Shocking Developments For The Designated Survivor
But another one of Hannah Wells's leads turns into a dead end.
Things should really be moving now that President Kirkman is onto Vice President McLeish, right? Well, yes and no. It's true that Kirkman knows McLeish had something to do with the Capitol bombing, but it's also true that he still has no idea who else did. That includes his own Chief of Staff, whom he has to continue trying to investigate without tipping anyone off. And all from his hospital room, because it still hasn't been that long since he got shot.
At least the Vice President is easier than Aaron to bait into exposing himself. Wells checks in with an old squad-mate of McLeish's to see what shakes out, and said veteran experiences enough stress over it that McLeish himself goes out for a secret meeting with him at Arlington National Cemetery in the dead of night. Lady McLeish is against this plan, and when she learns at the last minute that it's a trap, she takes drastic action that has serious consequences for the line of succession.
Speaking of which, it's time to break down the power rankings for this episode -- as always, from most to least effective in line of succession format.
- Vice President
Given all the time that Peter McLeish's wife has spent reassuring him that everything is okay, you'd think he'd listen when she warns him not to do something stupid like sneak out in the middle of the night to meet one of his men. You'd think wrong. McLeish is also dumb enough to blab to said man about having lied to Congress while FBI agents have a parabolic microphone pointed at him. That's enough for Agent Wells to move in and make the arrest, but McLeish's evening is only going to get worse from there. Idiot.
- White House Staff
Emily's POTUS-ordered request to look into Aaron's phone records has opened a rift between them that even a presidential smoothing-over, mutual apologies, and Emily's sad noodling on the White House piano can't seem to heal. Meanwhile, Seth doesn't have a president to represent at the moment, so he's reduced to being upstaged by the Veep and then offering trite advice and expensive liquor to a bummed-out Emily. The best thing he gets to do is talk about having gone to Harvard.
- Surgeon General
Kirkman's doctor at George Washington strongly advises him not to return to the White House yet. He pulls rank on her and ignores her. Though it's not fair to say that she's entirely ineffective, because if she were he'd be dead already.
- First Family
Both Kirkman Kids make an appearance for the first time in quite a while. I'm sure the daughter's long absence has nothing to do with her showing up in trailers for an upcoming Chris Evans movie. As for Alex, Tom is being prevailed upon to keep her out of the loop with regard to investigating the bombing conspiracy. Mike has advised him to "tighten your circle," but it looks like Alex might be tightening a circle of her own, if you know what I mean.
- President of the United States
He spends most of the time confined to a hospital bed, having nightmares and feelings. His main challenge is juggling Aaron's suspicions and trying to keep Alex from getting too mad at him for his sudden secretiveness. Oh, and receiving a visit from his evil Vice President without jumping up from his bed and strangling him with the five cables snaking into his pajama top. Yes, I counted them. There wasn't a lot else going on in those scenes.
- Attorney General
Mixed results for the FBI. Wells decides to bring Director Forstell in on the investigation, and fortunately he seems to be a standup guy -- so far. With his support, Wells is able to operate in secret while still ostensibly in custody, and eventually move in to arrest McLeish. Alas, she's not able to save McLeish from getting killed -- by his own wife, no less, who then turns the gun on herself, presumably to protect their secrets. Also not saved: the son of Wells' former boss Jason Atwood, who went to prison when the conspiracy kidnapped the boy. Killing off a kid like that is pretty rough, show.
- Secretary of Homeland Security
Mike turns out to have done pretty well for himself. It's not every Secret Service agent who can have a president shot right out from under him and then find himself still inside said president's rapidly shrinking inner circle. He's not only one of the few people privy to what's happening with McLeish, he's also become the president's emotional confidante in a way that Alex can no longer be. Kirkman may be worried about McLeish, but Alex should maybe start worrying about Mike.
- Speaker of the House
Can Kimble Hookstraten just be POTUS already? Aaron is generally like a brick wall when it comes to protecting the president, acting or otherwise. But Madam Speaker's persistence and sheer force of will reduce him to rubble, first overcoming his reluctance to tell Kirkman she needs to see him and then getting Aaron to admit that McLeish ordered Catalan killed. I don't know how all this is going to end, but I'm confident that anyone dumb enough to go up against Hookstraten is going to regret it. Up to and including the president. I'm with her.