The third-season premiere of “Madam Secretary” Sunday night certainly wasted almost no time at all before addressing one of the biggest cliffhangers: The reelection campaign for President Dalton. Unfortunately, it was not going to be working out in the way anyone thought. He lost the support of his own party, but by the end of the hour, Elizabeth McCord may have convinced him that there was a different way, or a sea change … if you will. That is, after all, the title for this episode.
After receiving an offer to stay on as Secretary of State from Sam Evans, Elizabeth turned around to Dalton was a curious suggestion: Why not try and run as an Independent? It’s a worthy idea, and we do think that there are some pretty significant incentives to go in that direction. He has the support from certain demographics, and in coming out as a believer in climate change, he certainly has the support of independents.
Ultimately, it was Bess herself who had to turn down the veep job, mostly because of the fact that she realized the only way for Dalton would win would be in the event that he picked someone else as a running mate, someone who could help carry swing states.
The real issue you can argue with this as a twist is that when it comes to being something that could actually happen, we don’t see it. Nobody wins elections as independents. Theodore Roosevelt came close, but that was a solid century ago. The only other letdown of this episode was the minimal screen time for director Morgan Freeman, who basically had a blink-and-you’ll-miss cameo.
Ultimately, we do think that this episode as a premiere still gives “Madam Secretary” fans a little bit of everything you want: There were still some conflicts when it comes to international relations, we had a new dimension that kept the show’s sense of idealism and spirit intact. As far as jeopardy goes, there’s a little bit of that courtesy of someone hacking Jason’s computer; the family has a stalker, and that should serve as a worthy and chilling cliffhanger until next week. Episode Grade: B+.
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