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Madam Secretary - Unity Node - Review: "She tried her best, but people still got hurt"

Madam Secretary returned after a short break with an episode that saw major character deaths and left the peace treaty with Russia in limbo. On top of that, Henry was angry at Elizabeth for what happened with Dmitri.

The episode starts right where we left off, with one of the two cars exploding in Geneva. It was actually Maria Ostrov's car that exploded, and President Dalton and Elizabeth are rushed away. The Russians are trying to pull Maria Ostrov from the wreckage, and Bess wants to stay behind in Geneva to save the peace treaty. If Ostrov dies, so does the deal. Dalton agrees and Bess gets to the hospital where she meets up with Jay, who immediately informs her that a Ukranian radical group known as Knights of Kiev has claimed responsibility for the attack on Ostrov's life. The group is being led by Olek Zelinski and Bess orders Jay to have the Swiss ground the plane of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Melnik. Henry calls Bess to see if she's OK, but he won't tell her where he is. After the call, Jay informs Bess that Maria Ostrov didn't make it. She quickly sits down with General Doroshevich and asks him the honor the deal his late President made, but he tells her that after the three-day mourning period for Ostrov, he and Acting Russian President Salnikov will resume their war with the Ukraine. Melnik claims that neither he nor President Bozek had anything to do with the attack on Maria Ostrov and that they have no connections to Zelinski. The US immediately starts searching for Zelinski. The US manages to locate him and arrange an operation to get him, but they lose six American soldiers while getting him into custody. However, Melnik informs that Bozek is unwilling to hand over Zelinski to Russia, which makes Bess angry. She says they lost six soldiers and she threatens with pulling out all the troops in Ukraine. Melnik is on board, but Russia remains a question mark. Fortunately, Acting President Salnikov is actually quite a decent guy and despite General Doroshevich's not wanting to honor the peace treaty, Salnikov agrees that enough lives have been lost. So yes, that peace treaty is still standing.

Meanwhile, Henry is in Stockholm to make sure Dmitri's sister Talia is fine and to get her to come to the US, but she is unwilling to do so until she sees her brother. Since the Russians are looking for Talia as leverage over Dmitri, Henry begs Jane to allow him to tell that Dmitri is an asset for the US, but of course that's not an option. Henry then suggests to just kidnap Talia, but at that moment Jane gets word that the Russians have stopped their search for Talia. That means they don't need her anymore, because Dmitri has already talked and is probably dead or will be dead soon. This is later confirmed in a call from President Dalton to Elizabeth. Bess and Henry later argue while doing mandatory service hours at Alison's school. Bess wants to talk to Henry and drags him to the gym, where Henry says he blames a lot of people for Dmitri's death, but most of all he blames himself. Henry meets with Jane and tells her he's quitting the job. After that, Bess and Henry take a walk and talk about how people still got hurt despite both of them doing their best. Bess thinks "She tried her best, but people still got hurt" should be her epitaph. Henry says they should just keep trying their best.

Also, Nadine's fling Glen from NASA informs her that North Korea has launched a satellite that exploded in orbit and smashed into the space station. That leaves two American and one Japanse astronauts trapped without any space suits. At the other side of the space station, three Russians are in a safe zone. Russia is sending up a ship so that their three men can get out, but that still leaves the other three trapped. They cannot use the space suits, but China has special suits that they could use. It's Bess' job to convince the Chinese to let the US use those suits and to convince Russia to put those suits on their ship. Chinese Foreign Minister Chen sees some irony since China was shut out from the International Space Station and now they need their help, but Bess promises to lobby Congress to get the ban lifted. Chen agrees to send these space suits, and Russia is in if they get credit for the rescue. When Bess and her staff later watch the live rescue as the Russian space ship arrives, the Russian cosmonauts were ordered to stand down as it was too dangerous to deliver the suits, but they ignored the orders and refuse to leave without the other three astronauts so they risk their lives to save them. The mission is a success, and China, Russia and the US actually worked together instead of against each other.

So I guess that was it with Russia for now. We have had quite some intense episodes with the Russia storyline and this episode seems to be the conclusion to that, for now. This was another strong installment that actually resolved the major storylines of the first half of season 2. We have peace with Russia and Henry quit his job. I enjoyed watching Henry as a spy and I believe Tim Daly has done an amazing job portraying Henry's morality struggles. In this episode he was great as well, showing Henry's grief over Dmitri's death, his anger at Elizabeth and him blaming himself for what happened. Having said that, I am all right with Henry quitting his job. It totally fits the character to do something like that after losing Dmitri, and I don't mind seeing Henry as 'just' a supportive husband to Elizabeth. They really are such an awesome couple as we once again saw in this episode when they were working through their issues. One thing that feels off about this episode is that we had two pretty big deaths of heavily recurring characters, and yet we didn't get to see either one of the bodies. I guess that's just how it works with the show's point of view from the higher-ups, but still I wonder if there's more to it. I don't believe Russia would have a reason to fake Maria Ostrov's death, and I don't see how she could have made it out of that car alive, so I believe that she is really dead. But is it possible that Dmitri is still alive? Could the Russians still have him somewhere? I think it's possible, even though I don't find it very likely at this point. It would certainly open an interesting storyline as Henry could go out on his own to try and save Dmitri. For now, we just have to accept that Dmitri is dead, which sucks. By the way, Maria Ostrov's death is understandable, but she was just becoming a bit more acceptable. I would like to once again give a shout out to Angela Gots, who did an awesome job in portraying Maria Ostrov.

What did you think of "Unity Node"? Do you believe the peace treaty with Russia will hold? Are you happy that Maria Ostrov is gone? Will the new President be any better? How awesome were these three Russian cosmonauts that saved the other three astronauts? Do you think Henry will never return to the DIA again? And lastly, is there any chance that Dmitri is still alive or is that just wishful thinking on my part? I would love to hear your opinions in the comment section below.

The new Madam Secretary episode airs tonight at a special time at 9/8c on CBS. Watch a promo for the episode below.

About the Author - Daniel van der Veer
Daniel van der Veer is a Dutch university student studying Psychology. On SpoilerTV he is a reviewer of NCIS, The 100, Madam Secretary and Quantico. He also enjoys LOST, Arrow, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Nikita, The Blacklist, Scorpion and How To Get Away With Murder.
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