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Madam Secretary - Revelation - Review

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“Revelation” is the title of 3.22, and that couldn’t be more appropriate. From the revelation about what ultimately happens to the stolen drone-turned-possible-bioweapon that we’ve been following for months to the Book of Revelation events the VFF is hoping to bring down on the world to Blake’s revelation that he’s bisexual, there were a lot of disclosures this week.

Months of operations and investigations into the VFF come down to 3.22. Henry and his team have tracked the VFF members and missing CDC scientist to Jerusalem, the city they’ve pinpointed as the probable location of a bioterror attack. To get a better handle on the situation, Agent Maloof and Henry are being sent there, but not everyone is thrilled about that: mainly myself and Elizabeth. Seriously. Can you blame the woman? Her husband has basically been in danger half of the season and still can’t even walk using his own limbs, but yes, head to a possible war zone. Making matters worse, she learns Henry is going overseas from the worst person imaginable: not Henry. It’s announced in the Oval Office, as if someone is reading from a lunch menu. Elizabeth is caught off guard at the revelation that Henry will (again) be putting himself in harm’s way. She feels ambushed and hurt that she finds out at the same time as Dalton, Russell and a handful of others. “Excuse me? Did you know about this,” she whispers to Henry, not caring… or possibly forgetting… that they’re among coworkers. For a split second, she’s just a wife, not the Secretary of State in the Oval Office. He throws her a confused and concerned look, like he’s silently both pleading and apologizing. They’re basically having an unspoken marital fight, as only couples who have been together for decades can do, in the middle of a crowded office. Their conversation continues later that evening back home in their bedroom. (Hands up for a bedroom scene. It’s been dry this season.) Elizabeth is concerned about Henry’s safety, rightly so. It’s not like he’s going to a beach where he’ll be sipping daiquiris and watching dolphins. He reassures her that he’ll be fine, just like she has with him countless times before her various trips. They “reassure” each other… until Stevie walks in. Curses to you, Stephanie McCord.

The trip to Jerusalem doesn’t go so well for the VFF members. Al-Qaida turns on them (that’s what they get for trusting terrorists) and everyone except Reverend Slattery is killed. Henry and Mo determine the intended target is not in Jerusalem, but Rome, and that the “head of the infidels” is the Pope. Welp, they’re half right. The “head of the infidels” is actually Conrad and the other leaders at the G20 summit. Who figured that out? Elizabeth. Of course. She puts the puzzle pieces together just in time, gets everyone to evacuate the building and orders the ventilation system be shut down. Give the woman a cape - matching his and hers "Super McCord" capes. Now I appreciate Elizabeth bringing her CIA experience to the State Department table, but I kind of wish it was Henry or Mo who solved the mystery. They had been working on this mission for months, and having Elizabeth ultimately save every leader and staffer from 20 countries at the last minute makes them seem a bit inept. I guess it’s the same thing as when the writers have Elizabeth save the day by second-guessing the FBI and CIA over something so seemingly obvious. Either way, everyone lives… except the Al-Qaida members.

So to recap: Lance Abbott, Dr. Zanner and 2 Al-Qaida terrorists are dead, Reverend Slattery is in custody and the world is once again safe from the rogue drone bioweapon. However, I still have questions. For example: there are still holes in the weapons smuggling chain. Yes, Daryl Brennan was the brains behind the operation, but who were the go-betweens? Like I said last week, unless Brennan was physically handing the weapons from the Texas depot to the VFF agents, we’re missing several key pieces of the process. Does this purposefully leave the storyline open for more potential issues next season? I’m not sure what I was expecting, but for a storyline that we spent half the season s-l-o-w-l-y building up, it seemed like a very rushed ending… which is weird because there’s still one more episode in this season. I am applauding the fact that it didn’t end in an explosion, though.

Despite the fact that I should have been focused on the drone storyline, the plot that got my heart this week centered on Blake. Former co-worker (and boyfriend), Trevor, pushes Blake towards uncharted waters he’s been afraid to even dip his toe into. Trevor comes on strong at first, years of not seeing each other putting him on edge and making him feel the need to boast, perhaps. He pushes to be introduced to Blake’s co-workers and comes close to outing him. It isn’t until Blake puts Trevor in his place a bit that Trevor softens and Blake is able to appreciate what Trevor is trying to do, albeit an awkward way of doing it. “I just want you to be happy and I want people to really know you,” Trevor admits. Score one for Trevor… but work on your people skills, dude.

Although Blake isn’t ready to hire a skywriter (mar-me, Elibet) to admit his sexuality, he is willing to step out of his circle of privacy and let one person in: Elizabeth. “Ma’am, I’m bi,” Blake blurts out. “Yeah. Bye. See you in the morning,” Elizabeth responds in classic Elizabeth fashion, clearly not understanding. This is when spellcheck in the real world would be useful. Elizabeth starts to drive off, and it would be easy for Blake to let her go and keep his “secret,” but he needs to tell someone. He needs to tell Elizabeth, the person he’s probably closest to outside of his family. Blake and members of the State Department staff see Elizabeth as their boss, but as she’s proven over the last 3 years, she’s also their personal mentor and comforting leader. Blake then begins a rambling but sweet monologue, during which he admits his sexuality, reasons why he hasn’t really discussed his personal life before and why he’s revealing this to Elizabeth now. 10,000 points to Erich for flawlessly acting out that scene. Halfway through Blake’s verbal diarrhea of feels, Elizabeth smirkles and takes off her glasses, a move she makes when she’s truly listening to people she cares about. When he’s finished, Elizabeth doesn’t respond with her own monologue. She simply hugs him. It’s one of Elizabeth’s Mama Bear hugs that are typically reserved for her kids. So genuine. So loving. So heartfelt. The move says more than any words could. From a few of the comments I’ve seen on social media, Blake’s journey is resonating with many viewers. So many times, this show is seen as a lightning rod for real-life political situations, but this is an example of how it can resonate on a personal level as well.

While Elizabeth mothers her staff, she’s also busy mothering her real children. Concerned that she and Henry are breaking Stevie’s spirit and clipping her wings, she asks Russell for help getting Stevie into Harvard Law. She also asks him to keep her request a secret. Espionage on the personal level. “Kind of ironic, asking me to secretly pull strings to help make your daughter more independent,” Russell quips as he walks away. Elizabeth’s response: her ever-so-slight push of her glasses… with her middle finger. I will never tire of seeing her subtle, work-appropriate flick-off. Stevie isn’t thrilled when she learns about Elizabeth’s request. “YOU’RE A WILD MUSTANG,” Elizabeth blurts out. I get it. With both Elizabeth and Henry in the middle of preventing another world war, they’re relying much more on their oldest. Although Stevie doesn’t seem to mind and is happy to help out, it’s bothering Elizabeth… possibly more than it’s bothering Stevie. Elizabeth doesn’t want to make her oldest grow up too fast, something she had to do. She’s also concerned it could eventually harm the relationship between her children, just as it did to her relationship with Will. While Elizabeth is trying to get Stevie to go away to school, Stevie is busy doing the opposite. She comes to the realization that at the moment, she can best help her family by staying at home. It’s a 180-degree turn from a short time ago when she announced she was moving to England. Now she doesn’t even want to move to Massachusetts. “Service is the family business,” Stevie rationalizes with Russell. She has often said she can never live up to her mother’s perfect reputation and life, but she’s turning out to be a mini-Elizabeth herself. I applaud the fact that she put her family before herself… and that she’ll be (theoretically) sticking around for next season… but I hope she doesn’t grow to resent her choice or her parents. It really is a young age to take on the role of “caregiver.” It’s not like her siblings are in elementary school and need constant monitoring, feeding, etc., but they do still require a lot of time, as evidenced by her need to skip her meeting for Jason’s trip to the ER. Hopefully Henry will take off his “Super Henry” cape and have more of a typical job once again next season… although he already starts his new government role next week, so I doubt that will happen.

Between the seeming end of the drone storyline and Stevie making a decision about Harvard Law, this episode felt like a season finale. The synopsis for the actual finale seems so random: Bulgaria, Russia, France. It’s full of storylines that have nothing to do with anything we’ve been following this entire season. Perhaps it’ll be setting up Season 4 instead of wrapping up Season 3. Although there will be a little Season 2 sprinkled in: Dmitri.

Other things:

--Loved Nadine jumping to Blake’s defense in front of Trevor, building up his job and role in the State Department. Den mother Nadine is at it again.

--”If I don’t make it, clear my search history.” I get it, Jason. I say the same things to my friends… but for me it’s my text message threads on my phone.

--Russell called Elizabeth “Bess” and that threw me a bit.

--Loved when Russell sighed and said “McCords,” as he turned to leave after his talk with Stevie. The man loves his McCord women.

--Elizabeth calling Henry a “dork” made me LOL. Ad lib by Téa?

--”I still can’t really pull off ‘dude,’ can I?” No, Elizabeth. You can’t. But continue trying.

What did you think about the end of the VFF/bioweapon storyline? How did you feel about Blake opening up about his sexuality? Are you happy Stevie will be sticking around at home? Only one more episode this season!

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