Madam Secretary season 5 episode 19 review: Elizabeth conquers tabloids

Madam SecretaryTonight, Madam Secretary season 5 episode 19 brought to the table one of the largest challenges of Elizabeth McCord’s career. Why is that? Well, let’s just say that she’s used to being proactive. She’s used to have a certain degree of power in just about everything that she does but now, she feels a little bit powerless.

All of the trouble in tonight’s episode for Bess started with her realizing that a new tabloid story was spreading proclaiming that she and President Dalton previously had an affair years ago. She knew that it wasn’t true, but most of her potential campaign staff gave her the advice to forget it and try to focus elsewhere. It wasn’t as though they were trying to downplay how she felt, but the advice was that the next news cycle would swallow it up and people would immediately forget that it ever happened.

Yet, we were seeing that Elizabeth’s job as Secretary of State was facing a few problems because of the story — she was trying to solve a crisis in Myanmar and this was getting much of the attention instead. It was a difficult, painful position for her to be in since wanted nothing more than to be able to just move away from nonsense that wasn’t true. Yet, she felt trapped, and she understood that the rumors were hurting her family.

By the end of the episode tonight, Elizabeth made a decision that may have shocked her staff, but made us very happy — she wanted to do things her way. That included remaining an independent rather than accepting the opportunity to run on the GOP ticket, and that also included her deciding to go on television and address the allegations in a new interview with Jane Pauley. She’s decided that she wants to have a run on her own terms, even if that means taking on some subjects that advisers may consider to be mistakes. She denied the affair rumors on national television, spoke her truth, and we have a feeling that now, she will have a chance to move on.

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Kat and Elizabeth stand up for women

The man in line to become the Secretary of State found himself in a particularly tough position tonight — but one firmly of his own doing. Kat and Elizabeth teamed up to give a voice to a number of women who felt victimized by this man’s workplace harassment and Kat, in no uncertain terms, made it clear that this would not be acceptable. It didn’t matter the man he was to the American people; it mattered who he was to the very people around him; if women didn’t want to be in his presence, that’s a problem. He initially released a statement — he may not have wrote it, but it was still an admission. This also meant a chance for someone else to step in to Elizabeth’s position after she announced her run.

CarterMatt Verdict

This episode was all about Elizabeth standing up for what she believed in, no matter the cause — whether it be her standing up for women in the State Department or her standing up for herself amidst the tabloid headlines. That speech from Elizabeth about hatred at the end was stirring, powerful — it was a fine example of the idealism and power that Madam Secretary brings to the television world. It’s not about partisan politics; it’s a show about hope.

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