What we saw on Madam Secretary season 5 episode 16 was a story themed, by and large, around one subject: Climate change. While all science suggests that it is a reality, at the same time trying to get everyone on the same page in regards to this is so much easier said than done. As a matter of fact, it’s almost impossible.
Yet, for Elizabeth McCord, she had to do her best to speak about it in the larger context of what was going on with a storm that was set to ravage a Pacific island. Climate change has made an impact on some of these storms, but in this particular instance, there was no time to generate some sort of extensive research. Instead, she needed to find a way to act and help these people … while also looking towards this as an example of climate impact for future generations. Elizabeth did also want to support a resolution where the US and other developed countries did their best to support climate change.
Did Elizabeth and her team do their part? Sure, but that help only goes so far. Alongside the main crisis tonight, it was nice to get a return appearance from Kevin Rahm tonight as Mike, who did his part to help with the resolution and the proper language while also trying to care for his ailing dog. (For every dog owner, ourselves included, this was a kick right in the feels.)
No matter what happened tonight when it came to the resolution, nothing ended up saving the Pacific island — it was completely obliterated. The climate crisis has claimed many victims, and all Elizabeth and the US could do is help some of these survivors find a way to start over with many of these people in a new place.
Meanwhile, Henry’s challenge was a pretty clear one, as well — trying to convince a group of evangelicals about climate change in a way that they would understand. Faith and science do not have to be disproportionate. Henry, as a loyal Christian himself, was not out to present science as something that was either scary or blasphemous. Instead, he presented the issue as something that could intersect and Christians can work to make happen. It’s not speaking against their God, though it does seem like certain organizations are still forced to be wary of the subject matter — it is still a touchy subject.
Honestly, we wish there was more time to focus on Henry and this group just because there was something instructive and different here — something that we haven’t seen before in the way of civil discourse. His efforts did actually work, as at the end of the episode one of America’s most-important young evangelicals went on national TV and agreed with some of what he had to say — God gave men and women a chance to be protectors of the earth, and they had the will to make things better.
Whether it be the story tonight regarding the Pacific islanders or seeing Mike struggle with something personal and close to his heart, this Madam Secretary was going for emotion — and it delivered on it. This was not the easiest episode of the season to get through, just because so much was serious and the glimmers of hope were faint. We’re going to have to keep looking to find them; somehow, Elizabeth does have a way to find diamonds in the roughest of places. We may just need a good bit of patience, and a little faith of our own, to actually make it there.
Madam Secretary is idealistic at times when it comes to how politics work; it’s not always the same with depicting real-life events.
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