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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Image via ABC

Image via ABC

I’ve gone on and on about how great the premise of Designated Survivor is. Especially in a particularly divisive election, seeing an intriguing “what-if” scenario play out on a political level is all sorts of intriguing. After a few episodes, however, I started to grow weary of the approach they were taking. Too much emphasis seemed to be on finding out who the terrorists were. Yes, that’s an important aspect of the story, but I’d like to think that priority 1 would be getting the government up and running.

After losing faith that we’d ever get that that part of the story would actually be delved into, I was pleased to see this episode, whose main plot focused on President Kirkman winning over the state governors. Should he fail to get their support, he wouldn’t be able to set up his cabinet and get things rolling. Understandably, there’s a big issue at hand. Following a White House attack, the governors are reticent to accept Syrian refugees into the country — an issue that all American can relate to right now. Finding himself in a Catch-22, Kirkman opts to give in to the governors’ demand to prevent all incoming travelers and immigrants until they get a handle on the situation. I suppose everyone has to compromise their beliefs at some point.

The other plotline of this story follows Agent Wells and Atwood, and their interrogation of Majid Nassar, the terrorist claiming responsibility for the attack on the Capitol. They’re up against a ticking clock, however. Last episode, it was revealed that Congressman MacLeish was likely holed up in a bomb shelter when the attack took place, implying that he was in on the attack, and that his goal was to attain political power for some unknown reason. To make matters worse, Kirkman had his heart set on making MacLeish his vice president, and should that go through, MacLeish would be that much closer to taking the White House, and potentially being a puppet for whoever set this whole mess into motion. No pressure.

By the end of the episode’s runtime, Kirkman has the support of the governors, and Wells has confirmation that Nassar was not behind the attack after all, as expected. But who was? She can’t necessarily move things onto the president without more information. As to what that information can be is anyone’s guess at this point. But will she get the necessary info before MacLeish becomes vice president? We certainly hope so.

While I wouldn’t call this a homerun, this was definitely a step in the right direction. Slowly but surely, they’re starting the actual rebuilding phase of the government, and call me dry, but I’d really love to see the focus really be 70/30 on that front. All the politics and intrigue and hands-on work required to rebuild something like the U.S. government is full of all kinds of storytelling opportunities. 

And as much as I liked this episode of Designated Survivor, the cliffhanger left me a bit annoyed. How much of this story will revolve around the possible illegitimacy of Kirkman’s son — a character I already hate? I don’t know, but I really hope that things don’t shift for the worse in favor of family drama.

Grade: B

What did you think of this week’s episode of Designated Survivor? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.