It’s been one year since Tom Kirkman has been thrust into the role of President of the United States and much has changed, for the better.
Kirkman himself survived an assassination attempt, saved arts education, uncovered that the Capitol bombing was a mass conspiracy from within, saw his Vice President – who was in on said conspiracy – get killed, and rebuilt the Capitol Building. And yes, it cost a lot.
So yes, a lot has changed and some stuff has stayed the same, like his approval from the people he’s selflessly serving.
It’s no secret that Kirkman is the least liked President, which is shocking because if these fake people knew that someone like Trump could become President, they would literally be thanking Tom at every bend and turn.
Also new is the addition of team-member Lyor Boone to the White House staff, per Emily’s recommendation.
Lyor is an old colleauge of hers and well, his eccentric personality comes off a little too brash at first. But he proves his worth as Kirkman’s Political Director. How did he not have one up until this point?
One year in and things aren’t getting any easier. In fact, Kirkman’s dealing with yet another crisis: Ukrainian terrorists hijacked a plane in Chicago. Among the 168 hostage are 68 Americans, including one of Kirkman’s best friends, whom he had a falling out with.
One of the things Designated Survivor is trying to do differently is to add more emphasis on character storylines. Since Kirkman has a friend on-board, we’re immediately more concerned about the outcome. It becomes more personal. And taking the emphasis off the complicated plots allows viewers to follow along easier and not get too lost in the clutter.
Emily and Aaron take on the Ukrainian and Russian ambassadors but both are sworn enemies and not exactly eager to get involved. That is until Kirkman realizes that the Russian’s actually paid Ukrainian to hijack the plane in order to have an excuse for war. When he addresses them and pulls out his perfect Russian (thanks, First Lady), they call off the plan.
Starting off the season with a focus on Russia is an interesting choice to me because it seems like the best way to reveal that Alex is somehow the mole behind this whole government conspiracy. Don’t tell me you guys didn’t think of it since the beginning? And since her character is being written off so she could go star in some other show, this would be the perfect opportunity to make the First Lady actually a Russian Foreign Terrorist.
The terrorists back off and the passengers disembark, well, everyone except for Kirkman’s best friend. As a doctor who was with him in the Peace Corps, he stayed behind to take care of an elderly passenger. As luck would have it, a spark on the runway caused the plane to blow up. So despite Kirkman saving most on the plane, he didn’t as he put it, bring everyone home.
Tom uses the events of the day to motivate his White House staff, who have been feeling weighed down by the pressures of the “failing” administration. Most importantly, Seth, who was so burned out, he was actually looking at getting another job! Emily set him straight though, demanding that he make a decision by the end of the day because his wavering stance was a threat to the President. He decided to stay because really, there is no one better to stand up there in front of the press and defend the President. Seth, despite feeling like he’s been bringing everyone down, is a true Kirkman supporter and believes in him.
Hannah Wells is still on the hunt for Patrick Lloyd, the brains behind the Capitol bombing… or so we think. Remember, I still think Alex Kirkman is up to no good! We find Wells in Amsterdam, drunk and falling asleep at the bar. A patron takes advantage of the situation, taking her to his home where she proceeds to knock him out and steal a USB drive that leads her to the locations of the dark web. Chuck advises her to get back up but you know Hannah, always independent and stuff.
Upon arrival, she is ambushed by the bar dude who turns out to be M16. Honestly, how did an M16 agent get tricked by a woman pretending to be drunk? That’s like the easiest trick in the book!
Damian Rennett, that’s his name, admits he’s been tracking Lloyd for a few weeks and knew who Hannah was when he spotted her at the bar. They decide to team up, following Lloyd’s trail but unfortunately, he’s always one step ahead of them. This part of the episode got a little confusing, mainly because they were just going from high-tech warehouse to high-tech warehouse but eventually Lloyd ended up arriving in D.C. Is he planning another bombing? Why would he go back to the scene of the crime unless he’s planning something else or banking on them thinking that he’d never be “that dumb.”
What did you think of the season 2 premiere? Is Lyor a good addition to the team? Are Aaron and Emily still into each other? Will Kirkman ever gain the trust and respect of the American people that he truly deserves?!
Designated Survivor – Line of Fire
You could look at the midseason finale of Designated Survivor in one of two ways.
Either it delivered enough jaw-dropping moments to keep you invested until the series returns in 2018 or it delivered on everything we already knew what was going to happen thus failing miserably at the shock factor.
For a series that caters to the actors’ needs, I’d go with the latter.
If you don’t follow television news, the First Lady’s death was probably a shocker. It’s been no secret that Natascha McElhone (Alex Kirkman) was leaving the series and realistically, the only way you have a show about a President with no First Lady is if she’s dead.
There were also many other hints sprinkled throughout the episode: Kirkman promising a romantic evening where they finally catch up, Alex calling him to tell him that they “won” and that she loves him, him not picking up her call, the belief in divine intervention, Kirkman at the hospital celebrating a new life all while one was ending.
The signs were all there. Alex finally regained some control of her life, which for the past few months was dragged down by the bribery investigation. It’s unfortunate that she spent all this time vying for a W simply to die the minute she got her freedom.
I’ll even say that the way she died was repetitive to how Hannah crashed back in season one when first pursuing her leads into the bombing investigation and McLeish. Was this done to emphasize that the crash wasn’t merely an accident but someone trying to take her out?
And on CHRISTMAS of all days!?
Kirkman hasn’t had an easy presidency and this will no doubt put a strain on his beliefs, which are at the core of who he is.
Like they said today, some people think the President is God.
And although he cannot put out forest fires, which would no doubt be beneficial nowadays in California, he can put out other fires or at least try to appease everyone by finding the best solution.
That’s what makes his team so successful. While Lyor was so quick to condemn all the twenty devout “cult” members that refused to evacuate from their cabin despite the spreading wildfires as “clearly insane,” Kirkman took the time to understand their way of thinking.
And without any decision that would be defended in the court of law, they had to find loopholes.
Emily whipped out her Catholic school knowledge to convince the babies mother to go through with the open heart surgery using artificial blood. When the doctors said they needed a full blood transfusion, she appealed to the human part of the mother. No one wants to kill their child based on what’s written in a doctrine.
In the end, everyone won. Well, everyone except Kirkman. We’ll see what the effects of the First Lady’s death have on his presidency.
The other major storyline focused on Hannah Wells and her lover boy who may not be that innocent.
Last week, Hannah put two and two together and realized that Damien might have been playing her this whole time and she was blinded by love. That’s what you get for mixing business with pleasure.
She digs a little deeper this week hoping for a different outcome but Chuck’s detective work and Aaron Shore’s intel ties Damien to the Russian Embassy, which probably means he’s sabotaging their investigation and working to help frame the First Lady.
I say probably because well, there’s actually NO solid evidence of this, just mere speculation.
Aaron wants to take control of the situation because clearly, Hannah has been compromised but she wants to fix this.
And her way of fixing it is confronting Damien and shooting him when he tries to come clean.
Whatever he reached for in his pocket is definitely going to come up when the series returns in 2018. Was it a gun? Was it some evidence? Was it an engagement ring? For now, we won’t know. And neither will Hannah. Can you imagine living out the rest of your days wondering what it could have been?
Seems like Damien was still one step ahead of her because he was wearing a bulletproof vest under his jacket. Was he expecting to be shot? And how was she so naive to believe that one shot would have killed him?
For someone who is talked up as the best agent in the force, she sure makes a lot of mistakes.
Thoughts on the midseason finale of Designated Survivor? Will you miss Alex or are you happy that she’s gone?
Designated Survivor – Home (2×08)
President Kirkman spends his time secretly overseas on this week’s Designated Survivor but despite the bombs going off in Afghanistan, the war, as he jokingly said, really is happening right at home.
And by home I mean the White House. Things are actually sort-of peaceful for the American people right now.
Seth gets pulled over probably because he’s drunk-in-love with Emily, who he hooked up with briefly last week and he is now officially “I want to meet your mother” dating. It seems like a regular traffic stop but the next day, Kendra bails him out of jail and its revealed that he was caught with 200 tabs of an illegal drug, which seems very unlike Seth.
Kendra begins brainstorming ways to get him out of this mess when it dawns on Emily — these weren’t Seth’s pills. Seth took the heat for his brother who just passed his MCATS. And while he was trying to protect his brother’s career, he put his in jeopardy. But the reason Kendra got her job in the White House is because she’s good at her job. Like really good. She finds a way to deflect all the blame to the arresting officer, who was so desperate to make an arrest and meet the quota, he broke protocol. Seth’s case is dismissed but he’s still in the hot seat with Emily and probably Kirkman when he finds out. Although he seems to have had it pretty hard so could they cut him some slack?
Everyone was told not to attract any attention while the Prez was away on his secret mission so obviously, that’s all they did.
Reporters, specifically that one little nosy blonde, began asking why Lyor was filling in for Seth. A bit of a heads up — if you’re trying to be inconspicuous, Lyor probably isn’t your guy. Everything he said during his brief time as Press Secretary raised eyebrows.
Not to mention he was in a little legal trouble of his own. He’s married. Yep, Lyor managed to lock a lady down. And she’s actually pretty decent! The problem is that since their wedding was technically a “Vegas” wedding, they didn’t consider themselves a married couple, therefore, he didn’t pay taxes. Someone working at the White House that’s cheating on their taxes doesn’t exactly bode well for Kirkman’s problematic administration.
Kendra drafts up the annulment papers but neither of them actually want to end the marriage. Emily figures out an alternative solution and I’m not really sure if that’s the end of the story or if we’ll see Julie again. I hope we do honestly, it would give Lyor more depth instead of just snarky, sarcastic, and sometimes intellectual one-liners.
Then, of course, Alex and her mother are still being set up and Kendra’s working on that too by trying to figure out why Eric Little opened an account in Alex’s name and who killed him. Who is after the Kirkman’s?
So while that’s happening at the home base, Kirkman is visiting the U.S troops in Kabul. He’s shaking hands, serving breakfast and trying to pinpoint which high profile leader is a terrorist and which one they can strike a deal with. If they choose the wrong one, Kirkman warns they could be responsible for the next 9/11.
Mulla Barhi aka “the young one” and Mullah Fayed both meet with Kirkman and exchange pleasantries.
Designated Survivor – Two Ships (2×06)
Designated Survivor has been having a rougher season than the waters that rocked the Verona this week.
There were a few saving grace moments, mainly everything that involved Emily – thanks for giving her a storyline finally. And if you just let go of the idea that the President will be anything but a man of integrity that is ride or die for his country, you can appreciate him geeking out about his love of navy fleets.
So let’s talk about all those biggest moments!
1.Hitting the High Seas – The performance of the night went to Gregory Smith (hey, Everwood) who took on the role of Will Griffin, a newly appointed captain of the Verona that hit a barge and began sinking in hostile enemy waters. Being thrust into his new role in a time of crisis really imitates how Kirkman began President, which is why these two bond so quickly and really understand each other; Kirkman sees much of himself in Griffin.
Enemy waters is not an ideal place to be stuck in, but Griffin was happy to serve the President and his country, even making the ultimate sacrifice to go down with the ship to make sure that enemy countries never found out the real reason they were there – to spy. Griffin being sprinkled in throughout the episode to update the President really humanized the situation and made us see Kirkman in his most authentic form; as the man of the people. The final scene, when he tries to convince Griffin to save himself and instead, getting to know him in the final moments was one of the most moving scenes this season. It shined a light on the tough calls and sacrifice those fighting for our country make on the daily. Unfortunately, Kirkman’s course of action was too typical for it to be compelling: take the diplomatic route, do anything to bring back the American people even if it costs the US everything. Maybe I’m unaware of how politics works behind closed doors but it’s hard to imagine that every situation that arises comes with a multitude of roadblocks. The White House is quite literally a jungle.
2. The Truth about Mr. Little – Kendra Danes is doing her best to make this whole Eric Little bribery scandal go away before it gets to the media but unfortunately, she’s working with two uncooperative parties. At this point, Alex isn’t even in the episodes and the series is hoping that we kind of just forget about her completely as they write her off. Eva doesn’t want to sign any papers and expose herself to any more interrogations, much to Kendra’s dismay. When she finally admits that she did have contact with Eric Little, contrary to what Alex aka the First Lady said in court, it puts her daughter’s integrity on the line. If this wasn’t a big deal before, it will be when everyone finds out that the First Lady was trying to cover up for her mother, who was involved with a man who may or may not have had something to do with the Capitol bombing. Oh Eva, you really messed things up this time.
3. FBI Hannah Hits a Dead End – Awkward makeout sesh aside (she doesn’t want to talk about it, okay?), Hannah and Damian pursued Charlotte Thorne, the woman they believed to be behind the death of some British lady that came for the G20. Honestly, I can’t remember the details because this storyline, much like Charlotte Thorne, does not matter. But in case you were wondering, Thorne wasn’t responsible for the murder, however, she did kidnap her assistant Peyton Lane in an attempt to score an extradition for her corrupt husband. Super messy. Even messier is that it took the series a whole wasted storyline to give us the big twist – Secretary Moss, one of Kirkman’s greatest friends, may have been involved in her death. The show is going back to its roots of inside jobs and conspiracies. Season 1 may have been a mess but at least it gave us half-fleshed characters like the MacLeish’s so we at least half-cared about the crimes they committed.
4. He Didn’t Want Me, He Wanted the White House – I’d imagine many famous and rich people have felt as used as Emily felt while rekindling her relationship with her dad. Not that the storyline contributed much to the episode or to who Emily is as a person but I’ll take any type of character development these days. Her father was able to charm everyone in the White House but Emily saw right through him when her “full of hope” bubble burst; her dad was using her to get an endorsement from the President for his WINE CORK. Seriously, talk about not researching the market.
If Seth ever felt underused in the White House, well, we can’t blame him, every character has been underused, sacrificed for the story of the week, which forces the show to overlook it’s potential and blend with all the other cookie-cutter programming. But this week, he had the most important job and that was bringing boxes of food to cheer Emily up and delivering an award-winning bread speech that proves he deserves to be the press secretary and also Emily’s heart. There have been moments hinting at a possible romance since the premiere, but I always thought we’d eventually address the Emily and Aaron Shore relationship that was abandoned back in season 1. I guess it really doesn’t matter as long as we’re focusing on characters; that’s why we come to shows, isn’t it? To catch up with our favorite characters, to be invested and entertained by their lives. Without that, what do you even build up a fan base?
Thoughts on Designated Survivor? To you see potential peaking through the clouds? Will the writers finally utilize all the great talent they have?
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