Barbara Hall is beating Dick Wolf at his own game these days.
The promos not might boast "Ripped from the Headlines!," but it wouldn't be false advertising if they did. Ok, so the stories on Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 16 might be a little dated, but there's a puppy, so who cares?
Objectively, the story about the embassy bombing anniversary is the more important story. So let's get our metaphorical vegetables out of the way.
Surprise, there was no actual bombing in Uganda in 1998.
In fact, al-Qaeda simultaneously struck two separate US embassies on the African continent in 1998. The death toll was much higher than the fictional Ugandan attack; Kenya saw over 200 deaths and 4000 injuries, while the casualties in Tanzania totaled 96.
Elizabeth: What about the rest of them? The eighteen children crowded around the gate to their school down the block from where the bomb went off? Their teachers? The four nuns on their way to work at the AIDS hospice? We don't, we don't have the time to say their names aloud too?
Matt: Of course we do, Ma'am.
Elizabeth: Damn right we do.
I'm not sure why the actual embassy attacks of that year weren't used instead. Perhaps it was seen as insensitive, or maybe there were legal issues.
I wish the writers could have found a way to mention the lawsuit the victims files against the Sudanese government though. It doesn't directly play into the sanctions issue, but I can't believe the Sudanese government is happy with the multi-billion dollar judgment against them.
I was relieved that the embassy bombing didn't completely dominate the narrative. From the press releases, I was concerned that things were going to be really heavy handed and push believability.
So I was relieved that they didn't try to bring Jay or Kat or the others into that plot in a way that didn't makes sense. But somebody on the writing team needs to explain WTF was up with Dalton.
If Elizabeth was affected by the anniversary because she was on the Bin Laden team at the time, then wouldn't Conrad have been the CIA Director? Or at least high up in the command?
Shouldn't he be feeling the same weight of responsibility for the incident? Or at least be understanding of why the State Department was so against lifting sanctions?
The writers and Keith Carradine might have dropped the ball there, but Skipp Suduth as Peter Harriman was magnificent. You really have to give it to the production team and the big names on the show: They let guest stars shine.
I'm not sure which scene of Suduth's I liked best. It's a draw between the closer, reminiscing about Lana, and blowing up at Elizabeth. There was just so much passion there; I loved how he couldn't even look at her.
Peter: I believe that the sanctions on the Qasim regime is a mistake, morally and strategically, and I have to object in the strongest possible terms.
Elizabeth: I understand. But the president sets policy and we execute it.
Now that we've covered the heavy stuff, it's time for...PUPPIES!
So this story is also based in truth. Remember Lulu, the black lab kicked out of bomb sniffing school? Langley axed her and then put her whole story on their twitter feed last October.
This was the perfect B-plot to counter the seriousness of the embassy bombing. Actually, it's the perfect B-plot for everything. Puppies make everything better. It's science.
Of course, there was more to love about this story than just how adorable and snuggly and sweet Waffles was.
Matt's insistence on Daisy adopting the best beagle ever was clearly more than projecting his desire for a pooch -- though as someone who routinely sends petfinder.com profiles to other people, I'm familiar with the impulse.
No, this is just more evidence that the Captain Ronnie flirtation of Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 14 was a fluke. A red herring.
Just like the tease about Oliver's call to Daisy. I suppose the writer and the press coordinator could end up with other people, but it seems like a cruel trick to tease us this way then.
Co-owning a dog is a great way to slide back into Daisy's life, but I would point out that helping her out with the baby probably would have been a better, more mature move.
Matt is offering to help walk the dog, but not to come over and give Daisy a break so she can get a full night's rest? I'm sending him serious side-eye.
Matt: Let's face it. A baby carriage ain't exactly a man magnet.
Daisy [laughing]: I hate you so much.
Matt: But you know what is? [imitates puppy whimpers]
Daisy: You're just playing on my fear of dying alone to make me get a that dog you actually want.
Matt: That doesn't mean I'm wrong.
How much am I loving Henry as the house husband? Still no sign of a new cockamamie side adventure for the professor, and traditional gender roles turned on their head to boot! It's the best!
So, yeah, he sort of fumbled the ball with Jason and Piper's break up, but I'll attribute that to the whole (only kind of BS) thing about men being fixers and not listeners.
My only complaint about his new role is that he brought PB&J's from home instead of some nice warm soup in a thermos.
Elizabeth [to Blake}: Henry and I are going to go eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the freezing cold park. This is what passes as a date night these days.
Henry: Don't wait up for us.
Henry's days as a SAHM may be numbered though. He'll get another job offer on Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 17. Can somebody please tell me what job search app this man is using?
"Chairman of the Military Ethics Commission" sounds relatively tame compared to some of his more recent roles. As long as he isn't being pulled into ridiculous spy schemes that take time away from M. Sec's office, it's cool.
And it's always handy when he has a high enough clearance level that Elizabeth can utilize him as a sounding board.
Henry: There's never been a more important time for us to insist our son to treat women with respect.
Elizabeth: You are preaching to the choir. [checks the kids aren't around] But sticking your nose into teenage romance? That way lies madness.
Morejon will be back and being his usual pain in the ass self. He's throwing a wrench into an arms deal with Iran, but his reasons are probably suspect.
Does he really care that Iran may funded a bombing that injured an American, or is he just out to disrupt any accomplishment of Elizabeth's? I guess it could be both.
So what did you think of "My Funny Valentine?" Will Waffles bring Matt and Daisy back together? Would you like to see Peter Harriman back as the UN ambassador? Does Henry need to go back to work, or should he stick to packing lunches and giving advice?
Elizabeth Harlow was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in October 2018.