It’s probably the second-last Designated Survivor ever, and the show marks it by starting a whole bunch of random new storylines. I understand that the writers didn’t know it was going to be cancelled but it’s an unfortunately apt metaphor for the disjointed, all-over-the-place nature of the storytelling this season that the stuff they decide to introduce in the penultimate episode is not only completely out of nowhere, but heading back there fast.
First up is Agent Q, who’s breaking into an angry man’s house looking for Valeria Poriskova. Having been bailed out by Aaron (was that “my middle name is cover” chat flirting? I think it was flirting. It was cute!), she then finds out Valeria has broken into her house looking for something else. Sucks to be Valeria though, because Q, having manipulated Aaron and his soft spot for her (I’m sure it was flirting), has already got the something else: a USB of Damian telling her to go save his teenage daughter in London, quick-smart. At this point, I have to ask two questions. First, why would the Russians care about Damian’s teenage daughter whom nobody has even heard of till right now? And second, why should the audience?
Challenging Q for the “Where did that come from?” award, meanwhile, Kendra has spent the night with BROTUS. No, really. (Have they even shared any scenes since the episode they met?) Storylines for Kendra are obviously like buses – nothing much for ages then last week’s #Metoo moment and now not just the birth of Trendra but the third break-in of the week. Gosh. Long story short, the family of a murder victim from her AUSA days are not happy. They’re also surprisingly skilled and well-resourced, since they find out where she lives, hack into BROTUS’s phone to call her AND manage to hire a sniper to shoot her? Or is it the gangster people the DOJ gave the killer protection from who do that? I don’t know, it all gets a bit convoluted. The important things to note are that a) after last week’s successful murder investigation, Mike has now moved on to solving break-ins, so Robbery-Homicide Division rather than the Secret Service should probably be paying his wages and b) poor Emily, who’s only there because the plot really needs her to be, takes the bullet instead. It’s not the first time Emily’s been in the vicinity of a bullet intended for someone else, but it looks like she’s a lot less lucky this time. Don’t die, Emily! The show may be cancelled but you could still be Chief of Staff in the great Kirkman administration in the sky.
If there is one, that is. Having turned down the Republican and Democrat parties’ offers to join them as their candidate for 2020 (really? Both of them offer? Are they high?), PJB ends up in an all-out war with both of them, and facing the prospect of being a lame-duck president who won’t get another term – a fittingly meta state of affairs, since the cancellation means this is now a lame-duck show. One might think that would be enough of a threat to the administration for one week, but the budget impasse it causes is resolved largely by PJB telling everyone (his staff, the majority and minority leaderships, the press corps) very firmly that it must be resolved, and the attention switches to a more immediate threat. Yes, in perhaps the most random storyline of all, in order to give MJF something to do, PJB appoints Ethan West (who, somewhat strangely, still seems to despise POTUS although the man listened to his Secret Pain and then saved that kid for him last week) as a Special Prosecutor to investigate Cornelius Moss; Ethan West concludes his investigation in about ten minutes; and Ethan West then promptly starts investigating PJB for criminal conspiracy instead. This is quite mad, really annoying and completely unnecessary since we’ve only just had a storyline about Ethan West heading up proceedings against PJB to try and get him removed, and we really don’t need another, but what the hell. Barring some sort of streaming service miracle, one more ep to go and we’re done.