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S05. E08. The Courage to Continue

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When Haiti's democracy is threatened by a ousted President refusing to step down, Elizabeth attempts to solve the problem without military intervention. Blake has one week to find a job.

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1 hour ago, shapeshifter said:

Henry really is good at being a "just" a dad, husband, and philosopher/scholar of religion.

he has time to add racecar driver, and when he becomes first dude, he can become an amazing interior decorator for state dinners

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Strunk and White The Elements of Style (a.k.a. "the little book") is a widely used style guide that has gone through many editions since 1918.  Excerpt: 

Quote

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that he make every word tell.

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I love that the word guy (Matt) insulted his Haitian counterpart with Strunk & White (which I've kept near my desk since I was in college.)

But while the personal subplot usually mirrors the international plot, the Arlington/Bess reveal felt forced in to me. (And do I believe that no one in the immediate family has EVER visited Bess's parents' grave? No.)

But Blake! Got a job! And impressed the President! Nice bit of physical acting by Erich Bergen as he left her office: he stood up straighter and had not so much a swagger to his walk, but a confidence we haven't seen. I hope his damn parents leave him alone now.

I have no doubt that in the show's world (as opposed to the real world) all of her team are going to stick to Bess like glue now that it's apparent she's going to make a bid for President.

And talk about wish fulfillment...Haiti has been one of the most troubled nations in our hemisphere for all the reasons that Elizabeth ended up using to oust the military dictator: corruption, a few families controlling the majority of the wealth and power, and no support for leaders who would change it. The incoming president will have no easy job back at home, and I wonder if the chickens will come home to roost in some way because of the machinations to get the president back? Bess told him that the cost was cheap at the price, but she's not the one who has to live with it day to day.

It truly was "realpolitik" as Henry pointed out (and I don't begrudge him that, because some people aren't familiar with the concept) and how the sausage gets made. 

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22 minutes ago, kwnyc said:

e personal subplot usually mirrors the international plot, the Arlington/Bess reveal felt forced in to me. (And do I believe that no one in the immediate family has EVER visited Bess's parents' grave? No

They had a skin cancer awareness PSA at the end, so I assume the Arlington/final-resting-place plot was written to tie in with the PSA. 

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26 minutes ago, tvfanatic13 said:

Does anyone else think that this was a real life Tea problem? 

At first I assumed it was, but then, when I noticed the stitches were fake (had zero redness or swelling around them), I thought maybe she had a family member with skin cancer—which could be true, but there was nothing online that I could find, so I concluded that it's just part of the "CBS Cares" campaign.

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I can possibly see not having brought the kids to the grave site. Her parents died long before she met Henry. However, in real life, she would have had this conversation with Henry long ago.  Henry’s dad hasn’t been gone that long.  Henry’s Mom’s grave would have been visited when his Dad died. I hate it when TV shows pretend that people who have been married for years haven’t had these types of conversations before. 

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As a genealogist I wish that a married woman's gravestone would show her birth name as well as her married name.  Presumably Bess and her brother planned her parents' gravestones, so I'm disappointed that they didn't do this.

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3 hours ago, Driad said:

As a genealogist I wish that a married woman's gravestone would show her birth name as well as her married name.  Presumably Bess and her brother planned her parents' gravestones, so I'm disappointed that they didn't do this.

Yup.

One of my possible ancestors who died in 1870, her tombstone might list her maiden name - she is listed as "patience johnson, wife of george clark" on the cenotaph - then she is buried elsewhere in the cemetery under a different name - patience berger

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10 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

At first I assumed it was, but then, when I noticed the stitches were fake (had zero redness or swelling around them), I thought maybe she had a family member with skin cancer—which could be true, but there was nothing online that I could find, so I concluded that it's just part of the "CBS Cares" campaign.

By the time you are able to go around without the dressings, the swelling and redness are pretty much gone. I know this from experience (cancer is extremely annoying). If you HAVE to have cancer, Basal cell carcinoma is the one to get. The surgery is easy, and if done right, completely cures you. When I was recovering, I discovered how many people have had it, which is tons. I was surprised they mentioned it.

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8 hours ago, Driad said:

As a genealogist I wish that a married woman's gravestone would show her birth name as well as her married name.  Presumably Bess and her brother planned her parents' gravestones, so I'm disappointed that they didn't do this.

Weren't they teenagers at the time? Probably didn't think of using her mother's maiden name...

The one thing that always strikes me when seeing cemeteries on US shows is the lack of full dates. Often they only show the year in which someone was born and died. And just the year if it's a (stillborn) baby. Is that standard over there? We always list the full dates and names.

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10 hours ago, Driad said:

As a genealogist I wish that a married woman's gravestone would show her birth name as well as her married name.

As people move away from established religion, the old church records are no longer so useful to the genealogist 

My father's grave marker carries his name and the date and place of his birth as well as the date of his death.

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In real life the Army is in charge of Arlington, they still have a few other cemeteries, but the vast majority are VA. (Side note: overseas cemeteries are run by the American Battle Monuments Commission)

For Henry to rate a non-columbarium internment he would need a purple heart, silver star, or above. Even though the secretary is cabinet level, in real life she would also need to have served in the military on top of that to rate a burial in her own right, but she can be buried with Henry.

Also in real life, congress moved the navy annex and is paying a LOT of money to move main roads around Arlington to blow out more room for burials. They have a pretty good idea how pissed the voters would get if they let Arlington fill up

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On 11/27/2018 at 8:07 AM, Efzee said:

The one thing that always strikes me when seeing cemeteries on US shows is the lack of full dates. Often they only show the year in which someone was born and died. And just the year if it's a (stillborn) baby. Is that standard over there? We always list the full dates and names.

My son was stillborn in the late 70's and he was buried in a Catholic cemetery on a hillside in the baby section. The burial was free and each headstone for the stillborn baby required the full date and the time of death. Policies on grave markers are different within each diocese throughout the US, but stillborn babies have a special section in the cemetery. 

Edited by VinceW
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On ‎26‎.‎11‎.‎2018 at 9:42 AM, kwnyc said:

But while the personal subplot usually mirrors the international plot, the Arlington/Bess reveal felt forced in to me. (And do I believe that no one in the immediate family has EVER visited Bess's parents' grave? No.)

I do. As mythoughtis said, none of them have ever met them including Henry. I've only ever visited the gravesite of relatives I knew well and I don't even know where the others are buried, so I have no problem believing it.

 

On ‎26‎.‎11‎.‎2018 at 10:05 AM, shapeshifter said:

They had a skin cancer awareness PSA at the end, so I assume the Arlington/final-resting-place plot was written to tie in with the PSA. 

I read that it was.

 

On ‎26‎.‎11‎.‎2018 at 9:22 PM, mythoughtis said:

However, in real life, she would have had this conversation with Henry long ago.  Henry’s dad hasn’t been gone that long.  Henry’s Mom’s grave would have been visited when his Dad died. I hate it when TV shows pretend that people who have been married for years haven’t had these types of conversations before. 

They did suggest that they've had some version of this conversation before. Henry said now you don't want to be burried with me anymore or something along the lines, and I took that to mean that they were in agreement about being buried side-by-side up until then. They also talked about what could be Bess' epitaph in S2 and we've had the conversation in S1 about who Henry could get married to (or not) if Bess didn't return from Iran and there was also the glasses thing. But I think this is how the conversations go: you mention it, you have a serious moment and then you try to lighten the mood because it's a very heavy subject and one that no one probably wants to dwell on for long.

I also think that there's a difference between mentioning/being in probably close to unspoken agreement of being buried together and having to make a specific decision about a cemetary. I didn't think there was anything wrong with Bess' reaction. I think she probably reacted like many of us would have reacted and I really didn't see that there was more to it, like Henry did. So, I find it believable that Bess' avoidance of her parents' grave hasn't come up so far. It's also something she needs to be ready to face, so I think it's also entirely possible that it wasn't as close to the surface as it was now and there wasn't a signal that Henry could pick up on before.

 

On ‎26‎.‎11‎.‎2018 at 11:15 PM, Driad said:

As a genealogist I wish that a married woman's gravestone would show her birth name as well as her married name. 

In Germany, you do find gravestones that mention the woman's maiden name.

 

On ‎26‎.‎11‎.‎2018 at 11:15 PM, Driad said:

Presumably Bess and her brother planned her parents' gravestones, so I'm disappointed that they didn't do this.

Didn't they mention and aunt or an uncle in one of the early seasons?

 

I think this was my favorite episode to date. I thought it felt a lot like an old episode. I had read about the skin cancer before and consciously put off watching this episode because of the previous one and because I was afraid the skin cancer issue would take over the episode and I wasn't in the mood for that but I was very pleasantly surprised. If there was one thing that I didn't like I've already forgotten about it again. (Well, I was bothered by Daisy's black dress that had the tan colored middle. I found that distracting and I didn't like that they mentioned a speech that we never saw especially since there was an episode on November 9th and it was one in which Bess didn't even leave the US. I would have preferred if they had used some of her Iran remarks instead, for example. But that's about it with the dislikes).

I love episodes that start out with Blake. I always feel that they give us some "insight" into what goes on "behind-the-scenes" and, of course, it's Blake. He's so great. He made me laugh several times during the episode.

Of course, he has an alert on his computer that he was getting fired. I'm surprised though that Bess remembered. But maybe she secretly installed an altert on her phone as well?

I liked both scenes between Jay and Blake. Blake's rambling about a new suit and power tie was hilarious. That said, I think they're doing a really good job with finding the right balance between humor and not going over the top. Blake never comes across as a caricature and the humor never feels cheap. And I appreciated that Jay took Blake serious and didn't just dismiss him and/or Blake's anxiety. I liked that he tried to help Blake get the job and that he acknowledged Blake's strengths and that the stuff that he didn't know, he normally does know.

I also liked that they filled us in on how Blake was hired and that they mentioned his past as a financial advisor again. So few shows actually go the extra mile and remember a character's background but most of the time they do and I think it gives the characters so much more depth.

The conversation he had with the janitor was a nice touch. He was an unexpected conversation partner. (But where did Bess come from and in her coat no less? On the left side of the conference room are the bathrooms... and she seems to have one in her office.)

I thought that Blake was going to come up with something was predictable, I was waiting for it ever since they mentioned that he wanted to interview for an advisory position. Still, I did not see it coming how they did it. But thank you show for letting Blake keep his cool and not making him ramble because he was facing the President. When he knows his stuff, he doesn't ramble and he did know his stuff. And Bergen did a really good job of still portraying some nervousness.

I'm looking forward to seeing Blake in his new position!

Loved, loved, loved Bess and Henry. And there was so much of it. And none of it was Henry as the annoying ethics advisor whose suddenly in top level meetings with the President. I liked how they used Henry, how he advised Bess. This is what he is best at! I also liked that they made an effort and did connect the random skin cancer to Bess' story.

And that scene with the kids - absolutely hilarious. I was laughing out loud several times. And I liked that they had one of the kids worried and one basically disinterested. I do have to disagree with Henry though, I don't think this is something you should talk to your kids about. I think losing a parent is hard enough and those three are faced with the possibility often enough anyway given Bess' job (and Henry's past jobs), so I don't think they needed to make it more real for them (which I think a conversation like that would do).

I wish there had been a little more at the end. It did feel forced/rushed. I was missing some emotional aspect. It felt a little like they weren't entirely sure how to handle it. But then again, it may be realistic because the kids especially probably wouldn't really know how to handle their mother's situation and visiting the gravesite of grandparents they never met and may not even know much about.

And I just realized - there was no Russell. Anyway, I still liked that Conrad was trying to keep Bess out of it. At first, I wondered if it was smart to keep her out of the loop as I thought that her opponents could use it against her. And while Conrad's reasoning made sense, I'm still not sure if Bess opponents couldn't have said that he didn't trust her enough to come up with a diplomatic solution so he used the military solution instead.

I'm assuming, the Haitian President would have been as upset by a military solution as he was over the diplomatic help? I'm also assuming that his wife was safe since they never told us but there wasn't a mentioning of her not being safe.

I expected the story of Matt and the Haitian speech writer to go a little differently. I was expecting a speech that they would play a role in.

Oh, and I'm so with Bess - I'll never understand why anyone would need a building full of cars. You can drive only one anyway. But I loved her response when Henry said he wouldn't mind having one.

And how cute was it that he had to correct Bess on how many kids could drink, vote and drive? In denial much?

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2 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

Of course, he has an alert on his computer that he was getting fired. I'm surprised though that Bess remembered. But maybe she secretly installed an altert on her phone as well?

My calendar entry alerts ding on my phone and whatever computer I have running with the calendar open. Don't everyone's?

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When Bess first told Blake she would fire him in six months he asked if he should put it on her schedule. Bess replied "Please do."

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9 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

My calendar entry alerts ding on my phone and whatever computer I have running with the calendar open. Don't everyone's?

I don't use a computer or phone calendar so I wouldn't know. :-P I still think he must have had some kind of special alert for that since he'd have a million alerts per day otherwise given how busy Bess is.

 

7 hours ago, orza said:

When Bess first told Blake she would fire him in six months he asked if he should put it on her schedule. Bess replied "Please do."

I was under the impression that Blake's keeping her schedule and that she doesn't really access it herself (if she could)/relies on Blake for that (as I think is normal in her line of work).

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23 minutes ago, CheshireCat said:

I don't use a computer or phone calendar so I wouldn't know. :-P I still think he must have had some kind of special alert for that since he'd have a million alerts per day otherwise given how busy Bess is.

 

I was under the impression that Blake's keeping her schedule and that she doesn't really access it herself (if she could)/relies on Blake for that (as I think is normal in her line of work).

Modern business email and scheduling software allows a user to grant other users read or read/write access to their mailbox and calendar for just this purpose. My assistant has almost full access to my Exchange account and schedules meeting for me all the time. She also responds to some email on my behalf. Of course, I still have access to my mailbox and calendar on my laptop and phone and see all reminders.

We see Bess using her computer and checking her phone on many episodes. She is computer literate. There is no reason to assume she does not have the ability to look at meeting and appointment reminders herself but instead must rely on Blake to tell her everything. I suppose Blake could set a different audio tone for his firing reminder if he wanted to but I don't really see the point of doing that.

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26 minutes ago, orza said:

I suppose Blake could set a different audio tone for his firing reminder if he wanted to but I don't really see the point of doing that

Dramatic effect? 😛

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1 hour ago, orza said:

We see Bess using her computer and checking her phone on many episodes. She is computer literate. There is no reason to assume she does not have the ability to look at meeting and appointment reminders herself but instead must rely on Blake to tell her everything. I suppose Blake could set a different audio tone for his firing reminder if he wanted to but I don't really see the point of doing that.

I certainly agree that she has the ability to check her meetings herself. From what I understand and what I think they've established on the show, though, keeping the schedule and doing the scheduling is what Blake is for. (He was referred to as the "scheduling elf" in an earlier season and they showed us how he's going over Bess' schedule with Nadine first thing in the morning and I think what he put on Bess' desk at the beginning of this episode was a print-out of that day's schedule and throughout the seasons, she's told him to put things on her schedule). 

As far as I know, someone in Bess' position doesn't take care of scheduling for the simple reason that they have a ton of other things on therr mind and can't deal with something as time-consuming and detail-oriented like scheduling as it would only distract from the other things they do and must do well.

I would also assume that Bess isn't known for checking her schedule from everyone assuring Blake that she probably has forgotten about the firing.

 

1 hour ago, orza said:

Modern business email and scheduling software allows a user to grant other users read or read/write access to their mailbox and calendar for just this purpose.

Well... modern software maybe but this is government software ;-)

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