It’s that special time of year. The leaves are changing colors, the smell of pumpkin spice lattes fills the air, and your favorite fall TV shows are returning. Madam Secretary made it’s premiere on Sunday, and oh boy did a lot happen.
Madam Secretary follows Elisabeth McCord a.k.a Bess (Tea Leoni), a former CIA agent turned college professor who is asked to become the Secretary of State after the current Secretary dies in a plane crash. She and her family relocate to Washington D.C., and the show basically shows their transition to this new life. Eventually it is revealed that the former Secretary’s plane crash was no accident, and Bess and others devote much of the first season into solving this conspiracy. The conspiracy is really the least interesting part of the show. I think the show is much more compelling when it’s following Bess and her staff while they solve diplomatic issues.
Now, let’s catch up with everyone and where they are at the start of the second season. We finally got to see the Vice President make a cameo! Not once did he appear in the previous season, but we finally got to see him in perhaps not his brightest moment. Before the Vice President can begin his game of golf with the Chinese Ambassador, he loses his lunch all over the ambassador’s shoes. Cut to Madam Secretary Bess’s office where Matt serenades her with a song she must perform at the Pacific Rim Economic Forum later that day. Admittedly, my favorite part of this episode (and frankly any episode of this show) is watching Geoffrey Arend; now I know he can sing—life just got a little sweeter. Henry appears to be getting into the swing of things at his new teaching/spy job at the National War College. Jason is once again semi in trouble at school, Alison’s elected Peer Mediator at school —which no one cares about—and Stevie is hooking up with Harrison in a swanky hotel room.
Okay, so now that you know what everyone’s up to, let’s get to the meat of this episode. The President and some key members of the White House are aboard Air Force One, when suddenly the White House loses all communication with the plane. Because the Vice President is sick/hospitalized, the Speaker of the House is also on the plane, and the President pro tempore of the Senate is incompetent due to some mini strokes Bess has to temporarily rule as President of the United States. Yowzer! Bess is not at all pleased since President Conrad is one of her oldest friends, and she still has to perform at the dinner later that night. And Henry’s not only teaching at the National War College, he’s also spying! His boss at the DIA asks Henry to spy on his Russian student, Ivan, because she believes he can be an asset to the U.S. But Henry has an eye on his other, smarter Russian student Dimitri. More (arguably not intriguing) intrigue! Also, Stevie is caught with Harrison in a hotel room by the Secret Service just after she discovers Harrison’s still carrying heroin with him. While Stevie can get on my nerves and perhaps she shouldn’t be dating Harrison while he’s still in the early stages of recovery, Henry’s outburst when she tells him she still has the heroin was pretty horrible. I’d rather see him take out his anger on the ever-annoying Jason. It would just be nice to see him get his comeuppance.
For the most part I was pretty happy with this episode, but I was not super thrilled with its ending. I got my fill with the whole Iran conspiracy in the last season. This season two premiere was off to a promising start. There was a huge crisis that Bess and her team had to deal with, but it was grounded and didn’t involve some wacky conspiracy until, it’s revealed at the end that someone (mostly likely within the government) tampered with Air Force One by enabling some malware that shut down all its communication. Ugh. Madam Secretary was so close to the show I want it so badly to be! It’s interesting enough to watch Bess deal with foreign and domestic issues without there having to be some convoluted conspiracy playing out in the background. I can understand that CBS probably wanted to get people interested in the first season so they added the whole “the Secretary of State was murdered and it was totally an inside job,” but the first season was a hit. So why continue the unnecessary drama? Oh well, I suppose I’ll have to deal with it.
And there’s still plenty more reasons to keep watching Madam Secretary. (Especially if Geoffrey Arend keeps singing.) Like Morgan Freeman making an appearance!! Whaaaat?! That was so great. I hope they find another reason to bring him in as the Chief Justice. Maybe he could just start narrating the episodes. I’d settle for that. Until next week….