The episode opens with conflict in West Africa and Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) attempting to write the biggest speech of her career. As hectic as it is at the office, things aren’t much different at home. An old professor, Father Laurent Vasseur (played by Louis Gossett Jr.), of Henry comes to visit, which turn’s Madam Secretary’s attention towards West Africa. The region is experiencing an ethnic cleansing, which is putting women and children at risks.
Despite needing to come up with her speech, outside factors continuing to pull Elizabeth’s attention toward West Africa. Her husband, Henry, and Vasseur team up. And when things couldn’t get worse, Ambassador Odilon Bokassa pays Madam a visit. Of course, he whitewashes the situation, but Hill….er Madam Secretary ain’t no fool. Things continue getting worse in West Africa and at home. Elizabeth discover a possible spy in ranks, in the form of Nadine. Although America has no legitimate interest in West Africa, Elizabeth takes her strategy to the president, in hopes of receiving backing. Despite 50,000 innocents being at risk, the meeting ends badly for Madam Secretary.
While Elizabeth continues to make her push politically, Henry and Father Laurent attempt to get support from a reporter, who says the process will require more time. Back at home, mother and daughter share a bonding moment, as Stevie (Wallie Currie-Wood) reassures her mother. Finally, a break through. The Washington Chronicle agrees to write an article on the story. Meanwhile, Elizabeth begins her speech, which quickly goes off the rails and directly into the West African tunnels. While a few stand with Elizabeth on the matter, it seems she’s gotten herself in hot water.
Welp, Hillary is out and John Kerry is in. The end! Elizabeth doesn’t seem too considered about the speech. Nadine belittles Blake and lets him know that she is well aware of their distrust for her. The Ambassador of the Republic of West Africa insults America directly to Elizabeth, before we got back home to join Elizabeth and Henry in bed. Uh oh! President is mad and Russell summons the Secretary to the White House. While Russell has his tighty whities in a bunch, the president agrees with Secretary and is willing to offer his support. Now the team is beginning to pick up steam.
Henry rushes to Madam Secretary, as the two discover that Father Vasseur has been accused of smuggling drugs. Now, the president is facing a possible scandal. While Russell continues to push his political agenda, Elizabeth continues mentioning the innocent people of the RWA. The team continues pushing ahead and work to craft a press release for logistical and air support. Henry lays down the law on old Reverend and demands answers. The reverend justifies his actions and refuses to apologize to Henry, who cuts ties to his old friend.
When things can go wrong, they will. More troops will be needed to beef up the African troops, unless the CIA can cut a deal with African warlords. Now, all support seems to be pulling out. Things continue growing worse for the cause. Even the CIA’s intermediary is killed. Time to call in John McCain to Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran.
Back at home, Elizabeth and Henry are down on their luck. Things aren’t looking good for the innocents of West Africa. Of course, Henry comes up with a clever plan to offer the warlords a better deal. Father Vasseur agrees to communicate with the warlords. If they allow troops through, the US will give them cash, without public knowledge. Obviously, the Ambassador isn’t happy with the situation, but there isn’t much he can do.
Madam Secretary and Nadine share a bonding moment and share to toast to a good day at the office. Back at home, Father Vasseur finally apologizes to Henry and informs him that he is traveling to Rome. Madam Secretary offers her support, but Father still insists on taking his leave.
Overall, this was a fairly straightforward episode. There weren’t a lot of surprises and I would have liked to seen some more scenes at home with the kids. I tend to find these scenes to be the best, in the series. If you can get around the fact that the show is political and possibly promoting Hillary Clinton in 2016, the show is solid. The episode deserves a 7 out of a 10.
While the series is solid, it is still missing something. If the show had a little more heart, it could be great, instead of good, as it is now. We’ll continue to look forward to each episode on Sunday night on CBS.