Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 11 Review: The Race

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Just when you thought the madness was over, Sam Evan's is here to ruin your day.

Seriously, I'm not sure if I can handle this fictional election being drawn out. The Great National Nightmare Election 2016 is finally over in reality, so why couldn't Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 11 give us a break and do the same with Dalton v Evans?

At least the world crisis was downgraded by Elizabeth's signature out-of-the box thinking. I'm surprised there wasn't a whole ward full of Dalton staff members after that week. Talk about a high-risk job.

A Reluctant Peace - Madam Secretary

I really liked that Juliet was brought back into the story and that the Iran deal was tied back to the original mythology. Sure, that's the least believable aspect of the show, but I'm not a big fan of just retconning mistakes away.

Their initial reintroduction was so sweetly bizarre. Putting aside the implausibility of a sitting Secretary visiting a prison (problematic from both political and logistics standpoints), I thought that they handled the awkwardness of both not seeing each other for a while and having one friend send the other up the river really well.

It's really too bad that Juliet's in prison, since Elizabeth could use a non work buddy for advice more regularly. The characters and the actresses seem to really connect, and that always makes me want more.

Elizabeth: It's freezing in here.
Juliet: You get used to it. It burns calories.

However, there were some things that didn't work as well as that. I really wanted to be excited about Henry's family coming to visit, especially since Tim Daly's real life daughter was part of it. And it started out strong. Niece joins army, dad and daughter bother worried about each other.

But then it just...fizzled. Henry and his (younger? really?) brother fought, but were interrupted and there was no resolution. Being concerned about mental health is only natural after their father, but maybe he was reading too much into it. But god knows if we'll ever find out!

To be fair, the scene where the kids interrupted the argument felt really natural and was well choreographed, but I just wanted resolution on one thing, and was denied. 

Stress didn't clog his arteries. He thinks I don't know he cheats on his diet when he comes home reeking of pâté.


Russell's hospitalization had it's ups and downs and awkward moments of Stevie reading to him in bed and then kind of but not really explaining what she was doing there. I mean doesn't everybody visit their mom's work frenemy whom they barely know outside of begging for a recommendation letter in the hospital?

Okay, I get it, they'll share a special bond now that she's saved his life. Side complaint -- Stevie mentioned the 100 compressions per minute, but didn't hum "Staying Alive" under her breath? WTF? Come on CBS, get with it!

So obviously, Stevie and Russell are going to be close. Apparently she's going to be his intern because it's not like there's oversight for that kind of gig to ensure a meritocracy and avoid nepotism. 

Carol: You want another heart attack?
Russell: Let's see the results, I'll let you know.

Cranky post-op Russell clamoring for an iota of information about the outside world was pretty entertaining, even if it reminded me of a watered down Josh Lyman from The West Wing. His heart pillow was pretty bad ass too.

I'm curious to see if his change in perspective will last, or if it will fade with the opiates. Honestly, I'm not sure how much his advice had to do with his new outlook and how much it had to do with a savvy understanding of the electorate.

They don't want you to be a street fight like me. They want you to be a knight.

Russell [to Dalton]

We'll have to wait a bit to find out how Sam Evans' latest dasterdly plan is going to play out. Madame Secretary Season 3 Episode 12 ("Gift Hose") will air January 8, 2017. We'll be getting a crash course in federal gift rules, and how they can impact international relations.

I'm actually curious to see how they explain hippophile Elizabeth turning down a world class horse, but that's probably a secondary consideration for the writing team. Personally, I'd say ethics be damned, she should take the horse -- she may already be in hot water over the Ohio state senators.

If you missed "The Race," you can always catch up and watch Madam Secretary online. We'd love to hear your thoughts on the episode down in the comments section!

The Race Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (36 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 11 Quotes

Stress didn't clog his arteries. He thinks I don't know he cheats on his diet when he comes home reeking of pâté.


Carol: You want another heart attack?
Russell: Let's see the results, I'll let you know.