“Madam Secretary” Season 1 Episode 4 “Just Another Normal Day” aired last Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, at 8:00 p.m. on CBS. In this episode, Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) brokered a peace treaty between Japan and China. It was after a Chinese high schooler sought political asylum in the United States. Meanwhile, Elizabeth struggled to balance her work with her personal life and coping with George Peters' (William Sadler) death. Read on to learn more about this episode.
The episode began at the Dulles International Airport where Fu Xinpei, a Chinese genius high school student was supposed to get on a flight back home to Beijing, China. However, she suddenly decided that she did not want to go back as she claimed that she would be killed if she went back and asked for political asylum in America.
At the White House, Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) caught up with White House Chief of Staff Russell Jackson (Zeljko Ivanek) to inform him of the latest developments with China and Japan regarding the Hankashu Islands. Jackson remembered that her memo had said that China and Japan have had a territorial dispute over those islands for years and escalated when they discovered natural gas reserves on them. China had sent a plane there, as well as Japan, but Japan had to drop out. She informed him that she had conducted an emergency summit. She also said that she got both sides to agree that neither China or Japan lays claim over the islands. Both countries would share the resources under a peace treaty signing because of it. She also informed him that they were up all day for four days in a row because of it.
At the conference room, her writer Matt Mahoney (Geoff Arend) was on the phone discussing the wording for the ceremony with Japan. However, Japan, for the handshake, wanted to extend their hand first; and since China had agreed, they had an agreement. However, they had to push back the unveiling of the former and late Secretary of State Vince Marsh’s portrait to the next day, as the signing of the treaty would take place at the exact same time — 3:00 p.m. Nadine Tolliver (Bebe Neuwirth), Elizabeth’s Chief of Staff snapped at Matt as he said that he would “whip something up” for Elizabeth’s speech for the unveiling, as he deserved more than that.
Elizabeth then went with her husband Henry (Tim Daly) to attend the memorial service of her dear friend and colleague George Peters (William Sadler). Elizabeth and her close friends at the CIA laughed a little during the service, and one of her friends, Isabel, thought that George had committed suicide in his frustration as he got stuck at a desk job. On the way out, Elizabeth told Henry that Isabel had thought that George was crazy and confided that George had told her that Vince Marsh had been murdered as he was dirty and that she was in danger. However, she could not really talk about George properly at that moment because of everything. She then asked how the kids were. Henry then informed her that his preparation for his keynote speech was not going well and that Allison (Kathrine Herzer) had asked permission for a sleep over, which he agreed to. And she promised that their weekend would be a normal one.
At the signing, Daisy came towards them with her “paranoid face” as she showed Elizabeth the news clip of Fu Xinpei, who wanted political asylum in the United States, as she claimed that she had been detained before in her hometown as she had organized a demonstration on the anniversary of Tianenmen Square. Japan was ready to sign the treaty, but Minister Chen of China wanted her to make Xinpei go back to China, if not, he would not sign any treaty.
At the White House, Elizabeth informed Russell that the worst case scenario was that China would go to war with Japan. Since Japan and America were allies, they would be at war with China as well. Russell thought that China never wanted to sign the agreement and used Xinpei as an excuse. Elizabeth also had to persuade the Japanese Minister to allow them to have 48 hours to work on things.
At home, before Blake Moran (Erich Bergen), Elizabeth’s personal assistant, came to the house to get new clothes for Elizabeth, Allison and Stephanie “Stevie” (Wallis Currie-Wood) fought as she had called her an “idiot.”
Back at the office, Daisy Grant (Patina Miller) informed them that to be eligible for political asylum, there should be proof that she was harmed before and that there was a real threat on her life when she got back to China. Elizabeth then instructed them to take a look at anything political in Xinpei’s blogs and that she wanted to have an interview with Xinpei as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Xinpei was brought to an asylum officer’s house, and she rested in the guest room, looking at pictures of her mother on her cell phone.
However, in China, her mother Fu Xinwan was detained by the Chinese Secret Service.
Back at the office, Nadine informed Elizabeth that America had been holding a Chinese spy that they do want back, so Nadine was instructed to run this plan b to Russell Jackson. Meanwhile, Nadine told her to meet a mother and daughter who had driven overnight to see her. The mother’s name was Amy Ferber, and she presented her adopted Chinese daughter, Emily, who resembled Xinpei, and was from the same village as Xinpei. They then decided to do a DNA test to confirm if they were indeed siblings, especially as Xinpei had said that her mother had to give up one child due to the one child policy.
They also discovered that Xinpei only had started criticizing China’s policies on her blog only three months ago, but prior to that, it was all about her project and basketball.
Elizabeth and Xinpei played some basketball with each other as they talked. Xinpei informed Elizabeth of her project, and Elizabeth asked if she wanted to stay so that she could “cash in” on the project, but Xinpei said that she would never do that. She did not want to go back to China because she feared for her safety and that she wanted to be able to be free. However, the problem was that she did not meet the required criteria for seeking political asylum. Elizabeth asked her for a sample of her DNA. However, she found it strange that Xinpei, who was suspicious about the government, did not ask what it was for. Later, when the DNA test came back in, it was discovered that Xinpei and Emily were indeed siblings.
Back at the office, Nadine felt bad as she had to reschedule Marsh’s portrait unveiling yet again. She was furious and told everyone that they could not postpone it any longer so that they could say thank you to the man who had given them all their jobs. Elizabeth told her that she was right, and she wanted to devote time for that, which is why she wanted to reschedule it. She then followed a teary and emotional Nadine to her office, where Nadine revealed that she was actually in love with Marsh and that they had an affair that nobody knew about. After all, she had worked for him since he was a senator.
Elizabeth then announced that she was going to deny Xinpei asylum, as she did not meet the requirements and that she had been building up her case only three months before she went to America. This caused Daisy to question Elizabeth’s ethics.
At the restaurant, Stevie was surprised that Senator Fletcher had approached her so that she could tell her mother that they wanted Elizabeth to grant asylum to Xinpei. Stevie, returning from work, complained about Senator Fletcher. However, one of Ali’s friends, who was there for the sleepover, was a family friend of the senator, and she defended her. Stevie answered back, and as things were heating up, Ali told her to be quiet and that she had no right to call her or her friends dumb as Stevie “wasn’t the best in everything anymore,” and she was just a “hostess waiting on tables.” Stevie, upset, stormed out of the house.
After talking for a while with Henry, Elizabeth found out that the White House did not approve their of giving back the Chinese spy and Xinpei’s mother had died of a heart attack while in custody of the Secret Police. She then called Minister Chen to ask what had happened. Minister Chen informed her that she had died in the hospital, and it was not their fault. Elizabeth then revealed that the American government felt that China was looking for a way to get out of the treaty and used Xinpei. He then gave her twelve hours to convince Xinpei to go back to China, or else, there would be war.
At the Mall, at Washington DC, Xinpei and Emily were happily reunited. Looking at them, she told Nadine that she was jealous that Nadine had to cry about Marsh, as she needed a really good long cry over the loss of her friend, George.
Xinpei then was told of her mother’s death. Crying, Xinpei told Elizabeth that her mother really had a preexisting condition before she had left. Elizabeth then told her that she had found what Minister Chen told her strange — that the children do not pay for the sins of their parents. She had then looked around and discovered a picture of Xinpei’s mother, who was the real activist. Xinpei admitted that that was true and that all her mother wanted for her was the freedom that she did not have. Then she told Xinpei that she had a choice to stay in the United States or not.
The next day, Elizabeth told Minister Chen that Xinpei wanted to stay in America, but she was leaning towards denying the asylum. However, they would not be able to get Xinpei if they did not sign the treaty, and Elizabeth informed him that if anything or anyone were to harm Xinpei in China, they would risk going against the United States.
Finally, Japan and China finally signed the treaty. Afterwards, Elizabeth informed Daisy that she had lied to Minister Chen in order to get him to sign the treaty, as Xinpei had wanted to go back to China so that she could help “build a democratic China.”
At the unveiling, Elizabeth delivered a wonderful speech on Marsh and related how he would give away soccer balls to street kids. Afterwards, at cocktails, Russell informed Elizabeth that he knew that Marsh had a deal with the press to hold back the stories on him giving away free soccer balls so that he could have it run right before the next elections, as he was eyeing to become the president of the United States.
At home, Stevie stormed out of the house, saying that she was “just a college drop out and a hostess.” Henry then informed Elizabeth that the two girls had fought. However, Elizabeth was tired of not being a normal family and told him that she was ready to talk about George. She said that she felt bothered, as she had thought that Vince Marsh was a good guy, but apparently, he had two very powerful enemies — Russell Jackson and the President himself. She then allowed herself to have a good cry in her husband’s arms as she missed George dearly.
And that was all for the recap of "Madam Secretary" Season 1 Episode 4 "Just Another Ordinary Day." For more news and updates, including spoilers and recaps, on "Madam Secretary" and other television news, keep following Movie News Guide (MNG).
Catch "Madam Secretary" every Sunday at 8:00 pm on CBS.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gustavo Fernandez