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Madam Secretary - The Seventh Floor - Review

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Team McCord is MIA this week. Instead, we’re treated to more in-depth storylines for the State Department staff. I’d expect nothing less for an episode titled “The Seventh Floor.”

Blake’s morning routine proves what we already know: the dude is an impeccable perfectionist. That personality trait serves him well in his job. Blake’s simple run for morning pastries kicks off this episode’s international storyline. Colin Mitchell is a journalist who’s been held captive in Sudan for years, but he’s sick and could die if he’s not released. No pressure, guys.

Jay is on a steep learning curve when it comes to single fatherhood. Abby’s mom unexpectedly drops Chloe off at the State Department, leaving Jay with a toddler while he’s trying to free a dying imprisoned American. You know, your everyday problems. Is Abby’s mom insane for thinking she can just leave Chloe with Jay because she wants to? I don’t care what your job is, I don’t know many employers who would be OK with this. However, it is nice to see a dad grapple with childcare issues for a change. Jay takes it in stride, strolling Chloe to a meeting at the Sudanese Embassy. He also tests the waters of his new bachelorhood, thanks to a journalist.

Daisy is embarking on the job of a lifetime: mother. She’s pregnant with Joseph “Kevin” Garcia’s baby. Who saw that coming? *raises hand* Back when Patina announced she was pregnant, I wondered if this exact scenario would play out, but I gave up hope because they seemed to be hiding her growing belly instead of building it into the storyline. Daisy is understandably panicking about being a mom. Sure, she’s talked about wanting children before, but like every other Type A personality who works on the 7th floor, she had a path in life plotted out and this is a detour she wasn’t expecting. It’s still new and terrifying, and she’s just starting to accept the news herself. Enter Elizabeth. She and Daisy share a heart-to-heart talk on the roof that’s reminiscent of her chats with her own daughters. Elizabeth talks to Daisy like a friend and a fellow working mother, not just a manager, offering advice on motherhood and reassuring her that all will be well. “It’s a beautiful world, Daisy. The best ride is just about to start.”

Also supporting Daisy is Nadine. The office den mother is at it again this episode. Not only is she a counselor to Daisy, she’s also a confidant to Jay. Granted, both initially go to her for professional reasons, but Nadine has proven time and time again that she has the best interest of her employees at heart. “Do you want to talk about it,” is a question she often poses, allowing staff the chance to open up in a safe environment. Her decades of experience often give her the insight that’s needed to skillfully and respectfully guide those under her care.

Nadine is successfully under one person’s skin: Mike B. Apparently their Election Night rendezvous got to him because months later, he’s still pursuing Nadine. Like the boss she is, Nadine isn’t even giving it a thought, dismissing him the way I tell the cat “no” when it tries to drink out of my water glass. She doesn’t even entertain the idea for 1.02 seconds… and that’s precisely what drives Mike B. wild. The dude is not used to being turned down or not getting his way and right now, Nadine has the upper hand. Does she care about him? Possibly, but she’s not letting on. Get it, girl. Let the man work for it. I like them together, mainly because I’d like Nadine to have something other than her work in her life. I’m not sure Mike B. is the man for her… or how that could complicate their jobs… but I’m willing to see where this goes. Give it time, though. Don’t rush them into a relationship (if it’s going to happen). I like the tension. Then again, I loved the S2 Elizabeth and Henry angst.

Unlike Season 2, Elizabeth and Henry are working on the same side this season. It’s still weird for me to see them at the same work meeting. Elizabeth offers the slightest smile when she looks at Henry across the table. It’s a slightly odd position they’re in, and the fate of the world being on their shoulders isn’t helping. Despite trying to prevent World War 3, when they’re outside of the meeting, they’re just husband and wife… as evidenced by their hallway discussion about dinner. Poor Jay is caught in the middle of the marital squabble. These personal touches help remind us, and their coworkers, that even though they have high-profile jobs, they’re just a regular couple. Side note: I would’ve given anything to actually see that dinner with the Lagmans… mainly because I’d like another appearance of Drunk Elizabeth.

Other Things:

--Music played a major role in this episode. Yes, instrumental music is always used, but music with lyrics is very unusual for this show. So much so, it almost seemed like a one-off. Personally, I liked it. It gave depth to the scenes and even insight into the characters. Sondheim for Blake? Obviously. Joni Mitchell for Nadine? Clearly. The song playing during the final scene, Andra Day’s “Rise Up,” is often used on TV and it never fails to bubble up my feels. Let’s not forget the song that destroyed everyone’s emotions: John McLaughlin’s “We All Need Saving” from Tamerlane. Do I think the music should be integrated like this every episode? Not necessarily, but I truly did enjoy it and wish it would happen more frequently.

--We saw 3 seconds of humanity again from Russell when he was talking about love and marriage with Jay. The fact that these moments are so fleeting is what makes them so special.

--”Every few years, Bono reminds you the Sudan exists and you’re in my ear.”

--”It’s a strange thing, living your life like normal when things are afoot that could end it at any moment. But what else can we do?” Oh, how that struck me.

--Minister Chen appearance! I love his irate, stubborn, unreasonable self.

Henry heads overseas in the next episode to solve the riddle of the VFF. Again with the maimed man putting himself in danger.

What was your favorite part? Did you like the music? How do you feel about Daisy’s pregnancy? What about Jay moving on from Abby?

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