Designated Survivor s1 ep 3

Another busy week for President Tom Kirkman. There’s a survivor of the attack on the Capitol: young up-and-coming Congressman Peter MacLeish is found, still alive, in the rubble, claiming to have no idea what happened. Everyone accepts his story at face value except, of course, Agent Maggie Q – also lamenting the death of her married Senator lover – who interviews MacLeish then, with the assistance of a Zapruder-esque photo of the seconds before the explosion, finds evidence which strongly suggests that MacLeish isn’t what he seems.

This might be as well, because there are plenty of people desperate for war with terrorist group Al-Saqar; including, apparently, the leader of Al-Saqar himself, Majid Nassar, who sends the White House a video claiming responsibility for the attack. Agent Q’s boss advises the President and the Situation Room of her theory that it’s a false flag operation; but someone then leaks the video to the media, ensuring that the American public, like just about everyone in the White House, get the enemy they’ve been craving. “Track the son of a bitch down!” barks the President, obviously with spectacles off.

But will Tom still be around to lead the fight? Kimble Hookstraten is on manoeuvres: this week, she somehow manages to arrange things at the funeral of the deceased President Richmond so that she, rather than Tom, delivers the eulogy, and looks hella stateswomanlike while doing it. Tom is also undermined when, during a TV interview he’s asked if it’s true that he was going to be sacked by Richmond just before the explosion, and dissembles a little. So he’s under more and more pressure to justify his legitimacy as President; and while Kimble, at the start of the episode, is talking bipartisanship it’s becoming increasingly obvious, even to Tom, that she’s up to something. Which is confirmed when she admits that she wants the Oval at some point. What isn’t quite clear to me yet is why Tom is so desperate to cling to office: he never wanted the job, he’s barely qualified, and lots of people want him out. Just chuck it, Tom, and hand over to Kimble. Let her sort things out, if she’s so clever. And maybe she is, although her motives remain opaque for now.

Meantime, though, Tom seems wiling to make a go of it. First things first: he needs a Chief of Staff. Does he go with honest, principled, worked-for-him-for-years Emily, or hard-nosed, duplicitous, video-leaking (as it turns out) Aaron? It’s the latter, naturally, and although Emily is not happy with Aaron – she gets, from POTUS, the consolation prize of special advisor – she did reject her boyfriend’s proposal of marriage on the same day, thus appreciably boosting the chances of #Emron by the winter hiatus. Aaron, meantime, meets a mysterious woman and collects from her a mysterious folder, which might or might not contain dirt on the President. I’m wondering, just a little, about him and Emily…?

I can still live without the family stuff in Designated Survivor – this week, the tedious saga of Leo the drug dealer dragged on, with his mother and sister finding drugs and a roll of cash, very strongly suggesting that he’s been dealing. It isn’t what it looks like, he protests, and either way I don’t care. That aside, though, this was great. This show looks like a keeper.

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9 thoughts on “Designated Survivor s1 ep 3

  1. CJ Cregg October 11, 2016 / 8:30 pm

    Loving this. Although agreed on the family stuff – I could happily fast forward any scenes with the FLOTUS and either of the KOTUSes.

    Kimble Hookstraten is SMOOTH. That eulogy move was something else and Virginia Madsen is great. How classy was the scene between President Bauer and Richmond’s son about his dad attending the recital, though? I found it really moving and Kiefer was particularly good.

    Presumably Aaron is doing belated Oppo Research on the Pres so he knows any more vulnerabilities/ dirt in advance of it potentially coming out and can plan how to bury/ neutralise it. FWIW I think Tom was right to pick him as Chief of Staff – he needs someone who will give him the wily Washington answer to questions, not Emily who will just tell Tom the same thing he’s thinking and lecture him about it. Plus, Emily annoys me. Aaron was definitely doing a bit of longing gazing at her when she turned down the Scotch and left, though. He will be furious (and insanely jealous) if it turns out she and Tom…. FWIW, I don’t think they’ll go there, they seem determined to make him and his wife all super-coupley.

    • Jed Bartlet October 11, 2016 / 11:29 pm

      I don’t think they’ll go there either, although I’m left wondering what dirt there could be on Mr Clean otherwise. It would at least be interesting if, a few years ago, there had been a one-night-only hookup.

      Totally agree about the Chief of Staff call. Tom needs a bare-knuckle operator in that post. I heart Emily, though.

  2. Kay20 November 15, 2016 / 5:24 am

    MUCH BETTER. This episode was gripping – likely because as you guys said they dumped the tedious family stuff.

    I was much more interested in all the behind the scenes machinations, and the amazing Virginia looking compelling, yet like she’s hiding something.

    Also hope the First Lady does something more than stand around and hug her daughter while chiding her son. Likely because I’m still mourning the election results in America this week. Sigh.

    I’ll stick with this one. I can also tell you I’m in love with Pitch here in the United States (CJ I think you’d love this show) and This Is Us. The Good Place also makes me laugh. So far those have been keepers. Lethal Weapon is another Hawaii 5-0. So I’ve been watching that one too. Still haven’t watched Macgyver just yet.

    • CJ Cregg November 15, 2016 / 10:23 pm

      I do like the look of Pitch, Kay, but no word on whether we’ll get it in the UK . We do have a UK broadcaster for This is Us which I am very excited about. Peter Petrelli, Mandy Moore, lots of warm and fuzzy feelings – sounds like just the ticket to me ☺

      • Jed Bartlet November 15, 2016 / 11:24 pm

        Still no date for This Is Us. I like the look of The Good Place, but no word yet on a UK broadcaster.

        We’re getting Timeless in about a month, though.

        • Kay20 November 16, 2016 / 7:19 am

          Watched the premiere of Timeless and enjoyed it. Predictable, but still fun to think about time travel. And I liked the characters. Willing to give it a go.

          • Jed Bartlet November 16, 2016 / 11:11 pm

            Predictable, fun, like the characters…

            Unpopcult is IN.

        • Jed Bartlet November 17, 2016 / 5:26 pm

          And we now have a date for This Is Us – the countdown is on…

          • CJ Cregg November 17, 2016 / 11:37 pm

            We should probably change our name to This Is Unpopcult in its honour 😉

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