This week’s episode of DESIGNATED SURVIVOR was one of the closest in replicating the real life horror show occurring in D.C. We had a rising political figure with extreme views starting to gain traction with the country, sound familiar? Normally, this show provides a nice escape from the lunacy of our current administration, but the events this week brought things a little too close to the real one. We also got plenty of answers in the conspiracy saga, which raised some important new questions. Let me break it down in this week’s briefing.
Let us begin with the drama occurring inside the White House. The First Lady is giving a tour of the historic landmark to a group of school children, when President Kirkman (Kiefer Suhterland) interrupts and grabs all of the attention (how rude!). The kids are excited to see him and one of them asks to take a photo with Kirkman, which turns into a group selfie. Former President Richmond’s son, Tyler, is ushering the children around, but he is also there for another reason. He informs Kirkman that he wants to save the arts because a current bill is about to expire, which would cut important funding for school arts. Kirkman is sympathetic to his cause and assures him that he will look into the matter.
Congresswoman Hookstraten (Virginia Madsen) has seen better days. Last week, she was on her way to becoming the new Vice President, but a pesky issue regarding being accused of taking a past bribe from the Turkish government, created a scandal that forced her to plead her innocence in front of the ethics committee. The hearing doesn’t go well for Hookstraten and she is desperate for anything that can help her cause. She meets with Kirkman to discuss the hearing and he decides to ease her stress by assigning her he task of helping to keep the arts funding alive. This being the show that it is, there is a bump in this plan, Congressman Saluda, who could help get the arts bill renewed, is also the one leading the charge against Hookstraten. Kirkman must take on the task of saving the arts. Saluda pays a visit to Kirkman to discuss the art bill. Kirkman makes a suggestion about attaching the bill to something in order to pass it quickly, but Saluda is quick to shut Kirkman down. Saluda doesn’t want to be a part of any backroom dealings because that is not what he is there for. He doesn’t see the arts as an important cause when compared to other areas like math and science, where he informs Kirkman that the country has fallen behind in the global community.
Aaron meets with his cousin and she informs him that it looks like the the court is going to rule against Hookstraten 9-3, which means no more vice presidency, speakership or House seat. Like I said earlier, she has seen better days. Kirkman assures Hookstraten that he is not ready to give up just yet. Since Hookstraten is smart and scrappy in the way we love her being, she comes up with an idea of her own. She calls Saluda into her office to give him one of those Hookstraten take downs we’ve come to cherish. She explains to Saluda that if he wants to take her out, she understands procedure quite well and has no problem holding things up to tie up the system for a long time. She also proposes stepping down as speaker, but with one caveat, that Saluda help renew the arts bill before she leaves office. Hookstraten informs Kirkman that she is leaving her speakership behind in exchange for saving the arts. Kirkman is a man of his word and he tells to not give up just yet. At the high school choir performance, Kirkman announces that he has named Hookstraten as his nominee for Secretary of Education. We are not done with Hookstraten yet and nor should we, she is one of the best characters on the show. She has evolved from a possible enemy to a loyal figure for Kirkman. Madsen has played this transformation wonderfully, with all of the nuance to pull it off and without losing her edge, especially when push comes to shove.
Meanwhile in conspiracy land, Agent Wells (Maggie Q) has been kidnapped by Lozano and his men. They place her in a storage unit for hiding. The Secret Service quickly find out about her missing status and place a search on her whereabouts. They track her to her motel room, but she is nowhere to be found. A nearby security footage reveals that he was kidnapped. Wells continues to be tied up and trapped, but one of Lozano’s men brings some food for her, which indicates that they want her alive, but for what? She asks Lozano’s minion to loosen her chains so she can reach her food. On the next visit, she cleverly uses her bra wire to unlock her cuffs and just as the guy is trying to inject her with a serum. She knocks him out and escapes, but there is a catch, she is actually on a large cargo ship, but going where? We will find out soon enough.
In other conspiracy news, Jay Whitaker, someone who works in the White House, meets with Emily about the exchanging of business-like information for administration. As he leaves, he sends a text that reads “Package out for delivery.” The recipient of said text is our new villain, Patrick Lloyd, the smug fool trying to make himself a prominent figure in politics, especially with the alt-right movement. Whitaker and Lloyd are working together and Wells being kidnapped is part of the plan.
Since Wells is out of commission, Atwood takes action in searching for the truth about Lloyd. He buys some spy equipment and his plan comes to fruition at a speaking event, as Lloyd goes through a metal detector that goes off, a security guard forces Lloyd to remove a pin he has on. Afterwards, the guard takes said pin to Atwood and confirm that the new pin with the location detector was placed on Lloyd. At the speaking event, Lloyd shouts about the “illegitimate government” that is currently running the country and the people in the audience eat it up and cheer him on. Sounds like another loud and obnoxious public figure who spews extreme and wild ideas (I wonder who could that be?).
Atwood is able to track down Lloyd back at his compound in the woods. Nearby in hidden view, Atwood overhears that Lloyd and Whitaker are working together and that they have kidnapped Wells. But that’s not all folks, Atwood discovers that they have been feeding reporter Abe Leonard false information. It turns out the Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam are all decoy targets. What are the real targets? As yet to be revealed. Atwood is ready to take this important information back to D.C., but he is caught by Lozano, who shoots him down. Is Atwood dead? To be determined.
This episode was another solid one, but lacking in the thrills that we have come to expect from the show. The arts bill plot wasn’t compelling enough, but anything involving Hookstraten kept my interest. She is the MVP of the show and the writers need to utilize her more. Also, the show hasn’t been as exciting since MacLeish was killed off. I’m hoping that the last two episodes of the season end things on a high and exciting note. The conspiracy drama narrative is starting to pick up again and we are getting closer to closing the gap on those responsible for the Capitol Hill bombing. Let’s hope the writers can bring it for the home stretch. Until next week!
Season 1, Episode 19 (S01E19)
Designated Survivor airs Wednesdays at 10 PM on ABC
In the crowded TV jungle, Cristian searches through the dense vines to find quality programming for all to enjoy.
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Cristian Barros | Contributor