Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 15 Review: The Unnamed

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If only it were so easy to end genocide in the real world. 

Because sadly, the crisis covered on Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 15 is real. The fiction is that the US has done anything to end it. 

Well, nothing that's worked anyway.

A Foreign Leader - Madam Secretary

There have been some sanctions, but they haven't done anything to stem the tide of atrocities, so maybe that's why Bess and her team didn't bring up that idea. 

The solution of President Khaing giving some sort of kumbaya speech inspired by Mandala and King was lovely, but not very realistic. But I guess Dalton had to be made useful somehow. 

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The writers did a really great job of distilling down a seriously complicated issue. I don't envy them doing that while also having to incorporate Dalton's reluctance to return and the completely extraneous flashback sequences. 

What was the point? I could see how having a schizoaffective brother could cause concern for Dalton except that he seemed very well versed in the illness.

Seeing has how he was able to rattle off all kinds of technical information to the doctor, I'd think that he'd know that schizoaffective disorder has nothing to do with brain tumors or the possibility of their recurrence and that onset is unlikely in your 60s. 

When my brother was in his senior year of high school, he started to hear a voice. He didn't tell anybody at the time. It was only later he told me he thought he was talking to God. And then when the voice told him to hurt himself...he knew it was the Devil.

Dalton

Why was this the first time that we heard about this brother and his troubles? It somehow never came out as dirt that Morejon dug up during a campaign?

Or even more unbelievable, it was never mentioned when Harrison was at rehab or on a bender or something because there's no link between mental illness and self-medicating with street drugs.

Nope, never been a time to introduce this facet of the character's life until now!

Got You Season 4 Episode 15

And they couldn't even get a Carradine to play John? There's like 43 of them. There's not just a Wikipedia page for the family; it's in outline form so that you don't get confused!

I couldn't even enjoy the kitsch of the makeup team making everybody look younger and putting them in dated clothes. Dalton looked exactly the same.

And Russell looked older. And like a Doppelganger for evil Keebler elf Jeff Sessions. Forget the comb-over, who can trust a man with that sartorial inspiration. 

It's a little hard getting schooled on authenticity by a guy with a comb-over.

Dalton [to Russell]

All of that distracted from the real meat of "The Unnamed," which was the plight of the Rohingya

The unsophisticated part of me that Allison would abhor, the part that loves happy endings and rainbows and butterflies and fluffy white dogs -- that part of me was satisfied with how things were wrapped up.

But I also strive to be a realist, and that part of me feels that making the crisis so easily resolved does a disservice to the one million Rohingya who have been displaced.

Kat: Donna!
Donna: I saw your email. I am late for a department meeting. Can we talk after?
Kat: Okay, okay, well, did you actually read my email? 'Cause I'm pretty sure a massacre takes precedent over a department meeting.

And not just displaced. They've seen their villages burned and the families murdered, their mothers and sisters and daughters systematically raped. 

The sad fact of the world is that an inspiring speech from a competent & kind leader doesn't solve all ills. 

Also, the cheering at the end of the Beatles recording seriously undercut the message about donating to UNICEF and UNHCR

Kat: Donna!
Donna: I saw your email. I am late for a department meeting. Can we talk after?
Kat: Okay, okay, well, did you actually read my email? 'Cause I'm pretty sure a massacre takes precedent over a department meeting.

For all my nitpicking, Madam Secretary is still the only primetime show I'm aware of that's addressing these kind of international issues and using it's platform in some capacity to signal boost the plight of the less fortunate around the world. 

If "The Unnamed" inspired you to learn more about this humanitarian crisis, a great place to start would be here. I could link to a bunch of articles, but you're all capable of Googling. You'll be shocked at how long it took you to hear about this. 

Freedom - Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 15

With such a heavy diplomatic story, Maureen coming to visit Henry and Allison was a nice respite even if I did want to slap Allison upside the head. 

Have the McCord's never talked to her after she's committed a social gaffe before? Does she suffer from absolutely no anxiety over offending people, especially loved ones? Is she a pod person?

I know that if I had ever talked to my aunt that way, my parents would have read me the riot act. 

Maureen: Oh, wasn't that beautiful? I felt like I just spent the morning in Paris.
Allison: Please. It was like one long celebration of the bourgeoisie, and now we have an endless array of tchotchkes to prove it.

Also, the girl needs to talk an art history class before she craps all over Renoir. Yes, his paintings may be pretty, but he heavily influenced the cubist movement and Picasso.

So according to the transitive property, he, therefore, influenced all subsets of modern art. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, Allison. 

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Here's hoping that Aunt Mo comes around more often so that Allison (and presumably Jason) can be set straight from time to time. 

And so she and Henry can continue to improve their relationship. Except for the part where Henry loathes their father, they give you a pretty good idea of what Stevie, Allie, and Jason will be like after their mid-life crises. 

Look, I know that it seems sophisticated to cut everything down, but the *actual* sign of a fine mind is the ability to engage in a broad spectrum of culture without judging it.

Henry [to Allison]

There may be more flashbacks to come on Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 16 ("My Funny Valentine"). It's the anniversary of an embassy bombing, and everyone knew somebody there.

That seems a little farfetched for some of the staff, but who knows, maybe Daisy and Matt decided to go into government service because of the event. Even Jay and Kat seem a little young to have personal connections to the bombing.

It'll be up to Elizabeth to lift sanctions against those responsible for the bombing, which seems like a tremendous weight to bear alone. Luckily, she always has Henry to back her up and be her sounding board.

Finding your voice as a leader is never easy, but it's pretty much the whole gig.

Dalton

But his wife isn't the only one he'll be helping. Despite constantly hearing about how great Piper is, and how he wants to get "swole" for her, Jason is calling it quits.

It's probably for the best since his current life plan is just to follow her around aimlessly. They'll both be happier this way.

Maureen: Who's this Piper I keep hearing about?
Allison: She's like the female Jace, but actually cool.

So what were your thoughts about "The Unnamed?" Were you happy with how the team drew attention to this real-world genocide in progress? Were you surprised that Dalton wasn't itching to jump back in the saddle? Shocked by Allie's disgraceful understanding of the importance of the Impressionists?

Join the conversation in the comments section to get all that off your chest!

You can watch Madam Secretary online anytime, and our past Madam Secretary reviews are always available to peruse. 

The Unnamed Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (7 Votes)

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

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Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 15 Quotes

Look, I know that it seems sophisticated to cut everything down, but the *actual* sign of a fine mind is the ability to engage in a broad spectrum of culture without judging it.

Henry [to Allison]

Allison: Do you have time for muffin?
Elizabeth: What kind of life would I be living if I didn't have time for a muffin?
Allison: Not your best one.