The President has gathered together the state governors – presumably with the exception of Michigan’s John Royce, unless he attended with a prison escort and I just didn’t notice – intending that they should start the process of putting together a new government. But just as he’s laying out his inspirational vision for the future, shots are fired at the White House. It’s relatively inconsequential as these things go (unless you’re Mike, POTUS’s security guy, who takes a sore one to the chest): the shooter is someone who’s pledged allegiance to Majid Nassar, the prime suspect in the bombing; but since we know that Nassar didn’t actually do it, that probably doesn’t mean much.
Nassar himself is in custody on American soil and, spoilsport that he is, he’s declined to say anything to his captors. “Is there a timeline for this sort of thing? When can we expect some results?” demands Kirkman, who in his old job as Jack Bauer would, by now, have taken an oxy-acetylene torch to Nassar’s ding-a-ling just for the lulz. There’s a bit of a debate about whether removing Nassar to an overseas black site for, uh, “enhanced interrogation” would speed up the results; but Kirkman, for now, isn’t persuaded, telling the FBI, “You’ve got” – wait for it – “24 hours”. Of course they do.
But the pressure is on, because some of the governors are doubting Kirkman’s legitimacy as president. I’ll happily admit that I assumed the episode title, ‘The Interrogation’, was going to refer to Nassar getting grilled, but it’s pulling double duty: Kirkman is also obliged to submit himself to questioning by the governors in order that they can satisfy themselves he’s the right person for the job, and instead of snarling “Bitches, I’m Commander-in-Chief”, he suffers a crisis of confidence. Aaron stiffens his resolve, followed by Seth (“What he said”), but it looks as if Kirkman is going to go through this shit every week, which is odd: both constitutionally and morally he’s entitled to be POTUS. I mean, it’s not as if he lost the popular vote (known in the rest of the world as “the vote”) or anything like that.
Meantime, there’s a plane sitting on the runway in Florida with 300 Syrian refugees inside, because the Governor, under pressure from his electorate, won’t let them disembark. FLOTUS is deputed to try and broker a way out, but the only solution the governors are interested in is a temporary ban on all immigration, in return for which they’ll give Kirkman – now revealed, incidentally, as an independent and not the Democrat I thought he was – their support. Actually, assuming the show’s premise, I thought this to be a reasonably plausible situation for Kirkman to be put in. Anyway, he bows to the demand, and the Syrians are sent to Canada; not, you might think, a bad outcome for them in all the circumstances. Alex, however, is understandably pissed: “I’m not angry with the President. I’m disappointed in my husband”. Still, back at ya in a couple of weeks, Alex, when Tom inevitably discovers the truth about his son; Seth is being played by Lisa, a hot journo who’s flirting with him, but who is already asking questions about Leo’s paternity, and looks as if she’s working for the Up To No Good Herald Tribune.
And Hannah gets to interview Nassar, who – under emotional pressure – reveals that the person behind the bombing is known as ‘Catalan’, a name which doesn’t appear to be in any of the FBI’s databases. It’s possible, I suppose, that in the midseason finale someone from Barcelona will be arrested and then they’ll be, all, “Oh. A Catalan.” Not that they’ll able to clarify that with Nassar, who by the end of the episode is dead, whether by his own hand or someone else’s. All in all, I thought this episode was a bit of a pause for breath; but with MacLeish now in the frame for the VPOTUS vacancy it might be that more of the plot will be revealed next time out.