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thewhiteowl

S05. E14. Something Better

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A group of American missionaries is taken hostage abroad. Stevie takes over Russell's social media. Henry helps his niece prepare for deployment.

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What dumb-ass 19 year old students need to learn is, that if you insult the political leaders of a foreign country in that country, and they respond by standing you up against a wall, you don't have anybody to blame but yourself.

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3 hours ago, Netfoot said:

What dumb-ass 19 year old students need to learn is, that if you insult the political leaders of a foreign country in that country, and they respond by standing you up against a wall, you don't have anybody to blame but yourself.

Yes, but is that what happened in this episode? I dozed off several times because I watched it clandestinely much later because CBS has a crappy over-the-air signal.
I did catch the bit about being fit for a battle zone if you can fall asleep anywhere anytime--ready to report for duty, sir!
Will rewatch later to see who the guy was with his arm around Jay's chess-playing gf and exactly how the panda-cam-gate played out.

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A President of Nicaragua named Sandino?  Really, writers?  That was a bit too obvious. 

I wonder what happened to the two CIA clones after they got back to the US.  Consulting work at some think tank, perhaps?

Stevie pulled a rabbit, or, more precisely, a panda, out of the hat and made Russell proud of her.  Can your own daughter be Chief of Staff when you run for President?

I liked the nurse's worry about her deployment.  "What if I screw up and a patient dies?"  Well, you get to come home and work on any number of television medical dramas.  Happens all the time.

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14 minutes ago, Dowel Jones said:

Stevie pulled a rabbit, or, more precisely, a panda, out of the hat and made Russell proud of her.  Can your own daughter be Chief of Staff when you run for President?

I imagine the series ending with the outcome of the presidential election—whether Bess wins or not—so I'm picturing Stevie as PR person for her mom's campaign.

Jay embracing his gf was heartwarming with the moving mood music.

Most hopeful was:
 

image.jpeg

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5 hours ago, shapeshifter said:
8 hours ago, Netfoot said:

What dumb-ass 19 year old students need to learn is, that if you insult the political leaders of a foreign country in that country, and they respond by standing you up against a wall, you don't have anybody to blame but yourself.

Yes, but is that what happened in this episode?

We might be at crossed-purposes here.

I was referring to the 19 year-old foreign student who went to an oppressive, central-American dictatorship and participated in a political protest rally. She shouldn't have been shocked to find herself barricaded in a church.  Some countries -- typically oppressive, central-American dictatorships -- don't allow political protest.  Such acts are deemed illegal, and are often met with a response involving teargas and musketry.

This reminds me (slightly) of a case I seem recall wherein a young American tourist went to the Isle of Mann, daubed half the town with rattle-can street "art", and was sentenced to a birching for vandalism.  The State Department and the general public were up in arms about that as well.  Not that it did him any good...

The thing is, if you don't want to be subject to barbaric / archaic punishment in foreign countries, you should refrain from visiting those countries and breaking the law.

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3 hours ago, Netfoot said:

The thing is, if you don't want to be subject to barbaric / archaic punishment in foreign countries, you should refrain from visiting those countries and breaking the law.

And realize those laws maybe very different from your country of origin's laws, and disagreeing with them doesn't mean you get to break them with no consequences.  There are plenty of nice civilized countries in the world I'll visit, there are hundreds of countries who are stuck in the dark ages which I have absolutely no interest whatsoever getting anywhere near.

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I was happy to see that Henry's niece was more on the curvy side, and that that was not raised as an issue. I wish we saw more of that on television.

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I liked the callback to President Dalton's previous CIA career.  I was terribly confused that Sandino Senior had all the scarring on the right side of his face, as a result of the screwed CIA op back in the day, and Sandino Junior had some very similar scarring on the left side of his face.  Was that supposed to have been from the same incident, or was Junior trying to borrow his dad's political cachet as a "hero to the people" even as he was oppressing his people?

I did love pandagate though.  That was awesome.  I do love it when Russell is exasperated.  But I also think he's a good boss.  He tells his employees when he's unhappy with them, and he tells his employees--and rewards them--when they've done good.  Even if it wasn't the good he wanted, or the path he wanted.  Russell is all about results.

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I don't know who the actor was who portrayed the young Dalton but he was very good & looked remarkably like Keith Carradine.  The Panda storyline with Stevie & Russel was amusing...Russell is a teddy bear underneath the gruff exterior.

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16 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

Stevie pulled a rabbit, or, more precisely, a panda, out of the hat and made Russell proud of her.  Can your own daughter be Chief of Staff when you run for President?

I really can't believe Stevie thought Russell would be okay with her posting the panda thing. Yes, some people would think it was sweet, but obviously it's against the image he wants to project. Which is why he describes watching the pandas as "going off the grid."

But of course it all worked out and saved sick children. This show is like fantasy land sometimes.

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20 hours ago, Netfoot said:

What dumb-ass 19 year old students need to learn is, that if you insult the political leaders of a foreign country in that country, and they respond by standing you up against a wall, you don't have anybody to blame but yourself.

Self-righteous do-gooding "missionaries", intent on spreading organised superstition in other countries and thinking they have a supreme being on their side, that's the kind of dumb and arrogant 19-year old who would land themselves in such situations. I could not really feel any sympathy for those characters, but thankfully the hostages were not the focus of the story.

16 hours ago, Dowel Jones said:

A President of Nicaragua named Sandino?  Really, writers?  That was a bit too obvious. 

At first I was trying to figure if perhaps they had made up a country with a name that resembles "Nicaragua", but no they did go for the truly obvious with that one.

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Enjoyed this episode.  How is this show not nominated for good things?  Loved seeing Raymond Cruz / Julio Sanchez from Major Crimes which I adored so much.  He was a compelling former leader who loved his country and his badly damaged family and I loved his heroism.  There were so many good side stories — the niece going to serve, Jay and his insecurities about Annelise (and that ahhhhh last moment), Daisy actually wearing sleeves in the winter, Stevie and her instincts, Russell being his curmudgeon, softie self, Blake and his hurt remarks when Jay didn’t confide in him, Bess’ brother giving blunt, awkward, yet good advice to Sarah, the awesome Adele, Dalton and Bess talking about hope and taking chances.  

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12 hours ago, HurricaneVal said:

I liked the callback to President Dalton's previous CIA career.  I was terribly confused that Sandino Senior had all the scarring on the right side of his face, as a result of the screwed CIA op back in the day, and Sandino Junior had some very similar scarring on the left side of his face.  Was that supposed to have been from the same incident, or was Junior trying to borrow his dad's political cachet as a "hero to the people" even as he was oppressing his people?

I did love pandagate though.  That was awesome.  I do love it when Russell is exasperated.  But I also think he's a good boss.  He tells his employees when he's unhappy with them, and he tells his employees--and rewards them--when they've done good.  Even if it wasn't the good he wanted, or the path he wanted.  Russell is all about results.

I think he and his father walked into the building from different angles - so maybe his face was affected on the other side because of that

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18 hours ago, KaveDweller said:

I really can't believe Stevie thought Russell would be okay with her posting the panda thing. Yes, some people would think it was sweet, but obviously it's against the image he wants to project. Which is why he describes watching the pandas as "going off the grid."

But wasn't that the whole point, that Russell needed a social media manager because he needed to soften his image due to his publicized confrontations with the homeless activist?  A more interesting take on this, though, which is to your point, was that Russell intellectually understood that engaging Stevie to manage his social media image was going to soften how he is perceived, and is needed due to his recent issues, but in execution it made Russell uncomfortable to not be seen as a totally bulletproof political hardass.  With a soupcon of "Waaaaaaaait....my time with the pandas is my time, and my secret, privately held vice...."  If Russell should be angry with anyone, he should be angry with his office assistant who outed his panda love to Stevie.  But in the tradition of very good OAs in the vein of Mrs. Landingham, Russell's OA knew what he needed and made it happen by spilling those particular beans to Stevie. 

Or maybe I'm overthinking this...  Ha!

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That was such a great ep! Squeeee

I know it's not terribly realistic but with the state of the world today I am glad the show tries to deliver a message of hope rather than doom and gloom.

Russell and the pandas!!!!!! OMG I almost died of laughter! I LOVE LOVE LOVE how this show has serious themes but can also inject so much humour and cute into their episodes. This show is one of my top 2 for viewing right now. I can always depend on it!

Russell and pandas, Conrad back story, Bess and Conrad scene at the end, Bess and Ming, Bess's wacky brother! It had EVERYTHING I love.

Bess and Ming are just so....cute together in a totally platonic, non shippy way. They'd make a great team if they were in an environment where they were working together. I could watch a whole episode of Bess and Ming antics, snarking at each other while they perform tasks.

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1 hour ago, Mellowyellow said:

Bess and Ming are just so....cute together in a totally platonic, non shippy way. They'd make a great team if they were in an environment where they were working together. I could watch a whole episode of Bess and Ming antics, snarking at each other while they perform tasks.

More Bess+Ming, please. It's a tough world, and Bess+Ming are our John and Yoko giving peace a chance. How about in MSec world, they form a Pacific Rim Union, not unlike the EU?

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I really liked this episode.  Not much of Jason, which is always a good thing, and there was relatively little of Henry, although of course he had the answer to the question about what was most important for a trauma nurse.  There's nothing he doesn't know!  But I imagine a pilot, especially a combat pilot, is aware of the importance of sufficient rest.

Do we know if Russell has children?  

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I think it's time for Eric Stoltz to abandon the long-ish hair. At some angles, he liked like a homeless woman. The volume just ain't there.

Russell's the best. 

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On 2/24/2019 at 3:26 AM, Calvada said:

I really liked this episode.  Not much of Jason, which is always a good thing, and there was relatively little of Henry, although of course he had the answer to the question about what was most important for a trauma nurse.  There's nothing he doesn't know!  But I imagine a pilot, especially a combat pilot, is aware of the importance of sufficient rest.

Do we know if Russell has children?  

He has at least one son. They were trying to reach him when Russell was in the hospital.

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I've been having a really shitty day, so watching that Russell panda stuff made me feel a little better. (Sorry, Russell.)

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On ‎2‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 7:22 AM, Netfoot said:

 She shouldn't have been shocked to find herself barricaded in a church.  

I didn't perceive her as shocked, just that she wanted to raise awareness to their situation.

On ‎2‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 7:22 AM, Netfoot said:

Some countries -- typically oppressive, central-American dictatorships -- don't allow political protest.  Such acts are deemed illegal, and are often met with a response involving teargas and musketry.

The student who posted the video said she was a student working with the American missionaries, so I don't think she was protesting. That said, I wasn't under the impression that protests weren't allowed. Jay mentioned the recent wave of student-led protests at the beginning and that the President was responding with violence and Conrad mentioned that Sandino was sliding further into authoritarianism. Bess also told Jay to issue the travel warning. I would assume that there'd already be a warning in place if it had been an authoritarian state? 

On ‎2‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 2:32 PM, BuckeyeLou said:

I don't know who the actor was who portrayed the young Dalton but he was very good & looked remarkably like Keith Carradine. 

I thought the opposite. I didn't really see a resemblance to Conrad. (But I don't think I ever saw the resemblance between Mark Harmon and his son when his son played young Gibbs either :-P) But I'm glad they used another actor rather than tried to make Conrad look younger. It was far too long ago for that!

On ‎2‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 7:00 PM, KaveDweller said:

I really can't believe Stevie thought Russell would be okay with her posting the panda thing. Yes, some people would think it was sweet, but obviously it's against the image he wants to project.

To be fair, she was supposed to "humanize" him and make him relateable. I don't think it's Stevie's fault so much as it is the PR team's. Any of the kind of posts she was supposed to post would probably have generated this or a similar response.

On ‎2‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 7:00 PM, KaveDweller said:

But of course it all worked out and saved sick children. This show is like fantasy land sometimes.

Well, sometimes things do work out and I think public pressure does play a role. I would have liked if they had developed it a bit more and actually brought it up again in the next episode, so that public pressure would have had more time to become pressure then have the vote at the end of the next episode. But other than that, I didn't have a problem with it.

.

After the last two episodes were a bit of a let down because I thought there was too much Henry in the Oval Office, I really enjoyed this one a again and I'm sure that Henry wasn't in the Oval Office was part of it. (Although, I plan to rewatch them now that I know what to expect. Some episodes are better the second time around.)

Was the look Conrad gave Bess at the beginning when he referred to their track record with Nicaragua supposed to suggest that she was aware of the CIA's history in Nicaragua/he assumed she was? I thought that Jay looked at Bess as if he suspected there was some silent communication going on between Bess and Conrad. But maybe I just misread it.

I really liked Stevie in this episode. I usually find her rather unnecessary when she's with Russell but they gave her a great story for once and I think they utilized it well for the much-needed comic relief in this episode.

I love that even the guest actors are up to the show's standard. The COMS guy was great. I loved how he had Russell all figured out and that his secretary wasn't entirely convincing when she told Russell that POTUS needed him.

And Stevie's look when he revealed the twitter and instagram accounts and her reaction afterwards was probably some of the best acting Wallis Currie-Wood has done on this show! I also thought they did a good job of balancing her fear of/discomfort around Russell with the experience she already has in the job.

And did Russell admit that he's soft beneath that hard shell when he told her he wants people to be afraid of him?

Oh, and that profile picture of Russell - genius! I laughed out loud when I saw it. (I also laughed at the panda bears.) And it was a nice touch that Stevie and Russell were in agreement in regards to it.

Poor Jay, having Matt and Blake gang up on him. Although, I enjoyed it. That was some great dialogue in the break room with Blake thinking Matt was asking about Nicaragua and the "Uncle Matty". At first, I thought it was a Chloe and some babysitting gig. And it was nice to get an update on the status of the relationship and that they didn't just forget about her.

I thought Bess' "I don't know" when Blake asked about a more "muscular" (Erich Bergen delivered that searching for words so well!) approach was weird. It was very "I don't know, let's talk about something else" like, as if she knew something she didn't want to talk about. But I guess, it's possible, since she did know about the CIA's involvement and I'd assume she also knew that Conrad was the boss at the time.

In a way, I like these scenes in the Oval Office when Bess is quiet and lets the men talk while she observes. I think it suits her former past as an analyst. It often also looks as if the men forget she's even there especially when the scenes are staged like this one. I wonder if they do it on purpose or if it just happens because of how they stage the scene. But in addition to suiting Bess' personality, I think the way they do it makes the scenes feel a bit more real.

I also liked that Conrad refused the military option and Bess didn't have to fight for the diplomatic aproach. And I thought it was a nice change that all Conrad seemed to know was what he didn't want.

How did Bess know if Conrad wanted a travel ban or something else since she gave him options and he didn't specify what he wanted done?

I'm not sure if I bought the outburst of Henry's niece but I think, a huge factor is that it was an overreaction of hers which it was meant to be. I did appreciate that she did not storm out but stayed and apologized.

And while I did buy what Russell said about the health care bill and the situation in Nicaragua, it sounded a lot less convincing coming from Jason. It fit with his character but we've seen so little of him and so little of that side of him lately, that it just felt out of place, as if they just remembered that he had this character trait. Maybe it would have been better had the scene been a bit longer.

Why was Bess massaging Henry after the day she's had and not the other way around?

I loved the blazer over the t-shirt. That was such a nice touch. I also liked that Chen more or less admitted that China misjudged the situation and Bess was right without saying so outright. They have such a great relationship and I like the few moments when Chen is actually cooperating.

That was an interesting lunch between Will, Henry and the niece. And totally not what I expected a talk between the niece and Henry (and Will) to look like.

I enjoyed the conversation between Bess and Conrad, not only because I like when they have these one-on-one conversations that show their closeness/shared past at the CIA but also because of what was said.

I was surprised that Russell knew what a selfie was. And Stevie's now his social media director? Not sure that's a job I'd want to have!

I liked the resolution to the Nicaragua crisis. And I know I keep saying it but for the most part, the continuity of the show is great. Even when we don't see the characters, there's little that they forget like, in this case, Harrison and his addiction. I like how they seem to use the characters when they need them but don't seem to pull characters out of thin air to suit their needs. If it fits, it fits. When it doesn't, it doesn't. But they also seem to have a broad range of characters to use.

Loved the symbolism of Chloe sitting at the President's desk at the end (while she didn't really seem to be aware of where exactly she was sitting and coloring.)

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