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Designated Survivor

Designated Survivor – The Confession (1×03)




There is no such thing as honesty in DC. And if you are honest, it comes back to bite you in the ass and the American people start saying things like “we swore in the wrong Designated Survivor.”

It doesn’t take a TV show to tell you that the American people really don’t know how to choose a good President. But this President they didn’t choose – Tom Kirkman, he might be the best thing they’ve got. They just don’t know it yet.

Instead, they’re feeding into the bull that they think “helps America” like Kimble Hookstraten, an opportunistic woman who will do anything to secure her place for the next election. This week, that meant tipping off a reporter that Kirkman was fired right before the attack on the Capitol happened so that he would look “weak” in the eyes of the American people.

As news of this broke, the late President’s son decided not to allow Kirkman to speak at his father’s funeral because “he didn’t want someone that his father wasn’t fond of.” Of course Hookstraten took this as her moment to shine and feed the people the same political garbage that they thrive off of.

However, Kirkman wasn’t going to let this discourage him. He knows he has what it takes to be President but sometimes that means using strategies that he isn’t necessarily fond of. When someone from the inside leaks video of Al-Sakar’s leader confessing and taking responsibility for the attack, he automatically blames Hookstraten, only to find out it was actually Aaron Shore.

(Also a good time to point out that this brief blackout WASN’T another attack on Washington and especially not on the safest building in America. But I will say this, whoever hacked into the safest network must have immense knowledge of it therefore, must be working in the White House.)

He’s furious at first and Aaron knows he overstepped so he hands in his resignation. But he also reiterates a point – everyone in the White House and plenty of poeple in America would like to see him fail. Shore is on Kirkman’s team and wants to help him succeed. The American people were getting impatient and needed someone to blame. (Seriously, how weak does this make us look?) So Shore leaked the video, despite Kirkman’s wishes of being 100% accurate before declaring an enemy.

This prompted Kirkman to see things for what they really are. Sometimes he wants to be moral and honest, but that isn’t always the best strategy for the President and it isn’t what the American people need. He needs a Chief of Staff that thinks differently than he does and that person unfortunately isn’t Emily, who was convinced she would get the job after Shore’s faux pas. Kirkman knows she’s disappointed he chose Shore, but promises she’ll have a position that allows her to speak up and take charge.

It definitely isn’t surprising what Kirkman did and while I’d like to say this decision was solely his, I’m about 99% convinced he got played. Shore understands how Kirkman’s brain works so he knew how to convince him that he’s the right man for the job. I’m not sure if Shore is trustworthy, considering he met up with someone and picked up a file on Kirkamn. Shore’s been in talks with Cochrane, who wanted him close to the President so she can push his war agenda. Is that what Shore’s doing? Is he going into this with malicious intent only to realize he loves Emily and wants to be on the good side of history? That’s what my guess is… because you know he’s going to end up with her, especially since she just rejected a proposal from her boyfriend.

And while dissecting the White House and everyone’s motives in it could take up this whole review, we also have to point out that there was ONE SOLE survivor of the attacks. However, we can’t call it a miracle like everyone else because Hannah Wells aka FBI badass uncovered that the survivor may not be innocent. The feed from the attacks cuts off with a time gap. After having the team hack a woman’s phone, they realize that during the “blackout” the survivor went missing. He escaped… but why? Did he know the bombs were about to go off? Is he the one who set them off? And why? Who is he working with and what is his agenda? That will mean a lot going forward.

Wells may have been motivated by personal intentions – she wanted to know if her “boyfriend” survived the attack (he did not) – she’s also the one person who knocked some sense into the head of the FBI, who finally told Kirkman Al-Sakar might be a cop out to who actually is responsible for the attacks. I think we’ll be seeing Wells working closely with Kirkman going forward, which is a good thing, cause she’s definitely a positive asset to the team.

As for First Lady Alex Kirkman, I’m going to need her to step up a bit. Kirkman has been trying to become presidential these past few episodes but it seems to me like Alex hasn’t fully embraced her role as FLOTUS. She doesn’t look the part, she doesn’t act the part and so far, the only thing she’s been involved with is raising her kids, especially Leo who was expected to be a problem considering he was dealing MDMA from the White House corridors. Really dude? However, it seems like she was able to bring him down to Earth and avoid having to rat him out to the President so maybe we won’t have to deal with his pesky storyline anymore.

Thoughts on the show? What do you think of Kirkman as President?

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Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.


13 Best Government Conspiracy Shows to Watch During Your Self-Quarantine



Must watch government conspiracy shows

Feeling a little restless and bored at home during your self-quarantine? It’s understandable. You didn’t expect to be living and working from home a month or so.

While you’re doing your part to flatten the curve and help prevent the spread of coronavirus, if you don’t have something to keep you occupied, your mind begins to wander just a little bit.

That’s honestly the only explanation I can think of for all the conspiracy theories I’ve been reading. While there’s absolutely no basis to them, it made me think that maybe there’s something there entertainment wise– people are craving a specific genre of television to help them through this tough time.

So, I’ve put together a list of shows surrounding government conspiracies that you might enjoy while you are cooped up inside.

Manifest (two seasons – currently airing)

Manifest is a mystery inside of a riddle that focuses on the return of Flight 828 five years after its initial disappearance. The plane’s re-emergence shocks everyone because they assumed their loved ones were dead. As the passengers begin looking for the truth, they stumble upon a government conspiracy that’s dangerous and frightening.


Emergence (one season so far)

Manifest made way for Emergence, a drama about a small-town cop who takes in a young girl at the site of a mysterious plane crash. The young girl begins exhibiting certain supernatural powers, and as high-ranking officials develop an interest in the girl, Jo realizes she’s entangled in a mystery larger than she ever imagined.


Stranger Things (preparing for season 4)

When Will Byers goes missing, three best friends in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana begin their search for him along with his mother and police chief Hopper. The investigation leads them to unraveling a series of supernatural mysteries that lead to secret government experiments with an alternate universe.


God Friended Me (two seasons – currently airing)

Not all government conspiracy’s have to be dark and dangerous, sometimes, they’re feel-good shows! Miles is friended by the “God Account,” a mysterious account on Facebook that allows him to help people in need. Miles and his friends try to figure out who is behind the all-knowing account, and the possibility of a government entity is high up on that list.


The Bodyguard (one season)

The British police thriller follows Police Sergeant David Budd, who is a war veteran suffering from PTSD. He currently works for the  Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service and is assigned as security for Homeland Secretary, Julia Montague, who is rather controversial in the political landscape. It keeps you guessing until the very end over who did what and who knew what.


The Passage (one season)

The series, based on a trilogy of the same name, focuses on Project Noah, a secret medical facility where scientists test dangerous viruses that could potentially be a cure-all. However, there’s a chance they could potentially wipe out the whole human race if they get into the wrong hands (this might be a little too on the nose). A federal agent grows to love a young girl who becomes a test subject and attempts to protect her at all costs… even human destruction.


Alex Parrish is the one of the top recruits at Quantico, a training facility for only the best and brightest, but she’s being set up of masterminding the deadliest attack on U.S soil since 9/11 — a bombing at Grand Central. Can she solve the conspiracy and clear her name before its too late?


What’s better than a show that combines time traveling to relevant, pivotal, and iconic moments in history with a government conspiracy? Timeless is an adventure series that places you in the middle fo all the actions as Lucy, a historian, Wyatt, a soldier, and Rufus, a scientist, get recruited to thwart a nefarious government institution that wants to change the world as we know it.

Prison Break (5 seasons)

Michael Scofield’s brother, Lincoln Burrows, is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and put on Death row. Michael holds up a bank to get arrested and begins his elaborate plan of breaking them both out, which eventually leads into the reason he was framed and yeah, you guessed it, it’s an intricate political conspiracy that’s really messy.

24 (9 seasons)

Jack Bauer, Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los Angeles,  thwarts assassination attempts,  torture, traitors, and nuclear attacks, while hoping to save his nation from ultimate disaster.


Designated Survivor (3 seasons)

In a similar vein and also starring Kiefer Sutherland, low-level cabinet member Tom Kirkman ascends to the role of President of the United States after a devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union blows up the Capitol and kills the President and most of the top-reigning officials. Soon, it’s revealed that Kirkman wasn’t the designated survivor on accident as a government conspiracy unfolds.


The Event (one season)

Sean Walker, a seemingly regular man, begins to look into the mysterious disappearance of his fiancee and exposes one of the biggest cover-ups in American history.

Extant (2 seasons)

After a year in space, Molly Watts (our girl Halle Berry) returns to Earth and reconnects with her husband, a gifted scientist, and her son, Ethan, who has skills and powers that make him incredibly special. However, she begins to realize something isn’t just right and the conspiracy that unfolds threatens her career and family. The thrilling drama hails from Steven Spielberg, so even if it’s slightly overcomplicated, you know it’s bound to be an adventure.

There’s likely plenty of other shows… which ones would you add to the list? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter @CraveYouTV!

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Designated Survivor

Designated Survivor – #slipperyslope & #privacyplease (3×02 and 3×03)



Campaigning for President is hard work.

Campaigning for President while simultaneously filling the role of the current President is even more daunting.

It requires double duty, yet Kirkman and his team rise to the occasion in more than one instance.

Lorraine is in charge of getting a platform that will push Kirkman, an independent, to the front of the race.

It proves challenging because unlike Moss, her former client, Kirkman isn’t willing to stoop low in order to advance.

He wants to be the guy that America votes for the right reasons, which automatically makes him the right choice in my book.

But optics are everything in a Presidential race.

And in an America where people have openly admitted to not voting because no candidate represents them, their beliefs, or causes that are important to them, it’s harder to convince the public to see that greatness.

It becomes increasingly difficult when Kirkman’s campaign is overshadowed by scandals that arise out of nowhere.

In Designated Survivor Season 3 Episode 2, Kirkman tackles the situation of child brides following an unfortunate meeting with a donor from Saudi Arabia who brings along his 14-year-old wife for a photo op.

Kirkman is disturbed considering the young woman is roughly Penny’s age, and he could never imagine selling his daughter into marriage.

Despite Lorraine’s advice not to speak openly about child marriage, Kirkman decides he cannot just stand by idly.

A representative for Saudi Arabia comes for a sit down with the President and it’s immediately the strongest scene in the episode.

The scene could have been one-sided with Kirkman asserting himself as an American, talking down their archaic beliefs, and taunting America as the better and progressive country.

But instead, the female representative turned the tables and listed off some of America’s flaws: slavery is the foundation, high incarceration rate, and guns.

She also unearthed homegrown issues including laws with grey areas that allow for children to get married pending parental consent.

It’s great when a series can turn the table on its own people and show that sometimes, you have to start with issues in your own backyard.

Related: Designated Survivor – #thesystemisbroken (3×01)

The fact that Kirkman, and his team, weren’t aware of such laws or that it was common practice in many states speaks to the ignorance of the American people. We’re blissfully unaware about what’s happening on our own turf yet quick to point fingers and condemn others.

Despite his outrage, Kirkman was forced to table a law prohibiting marriage before 18 simply because it didn’t suit his campaign.

Emily was initially upset because she knew deep down that it was the right thing to do and something she was passionate about, yet she understood that Kirkman wouldn’t be able to invoke change if he lost the Presidency.

Emily’s heart is in the right place, which is why she’s Kirkman’s moral compass. She’s idealistic, but sometimes that idealism gets in the way.

Lorraine understands that there’s a strategy when it comes to politics. They’re trying to get every single voter possible and bringing up issues that are controversial can turn those voters away.

As she put it, Kirkman trying to push this legislation would get him nothing, but cost him everything.

Sometimes, to win, you have to take the L.

Emily’s choice to move to the campaign has a few pros mainly that she’ll be close enough to Lorraine to keep her in check.

Emily isn’t the only one who doesn’t trust her and for good reason. Lorraine may be advising Kirkman, but it’s still unclear if she’s actually on his team.

It’ll also benefit Emily to be exposed to a different side of the political game.

After being promoted to Campaign Speaker, Emily mentioned that she had to “toughen” up.

Who would have thought that toughen up would mean to expose Moss’ Alzheimer’s gene when the President explicitly said not to?

Even Lorraine didn’t stoop that low.

Kirkman’s strategy of when they go low, we go high is noble —  No one wants a President that’s a bully.

Yet, it was important for the public to know about Moss’ condition even if Kirkman didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news or violate any privacy laws.

The second issue that worked against the President came at the expense of his trans-sister-in-law.

And while it wasn’t fair to out Sasha, who chose to live a life outside of the public eye, but helped establish Kirkman’s beliefs.

Republicans tend to swing towards conservative and anti-gay, Democrats are liberal and thus pretty accepting of the LGBTQ community.

Related: Designated Survivor – Run (2×22)

But an independent? Where would he stand?

When Sasha made headline news it was a lose-lose situation for Kirkman.

The public condemned him for hiding his trans family member out of embarrassment without ever considering he was honoring her privacy.

The only way to get the bullying and death threats to stop was for Sasha to make them.

Sasha’s introduction came just as little Penny, who isn’t so little anymore, got her period.

Seeing two men that deal with issues on a national and nuclear level get so bent out of shape over a period was downright hilarious.

It’s a good thing Sasha handled the whole “you’re becoming a woman talk” for Kirkman.

The show is finally acknowledging the impact millennials have on politics.

If a candidate wants to win the popular vote, he has to reach the voters on their terms.

Dontae has taken the Kirkman campaign into the digital age, and it’s refreshing.

When airing Kirkman’s speech about infrastructure on the national channels wasn’t an option, Dontae suggested putting it on the web for free.

Kirkman didn’t just reach more people, he was trending everywhere and as accessible as your best friend.

I think he should win it solely for embracing millennials when other candidates don’t see the value in it.

With the show’s shift to Netflix, Designated Survivor isn’t constrained to as many boundaries.

The F-bombs are flying and for those of us who watched the show since its heyday, it’s slightly jarring, yet it makes things more believable.

I’m betting things at the White House, especially during a campaign trail, are a chaotic cluster eff at all times. Of course, they swear to blow off some steam!

The series has become more inclusive and representative of things like LGBTQ rights, lack of representation for minorities, and Aaron Shore even leads the narrative for the Latinos.

We’d all probably agree that Aaron was sorely underutilized throughout the first two seasons; it’s as if the writers never really knew what to do with him.

But all of that has changed once the series found its new home.

Much like the other characters, Aaron now has a personal life outside of the White House walls with Isabel.

Isabel’s Latino pride is a stark difference from Aaron, who has always tamed down his Latino roots even having changed his last name at some point also.

He always found a conflict between owning his heritage and fitting in in politics, which is something Isabel hasn’t had much of an issue with.

Yes, Isabel challenges Aaron, but it’s not in a good way. Her character is very “I’m right and you’re wrong” and leaves them in constant conflict and disagreements.

Since they are constantly arguing about something, it’s difficult to pick up on any chemistry.

Why be with someone if you don’t accept them for who they are?

Should Aaron own up to his heritage? Quite possibly, but she shouldn’t continuously push him because it’s been successful for her.

Lorraine, on the other hand, is going to push Aaron’s Hispanic heritage in a push for votes.

She also sees the NSA Director’s untapped potential and realizes he can also win over the millennials, the urban, and the 45% of non-voters who felt like they weren’t represented.

Lorraine even says, “if Kirman can get these people, he wins.”

It also helps he’s a looker!

It’s interesting to see a man get objectified instead of a woman for a change.

Much like women do on a daily basis, Aaron is now seeing what it means for someone to measure your worth by appearances and not by how capable you are of doing the job.

Will Aaron take the offer and join Kirkman’s ticket?

Hannah was fired from the FBI, scooped up by the CIA, did her time as an analyst, and then stumbled into a bioterrorism case that’s even left her Dr. Eli Mays scratching his head.

Remember that red cardinal Emily hit with her car while spending time in Florida with her mom? The birds died of a virus that was genetically engineered: smallpox.

Hannah and Eli were exposed at Eli’s friends’ lab, but thankfully got to a cure just in time!

They trace the virus to a hospital that affected plenty of patients and was seemingly brought in by a male nurse who has, you guessed it, dropped off the face of the planet.

A manmade virus created to wipe out the population seems like the kind of situation Hannah would get herself in. It’s just a shame that Chuck isn’t around for this!

It concerns me that Emily was in a state where the bird virus was present. Could this mean she’s in danger?

  • Isabel tried hard to fit into the club and she finally found her angle by tackling high drug prices. She stood her own when going after Big Pharma’s outrageous price increases of drugs that easy to produce like insulin simply to turn a profit.
  • Mars has been a welcome addition to the team. It’s almost as if he’s an older version of Lyor. His personal storyline deals with a wife who relapsed and blames his need for political gain for the decline of their loveless marriage. Though, it becomes harder to sympathize with him knowing that after he rightfully committed his wife, he went to seek comfort with his side chick!
  • Seth is a father. It’s an unexpected storyline, but one that’s been rather enjoyable. Seth donated sperm during his college days to make some money and now, he’s the father of an 18-year-old! Surprise! They drink at bars together, so it seems like the start of a beautiful relationship.

So to sum it all up: Kirkman wants to play fair, but also knows it’s not always in his best interest to pursue any legislature that can divide his voters. Don’t underestimate either Lorraine or Emily. Aaron Shore can be Kirkman’s golden boy if he just gets over the whole “I’m only being considered cause I’m Latino” shpiel. And Seth is a dad!

Thoughts on the two episodes of Designated Survivor?

Keep following CraveYouTV for the remaining episode reviews!


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Designated Survivor

Designated Survivor – #thesystemisbroken (3×01)



Designated Survivor #thesystemisbroken review

Netflix gave Designated Survivor a second chance and similarly, the American people are giving Tom Kirkman another one.

Before ABC pulled the plug on the Kiefer Sutherland fronted drama, President Kirkman decided to go against all odds and run for re-election.

I know Netflix dumped all episodes in one fell swoop, but I’ll be reviewing them individually for old time’s sake.

At the kickstart of Designated Survivor Season 3, Kirkman’s misstep during his State of the Union speech almost cost him his upcoming bid.

The nation assumed he was unhinged and though yelling at the American public may not have been the best approach, Kirkman has never pretended to be something he’s not.

The state of America was crumbling and the only way to get anyone to listen was to cause a scene.

As Emily Rhodes said: it was refreshing.

Kirkman, who is running as an Independent, against his former-friend-turned-nemesis, Moss, quickly learned that his unconventional campaigning tactics would be his secret to success.

His vice president Eleanor Darby also resigned and decided to run against Kirkman as President. Because of her decision, his infrastructure bill didn’t garner enough votes to pass.

There wasn’t much to rely on in terms of data or research for an Independent candidate. And the numbers weren’t there either.  Independent’s never had a chance of winning, yet Kirkman struck a chord with numerous voters who wanted, nay, needed a change.

They wanted someone to listen and hell, Kirkman wanted to listen.

Kirkman was uncertain of his own capabilities and gathered his old team for a dinner at the White House where he polled them on his odds of winning.

In true fashion, Emily was the beacon of hope that reframed the election in Kirkman’s mind.

“Why are you running,” she asked him.

At that moment, Kirkman knew he had a shot at winning if he followed his heart and approached it not for himself but for the American people.

By the end of the hour, Kirkman figured out his motive for running, found a uniting platform and hired his campaign manager.

Lorraine Zimmer was a spit-fire and though she initially seemed like a good addition to Kirkman’s unconventional team, I’m not so sure she has his best interests at heart.

Considering Zimmer once served on Moss’ team, I think she may have accepted to position simply to undermine Kirkman and help Moss get elected.

In order for Kirman’s campaign to succeed, he also needed to put the gang back together.

At the beginning of the episode, Emily had removed herself from DC politics and moved home to Florida to take care of her cancer-stricken mother.

Mars Harper replaced her as Kirkman’s Chief of Staff, and though he was damn good at his job, there was always something missing.

Seth, who scored a promotion to White House Communications Director by the end of the hour, lured Emily back to DC explaining that she was the missing key to Kirkman’s success.

Sure enough, when Kirkman saw her he admitted that he needed her back on his team as his moral compass.

Aaron Shore continued to be the eye-candy of the White House, but for all of you shipping his relationship with Emily, it doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards for them.

Shore is now dating Isabel, who I initially thought was his sister (you have to admit, they do look alike), an employee of the White House who really connects him to his Latino side.

While Shore’s romance with Isabel is new to us it’s seemingly been going strong as he just asked her to move in with him.

Although, his reaction to her “thinking about it” didn’t seem too promising.

While Netflix doesn’t ignore the previous narrative of Designated Survivor, it does a great job of wrapping up storylines and moving them ahead without lugging around the baggage.

Hannah Wells’ storyline was so complicated, it did her more harm than good.

Getting dismissed from the FBI closed a chapter for Wells and opened up her new opportunity: a gig with the CIA.

Truthfully, they’d be stupid to pass on a woman so skilled in her craft.

Wells is an absolute ninja and can handle whatever comes her way.

And it seems like that’s going to be bioterrorism; where is Dianne Lewis, CIA director, sending Wells on her next assignment?

And how will her storyline remain connected to President Kirkman?

There’s plenty of new additions to Designated Survivor that will undoubtedly strengthen an already strong cast and ensure enough there’s enough political drama to round out the season.

Dontae Evans, a black and openly gay man, is hired onto the team by Seth after introducing Kirkman’s team to the power of social media and generating a hashtag that successfully redefined his platform.

In addition to Evans, we also briefly met Mars’ wife, Lynn Harper, a woman suffering from opioid addiction.

Free from network constraints, Netflix now has the ability to elevate a series that reaches a broad spectrum of people and touch upon topics that were formerly taboo.

We’re looking forward to seeing what the streaming giant does with a show that never lived up to its full potential.

Also, Penny no longer wants to be referred to as Little P, and it’s heartbreaking because she’s grown up right before our eyes!

What did you think of the Designated Survivor premiere?

Is it a better fit for Netflix?

Will the streaming giant give the cast storylines that play to their strengths?

Does Kirkman have another traitor in his midst with Lorraine?

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