‘Madam Secretary’ season 3, episode 12 review: Tricky times in Togo

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Coming off of last week’s new episode of “Madam Secretary,” it wasn’t all that hard to see the show bringing something different to the table. Just remember for a minute here that we were coming off of a story involving a horse from Mongolia.

“The Detour” was something completely different, and something for the most part that took place outside of America — especially for Elizabeth McCord.

Elizabeth’s negotiation – Elizabeth wanted to work on a relief mission to Africa, but it was one that ended up being a race against Chinese authorities in order for it to happen. They had some motives of their own for beating the U.S. to the punch. The entire basis of this story was underlying the tension that was clearly present between these two countries, and how their repeated failures to get on the same page would only end up hurting the two of them. There was a genuine sense in here of one country trying to one-up the other, even to the point where China refused to believe that Elizabeth’s surprise landing in Togo before arriving in Nigeria was just that. They felt like it was a political move, one designed for the purposes of striking a powerful deal with the country that could bring in significant phosphate resources to America.

After dealing with this sort of conspiracy, it would have been rather easy for Bess to just walk away from it all. Instead, she tried to take advantage of the opportunity to return to Togo and try to orchestrate a deal that would resolve many of her problems. Basically, she made China think that they were negotiating with Togo over the phosphates, even when it wasn’t the case. Basically, it created false competition and diverted China away from things they actually needed. The political maneuvering in this episode was fun to see, mostly because it was written so intelligently and you never got the sense that the show was just throwing it in there for the sake of saying “America can do anything.”

Elsewhere in Togo, there were a few emotional moments for Daisy as she got a clear sense of precisely how people lived within the country. She connected with the people, and the people in turn connected with everyone at the State Department. Bess was even able to bring the gift of a special “stove” home to show how young women are coming up with alternative methods of cooking in the country.

The Henry story – We’re not going to say that Henry had the most substantial plotline that we’ve seen on the show in some time; yet, he did get a little closer to figuring out precisely what happened at the coffee shop earlier in the season — it was terrifying fanaticism at work. Unfortunately, his efforts did not stop the threats of other danger, as we saw with the bomb in the truck at the episode’s end.

Overall – As a whole, we’ll say that “The Detour” was one of the stronger episodes of the season just for showing the impact that the Secretary can have on the rest of the world. This was an interesting hour given the fact that we really didn’t see much of Russell or President Dalton. It was a change of pace after spending so much time on the Presidential Election, and a refreshing one to brought us back to some of the show’s roots and Elizabeth’s traditional work. Episode Grade: B+.

Next new episode – Want to see when the show is coming back? Then be sure to head over to the link here! (Photo: CBS.)

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