Madam Secretary: No Man Left Behind – A Deep Dive into the Episode

Madam Secretary: No Man Left Behind – A Deep Dive into the Episode

Madam Secretary

Marine Motto Meets Madam Secretary

The Marine motto, “No man left behind,” plays a pivotal role in this week’s episode of Madam Secretary. Elizabeth faces off against a Filipino president she has previously defended, with the goal of bringing home the remains of thirty-one missing American World War II soldiers. As with all political endeavors, this mission comes at a cost.

I never warmed up to President Andrada when he first appeared in the fifteenth episode of the third season, and my opinion hasn’t changed. His refusal to allow the remains of the WWII soldiers to be returned to the U.S. unless the United States provides a $300 million military aid package is infuriating. The scene where he eats fried chicken while Skyping with Elizabeth is particularly appalling. What kind of leader disregards manners and decorum when conversing with another government official? And then there’s his challenge to Elizabeth for a boxing match after she flies halfway across the globe to confront him about the remains. Part of me hoped that the Secretary would accept Andrada’s challenge, but her subtle threat to expose him as a weak president was satisfying as well.

Stateside Struggles and Political Games

Back in the U.S., Henry and Stevie are kicked out of a restaurant they’ve frequented for years. The owner, Trevor, believes that Elizabeth is against bringing the deceased soldiers home and is best friends with Senator Own Callister, whom the Secretary has nicknamed Senator Racist Obstruction. I had a feeling Elizabeth wouldn’t take this sitting down, and I was right. Kat goes to the Senator’s office on the Secretary’s behalf and issues a warning: if he ever goes after the McCords again, he’ll face the wrath of an angry Elizabeth in full-on Mother Hen mode.

Alison McCord also gets involved in politics when she participates in a campaign. The candidate, Craig Pavano, initially seems like a person who knows where he stands and what he’s doing. However, when he backs out on the student loan forgiveness issue, the middle McCord child withdraws her support for Pavano. Her actions remind me of Stevie’s decision just before the explosion at the White House during the season premiere. We may be a generation of Millennials with new ideas and opinions, but that doesn’t make us superior to previous generations. Perhaps the writers should avoid articles that tarnish the reputation of millennials, as we are not solely to blame.

Gloria Paley: A Character to Remember

The highlight of the episode, aside from the focus on the upcoming midterm elections, is Gloria Paley. She is portrayed by the talented Phyllis Somerville, who has starred in various shows like The Big C, Daredevil, The Blacklist, Blue Blood, CSI: Miami, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Elementary. Somerville has also had roles in films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Leap of Faith. I appreciate the way she brings the character of Gloria to life. After waiting seventy-three years for her father to return from the war and learning the truth about what happened to him, she sets aside her anger and hurt so that the foundation created in her father’s memory can continue its good work. In a way, it’s a win-win situation, even though Gloria’s father won’t be buried with military honors.

Final Thoughts and Observations

Why would Pavano hire an interpreter when he knows ASL? Perhaps he’s not completely fluent in the language, but some context would be helpful.

The intervention scene in Elizabeth’s office is quite amusing. The entire staff believes that the Secretary will respond publicly to her family’s restaurant incident and wants to stop her before she can. Elizabeth says she will ignore it, but Team M-Sec can’t seem to decipher her mood. It must be her former CIA training – always maintain a strong poker face, regardless of the situation.

I chuckled when Kat greeted her boss with a stray cat pun. Oh, show, you and your witty puns!

It’s nice to see Henry settling into his role as Ethics Advisor so smoothly. It seems the overwhelming transition process from the War College is finally over and done with.

Kudos to Elizabeth for making Alison see sense. I was as shocked as she was when the second eldest McCord child told her mother that she never voted. Voting is crucial to ensure that we get the right people to run our government. Without it, anyone can run the country, regardless of their political standpoints. I enjoy watching shows like Madam Secretary because television can be a powerful medium for artists to hold a mirror up to society. It can show us the ugly truth of the world around us, but it can also show us that there is hope for a better future.

Photo via CBS

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