed fairly healthy-looking...

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Since when do you hear about college admission decisions by having someone stop into your living room and hand deliver offers from colleges you apparently haven’t even applied to? And then they’re given 24 hours to reply and accept the scholarship. 

Answer: Never. That’s not how college admissions works. 

If this show can’t be accurate about something I know a lot about, like college admissions, how can I trust it to be accurate about something like the inside workings of the US State Department I know little about?

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3 minutes ago, RemoteControlFreak said:

Since when do you hear about college admission decisions by having someone stop into your living room and hand deliver offers from colleges you apparently haven’t even applied to? And then they’re given 24 hours to reply and accept the scholarship. 

Answer: Never. That’s not how college admissions works. 

If this show can’t be accurate about something I know a lot about, like college admissions, how can I trust it to be accurate about something like the inside workings of the US State Department I know little about?

Yeah, all of that was laughably inaccurate.

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I know the whole "Jason decides to turn down his scholarships because he's scared" story is just a way for the show to keep the character on the show (rather then off at college), but my question is why? The Stevie, who conveniently dropped out of law school so she could move back home, and Noodle (can't remember her name) going to school close enough to home so she's always there, versions of this trope are okay, mostly because I sometimes like them and they at least seem like reasonable human beings most of the time (some of the time?).

But Jason? No. He's like all of Henry's worst traits combined with arrogant, spoiled, teen-ager-y jerkiness rolled into one. Tell me what fans are clamoring for him to stay in the house and thus more present on the show? Anyone? Bueller?

Oh and speaking of Stevie, they had one brief PTSD comment in last night's show (where Jason, the jerk, startled her), but she has certainly rebounded from surviving an rocket explosion and a glass (wooden) shard being driven into her body.

The Henry in Thailand story was so horrendous I can't be bothered to comment. 

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The one thing I like about the McCord kids is that they are not paragons.  They are real.  They are selfishly idealistic, unconsciously entitled, and completely flawed.  You know, like normal kids.  I do like it when they get slapped in the face with a reality check, and then you do see them learning and moving on.  It gives me hope.  Remember, we all hated Stevie when she first snotted herself home from college?  Now she's had some seasoning, and some self-realization, and has had a personal growth arc.  Perhaps we could bribe the writers to accelerate Jason's redemption arc?

Anyways, what I really appreciated about the Thailand plot from last night was a demonstration how capricious and dangerous dealing with volatile dictatorships in the third world can be.  Things can swiftly change for any reason, and policies and agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on.  That scene in the oval office really highlighted that.  How can you come up with a diplomatic solution when you don't know which faction to negotiate with when the state is in turmoil?  Tea Leoni really sold Bess's internalized distress, and her desire for a full-out rescue mission warring with her preferred avenue of diplomatic negotiations, then her increasing panic when the discussion seemed to be edging toward doing nothing, then her utter relief when the President called for the rescue mission.  She didn't have many lines, but her face and body language was well played.

But, seriously, can't we just pack Jason off to the Colorado School of Mines for four years of self actualization experiences and have him return as a grounded, mature adult ready to better interact with humans?

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2 hours ago, RemoteControlFreak said:

If this show can’t be accurate about something I know a lot about, like college admissions, how can I trust it to be accurate about something like the inside workings of the US State Department I know little about?

You can’t, but for me at least that was never the reason I watch this show. Broadly speaking, I think it illuminates some of the issues that the US State Department faces, but I’ve never believed that the exact mechanisms depicted are at all accurate to real life. Just like The West Wing wasn’t really an accurate depiction of politics and House M.D. got a lot of medicine wrong and Law & Order depicts a lot of courtroom antics that would get you disbarred if you actually tried them.

I watch this show because the characters are well-developed and they examine ethical issues seriously, even if I’m pretty sure that’s not how the US government actually works.

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10 hours ago, Mellowyellow said:

Gawd what a long and dreary life one would have with a kid like that. Having to put up with that attitude day in, day out, at family gatherings.

*Sigh* One of my 3 is like that. But I'm still there for her, and she appreciates it, even thought I don't have deep McCord pockets.

 

3 hours ago, HurricaneVal said:

The one thing I like about the McCord kids is that they are not paragons.  They are real.  They are selfishly idealistic, unconsciously entitled, and completely flawed.  You know, like normal kids.  I do like it when they get slapped in the face with a reality check, and then you do see them learning and moving on.  It gives me hope.  Remember, we all hated Stevie when she first snotted herself home from college?  Now she's had some seasoning, and some self-realization, and has had a personal growth arc.  Perhaps we could bribe the writers to accelerate Jason's redemption arc?

Anyways, what I really appreciated about the Thailand plot from last night was a demonstration how capricious and dangerous dealing with volatile dictatorships in the third world can be.  Things can swiftly change for any reason, and policies and agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on.  That scene in the oval office really highlighted that.  How can you come up with a diplomatic solution when you don't know which faction to negotiate with when the state is in turmoil?  Tea Leoni really sold Bess's internalized distress, and her desire for a full-out rescue mission warring with her preferred avenue of diplomatic negotiations, then her increasing panic when the discussion seemed to be edging toward doing nothing, then her utter relief when the President called for the rescue mission.  She didn't have many lines, but her face and body language was well played.

But, seriously, can't we just pack Jason off to the Colorado School of Mines for four years of self actualization experiences and have him return as a grounded, mature adult ready to better interact with humans?

Best post of the episode, @HurricaneVal! Thanks for bringing it into focus.

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14 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

*Sigh* One of my 3 is like that. But I'm still there for her, and she appreciates it, even thought I don't have deep McCord pockets.

You're a good woman (man)!!!!!!!

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4 hours ago, HurricaneVal said:

But, seriously, can't we just pack Jason off to the Colorado School of Mines for four years of self actualization experiences...

And possibly a cave-in?

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Stevie asking Jason what his going to college has to do with Bess running for President.  This coming from the person who dropped out when her Mom became Secretary of State. She dropped out because it was just too hard being the daughter of the Secretary of State.

Jason wants to delay because he’s worried about embarrassing his mother. I like him.  

Does Tim Daly’s contract state how many episodes per season he gets to be the one in peril? I really wish his character was like Jow on Medium. Supportive and drama free. 

i knew this episode would be a disaster when Mike B appeared on screen.  That’s always a dead giveaway. 

Edited by mythoughtis
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1 hour ago, mythoughtis said:

i knew this episode would be a disaster when Mike B appeared on screen.  That’s always a dead giveaway.

I hadn't noticed that connection. No wonder so many posters don't like him. It's Pavlovian. I actually enjoy him as comic relief.

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23 hours ago, NUguy514 said:

I've been to both airports in Bangkok; whatever tiny, muddy back-country road Henry's taxi was taking to get to (I assume) Suvarnabhumi Airport was utter bullshit.  Bangkok is a city with a metro population of almost 15 million people; it has large, paved highways to get people to and from the airport for fuck's sake.

Maybe he was getting on some diplomatic plane at a private airstrip or something.

14 hours ago, Netfoot said:

Thank goodness for Henry!  He is the real reason the Ex got that award, dont'cha know.  And then when the foooolish cow got herself arrested, of course Henry (being the President's very important Thomas Aquinas advisor) naturally talks the king into a pardon in 3.7 seconds in a language the King doesn't even speak!  (I was for a moment hoping for a matching 60-year sentence for him, but only because I forgot where I was for a moment.)

He might have a translator to keep up appearances - doesn't want to speak English in front of the people.

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9 hours ago, mythoughtis said:

Does Tim Daly’s contract state how many episodes per season he gets to be the one in peril?

 

In peril, but constantly in possession of his tweedy professor jacket. 

The Thailand storyline felt v divided from the Elizabeth's book writing angst home storyline, and I never really believed that Henry was in danger - and I didn't care that his ex was arrested. Anyone else think that her storyline was going to be a drinking problem when we were introduced to her at a dinner during which she kept sinking the wine and waving the wine glass around? I was anticipating Henry bringing her to AA meetings and using the Aquinas template to convince her to go to rehab.

Finally some movement on Elizabeth's presidential run!

Edited by Xantia · Reason: spelling is improtant
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On 11/5/2018 at 12:33 PM, Efzee said:

Makes one wonder how he learned anything during his time at... Oxford, I think his translator said it was?

 

17 hours ago, bros402 said:

Maybe he was getting on some diplomatic plane at a private airstrip or something.

He might have a translator to keep up appearances - doesn't want to speak English in front of the people.

I interpreted the Oxford comment as subtly letting Henry know that the king really did understand everything Henry said, which is supposedly how/why he was so easily convinced.

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On 11/5/2018 at 12:40 PM, Netfoot said:

Did we hear exactly how he died?  Seemed fairly healthy-looking...

I think they said heart attack.

Ah, I like Mike B. Kind of like shapeshifter said, he can be a bit of comic relief.  I remember the actor from Judging Amy, one of my faves from way back when.

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I enjoyed this episode a lot.  For one thing, there were no "speeches" -- well, except for the one on stage which was fine.  I liked that they let the storylines unfold in fairly believable ways rather than the "forced" feeling that I got from earlier episodes this season.

As for Jason ... yeah, what an attitude that kid has.  I wish he had been accepted at West Point.  They would straighten him up fast & furious.

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On 11/5/2018 at 8:48 AM, Netfoot said:

Henry (being the President's very important Thomas Aquinas advisor) naturally talks the king into a pardon in 3.7 seconds in a language the King doesn't even speak!

I was rather hoping the translator was telling the king something like "He says we have some shit for brains expat in our jail, and he would really like to get her out, so the US is willing to give you $600 million dollars in military aid and a free Netflix subscription for life."  The king says, "Make it happen."

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Jason always looks so pasty. Does he get out at all? Are he and Piper still a thing? Wait...I don't care.

I can see how the private schools would have accepted him (son of SOS), and even stretch my disbelief to cover that a kid of two government employees MIGHT need some financial aid at a school that costs $40K a year or so (Vassar.) Presumably Henry doesn't make a ton of income from his scholarly books, and Bess does not take any outside income from things like being on a board or making speeches.

But Jason's such a wuss. I know he is the youngest and Only Son of two world-class overachievers, but he really needs to take responsibility for his own life. Neither parent has been a helicopter (or lawnmower) parent, mostly because they were too busy being fabulous. So he can woman up and pick a damn college. If he's so worried about failing and disgracing the family, he can go to community college. (There are lots of fine ones in MD.)

And...DC residents pay in-state tuition at ALL state schools in the US...another #funfact about the district. So if he got into, say, the University of Hawaii, his parents would pay the in-state tuition, and we'd see him once or twice a year max. 

I like Mike B. as a "devil" character as opposed to Bess's upright moral center, but I think he's too risky to run the campaign. He does stuff without permission, and would probably end up violating campaign laws. Russell is Conrad's man, so she needs an operator who will stay on the right side of the law. (I know it would be too much to ask for Bebe Neuwirth to come back, but wouldn't Nadine be awesome?)

I'm glad the family is for Bess's run...with great joy. Her brother's embrace was beautiful (even if she's "too centrist" for him!) and the girls were fun to watch with their EEKS! I assume the girls will have some role in the campaign, and please don't let Jason act out...(Stevie can remind him that he has a long way to go before hitting the depths Conrad's son has, and don't screw it up.)

ETA: I would like to see a book Bess would write, but I don't think it's ESSENTIAL for a major political candidate to have one. That's not what will decide the race.

More info: SOS makes $186,600/yr. Henry probably made less than that as a college professor/Super Spy, so if tuition at these schools (as mentioned below) is $70K per year, that's $280k (plus expenses) for a 4-year degree! (And we don't know how much $$ Bess inherited from her parents or any other income). So yeah, Jason COULD be eligible for financial aid...

Edited by kwnyc · Reason: Additional thought. More info.
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2 hours ago, kwnyc said:

(I know it would be too much to ask for Bebe Neuwirth to come back, but wouldn't Nadine be awesome?)

Yesssss.

 

2 hours ago, kwnyc said:

So if he got into, say, the University of Hawaii, his parents would pay the in-state tuition, and we'd see him once or twice a year max. 

And there's always the chance of a volcano or a tsunami...

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3 hours ago, kwnyc said:

Jason always looks so pasty. Does he get out at all? Are he and Piper still a thing? Wait...I don't care.

I can see how the private schools would have accepted him (son of SOS), and even stretch my disbelief to cover that a kid of two government employees MIGHT need some financial aid at a school that costs $40K a year or so (Vassar.) Presumably Henry doesn't make a ton of income from his scholarly books, and Bess does not take any outside income from things like being on a board or making speeches.

But Jason's such a wuss. I know he is the youngest and Only Son of two world-class overachievers, but he really needs to take responsibility for his own life. Neither parent has been a helicopter (or lawnmower) parent, mostly because they were too busy being fabulous. So he can woman up and pick a damn college. If he's so worried about failing and disgracing the family, he can go to community college. (There are lots of fine ones in MD.)

And...DC residents pay in-state tuition at ALL state schools in the US...another #funfact about the district. So if he got into, say, the University of Hawaii, his parents would pay the in-state tuition, and we'd see him once or twice a year max. 

I like Mike B. as a "devil" character as opposed to Bess's upright moral center, but I think he's too risky to run the campaign. He does stuff without permission, and would probably end up violating campaign laws. Russell is Conrad's man, so she needs an operator who will stay on the right side of the law. (I know it would be too much to ask for Bebe Neuwirth to come back, but wouldn't Nadine be awesome?)

I'm glad the family is for Bess's run...with great joy. Her brother's embrace was beautiful (even if she's "too centrist" for him!) and the girls were fun to watch with their EEKS! I assume the girls will have some role in the campaign, and please don't let Jason act out...(Stevie can remind him that he has a long way to go before hitting the depths Conrad's son has, and don't screw it up.)

ETA: I would like to see a book Bess would write, but I don't think it's ESSENTIAL for a major political candidate to have one. That's not what will decide the race.

FYI, Northwestern, Vassar, and realVanderbilt all cost over $70,000/year; theoretically, Jason could qualify for aid because, like, no one can afford that, but the information would have been sent to the McCords directly (and probably not all at once).

Nadine coming back would be fabulous!

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3 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

And there's always the chance of a volcano or a tsunami...

Which would be even better than a cave-in!

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On ‎05‎.‎11‎.‎2018 at 3:29 AM, NUguy514 said:

I've been to both airports in Bangkok; whatever tiny, muddy back-country road Henry's taxi was taking to get to (I assume) Suvarnabhumi Airport was utter bullshit.  Bangkok is a city with a metro population of almost 15 million people; it has large, paved highways to get people to and from the airport for fuck's sake.

Since he used to be in the military and works for Conrad, he probably has access to a military plane. The other Option is that the prison was outside of Bangkok and they en route back to Bangkok.

 

On ‎05‎.‎11‎.‎2018 at 7:38 AM, shapeshifter said:

I do love this show and appreciate that they created annoying kids rather than perfect ones, but still: Argh!

This! I love the kids because they aren't perfect. They're realistic and they have been written consistently, too.

 

On ‎05‎.‎11‎.‎2018 at 1:42 PM, RemoteControlFreak said:

If this show can’t be accurate about something I know a lot about, like college admissions, how can I trust it to be accurate about something like the inside workings of the US State Department I know little about?

Well, it's television, so there will always be poetic license but there was an article in the Washingtonian a couple of years ago and either Hall or McCreary is the daughter for a foreign service officer (I think it was Hall) and another writer also had a parent in the foreign service and they also work with an advisor.

 

On ‎05‎.‎11‎.‎2018 at 10:35 PM, mythoughtis said:

Stevie asking Jason what his going to college has to do with Bess running for President.  This coming from the person who dropped out when her Mom became Secretary of State. She dropped out because it was just too hard being the daughter of the Secretary of State.

Which is why I think she was the right person for that. She's been through it, she could relate. Furthermore, she's the sister. She can relate anyway, because she's also a child in that family. I find it a lot more believable that someone who is in the same boat as Jason gets through to him than if his parents had.

 

 

On ‎08‎.‎11‎.‎2018 at 12:43 PM, kwnyc said:

I like Mike B. as a "devil" character as opposed to Bess's upright moral center, but I think he's too risky to run the campaign. He does stuff without permission, and would probably end up violating campaign laws. Russell is Conrad's man, so she needs an operator who will stay on the right side of the law. (I know it would be too much to ask for Bebe Neuwirth to come back, but wouldn't Nadine be awesome?)

I don't think he'd violate any laws. He might be a bit over-motivated at times but I think he's shown more than once that he's protective of Bess and wants what's best for her. He helped her when her staff messed up in S1 and left her vulnerable with the micro loans program, he dug in with Nadine when Bess refused to believe that Conrad was replacing her, he helped her get rid of Craig Sterling, he helped lobby for votes when the election was thrown to the House.

I think what he does is use any loophole that he can. I also think that he can be an asset because he's so, so well connected. It seems that he can find out just about anyhing about anyone.

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Reading the comments, I'm really glad that I have no idea how the US college system workds, so I wasn't distracted or bothered by the inaccuracy :-)

I'm divided over the episode. I wish, wish, wish that Henry's story would have connected to Bess' story and would actually have helped move the Bess story forward or, at least, if the stories had intertwined (like the Russia ones did even if I could have done without Henry the SuperSpy). Instead, it was a completely separate story that I did not care about. The restaurant scenes were completely unnecessary for both, Bess' story and Henry's story. What a waste of episode minutes. And what ruined the scenes even more was that I was waiting for a photographer to show up and for the whole thing to be a set-up. Kuddos for the show for not going that route though!

I did like the potential of the Thailand story but I think it could have been better if it had been more fleshed out and gotten two-thirds of an episode instead of maybe half and if it had tied into an actual Department of State story. I wonder if it was supposed to tie in a little with Jason.

I guess, Thailand got a new king after S2?

After Henry claimed he has diplomatic immunity, I so wanted something to happen that would have made it hard for Bess to deny Thailand's ask for a waiver. Just how full of yourself can you get? Henry's a nobody and certainly not essential to the diplomatic or presidential staff.

And one again, Bess had to bail Henry out. Twice in one episode, even. But at least, it didn't feel like Bess was having the story Henry should have and vice-versa. It made sense that Bess would have this story with Jason.

I was a little surprised that DNI was pusing for an exfiltration and it was SecDef who was against it (among others). I wish, that scene could have been a Little longer. It felt rushed. I thought, Conrad made the decision too quickly and I would have liked to get a little more of Bess' reaction. I would have liked for Conrad to ask for her opinion - she's done it before, put her personal feelings aside and looked at it from a Sec of State point of view, and I think this should have been done here, too. especially, since she now is also running for President, so there'd have been three things to consider. And it would have been a much better use of screen time than the restaurant scenes ;-)

On the upside, I guess, we got the Henry-centric episode out of the way. At least, I hope that's the case since Daly is doing the play until December. And we got a little self-reflection from Henry, so it wasn't a total waste!

I liked the Bess-centric story and that we got a lot of home life.

I liked that they brought Matt's insecurities back. It's a little annoying but it's consistent and fits with his character. I also think it ties in nicely with the fact that he was completely unknown when Marsh hired him. It makes sense that he would get insecure every now and then. I also appreciated that he didn't manipulate anything on Blake's desk even though Blake wouldn't give him the information he wanted.

I laughed out loud at Bess' face when she stepped off the elevator and no one was there.

The kids finding out Bess was running was kind of cute. I did wonder if Henry and Bess would push off telling them and then something happened and the kids would find out but I didn't think it was going to happen so soon and I also didn't expect their reaction. Well, I didn't expect Stevie's and Alison's but I guess, their enthusiasm will wear off once their privacy gets invaded. Isn't Alison still living at school? I would imagine, once Bess announces, she'd be subjected to the same treatment as Stevie was. Although, she's probably already facing some of that.

And it's so Alison that her only concern regarding the ad is her hairstyle.

I still love Mike B. They chose such a fantastic actor for his role and he material he has is great, too.

So, does Blake know Bess is running?

Well, last episode I mentioned Will, this episode, we get him. I didn't expect Bess to tell him though. To be honest, I hadn't even thought about it but I liked that we got to see it. That was a really great scene (even if the "did my wife call you" dialogue was a little bit cliche, it was still cute and kind of fits because Will could easily do something that his wife isn't too pleased about. I actually thought he might have done something).

When the ghost writer mentioned the leadership role, I immediately thought of Bess becoming the parental figure for Will. I like that she didn't think of it and that she views that as different. I also like that they keep bringing that up and that they used this little moment for Will to tell her that he appreciated what she did, too. As short as Bess' scenes were, I think they were all awesome!

I also liked that we got a lot of scenes at the McCord home in this episode and that even though Henry was in Thailand, they had quite a lot of screen time together. I don't know why but I really liked that Henry extended his hand at the beginning. But he wasn't done packing, then they talked to the counselor and then he got the message that his car was there? Did he leave with a half-packed suitcase?

Why was Bess wearing her extremely high-heeled shoes in the bedroom when she was on the phone? You'd think that the first thing she does is take off those shoes after a day at work.

I liked the scene between Stevie and Jason and how Bess came downstairs because she needed to leave and was evasive about Henry. It was a brief moment, but I'm still glad it was in the episode.

I loved the end. I thought the wordless exchange between Henry and Bess was great when they decided that now was as good a time as ever to tell the kids she was running and I also liked how they told them.

On the wardrobe front: while I loved her outfits in the last episode, I wasn't a fan of most of this episode's. Many blazers looked like they were too big.

I did like Stevie's curls. I don't think there are many who can pull off curls like that and not look like they forgot to brush their hair that morning but I think it looked good on Stevie.

ETA: Bess is attending yoga class? Seriously? Not only would I like to know when but I'm sure her security detail loves that ;-) And I'm sure everyone else loves the interruptions each time one of her security guys comes in because she has a phone call.

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2 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

I wish, wish, wish that Henry's story would have connected to Bess' story . . . .
And what ruined the scenes even more was that I was waiting for a photographer to show up and for the whole thing to be a set-up. Kuddos for the show for not going that route though!

I was wondering about that too: Someone capturing on cell phone (at least) MSec's hubby's PDA with Another Women.
But: Oy. Now that you mention it, I am dreading them going there in another episode. 

Anyway, nice recap/review, @CheshireCat, and, regarding:

2 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

Why was Bess wearing her extremely high-heeled shoes in the bedroom when she was on the phone? You'd think that the first thing she does is take off those shoes after a day at work

My neighbor sometimes does this (adjacent apartments with wood floors, so I can hear) and I wonder the same thing. I don't wear heels, but now that we're discussing it, I think I just figured it out: They don't track in dirt, so she doesn't have to take them off, which, if she thinks she's likely to have to leave again, saves a few seconds, and so, for our intrepid MSec, demonstrates that readiness.

2 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

On the wardrobe front: while I loved her outfits in the last episode, I wasn't a fan of most of this episode's. Many blazers looked like they were too big

I didn't notice, but this could mean I was being prescient in not giving away all my roomier blazers, so I guess I'll keep 'em for at least one more season.

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Not taking off her heels wouldn't only save time if she has to leave again, but also some comfort/discomfort. Heels can often leave your feet sore (although I can imagine it might be less with the very pricy shoes she wears compared to regular Jane Doe) but sometimes you don't notice it until you've taken them off. Or, your feet are in discomfort and it's heaven to take them off, but then it feels even worse if you have to put them back on shortly thereafter.

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7 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I was wondering about that too: Someone capturing on cell phone (at least) MSec's hubby's PDA with Another Women.
But: Oy. Now that you mention it, I am dreading them going there in another episode. 

Encouraged by them skipping it this episode, I hope that they'll find other ways for Bess' opposition to try and take her down. The question is if it would be that effective. There probably are a ton of photos of Bess and Henry smiling at each other, maybe even kissing, so it would probably be difficult to suggest Henry's seeing someone else.

 

Quote

Anyway, nice recap/review, @CheshireCat, and, regarding:

Thanks. *blushing* :-)

 

Quote

My neighbor sometimes does this (adjacent apartments with wood floors, so I can hear) and I wonder the same thing. I don't wear heels, but now that we're discussing it, I think I just figured it out: They don't track in dirt, so she doesn't have to take them off, which, if she thinks she's likely to have to leave again, saves a few seconds, and so, for our intrepid MSec, demonstrates that readiness.

 

7 hours ago, Efzee said:

Not taking off her heels wouldn't only save time if she has to leave again, but also some comfort/discomfort. Heels can often leave your feet sore (although I can imagine it might be less with the very pricy shoes she wears compared to regular Jane Doe) but sometimes you don't notice it until you've taken them off. Or, your feet are in discomfort and it's heaven to take them off, but then it feels even worse if you have to put them back on shortly thereafter.

I think, in this case, those really, really long pants Bess has been wearing are the reason. Her sneakers probably don't work with them. Still, considering that Tea Leoni has them so she can wear them in scenes when her feet don't show, (or, at least, could wear them) and Bess has worn them often at home, it surprised me that she was still wearing heels.

I don't remember which scene it was exactly, so it might have been before she left again to get Henry out of prison.

 

7 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I didn't notice, but this could mean I was being prescient in not giving away all my roomier blazers, so I guess I'll keep 'em for at least one more season.

Oh, I definitely think they're coming back. At least, a version of them. Bess' blazers already looked quite large last season.

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15 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

Since he used to be in the military and works for Conrad, he probably has access to a military plane. The other Option is that the prison was outside of Bangkok and they en route back to Bangkok.

Henry said they were on their way to the airport, and the military airport in Bangkok uses the same airfield as one of the commercial airports.  Moreover, the main prison in Bangkok is actually slightly closer to the center of the city than that airport, and there are no military checkpoints to get into the airport (possibly there would be one to get out of the prison, although that's not what it seemed like it was).  I mean, it's a little thing, but it does bother me because you have to get really far outside of Bangkok to come across those types of roads.  It's a huge city, it has paved roads, and you take highways to and from both airports; I dislike it when American TV shows portray other countries as being untruthfully undeveloped to up the dramatic stakes (or whatever).

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2 hours ago, NUguy514 said:

Henry said they were on their way to the airport, and the military airport in Bangkok uses the same airfield as one of the commercial airports. 

Is that all military or just Thailand military and does the US have a base in Thailand?

 

2 hours ago, NUguy514 said:

Moreover, the main prison in Bangkok is actually slightly closer to the center of the city than that airport, and there are no military checkpoints to get into the airport (possibly there would be one to get out of the prison, although that's not what it seemed like it was). 

When Henry was in prison, they specifically said he was held outside of Bangkok. I don't recall if they said it about his ex before, too.

 

2 hours ago, NUguy514 said:

I mean, it's a little thing, but it does bother me because you have to get really far outside of Bangkok to come across those types of roads.  It's a huge city, it has paved roads, and you take highways to and from both airports; I dislike it when American TV shows portray other countries as being untruthfully undeveloped to up the dramatic stakes (or whatever).

I get what you mean. To be fair though, when they were in Thailand before, they did portray proper infrastructure.

I don't get why they didn't simply protray it as a roadblock in the city though. Would have worked just as well.

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6 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

I don't get why they didn't simply protray it as a roadblock in the city though. Would have worked just as well.

Likely the co$t of creating a realistic Bangkok setting drove them to opt for dropping a line about Henry being held outside of the city? 
The line is:
"McCord is being held at Chatuchak Prison outside Bangkok."

But looking at pictures of the prison online, they should have had Henry held at a generic rural location. Is this the prison to which you were referring, @NUguy514? If so, that sure is a very wide road to the prison. IDK. Are there any jungle-y side road detours nearby that they could have used to avoid the press or angry mobs?

image.jpeg

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19 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Likely the co$t of creating a realistic Bangkok setting drove them to opt for dropping a line about Henry being held outside of the city? 
The line is:
"McCord is being held at Chatuchak Prison outside Bangkok."

But looking at pictures of the prison online, they should have had Henry held at a generic rural location. Is this the prison to which you were referring, @NUguy514? If so, that sure is a very wide road to the prison. IDK. Are there any jungle-y side road detours nearby that they could have used to avoid the press or angry mobs?

image.jpeg

Yes, it is, @shapeshifter, and there realllllllly aren't any jungle side road detours anywhere nearby.  I appreciate @CheshireCat trying to stick up for the show, but it in no way portrayed this accurately.  I promise.

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1 hour ago, NUguy514 said:

Yes, it is, @shapeshifter, and there realllllllly aren't any jungle side road detours anywhere nearby.  I appreciate @CheshireCat trying to stick up for the show, but it in no way portrayed this accurately.  I promise.

Ah, well. Medical and legal professionals regularly complain about absurd depictions of their professions on TV. At least it's not often you have to see Bizarro version Thailand.

 

ETA:
@NUguy514, this is more like on The Mentalist when they would routinely have the main characters drive from, say, Sacramento to Chico (about 90 miles), leaving in late morning, do detective work, and get back for lunch--with never a 2-hour delay for a traffic pile-up due to a jack-knifed semi-tractor-trailer, even though that is (or at least used to be) a very common occurrence on California freeways. Or on Fringe when they would travel between D.C. and Boston in the same manner. The difference is that they did it so frequently that we got used to merely rolling our eyes, whereas here on Madam Secretary, they usually work the travel situations into the plot, so it's more jarring when they play fast and loose with reality.

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On another topic, the suicidal actions by the guest star was totally weird. Also, as to why the King, who went to Oxford, needed a translator is protocol. In Europe, the French President and the German Chancellor speak english to each other because it's neutral. When they talk to the British Prime Minister, they use a translator. It has to do with national pride and not having to demean one's self by speaking a foreign language.

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9 minutes ago, Notwisconsin said:

On another topic, the suicidal actions by the guest star was totally weird

Yes. I thought it was part of her mid-life/post-divorce crisis. Maybe the writers realized too late the potential for these issues to come off as demeaning a female character, so they attempted to push them into the background and keep us focused on other stuff. (Quick, let's put Henry in Danger!) IDK. Maybe it would have given her better motivation if her parents had been assassinated by the evil dictator.

FWIW, the following episode is more tightly written better edited.

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18 hours ago, NUguy514 said:

 I appreciate @CheshireCat trying to stick up for the show, but it in no way portrayed this accurately.  I promise.

I'm not doubting you. It's a TV show. Not everything is going to be 100% accurate. I don't know what their thought process was, I don't even know if it was supposed to be a routine check or specific roadblock because they were searching for Henry's ex but I don't think it made a difference where the car was stopped. The location didn't strike me as essential to the story. :-)

Maybe this wasn't their first choice. Maybe they didn't get a filming permit for the location they wanted to film at so they had to make do with what they got. Who knows.

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11 hours ago, Notwisconsin said:

On another topic, the suicidal actions by the guest star was totally weird.

 

11 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Yes. I thought it was part of her mid-life/post-divorce crisis. Maybe the writers realized too late the potential for these issues to come off as demeaning a female character, so they attempted to push them into the background and keep us focused on other stuff. (Quick, let's put Henry in Danger!) IDK. Maybe it would have given her better motivation if her parents had been assassinated by the evil dictator.

But of course all she needed to realize the implications of her actions - imprisonment, possibly never seeing her kids again - were two or three sentences from Henry.  

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