Daisy's departure from the White House was unbelievably bittersweet.
She's been a loyal employee since Elizabeth was Secretary of State, and she made an error in judgment in her efforts to protect the country from an unhinged Presidential candidate.
So when Elizabeth decided to let her go on Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 5, it hurt.
Elizabeth's loyalty to Daisy almost caused a bigger problem.
She was reluctant to grant Valerie a pardon because Valerie's testimony might have exonerated Daisy,
Elizabeth: You could have heard a pin drop.
Henry: They sure made a lot of noise once they got outside.
Russell: Circling the wagons, whining about their freedoms. Never gets old.
Elizabeth: Except Valerie Gillian is in jail for contempt, not for something she wrote. This is about finding the truth, not about censorship.
The issue of whether journalists have the right to use anonymous sources is a clear First Amendment issue.
In practice, interfering with the right to keep sources' identities confidential could make future sources reluctant to come forward at all.
It also restricts freedom of the press by making journalists afraid they will go to jail if they publish articles that rely on anonymous sources.
So yes, Elizabeth, this is a censorship issue even if the government isn't directly ordering that journalists refrain from making certain types of reports.
However, Valerie told Elizabeth confidentially that her source was not Daisy, though she would not say who it was.
So what stopped her from doing the same thing in front of the grand jury? A lot of drama could have been avoided had Valerie answered every question except that one by invoking her First Amendment right to keep her sources private.
As for Daisy, she lost her job for an understandable lapse in judgment that reflected badly on her employer even though she did nothing illegal.
Henry: If you were in her shoes, you'd have turned that flash drive over to the FBI even if it cost you an election. If there's one thing I know about you, you are scrupulously honest.
Elizabeth: It's not directly analogous. Daisy thought she was protecting me and the country from Miller.
Henry: True. But the thing about ethics is they can't be cherry picked. Daisy convinced herself that she was doing the right thing when she wasn't. Don't you do it too.
Elizabeth: Daisy is more than an employee. She's a friend.
Henry: Then forgive her. But you're the President of the United States. You have to let her go.
Henry argued that since wrong is wrong, Daisy acted incorrectly by not turning the flash drive over right away. But that doesn't take the context into account.
Daisy weighed the potential price of getting caught against the potential price of following procedure and concluded that Miller using the existence of the flash drive to propel himself to victory did greater harm to more people than her potential loss of a job.
Henry was right that Elizabeth needed to fire Daisy, but Daisy's problem wasn't a lapse in ethics. She chose to potentially sacrifice her job for a greater good.
Elizabeth didn't want to fire Daisy for the same reason she didn't want to pardon Valerie. She wanted to clear Daisy's name and bring Daisy back on staff.
The problem is that there are too many people in politics who are interested in manipulating facts for their own benefit.
Daisy kept the flash drive's existence to herself because she was afraid Miller would spin it to manipulate people into voting for him.
Hanson used Daisy's decision to claim without any proof whatsoever that Elizabeth asked Iran for the flash drive and thus should be impeached.
And Elizabeth had to fire Daisy because it was the only way to quell the outrage that Hanson had started with his nonsense.
Given this environment, Elizabeth would have had to have fired Daisy even if she had proof positive that someone else leaked the flash drive's contents to Valerie.
Hanson would have found a way to claim that the evidence was fake or that this person was working with Daisy and Elizabeth, and the whole thing would have been a mess.
Growing up, I never thought I'd see a female President or any President that I could admire with my whole heart.
Still, though, that last scene.
It was a bitter enough pill to swallow that Daisy was the one to tell Elizabeth that she had won the election.
But handing a balloon to little Joanna and telling her proudly that Elizabeth was President was a heartbreaking juxtaposition with Daisy's packing up her office for the last time.
Meanwhile, how awesome was it to see Conrad again?
His hair was longer and he sings and plays guitar now. Retirement looked good on him!
Elizabeth was initially disappointed that Conrad didn't offer her any advice, but he had something better than that: his respect and admiration.
Henry and Elizabeth are both always complaining that someone doesn't treat Elizabeth as worthy of the office because of her gender. But Conrad did the opposite, assuming that Elizabeth knew what she was doing unless she specifically asked him to step in.
On July 8, 1948, General Eisenhower spoke before the UN. He said, 'If children go hungry, how can they be expected to be ambassadors of peace?' In today's violent world, that's more important than ever.Dalton
Conrad promised to come back when his wife's portrait is ready, with grandbaby in tow. Let's hope that happens before the end of the series.
The broken Eisenhower bust subplot provided some welcome comic relief.
Was it silly? Slightly.
But the rest of the episode was so fraught with heavy dilemmas about ethics, loyalty, and danger to the administration that viewers badly needed something like this.
It was a great nod to Conrad's tendency to quote Eisenhower in the past, and it spurred Elizabeth to do something about her dog's wild behavior. So it was win-win
And just like that, we're halfway through the final season of Madam Secretary.
It looks like the second half of Madam Secretary Season 6 will involve Hanson trying to find grounds to impeach Elizabeth.
He undoubtedly will be unsuccessful, though. An impeachment would be a terrible end to the series.
Stevie is moving closer to reconciling with Dmitri now that she's attended his naturalization ceremony, and perhaps she will be dating him openly by series' end.
Your turn, Madam Secretary fanatics!
What are your predictions for the second half of the season?
Did you think Elizabeth was right to fire Daisy?
And did President Dalton's visit meet your expectations?
Share your thoughts in the comments, and don't forget you can watch Madam Secretary online if you missed anything.
Madam Secretary continues to air on CBS on Sundays at 10 PM EST/PST.
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