Sven Frenzel / ABC

The Designated Survivor Has More Crises To Survive

But Tom Kirkman is finally laying down some presidential smack.

It's a week after the attack, but President Kirkman is still dealing with some of the same old problems from his first day. General Cochran and Michigan's governor are acting up again, the new White House Press Secretary sucks, and the First Lady is already asking for special favors that seem certain to come back and haunt them both. But at least he's starting to make some positive moves, unlike Agent Wells, whose investigation into "miraculous" bombing survivor Peter McLeish turns out to be a dead end. Or does it? Please, you know it doesn't.

Anyway, let's get right to ranking this week's subplots, once again in line of succession format, from least to most effective. I think you'll be pleased with how this one ends.

  1. The Governor of Michigan
    In the wake of Tom's admission last week that he'd been fired just before the State of the Union, Governor Royce is feeling his oats again, threatening to drop the hammer on Muslims in Dearborn. Emily volunteers to go defuse the situation, but Royce refuses the defusing, and has even gotten the commander of the Michigan National Guard on his side. Emily somehow gets Royce to join her on her flight back to D.C. for a sit-down with Tom. But when they arrive, Tom has the guv arrested for treason before anyone can even sit. As shocked as Emily is by what she sees as a betrayal of a deal she made in good faith, I suspect the governor is smarting even more. But then, he's a dick.
  2. White House Staff
    Aaron's having a slightly off week. His relationship with Emily appears to be thawing, as he seems to worry about her while she's off in the Mitten State, and she doesn't let him play it off. He also witnesses Seth jumping smoothly to the podium when the current third-string Press Secretary bolts, and offers him the job on the regular. But he sells the affirmative action angle so clumsily, Seth rejects him out of hand and only accepts the gig when Tom himself makes the offer. Kimble Hookstraten might not be trying to poach Aaron if she knew how he was screwing the pooch right now. And of course Emily's first week as the President's Special Advisor ends up with her falling into the role of the President's Unwitting Piss-Boy. Congratulations, everyone.
  3. Attorney General
    FBI Agent Hannah Wells is still pursuing her theory that Congressman Peter McLeish, who is still alive after having mysteriously disappeared from his seat seconds before the SOTU bombing, had something to do with it. So she visits the McLeishes at home to see what gives. They spin a yarn about how she peppered him with panicked texts when their daughter was briefly missing, and Wells's inspection of their phone records in the minutes before the bombing seems to bear out that story. She's ready to walk away from the whole thing until she gets a cryptic call telling her to "find Room 105." Annoyingly, the caller doesn't supply an address, so I guess we can look forward to lengthy montages of Wells going door to door throughout the greater D.C. area and checking out every building with more than four rooms on the first floor. That should be riveting.
  4. First Family
    One of Alex's immigration clients is on the verge of being deported, and her firm's legal options have supposedly been exhausted. But rather than asking hubby to intervene from the Oval Office, she approaches Kimble Hookstraten to subpoena the client as a Congressional witness. Hookstraten complies, but not without making it clear that she's going to be keeping Alex's ovaries in her pocket to squeeze at her leisure. On the bright side, neither of the Kirkman kids is anywhere to be seen.
  5. Secretary of Defense
    General Cochrane's people have found the leader of Al Sakar in Algeria, and he (barely) awaits Tom's order to level the compound from the air. Tom wants to hold off until they know the fate of an American agent on the ground, so when Cochrane goes ahead and starts moving for the attack anyway, Tom finally decides he's had enough of Cochrane's shit and fires him on the spot. Good thing there's a handy Admiral who a) agrees with Tom's decision, b) is more than ready to take over, and c) has worked with him before on 24. This war they're about to get us into should go pretty smoothly, then.
  6. Speaker of the House
    The one living, uninjured, not-currently-under-FBI-investigation member of Congress is doing so much maneuvering that I don't know how she finds the time to do the work of 535 people. She's like a chess master against Tom, preparing to take control of his pieces and use them against him. Which I know you can't do in chess but since I can't tell what game she's actually playing we'll stick with that analogy.
  7. President of the United States
    Tom is finally learning that you can't do this job without making some enemies. Or at least, without treating your enemies like they are your enemies. Between Governor Royce and General Cochran, some powerful people are learning that whatever they may think of him personally, President Kirkman is more powerful than they are. And while Emily disapproves of the changes she sees in him, he's still getting along well enough with his wife that he feels comfortable calling her into the Oval Office to discuss his legal options in Michigan. Though not without its challenges, this is looking like his best day so far. And once again, best of all: no kids.
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