Madam Secretary Season 3 Episode 16 Review: Swept Away

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Just because somebody is the earthly embodiment of peace and compassion doesn't mean they can't stir up trouble on a global scale. 

Elizabeth struggled to find the middle way on Madam Secretary Season 3 Episode 16, as the climate change treaty she had worked tirelessly was attacked from all sides.

Climate Treaty - Madam Secretary

"Swept Away" was eerily timely. Obviously, the script was written and filming completed weeks ago, but His Holiness and Tibet have been in the news of late. 

In fact, one of the key plot points was the subject of the real Dalai Lama's recent interview with John Oliver. Yes,the succession of the Lama is in dispute and could very well spark an international incident of some kind. 

You can't make this kind of thing up!

Secretary Elizabeth McCord! Ah, so good to see you. You are the kindest of world leaders. Tall bird lady with lion's heart.

Dalai Lama

The writers always do a great job of bringing real world issues into Elizabeth McCord's world, and this was no exception. Really, the one big disappointment that I had was that they were unable to book the actual Lama for an appearance. 

I mean, sure, I get that he's busy with being a spiritual leader in exile and inspiring millions of people across the globe and basically being a source of light in an ever darkening world, but...I really wanted it to be the real Dalai Lama!

I guess it would have made it awkward when they killed him off though. 

Okay, you know, Buddhism clearly isn't for neurotics.


The only other thing that really bugged me about this was that if Elizabeth has been working on this deal for the past six months, why are we just hearing about it?

I feel like this is actually something that's starting to crop up more and more. Before something goes wrong, somebody gives us some exposition about whatever it is that Elizabeth's been working on and how long she's been working on it.

The exposition is necessary because it's literally the first we've heard about it.

m., sec

Thank god that Jason and Allison are around to be explained to, or we in the audience would never have any idea about what was going on!

Henry: You were really playing Titanfall, weren't you?
Jason: I mean, you know...
Henry: Weren't you? Huh?
Jason: If the State of the Union had just a few more explosions...

Am I a nerd for wanting to see that process from start to finish? Probably. But a few lines here or there about this initiative or that treaty over the course of the season wouldn't be too hard to do, and really adds to the depth of the show.

It works. Just look at The West Wing

Elizabeth & Russell: In Sync - Madam Secretary Season 3 Episode 16

Speaking of the best political drama of all time, Dalton was sure channeling his inner Jed Bartlett with his set down of that rogue senator!

We don't get to see him "presidenting" very often,which is apparently a big loss on our part. I loved everything about that scene!

So do the right thing. Don't screw up the climate deal that a majority of Americans support, including your constituents. Or I will kick your ass. [pause] Welcome to Washington, Senator.

President Dalton [to a wayward Senator]

And can take a moment to give Foreign Minister Chen a slow clap of appreciation? Sure, he's been Elizabeth's main foil this season, the diplomatic bad guy, but he's also been killing it.

I really appreciate that the writers don't just make him a straight up villain, but give him some really insightful lines. His line about not understanding democracy really reveals so much about his character, and his country. 

A government with conflicting opinions. I will never understand democracy.

Foreign Minister Chen

Not that I didn't appreciate Elizabeth losing her ish on him. I mean, not only was it pretty funny to watch her petulantly scream at a computer monitor, but righteous indignation Elizabeth is the best.

Of course, it would have been a lot funnier if I didn't think such a situation could ever happen. After all, it's not Elizabeth or Ming who would end up paying the price if the climate accords didn't come together.

It's all the people like us, all across the world...and future generations

Do you know the mountains that President Dalton and I had to move to put this deal back together? All to do what's best for our children, and grandchildren, and, oh yeah, the other seven billion people on the planet, too? And you are putting it all on the line trying to strong arm us into endorsing some *toddler* that you are using as a political pawn? know who the real toddler is, Ming? You! You're the real toddler. You are.

Elizabeth [after Minister Chen informs her about the Chinese Lama]

The two proposed Dalai Lama successors and Chloe were pretty obvious parallels, but I suppose  the C plot can't always be subtle. 

I'm continuing to not like (or see the point of) Jay's seperation, and while I understood Nadine's point to him, I'm not sure I was in agreement.

Mostly because of something Abby said about Chloe being at his house with a sitter half the time. If she's working now, is the situation any different when she has the kid? And why do they rely on a babysitter instead of using daycare or a nanny like everybody else in the district?

Major props to casting though -- that little girl was adorable, and her inability to follow cues actually made her perfect. 

Chloe says Bye Bye - Madam Secretary Season 3 Episode 16

Henry's op with the cult continued, even though I continue to be bored with it. The only interesting thing to even kind of happen was Henry suggesting less than ethical solutions.

I'm wondering if this will continue to play out and create a dilemma for the character or if it was a one off type of thing. Is it bad that I'm hoping for the former?

Otherwise, this whole plot seems pointless. Sure, it's going to tie in with the CIA arms smuggling, but that plot wouldn't exist without this's an ouroboros of things I don't care about.

Blake [about the sand mandala]: Uh, I still don't get the point.
Elizabeth: That is the point.
Blake: No. Due respect, ma'am, not getting the point can't possibly be the point. You can say that about anything.
Elizabeth [points at Blake]: Exactly.

The whole militia arc will be continue to be drawn out on Madam Secretary Season 3 Episode 17 ("Convergence"). This time, Henry's worried that Ian's being drugged. At least it's a concrete concern this time?

The CIA mole story picks up again, and we're really going to get into it (finally). Keith Mars Enrico Colantoni guests as a lawyer for the mole suspect, and Elizabeth starts to suspect that there's more to it than an operative gone bad. 

And since Elizabeth can't have only one thing going on at a time, the staff will tackle Rhino poaching in Namibia. They're going to come up with an "unorthodox" solution. What a change of pace that'll be. 

Destroying the mandala - Madam Secretary Season 3 Episode 16

You should really watch Madam Secretary online. It's not just good for catching up on missed episodes, it's also great for binging. 

And for gathering evidence to make your insightful comments below! Seriously, we love hearing your thoughts, so please chime in!

Swept Away Review

Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (6 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in October 2018.

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Madam Secretary Season 3 Episode 16 Quotes

Blake: I don't get it. These monks spend all week, painstakingly arranging colored sand to fit this blueprint, and then "whoosh," they just sweep it away? What's the point?
Nadine: That is the point.
Daisy: Everything's transitory.
Matt: Everything ends.
Blake: That's...very sad.
Nadine: Even that feeling...that'll pass too.
Blake: Okay, now you're just piling on.

Okay, you know, Buddhism clearly isn't for neurotics.