Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 9 Review: Carpe Diem

Television

Is anyone ready to say goodbye to Madam Secretary?

I’m not, but if Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 9 were the series finale, I’d be satisfied with how it all ended.

Luckily, we still have one more hour of this beautiful drama left — but in the meantime, let’s celebrate Elizabeth’s double triumph.

The word of the evening was pride: how it can destroy a nation or even a world and how true leaders refuse to hold onto it.

The Chinese President’s pride might have resulted in a nuclear war if Elizabeth hadn’t been so willing to sacrifice hers to achieve diplomacy.

Elizabeth: So the attack came from a rogue commander. That means that President Lee doesn’t want to escalate this conflict any more than I do.
Chen: His pride will not allow him to back down. It is a matter of honor, especially because you are a woman.
Elizabeth: So he’d rather blow up the world than bow to a girl?

Elizabeth’s insistence on finding a diplomatic solution came as no surprise to long-term viewers.

It was exactly how she operated when she was Secretary of State: tough when she needed to be but refusing to engage in armed conflict unless it was absolutely necessary.

But with her military advisors, her chief of staff, and her own Secretary of State all firmly in the camp of needing to show a greater display of force to send China a message, how many Presidents would have had the guts to try diplomacy anyway?

Everyone else’s position was logical. China was being aggressive and causing trouble, and bullies back down when a greater force opposes them.

Bombing China’s nuclear sites would have sent a strong message and neutralized their nuclear capabilities, but at what cost?

Even if the threat of nuclear war could have been averted, China and the US might have entered a new Cold War.

US allies didn’t fully approve of this operation, so if there was a long-standing conflict, it’s not clear whose side they would have taken.

Elizabeth chose the harder path: trying to avert the crisis without resorting to war, nuclear or otherwise.

And her solution required allowing the US to look like the loser — something that might not have sat well with all Americans, especially if the news spun this as Elizabeth failing to protect our reputation.

Elizabeth: I want to speak with President Lee.
Military advisor: With all due respect, ma’am, actions speak louder than words.
Elizabeth: I will not engage in retaliatory action without a dialogue. Until further notice, this is a rescue mission.

Elizabeth’s choice was more than a choice between war and diplomacy. It was a choice between pride and sacrifice for the greater good, and she chose sacrifice.

Congressman Heeney also had a choice to make.

During the impeachment hearings, he had stayed silent because he wanted to preserve his own political career.

His explanation didn’t make much sense.

This nonsense all started because Hanson equated Elizabeth’s pro-worker policies with non-democratic socialism, so how exactly was he advocating for the working class by going along with Canning’s attempt to undermine her administration?

Henry: He who accepts injustice welcomes it into his own house.
Heeney: You can quote Scripture to me all you want, but it’s not going to change my mind.
Henry: That’s not Scripture. That’s your father.

Anyway, as soon as he refused to help Henry, I knew he would change his mind by the end.

That’s how these things usually work, but it didn’t matter that it was predictable because of the strength of Heeney’s rebuke of Canning.

He was right that Canning’s attack seemed to be on reality itself.

Canning’s rantings were getting more and more delusional, and nobody sane would believe that Elizabeth faked the entire crisis to interfere with the impeachment.

She chose to testify rather than invoke executive privilege. If she wanted to interfere with the proceedings, surely tying the courts up with whether she could be compelled to testify would have been easier than faking an international crisis.

Thank you, Congressman Heeney, for finally finding your voice and putting a stop to this taxpayer-funded craziness.

The juxtaposition of the impeachment hearing and the international crisis demonstrated how partisan politics can affect not just US security, but global security.

It was just a passing comment, but Elizabeth suggested to Russell that Lee might be going on the attack because he assumed that the impeachment made her too weak to fight back.

In this case, the impeachment hearings were nothing but an attempt to undermine a President whose ideology (and perhaps her gender) offended certain members of Congress.

Like Lee, they were willing to blow up the world for the sake of their pride. And also like Lee, they underestimated how powerful Elizabeth’s refusal to put pride before national interest made her.

There’s another key ingredient that was only briefly mentioned, and that’s how inspiring a true leader can be to ordinary people.

Ultimately, the impeachment didn’t fail because Heeney defected or because Elizabeth stood her ground, though both those things helped.

It failed because millions of people rose up and demanded justice.

Elizabeth asked what made people get out in the streets, and the answer was that she proved that she cares about national interest and will fight for the betterment of everyone’s lives.

Russell seems to always miss this point.

This was the second time he worried about Elizabeth’s ability to work with Congress when part of Congress wanted to destroy her career. 

He never considers how ordinary citizens might respond to the goings-on in the White House.

Elizabeth: Politics ain’t a bean bag game.
Henry: True. But it ain’t supposed to be the Hunger Games either.

Hopefully now that record-setting crowds overturned a bogus impeachment proceeding, he gets it.

Either way, that final scene of millions of people declaring that Elizabeth is their President would have made a perfect ending to the series. As it is, it looks like the final episode will simply wrap up loose ends.

Speaking of which, that double proposal plan was all sorts of cute, and just the lighthearted, normal story we needed to offset the world on the brink of nuclear war.

Dmitri: With your permission, I’d like to ask Stephanie to marry me.
Henry: Oh my God! But you don’t have to ask me.
Dmitri: Oh, I should ask the President?
Henry: No, you don’t need to ask either of us. Stevie is an adult.

It didn’t go off at all as planned, but Dmitri’s eventual proposal was perfect, even if Russell did interrupt just a moment too soon.

As predicted, Dmitri and Stevie will begin their lives together as the series wraps up — could a wedding be in store during Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 10?

What did you think, Madam Secretary fanatics?

With one episode left to go, are you satisfied with how things have begun to wrap up? Are you glad the impeachment proceedings are finally over?

And what do you hope happens on the final episode?

Hit SHOW COMMENTS and then share your thoughts. 

Miss the episode? No problem. Just watch Madam Secretary online and then come back to join the conversation.

Madam Secretary continues to air on CBS on Sundays at 10 PM EST/PST. The final episode airs December 8, 2019.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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