At the beginning of the episode, Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) hangs out with her friends, Isabelle and Juliet, while discussing the upcoming budget show down and her biggest rival, Senator Everard Burke (John Bedford Llyod). Juliet (Nilaja Sun) reveals that she lost custody of her kids. At the office, Liz talks about the budget with Daisy (Patina Miller), Blake (Erich Bergen) and Matt (Geoffrey Arend). Jay (Sebastian Arcelus) and Nadine (Bebe Neuwirth) agree that Liz needs to drop one of the programs from the budget, or Burke will humiliate her. Daisy disagrees and brings up the success story of a woman, who went through the program. With that, Liz agrees to keep the program, but insists Daisy’s success story come and speak in front of Congress.
During family dinner, Stevie (Wallis Currie-Wood) insists Congress cannot cut the micro loan program. Liz changes the subject and suggests it is time for Stevie to reenroll in Lovell. Henry (Tim Daly) offers his support, but Stevie refuses to commit, before rushing towards her room. At the Congressional Budget Hearing, Burke brings up the micro loan program. Liz attempts to introduce Nhung Chuang (Chantal Thuy), but Burke refuses to allow her to testify. Instead, photographs are presented, which show Mr. Pendergraff, who oversees the program, partying at a casino. Burke reports thats Pendergraff has been embezzling money and using it for personal reasons.
Liz and Henry stay up all night watching news reports of the stripper scandal. The next day, she works with her team, in hopes of correcting the situation. After a little bickering, Elizabeth blames her team, before revealing she has signed someone up to help out. Henry and Stevie hang out and discuss Stevie’s college aspirations, or not. She suggests volunteering for the micro loans program and Henry agrees. Liz learns about the whereabouts of Samila Mahdavi (Pooya Mohseni), who was last to access Marsh’s bank account.
Liz’s secret weapon, Michael Barnow (Kevin Rahm), arrives with his dog, Gordon. Blake learns about Michael’s background and his nickname, the hatchet man. Supposedly, Michael is one of the best, at firing people. Meanwhile, Barnow suggests Liz get rid of her entire team. She suggests she has a bigger plan and wants to specifically target Burke. Meanwhile, Liz’s team drink together, as the paranoia begins to set in. The group is given free drinks thanks to Burke’s man, Kyle Feeney, who dug up the micro loan evidence.
Stevie shows up at the micro loan office and attempts to volunteer. Since everyone has quit, she immediately moves up the ranks and is given her own desk. The entire team is brought into Liz’s office, where she puts them on notice. She separates Jay from the others, before he is escorted out of the building. Next, Liz meets with Kyle Feeney (Andrew Durand) and congratulates him for helping to rid the office of corruption. She offers him a job. Meanwhile, in Istanbul, Turkey, Samila is tailed, before being gunned down. Liz confronts Isabelle and questions her, if she told anyone about their operation. Isabella questions Munsey’s loyalty. FBI shows up, as Isabelle suggests she can’t forgive Liz.
Stevie is run off at the volunteer office, while Jay drinks away his depression. Kyle confronts Jay, who insists he begged Liz to drop the micro loan programs. Kyle insists he turned down Jay’s position and offers to hook him up with Burke, but the offer is refused. Next, Daisy and Matt stand up for Jay and insist he was the one, who wanted to the program cut, while they defended it. Nadine enters and tells them that Burke’s hearing is reconvening and Chuang is going to be called.
Much to everyone’s surprise Chuang speaks perfect English at the hearing, as Jay smirks at Kyle. He reveals that it was her son, who taught her to speak English. Meanwhile, Isabellae’s house is searched, as he is given a polygraph and admits to working for the CIA. Of course, she passes the polygraph, but it is discovered that a bug was placed in her bag. Although Liz suggests Isabelle is clean, Russell (Zeljko Ivanek) isn’t so sure about her. Liz insists it is time to bring the President into the conversation.
Jay is brought back in and Liz reveals he was part of her plan all along. She also says Mike B is going to be around for awhile. Stevie asks her parents for $20,000 to apply to Georgetown. She reveals she got an internship at the Micro loans program, but can only do it, if she uses the money for college. Liz and Henry agree with the arrangement. Liz receives a message Russell, which tells her to come in and speak with the President. The President reveals he had two agents investigate the crash and one ended up dead. Liz questions the identity of the other agent, before FBI is shown entering a house, which is possibly Juliet’s? Liz finds the stuffed bear from the beginning of the episode and a note, with her name one it.
Its been a super long break for Madam Secretary. In fact, the break was so long, I entirely forget about it coming back on. Still, the viewing numbers were in the 11 million range, so others must have a better memory. Anyway, the episode was alright overall, with a few fun twists at the end. However, the whole scenario with Jay felt like a rehash of the entire first season of State of Affairs and the double agent play with Kurt Tannen. Thankfully, this plot line didn’t play out more than a single episode.
Still, the final scenes were interesting, as the show begins to build more mystery for the Marsh assassination. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how the whole thing plays out and whether or not one of Elizabeth’s friends was involved. The episode deserves a 7 out of 10.