If last season’s theme was An Armageddon Conspiracy , this season’s appears to be An All-Encompassing Cover-up, as another episode of Designated Survivor means another week of people we’re supposed to like for their honesty trying to hide all the things they’ve lied about.
First up, we have Press Secretary Seth who, having been found with a dealer’s quantity of drugs in his car, calls Kendra (on this show “White House Counsel” translates to “Counsel for everyone who’s ever set foot in the White House”) rather than his boss/girlfriend to bail him out of the slammer, and then tries to weasel his way out of the problem on the QT by having Ms Daynes get the charge kicked out at a secret hearing on the grounds of the search being illegal. Which it probably isn’t, as far as I can tell, but it’s not a Law and Order:DC technical point I’m making here, more a “general flavour of the writing on this show” one, because guess what? They’re not even Seth’s drugs, they’re his shiny “about to go to med school” brother’s, so not only are we sidestepping evidence of a FELONY, we’re lying to our lawyer and our boss/girlfriend about it. Because perish the thought ANYONE on this show or their parasitic family members might actually take responsibility for their own criminal behaviour.
Being the busiest lawyer in Washington, meanwhile, Kendra is also on point to sort out the insufferable Lyor’s crimes and misdemeanours: he’s apparently secretly married which, fine, would be his business, except he’s lied about it to the IRS for six years, which makes it very much their business too. The solution, then, is to persuade Mrs Lyor to agree to an annulment, and persuade the IRS to treat the marriage rather than Lyor’s tax returns as a sham, because, again: NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING.
Oddly, however, it turns out that Lyor is married to the Good Witch’s cousin, and even more oddly, that she still wants to be married to him, even though they’ve never lived together and he plays online computer games in his White House office instead of doing his actual job. Anyway, whatever, Mrs Lyor’s reasons, this means Kendra’s plan is slightly scuppered and I have to confess I’m not entirely sure how this storyline ended, but I don’t care because it’s stupid and my point is already made. Unless Lyor just decided to pay all his back taxes, in which case, well… good.
There is one secret I do have sympathy with this week, though, and that’s PJB “going dark”
because he thinks he’s still in 24 to visit troops in Afghanistan. As well as being a handy excuse for some cheesy “Hell, yeah, hi-fives to the troops!” type scenes, PJB is apparently there to conduct an Apprentice-type interview for the role of America’s Next Top Warlord, with the added incentive being that if he picks the right one, he can avoid a massive terror attack on US soil. If he picks the wrong one, though…. bad times.
Leaving aside the likelihood of the President meeting warlords in bunkers to make this sort of decision purely on instinct because the intelligence services can’t make up their minds who to pick (despite the fact it’s blatantly obvious who the Bad Warlord, as opposed to the Good one, is), PJB has Aaron the National Security Advisor with him to look handsome in shades and a very nice jacket – tasks which Aaron accomplishes with aplomb, I should say – and Agent Q of the FBI to assist because she used to be in the CIA? I think? Did she? Oh God, I don’t know.
Anyway, never mind Q taking on Search for a Warlord liaison duties, there’s a bomb attack on a market several miles away to contend with. This would be terrible in its own right – and merits significantly more concern for the presumably Afghan casualties than the show bothers to give – but everyone is extra concerned because “Kevin Dean” is missing, and no doubt this would ordinarily be very worrying for me too, except that I’m not 100% sure who “Kevin Dean” is.
He must be a very special guy, though, because Q insists on going to look for him, and Aaron insists she take Mike with her, even though, this is really NOT part of the Secret Service role. Still, it means Q and Mike get to make up – he’s in a mood with Q this week for no reason other than “time to give Mike something to do” – and Q gets to wear a headscarf as a “disguise” which might work better were she not teaming it up with US army regulation clothes and a bullet-proof vest, but hey ho. Q finds “Kevin Dean”, who may or may not be the intelligence guy she introduced to PJB when he arrived at the base, but I don’t suppose we’ll ever see him again, so no matter. Good luck with your future endeavours, “Kevin Dean”, all the best.
With all that sorted, however, PJB still has to pick his pet Warlord, and there’s a randomly hilarious moment where he tries to do it by way of, er, company law. Dramatically waving a sheaf of papers about while shouting “Which these articles of incorporation prove!” is not Kiefer’s best look, and sure enough, he immediately switches to his “We will HUNT YOU DOWN!” comfort zone, and everyone moves very quickly on. The Bad Warlord is, of course, rumbled, and shouted at – he’s not escaping responsibility for anything – and PJB flies home, with fire in his belly and warmth in his heart, having rousted an enemy, made a friend, and persuaded a very nice Army chef to go home and see his estranged daughter because, although it’s going to be difficult and painful, sometimes you just have to face up to things. Unless you work for the Kirkman administration, in which case, meh, no need to bother.