‘Madam Secretary’ season 3, episode 7 review: Elizabeth’s brother and old wounds

Secretary -There were several different story threads at the center of Sunday night’s “Madam Secretary,” but we think that the emotional core of this story far surpassed anything that we saw with the international-incident-of-the-week regarding earthquakes in Venezuela.

Let’s begin here with the return of Eric Stoltz, occasional director on the series, as Elizabeth McCord’s brother Will. He arrived back in town, and had an opportunity to settle down and establish more of a life for himself. It’d also mean preserving his relationship. However, at the same time he faced once again the allure of going out there into the world and doing something to help others — or help himself? That was the question Elizabeth asked him, noting that it was almost an addiction for him to go out and take part in relief efforts around the world.

As it turns out, this may all stem from his feeling that he let his mother down, ultimately because he left her to get help rather than stay at her side when she died. On the surface, it may be easy to have a reaction saying that he did the right thing here since he had the best intentions at heart. Yet, he may not see it that way in the moment. When you go through this sort of trauma, odds are that you have a harder time thinking clearly and assessing things in the same way as the rest of the world.

We were hopeful that these conversations would mean that Bess would get through to Will and convince him to say, but that didn’t happen. Instead, he decided to leave for Venezuela, leaving his sister heartbroken — until she took off to the airport and realized that he changed his mind. He did opt to stay, realizing that it was okay for other people to play superman. It was okay to give himself permission to stay and try and live his life, knowing that he had already saved enough people, and that nothing he could do from this point on would be able to bring back his mother.

Elsewhere in the episode – Nadine was forced to confront moments of her own past during some particularly difficult conversations, but we’re still not entirely sure she got what she wanted from them. Nadine’s a complicated character on the series, mostly because it feels like she’s perpetually in a situation where she cannot get entirely what she wants.

Crisis averted? – The good news is that following the aforementioned earthquake, Elizabeth and Dalton were able to work together and install new leadership; the problem they faced is that with the election looming, they knew that any decision they made would be fought by the opposition. It was, and this puts them under the microscope even more with the election looming.

Overall – This episode was for the most monopolized by everything that transpired with Elizabeth and Will, which we didn’t mind since Tea Leoni and Stoltz were fantastic through much of this. While there is a part of us that wishes for a stronger political angle here, we’re also aware of just how numb we’re becoming to political stuff right now in the wake of the real-life election. This may have been the best of both worlds. Grade: B+.

Interested in getting some additional news on “Madam Secretary,” including a further preview for what is coming up next on the series? Then be sure to visit the link here right now! (Photo: CBS.)

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