Commander in Chief: Season 1, Episode 5

Episode Summary (from Wikipedia)

Just after announcing Anthony Prado as the new National Security Advisor, President Allen is called out of the press conference. She is told that a terrorist has been caught attempting to cross the Canadian border into the United States with a car full of explosives. His intended target was an elementary school in Springfield, Missouri. Because the terrorist’s organization always plans simultaneous, thematically-linked attacks, they must figure out what other locations were targeted and stop the attacks. A problem arises, however, when Allen and Attorney General Melanie Blackston have different views on how to deal with the situation; Allen wants to invade a known training camp for more information while Blackston believes that the information can be coerced from the captured terrorist. Allen finally decides to go ahead with the raid of the camp, but also permits Blackston to interrogate the prisoner, so long as Allen doesn’t “hear” that he was tortured. Furthermore, when news of the situation is leaked to the press, Speaker of the House Nathan Templeton goes on TV and publicly second-guesses Allen’s decisions on how to handle the threat.

At the same time it’s Halloween, and Allen’s daughter Amy desperately wants to go trick-or-treating like a normal kid. She is disappointed when, due to security concerns, Allen tells her daughter that she might have to settle for a party this year. More family matters arise when Rod, the First Gentleman, learns that he is being humiliated by late-night comics. This seriously affects his son, Horace, who tries desperately at school to stand up for his father, nearly getting into a physical fight.

In the end, the terrorist plot is unraveled using information found in the raid, and Allen averts the first real security crisis of her administration. Amy is allowed to go trick-or-treating. But when Allen discovers, via comments from Templeton, that Blackston had indeed allowed the imprisoned terrorist to be tortured, she is horrified and fires Blackston.

Discussion under the Cut!

The main thing that stuck with me after watching this episode was the tension between father and son and the public perception of the first First Gentleman. The Late-Night TV Jokes weren’t funny, and they showed something important: the struggle to break free of traditional gender roles isn’t just a problem for Mac, they’re a problem for Rod as well. He wants to make the position his own, but he’s tied down by female tradition and gender roles of what is acceptable for a First Lady to do in these situations. Horace’s immediate reaction is to defend his father’s manhood by throwing a punch – when he says the jokes aren’t funny, his classmate says, “Not funny? They made your dad the secretary of making breakfast. Your dad’s a big wuss.” The difficulties that lie ahead of us in getting our first female president lie not only with changing stereotypes about women and leadership, but about men and leadership; and about changing the expectations of the role of First Lady. Part of me hopes Rod does take that job so that at least in the alternate Commander-in-Chief universe there’s some progress made…

There were two other things that I really enjoyed in this episode:

  • Amy is Princess Orion – a Princess, OK, but not a pink one; one that carries a gun; and one that is from a science-fiction story. EXCELLENT. LOVE. SHE’S A SUPERHERO.
  • I was so impressed with Kelly. When she goes to speak to her co-worker, he says “I’m sick of taking orders from a UC Santa Barbara Sorority girl who majored in rushing and minored in being on her knees.” His assumptions that, simply because she’s blonde, she’s a slut was so offensive, and she handled it beautifully, firing him on the spot and reminding him that she graduated with honors from Princeton. Bad-ass.

What are you thoughts? Should Rod become Baseball Commissioner? Did you like Amy’s Halloween Costume? Did Kelly say the right thing? And what about the whole Terrorist thing – was Mac being soft on terror; like so many say a female president would be, or was she being a good balance of tough but fair? Leave it below!

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One thought on “Commander in Chief: Season 1, Episode 5

  1. Pingback: Couch Potatoes with a Cause (Feminist TV Club): New Entry is up! « Becka Tells All

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