World War III seems to be just around the corner after this week’s Madam Secretary. The drama with Russia continues to intensify when Maria Ostrov calls for a special election for Russia’s new president to be held in just 30 days, and of course she is vying for the position. Maria’s victory would be a disaster for the United States (and arguably the world), which is why Bess spends most of her time in this episode trying to help her Russian pal Gorev get out of London. Gorev’s had to live in exile after Mr. Ostrov’s funeral, and because of sanctions that England refuses to lift his bank accounts have been frozen. Without any access to his funds, he can’t run for president against Maria Ostrov.
After talking with the president, Bess meets with the British Ambassador, and they come up with a plan to get Gorev his money. Gorev owns three large properties in England, and if they can sell them to wealthy Englanders Gorev would have the money he needs to challenge Maria. However, when Bess delivers this news to the President and her arch nemesis, Craig, the two of them decide that they don’t want to give Gorev the money with no strings attached. Instead they tell Bess that the only way the U.S. will help Gorev is if he’ll give up Russia’s government secrets, specifically their plans for invading Ukraine. Gorev refuses this plan (which Bess knew from the start), but something he says gives Bess the information she needs to solve this problem once and for all.
While all this drama is happening with Russia, the tech guy who’s been investigating the Air Force One hack has revealed who done it! They don’t know the man’s real name, but he goes by an alias, Dash. And while they don’t know who hired him, they know he has plans to attack again. After Bess speaks with Gorev, she realizes there’s a connection between this Dash fellow and Gorev (which I honestly didn’t understand, and don’t really know how to explain). Bess somehow realizes that Maria Ostrov must have hired Dash to sabotage Gorev during one of his earlier travels, and she brings this news to the President. He agrees to give Gorev the money he needs, but hours later Gorev is murdered by his “assistant.” At the same time, during his flight back to Ukraine the President of Ukraine’s plane is also hacked by Dash and is forced into an emergency landing. Once again, Bess meets with the President and his staff in the situation room where they realize that Russia is absolutely behind the Dash attacks, and that this will likely lead to war.
That about sums about the major action of this week’s episode. In a less dire yet equally important moment, Alison (Bess’s middle daughter) confronts Bess when she fails to show any enthusiasm for Alison’s new position as a fashion columnist for her school’s paper. She accuses Bess of having no interest in her at all. This moment couldn’t have come at a better time for me. So far, Alison’s never had an important story line. She’s basically just been hanging around in the background or making little quips, and I was starting to wonder why the creators of this show even included her. So it was very satisfying for this episode to address this issue in a way that makes sense to the story. Bess eventually apologizes to Alison in a lovely little scene. I’m always on Bess’s side, but as a middle child myself I really felt for Alison (not that I don’t think my parents find me interesting. We middle children just have to stick together.).
Henry and Dimitri continue spying on everyone, but at least it was less melodramatic and actually compelling this time. Dimitri gets a drunken Russian official to admit that Maria Ostrov is planning an invasion of Ukraine once she is elected president, and that two of her henchmen were sent to kidnap Gorev’s daughter (this of course being planned before they simply have him murdered). While I’m still not a fan of this subplot, I can at least stand to watch it now that I know Henry isn’t a sociopath.
Back at Bess’s office, Jay plans to assemble a few TV studio executives to license their shows to be broadcast on Russian television together with a pro-American news show. Jay and the other members of Bess’s press staff are attempting to fight anit-Ukraine propaganda currently airing on Russian TV. Unfortunately, the government can’t pay the executives so they back out of the deal.
All-in-all I quite liked this episode of Madam Secretary. It’ll be interesting to see where this conflict with Russia goes, and I hope there are more compelling stories happening within Bess’s family and staff.