Having spent a bit of time spring cleaning this week, I was reminded how cathartic getting rid of clutter can be. After last week’s admirably swift and merciless consignment of the MacLeishes to the netherworld reserved for tv villains who have served their purpose, Designated Survivor seems to be in similar clear-out mood; it’s not quite callous enough to kill the President’s kids (just poor Jason Atwood’s, I guess) but sending Little P and, er, the other one, off to Camp David with their nosey mother serves just as well. I understand that the whole point of the First Family was to show an ordinary, loving, everyman being thrust into an extraordinary situation and the effect it has on the people around him, but, contrary to YEARS of perceived procedural drama writer wisdom, the unhappy wife/ resentful family parts of any of these shows are NEVER the bits anybody tunes in for. They just get in the way of the good stuff.
Of course, the cynical among us (i.e. me) might also think another reason why Alex has left the building is the lure of treating Jack Bauer mean, to keep Jack Bauer keen. Instead of just wandering round the White House sulking that her husband won’t share National Security secrets with her anymore, she may well have decided absence will make the heart grow fonder and the tongue grow looser, taking herself and the kids away as both stick and carrot to encourage PJB to be a bit more forthcoming when she pops in for conjugal visits. Or maybe she really is a decent (albeit annoying) woman who’s just concerned for her kids and I’m much more devious than she is. We’ll see.
Anyway, now that I’ve spent two paragraphs talking about the bits nobody tunes in for, time to move on to the aforementioned good stuff, of which there isn’t quite as much as there was last week, but still plenty to be going on with.
PJB is, understandably, fizzing over last week’s mission mishap – “Somebody’s gonna have to explain to me how the Vice-President of the United States of America was murdered in front of a team of federal agents!” – but Agent Q and her new ride-or-die buddy Reed Diamond calm him down very quickly, so the investigation can pick back up again and PJB can do all sorts of addresses to the press room, to camera, to the American people. Dude LOVES an address. Which would be a good thing if he were being entirely truthful but the US President going on tv to preach about how important transparency and honesty are while not telling the truth, the whole truth and anything all that close to the truth is surely going to come back and bite him on the First Butt? (Or not. I mean, it doesn’t seem to trouble his real-life counterpart.)
Either way, points to everyone for giving Seth’s new nemesis Abe Leonard a gig with Teen Mode, in a joyous and well-deserved hat-tip to Teen Vogue who were indeed (and still are) doing “real stories on real issues” at a time when too many traditional outlets were unaccountably scared to. It’s a shame then that this storyline makes no sense in terms of timing, though; Abe raises a question in the afternoon, PJB addresses the nation on it in the evening, Seth manages to get various newspapers to physically publish hatchet jobs on the man at some time in between – do newspapers do High Tea print editions now? Or even in terms of Kimble’s motivations – why leak some of it to him if you very clearly don’t want him to know the rest? But never mind all that. The main point is that the whole snafu gives everyone an excuse to dump yet more baggage on the poor beleaguered Aaron, who has to fess up to “leaking classified info” to the Speaker of the House and then gets sent home
from school for a week, so Ari from Nikita can make contact with him, everyone who’s only just convinced themselves he’s not part of Team Bad Guys can convince themselves (again, wrongly) that he is, and Emily can make the power grab she’s wanted to since ep 1, even if it’s more of a power hand-out, and both she and Aaron (and me) look really sad about it. Oh well. Since Agent Q specialises in clearing the unjustly accused, I assume she’ll sort it out eventually, but if she could hurry it on up, that would be great. For me, anyway. I mean, I may be the only one shipping Aamily, but I’m shipping them HARD.