Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 21 Review: Protocol

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Action scenes are so boring.

At least they are when I don't care one lick about any of the people shooting or being shot. Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 21 could have saved some money and cut the scenes at the dam with the commandos and I'd have been perfectly happy.

Every time those action scenes pop up, I feel like the show is having an identity crisis.

Hopes Are Dashed - Madam Secretary

I don't usually approve of telling people "stay in your lane" because it is perfectly possible for a person or organization to go through life occupying more than one space. 

But Madam Secretary never done the action/adventure/thriller thing as well as it has political drama. And the production team and writers just need to stick with what they're good at.

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There were a lot of things to love about "Protocol" but inflitrating that dam wasn't one of them.

Really, sometimes it's okay to tell instead of show -- maybe instead of giving Dalton a report after the fact, he and Russell and Bess could have been watching from the Sit room. 

Let's Eat - Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 21

But let's focus on the good. Because there was some first rate plotting and counterplotting going on between the team at State and the players in the Turkish government. 

You're going to have to reach back into the recesses of your memory to find the real inspiration for the Turkish coup. All the way back to 2016...remember 2016? When there was one news story a week instead of one a day an hour?

Much like the show's depiction, the real coup was short lived and unsuccessful and led to some really serious purges throughout the country. 

When properly motivated, the United States always has a say.


One fact that didn't make it into the fictional depiction was that President Erdogan of Turkey (President Kozlu on TV) blamed the coup on an ex-pat living in Pennsylvania. 

I know things are moving towards instability with Russia after the air strike in retaliation for the strike on the Kurds, but that would be an interesting aspect to add in.  Just one more layer to the breakdown of relations. 

Elizabeth [pointing at a pastry]: To be clear, that's the last I wanna see of that today.
Blake: No purse muffin?!

Elizabeth was on fire with her diplomatic insights. She's usually good, of course, but this was like watching her play a chess match while also having to explain to everyone around her what chess even is. 

Which I guess doesn't say a lot for some of the people that she works with but was a great way to show that she's ready for even more leadership responspibilites. 

Maybe if she'd pay as much attention to domestic politics as she does international relations, she'd stop getting her ass kicked so easily by Morejon all the time. 

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What's the point of Stevie in this intern position? Yeah, obviously, it gives the eldest McCord an excuse to hang around DC and live at home, but what is she really getting out of this internship?

Tasking your intern to greet you with coffee is bad enough, but giving them idiotic (personal) projects like finding something other than yoga or mediation to unstress you isn't on the up and up.

Russell: I don't need to ask what the meaning of life is, because I already know.
Henry: You do? Well, hey, I'm all ears.
Russell: Be good to the people you love, work hard at the things you care about.
Henry: Well, that's great, except it's killing you.

It's supposed to be a learning experience after all. 

I  did like the back and forth between Russell and Henry, even if the roundabout way we got there was dumb. If Russell wants to be the one to put Elizabeth in the White House, he's going to need to get to know the potential first husband better anyway. 

Annoyed - Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 21

Here's a question: If Elizabeth is going to run for president, as we're all sure she's going to do, where does the future of the rest of the staff lie?

Blake is being encouraged to explore his options beyond being an executive assistant, but he hasn't really found a fit anywhere yet. 

Blake: You're still planning to fire me in six months?
Elizabeth: I fire because I love. Move up or move out, Blake.

Granted, we've only seen him explore protocol and policy, and the "policy" work he did was more event planning than sitting around and writing a series of white papers and proposals and planning on how to implement carbon free energy in the US. 

So will campaign work be to Blake's liking? Will the rest of the staff make the transition to the campaign and then, presumably, to the White House?

Purse Muffin - Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 21

Of course, every one's going to have to make it through the impending nuclear war disaster on Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 22 ("Night Watch") before we worry about campign jobs and White House appointments. 

With Madam Secretary Season 5 being a lock, obviously everybody is going to survive. Unless Russell has another heart attack from the stress of it all or something. 

The real drama is going to be the debate over whether or not Dalton should make a retalitory strike before any US targets are actually hit. Even if the broad strokes of how this will play out are obvious, it's still going to be a fantastic finale. 

Related: Cancellation Scorecord 2017-2018: Which Shows Got Cut?

So what did you think of "Protocol?" If not in protocol, where do you think Blake should end up? Are you digging Henry's more laid back roll? Was all the fuss about Russell finding God or at least a hobby foreshadowing or a fat load of nothing?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below! And remember, you can watch Madam Secretary online with us anytime, anywhere!

Protocol Review

Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
  • 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (10 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 21 Quotes

Elizabeth [pointing at a pastry]: To be clear, that's the last I wanna see of that today.
Blake: No purse muffin?!

Blake: You're still planning to fire me in six months?
Elizabeth: I fire because I love. Move up or move out, Blake.