'Madam Secretary' Season 4, Episode 12 'Sound and Fury' Recap: The President is Not Well [SPOILERS]
BY Louie Anne Matthews
Published 5 years ago
In “Madam Secretary” Season 4, episode 12, titled “Sound and Fury,” President Conrad Dalton (Keith Carradine) undergoes a crucial breaking point, and Elizabeth (Tea Loni) questions his mental state. After hearing about a sonic attack at the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria, Conrad believes the Russians are behind it. Uncharacteristically, Conrad threatens the Russians with military force—without any substantial proof. Elizabeth, along with the other cabinet member, are concerned and struggles with whether or not they should follow their President.
The President’s Gone Mad
During the Japanese State Dinner, Elizabeth was informed about what might be a sonic attack at the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria. Hoping Conrad could weigh in on the situation before the press ensues panic, the President prepares to target Russia. In front of the media, Conrad promises to hold Russia accountable for the sonic attack. The Special Activities Unit was put on the case of finding the source of the sonic attack—if it was indeed Russia. But even without any facts, the President was hell-bent on striking Russia. The next day, Russel (Željko Ivanek) and Elizabeth try to make sure Conrad’s statement was just a lapse in judgment. The President proposing military force against an adversary with the nuclear advantage will cause war.
Elizabeth hoped that the National Security Council (NSC) would help Conrad. However, it only made matters worse. The President called for an attack against Russia and ignored the NSC’s opposition. He tells Elizabeth he was standing up to Russia, which was something America should’ve done long ago. But there was still no proof the sonic attack came from the Russians. Conrad even fired the Secretary of Defense when he could not, in good conscience, push through with the offense. Since they couldn’t reach out to the President, Russel holds a secret meeting at his home to find a solution until Conrad changes his mind.
‘Madam Secretary’ Section 4 of the 25th Amendment
Henry (Tim Daly) and his team sent the recording of the sonic sound to the FBI, hoping to trace its source. After encrypting the sound, Henry informed the President that the sonic event was not an attack—albeit involving the Russians in some way. A Russian listening device caused the sound as it pointed at the embassy. The frequency crossed with the fourth floor’s encryption, causing the sonic event. However, Conrad refused to back down and would consider firing everyone that contradicted his orders. Russel and Elizabeth try to voice out their concerns, but it looks like Conrad wouldn’t listen to reason. This behavior is a drastic change for this “Madam Secretary” character. Conrad was usually a calm and reasonable man. Something’s wrong with him, and Elizabeth needed to know what.
The Administration is out of options. No one can talk Conrad out of the attack, so Russel held a secret cabinet meeting about invoking Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. It is an emergency provision that allows the Vice President and members of the Cabinet to declare the President unfit to carry out the duties of the Presidency. The cabinet had different views on the situation, some even saying they shouldn’t question the President’s judgment. In the end, they took a vote on whether or not they should invoke the Amendment.
Stepping down for the betterment of the people
The next day, Conrad was shocked to find his wife, his Chief of Staff, and Elizabeth holding an intervention. Russel informs Conrad he has been removed from office and Vice President Hurst is the acting President—revoking Conrad’s strike order against Russia. Elizabeth offers Conrad another option: Conrad can invoke Section 3 of the 25th amendment. It means the president may temporarily make the Vice-President the Acting President with a written or public declaration. All he has to do is commit to a full medical examination.
In the end, Conrad agrees, because Section 3 would still instill public faith. We then find out that he has “meningioma,” a benign tumor that can easily be removed. The episode ends with a speech from Conrad informing the public Conrad was temporarily handing the presidency to Vice President Hurst. He was honest about his condition, reminding the public what should be done with an unfit leader. He praised his cabinet for doing the right thing and helping him out before any worst case scenario. IN an action-packed episode, “Madam Secretary” not only gave the viewers a crash course on the 25h Amendment but also presented a spectrum of viewpoints relating to current events.
“Madam Secretary” continues next month at 10/9c on CBS.