Tonight on CBS Madam Secretary airs with an all new Sunday October 12, season 1 episode 4 called, “Just Another Normal Day.” On tonight’s episode Elizabeth [Téa Leoni] is working to successfully broker a peace treaty between China and Japan when a Chinese student seeking political asylum threatens the deal. At home, tensions break out between Alison and Stevie during Alison’s sleepover party.
On the last episode Elizabeth was confronted by a hostile reporter who threatens to publish confidential documents that were leaked from inside the State Department. Meanwhile, Henry was dragged into an international negotiation when his wife used his job as leverage to broker a deal with Pakistan. Did you watch the last episode? If you missed it, we have a full and detailed recap right here for you.
On tonight’s episode, while Elizabeth works to successfully broker a peace treaty between China and Japan, a Chinese student seeking political asylum threatens the deal. Meanwhile, tensions rise at home between Alison and Stevie during Alison’s sleepover party.
This is definitely one series that you don’t want to miss. Don’t forget to stay tuned to Celeb Dirty Laundry where we will be live blogging every episode of Madam Secretary’s first season.
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A young Asian woman waits in line to board a plane. She says she’s not going. A guy comes up and tells her she has to get on the plane. The girl demands asylum and security comes over to deal with it. Bess catches Russell on the stairs to talk about some islands that Japan and China both have claimed because there is natural gas there. She’s shocked that he read her memo and absorbed it. She says she’s on the verge of a treaty that gets them to split it evenly. He says it’s fine and she snaps since she and her staff have been working on it non-stop for days. He tells her fine is shorthand for thanks for not screwing up.
Matt is on the phone with the Japanese working on the language for the treaty negotiation. Japan doesn’t want to extend their hand to shake first. Bess says no one will be watching C-Span but China agrees to go first on the handshake deal. Matt gets off the phone and says they have an agreement. The staff erupts in cheers and they will have the signing at three. Bess tells Daisy to issue a statement and Bess says she has to leave for George’s memorial service.
Nadine asks Matt about remarks for a painting unveiling of the former Secretary. Nadine says Secretary Marsh plucked him from a dead end copy writing job and rants that she wanted a woman from Harvard. She reminds him that he owed his career to Marsh and says he needs to do better than whipping something up. Bess sits with her former CIA pals at the funeral and mock the eulogy and antics of George’s ex-wife. Henry chastises and shushes them. She’s a little punch drunk from her sleep deprivation.
They talk after about suspicions that George’s car crash wasn’t an accident and could possibly have been suicide. Bess says she doesn’t know what to think anymore. They promise to get together soon and get drunk and tell George stories. Bess tells Henry that Isabelle thinks George was going a little crazy and thought Marsh had been murdered. Bess asks Henry what he meant when he said he knew George’s death wasn’t an accident. Henry asks if she wants to have this conversation now. She says she can’t go there now – she has a peace treaty signing and says she doesn’t know what’s going on at home.
She asks about the kids and he says that Allie wants to have five or six kids over for a spend the night party. Bess is impressed that she’s made that many friends and agrees to the party. Henry says he already said yes. Bess says they can all be home this weekend like a normal family. She heads back to work and Henry hands her off to Frank, her Secret Service guy.
Bess greets Senator Fletcher who congratulates her on the mineral rights treaty. Daisy rushes up and Fu Xinpei, a visiting high school genius, wants asylum. Daisy worries this could screw up the treaty. We see Xinpei giving an interview about being detained by the Chinese government for trying to organize a protest to remember Tienanmen Square. Bess greets Chin, from the Chinese government, and he demands that Xinpei be returned to them. He says she’s lying and embarrassing China.
He tells Bess to promise to return the girl and Bess says she can’t promise and that it has to go through proper channels. He and his team walk out of the treat signing. Nadine tells her that POTUS is in the building and they all turn to break the news to their boss that the deal is not going down today. Senator Fletcher gives an interview about the controversy over Xinpei. She says they can’t turn their backs on her.
Russell complains to Bess about this and asks where she is on it. She says Chine is pressuring her to send the girl back. He asks for the worst case scenario. She says Japan and China end up in a war. He tells her to find the best case scenario and make it happen. She says Xinpei’s case needs to be judged on its own merits. She says if they give asylum to the girl they need to look for another inducement to get China to sign the treaty. He says China never wanted to sign it anyway.
Xinpei gives an interview and says the government made her mom give up her sister because of their one child policy. The McCord kids watch the news and Stevie rants about it. Jason asks for lunch money and Bess texts and says they need to
Blake shows up to pick up clothes for Bess and tells Allie he needs the guest list for the sleepover so he can vet the kids. Ally rants and Stevie goes to get clothes for him to take to her mom. The Japanese rep now is also rejecting the treaty. She offers him tickets to Book of Mormon. She finally talks them into waiting 48 hours. He says that’s all and then Japan is planting their flag on the island.
They research Xinpei’s situation. Turns out she did have the scholarship that Chin said she’d won so they agree to dig deeper. Nadine doesn’t want Matt working on it and says he needs to work on the speech for Marsh’s ceremony. Xinpei is brought to a safe house and they ask if she’s spoken to her mother. Xinpei says her mom told her that they would be monitoring her calls and the woman says that means her mother knew she was going to seek asylum. She leaves Xinpei alone in her room.
Xinpei pulls out her phone and looks at photos from home and her family. She stops on one of her mom and then cries silently. In Fuling, China, a government official comes to the restaurant where her mom works asking for Fu Xinwan. She turns and says it’s her. They ask her to come with them to answer questions about her daughter but then she tries to get away and they seize her. Nadine comes in and tells her they have a spy that China may want back.
Nadine says there is a woman here from Michigan she should talk to about being Xinpei’s guardian. Bess says she has an asylum guardian. The woman introduces her to Emily, her daughter, who she thinks is Xinpei’s sister. Bess is floored. Daisy comes in and says they are running DNA on the girls for comparison. Bess comes in and asks if her staff has checked her blog. Daisy says she got political about three months ago – before that it was about 1D and science projects.
Bess tells them to stay focused on the job at hand to determine if Xinpei qualifies for asylum. Nadine shoos Matt away to finish his speech. Bess comes to the asylum house to check on the girl and the guardian says she seems scared to death. Bess plays horse with the girl and they talk about her science project. She asks if the girl wants to move here to cash in on her tech ideas. Xinpei says she’s scared and feels threatened there. Bess says she’s not met the standard for persecution.
Xinpei repeats that she fears for her safety. Bess asks her for a DNA sample. She asks why she didn’t ask her why she wanted the DNA and says for someone paranoid about governments, she doesn’t seem curious. Senator Fletcher comes into the restaurant where Stevie works and greets her by name. She asks if she has a reservation but Fletcher says she’s there to talk to her. She asks her to deliver a message to Bess that the people of Texas want her to give Xinpei asylum and says she can’t get past Nadine to get her mom on the phone.
Nadine criticizes Matt’s speech and is outraged that Bess doesn’t have time for the ceremony. Nadine says wherever they went, he took hundreds of soccer balls to hand them out to kids in impoverished areas to put a smile on their face. She says he told the reporters not to write about but now is the time to give him some credit and say thank you. Bess overhears and says she wants her to reschedule precisely so they can give it the time and attention it deserves but Nadine refuses to bend.
Bess finds Nadine crying and asks how long she worked for Marsh – she says since he was a Senator. She says she was fresh out of law school with no experience when he took her on – she says he always liked to bet on the dark horse. Bess says he sounds amazing. She says she wants to postpone so it’s not something they just get through. She asks her to call Mrs Marsh to tell her but Nadine says it wouldn’t be inappropriate since they were having an affair. Bess tells her she’s so sorry for her loss. Nadine says she knows how bad this sounds. Bess says it sounds like her heart is broken and Nadine sobs.
They can’t get a deal based on the spy so they have to figure out something else. The DNA results are back and Bess says they have a 97% match. Bess says she has to deny asylum. She says Xinpei made up the story at her mother’s request. Bess says her internet postings just started three months ago to build a case. Daisy asks to be sure that the girl isn’t being used as a political football. Bess says she wants the girl and her mom in China on the phone for her to explain why she’s denying asylum.
She calls to talk to Henry about the Fu scenario. She says she feels bad about her sister being given up for adoption but says it doesn’t change the fact that she doesn’t qualify for asylum. She realizes that she’s missing Allie’s sleepover and feels like a bad mom. Henry tells her it’s normal life and that mom getting stuck at work is not a crisis. He tells her his opening joke for his speech. She says she hopes he didn’t use it.
Nadine comes and tells her that Xinpei’s mom was taken in for questioning by the Chinese secret police and died in custody. Bess demands from Chin to know what happened. He says she was brought in for an interview and had a heart attack. He says she had a chronic heart condition. She asks why she should believe him. He says he’s a father and has children. He says the girl has nothing to fear from them. Bess says her government believes they never intended to sign the treaty and this is an excuse.
He says they have to give the girl back within 24 hours or there will be no treaty and says they are moving missiles into place that they will use if the Japanese plant their flag on the islands. Nadine and Bess go to the asylum house to break the news to the girl about her mom. Nadine apologizes to her about her unprofessional behavior before. Bess says she lost someone recently too but hasn’t been able to cry and says she was jealous.
She says she had a lot on her mind when she started the job and realized today she needs a good cry. Nadine tells her she should have one. They go to talk to the girl. Stevie tells her dad about Senator Fletcher approaching her at work. Ally says Senator Fletcher is awesome and went to Stanford. Stevie says Texas politics are whack and the sisters start debating Chinese politics. Ally and Stevie break into an argument in front of her friends.
Ally says all her sister is now is a hostess in a restaurant and pretty much calls her a loser. Stevie storms out. Xinpei tells Bess that she knew her mom had heart problems but says she refused surgery. Bess shows her a photo of her mom and says she realized her mom was the activist, not her. Xinpei says her mom’s dream was for her to come here to have freedom. She says her mom told her to be strong and that she could do it. Bess says because she died in custody, she now qualifies for asylum if that’s what she really wants.
Bess asks if it’s what she really wants. The girl cries on her shoulder. Bess tells Chin that Xinpei wants to stay but she’s thinking about denying asylum. She tells him that the girl must have complete safety at home and says she won’t release her until he signs the treaty. We see the Japanese and Chinese representatives sign the treaty.
Daisy criticizes her for the choice and Bess shuts her down and says that it was Xinpei that wanted to come back to China. She lied to Chin to get them to the table because if they know Xinpei was going back voluntarily they could have walked away from the treaty. Her sister is there and they are taking her to the airport. Bess tells the girl her mom would be proud of her and tells her to go change the world. They swap hugs and she leaves.
Bess gives the speech about Marsh and used Nadine’s words to inspire what she says. She says he liked dark horses, was a mentor and a great American that will be missed. The portrait is unveiled. Russell tells her it was a great speech and asks why he didn’t allow press about the soccer balls. Russell says he just asked them to hold the story until he announced his presidential run. He says he was going to announce his candidacy but died before he could.
Bess comes in and finds Stevie leaving for work. The girl is snippy and calls herself a dropout then slams out. She asks Henry what’s up and he says she and Ally had a fight. He says it’s normal for sisters to fight but she says it’s not normal that she has no idea what’s going on her house. She says that George thought Marsh was dirty. She tells him that Russell and the president were Marsh’s enemies and Henry says that means George might have been right, not crazy.
She says she was secretly rooting for crazy and Henry says he was too. She says she wishes George was here to help her figure this out. She starts bawling and sits down on Henry’s lap. He holds her and tells her to go ahead and cry it out.