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Madam Secretary - North to the Future - Review

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Sex kills. Alright, that’s not the plot of “North to the Future,” but it’s definitely the most memorable line of the episode. Some other things first.

The international story du jour surrounds a Russian environmentalist who contracts smallpox. Did the Russian government do it? Nope. Blame permafrost. Warming permafrost, actually. As the ground heats, diseases from long ago are being released. This show manages to sneak in little climate change messages whenever it can. Warming permafrost has set into motion a tongue-in-cheek zombie smallpox. Of course there’s something called “zombie smallpox.” As if there isn’t enough crazy in the world these days. The person who linked the zombie smallpox to permafrost: Kat Sandoval.

Sara Ramirez burst onto the scene, and into the State Department, and I couldn’t be happier. As I said last week, the office could use another set of ovaries. Elizabeth is taken with Kat immediately. Miss You-Don’t-Even-Know-There’s-a-Box loves another non-box thinker, and that’s exactly what Kat is. Elizabeth also goes for the political outcast because she is one herself. She’s also not afraid of powerful women because, again, she is one. I can see how Kat may overstep the traditionally rigid political bounds and butt heads with people. I mean, she did throw a table at some senators. I wouldn’t even mind if she butts heads with Elizabeth -- to a point. Is it good to challenge someone? Yes. Elizabeth has proven she likes the discourse and discussions. However, I don’t want it to become a Team Elizabeth vs Team Kat situation. Too often, if there are two strong and independent female characters, it turns into a power battle. For some reason, we can’t be treated to a duo of capable women. Then again, look at real life. From actresses and models to news anchors and singers, there’s always some made up “feud” among the most successful females. However, if there’s a show I have confidence in when it comes to writing for powerful women, it’s this one. As for Kat’s relationships with the others, I can not wait to see Russell’s reaction. He’ll probably lob a verbal assault towards Elizabeth, who will just shrug him off. I hope Kat makes him squirm. That will be a fun relationship to watch develop. I’m also ready for her scenes with Matt and Blake. She may be a bit much for Jay, who’s still trying to find his footing at Chief of Staff. That’s fine with me. I’m all for more women challenging men if it makes sense.

Henry is back in the classroom at the War College. Be still my heart. I forgot just how much I missed him in that role until I saw him in front of students again. Unfortunately for me, he’s not back full time. SAD. He’s still working his espionage ways, trying to figure out where the mole/leak is coming from. One of his students poses a question for a paper about long-term undercover agents and if it’s moral to ask someone to pretend to be bad for a greater good. There’s that phrase again. Greater Good. I think the writers try to work it into a few scripts every season like some sort of literary Easter egg. Henry does some digging and realizes agents from several agencies have had their covers blown, so this is bigger than the CIA. He deduces there’s a high-level leak, likely from the Congressional Gang of Eight. Sitting center at that table is Senator Asshat. We know he’s not a Dalton or Elizabeth fan, and he doesn’t appear to like Henry any better. He seems like the obvious choice, but I always hope it’s never the obvious choice. Also, Skippy (Dylan) is getting more squirrelly every week. I’m not saying he’s the source of the leak, but I feel like we’re not finished with him yet. He either knows something or is just utterly socially awkward.

Jason has fallen down the rabbit hole of young love. Piper is the target of his affection. Unfortunately he’s focusing his attention on her and not school. “I’m talking about life having purpose. I discovered this whole other universe that I never knew existed, and it doesn’t include calculus or tests or old, dead wars,” Jason laments to Henry when confronted about his grades. OK, dude. Back up. You’re 15. Your purpose is to go to school. When Henry bans Jason from seeing Piper during the week, Jason says he won’t be contained by borders in time or space. If I didn’t know Jason was just being, well, Jason, I’d suggest a drug test. The last time I heard teens speak like that was Dawson’s Creek. Or Will Smith’s kids.

Elizabeth and Henry decide to tag team having The Talk with Jason. “Sex kills,” Elizabeth blurts out. What an amazing bumper sticker that would make. As Elizabeth and Henry stammer and sputter while trying to talk to their youngest, Jason interrupts them, putting everyone out of their misery. “Piper feels that when you have a spiritual connection like we do, sex isn’t necessary, so we’re just kind of above that.” Um, what? Is he Dalai Lama-ing sex? This seems very Jason, but it also doesn’t seem very realistic. It can only last so long until one or both of them want to explore a more physical relationship. Because hormones. And no, I’m not saying every teen has sex. Plenty don’t. For various reasons. I’m just saying his excuse might not have legs. Elizabeth and Henry are stunned, but drop the subject right then. I found that to be odd. They just take his word that he’s not having sex, at least for now, and don’t continue with their discussion? All of this said, I can’t remember ever having The Talk with my mom. Although if my mom had yelled “sex kills,” I’d probably never forget it… and would possibly be in therapy.

We didn’t make any progress on the Dmitri/Stevie situation, although he is on the cast list for next week. I did not miss him.

Other things:

--I went straight where Conrad did when Kat mentioned resurrecting the wooly mammoth: Jurassic Park. No, thank you. Although a certain someone does have some Jurassic Park experience.

--Henry: “Just in and out.” Elizabeth: “So to speak.”

--Champagne popsicles DO exist! So do winesicles. I highly recommend them.

Do you have any ideas about who the leak/mole may be? What do you think about Kat so far?

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