The Designated Survivor's Shooter Comes Back To Life
But can we say the same for his next VP choice?
Flush with their shared victory in getting the gun control law passed and signed, President Kirkman and Speaker Hookstraten are ready to take their relationship to the next level. In other words, he wants to make her his Vice President. Hookstraten loves this idea, because look how great that gig worked out for the last person! But I guess you never pass up the chance to be next in line for the presidency when you're...already next in line for the presidency. Alas, fate and Hookstraten's many enemies on the Hill have other plans.
Speaking of plans, Wells makes unprecedented progress in her investigation after she and Atwood barely escape North Dakota alive. With help from a guy from Homeland Security, she figures out how Catalan is still alive instead of dead like he's supposed to be. This leads her to the former CEO of the defunct defense contractor that owned the missile silo full of mines, which in turn leads her to unconsciousness in the back of a windowless van.
Just from what we've said so far, you might think that it's not going so great. But don't worry, the bad guys are doing just fine. Here's a list of the key players, from most to least effective.
- President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Senator Bowman is not only still getting steamrolled on the Hill, he's letting himself be used by a disgruntled former employee of Hookstraten who is out for petty revenge. This tool is so far out of his league that he doesn't even realize it. Next.
- First Family
The only non-POTUS Kirkman who gets to be in the episode is little Penny, who apparently spends her time at Camp David waiting for the phone to ring so that she can motivate her dad to appoint a female vice president. Which would be a little more inspiring if not for the way this show has been treating its female leads lately.
- Secretary of Commerce
Everything Designated Survivor does, it does clumsily and without subtlety. That goes double for this episode's jarring foray into product placement, when the action abruptly screeches to a halt so Wells can pointlessly and unnecessary feature her government vehicle. Sorry, but I'm not spending that kind of money on a something that could drop me unwillingly into a car commercial at any moment.
- White House Staff
Emily and Seth do their best with a bad situation, as Kirkman tasks them with trying to get Hookstraten out of trouble. This project puts them back in alliance with Aaron, which is nice, I guess. It's also nice that they have all this time to do PR for someone other than their own boss.
- White House Press Corps
Abe Leonard continues to do what he does best, which is (a) leg work and (b) looking slovenly. But he's got a source who's feeding him just enough dribs and drabs of information to keep him on the line without allowing him to actually get anywhere. Not that the source is doing this for Abe anyway, but we'll get to that further down the list.
- President of the United States
Kirkman maintains his insistence that Hookstraten will be his VP pick, even as the accusations against her are flying. I guess this is supposed to make him look noble and resolute, but it mostly makes him look stubborn and naïve. If he's wavering at the end, the chat with Penny seems to strengthen his resolve. As if we don't get enough of presidents making decisions to please their daughters in real life.
- Speaker of the House
Kimble Hookstraten finally takes a hit, in the form of a pay-for-play allegation from twelve years ago involving military aid to the Turkish government. Don't ask me why it didn't bother anyone at the time, but it's suspiciously inconvenient timing now that she's on deck for the VP slot. Everyone assumes the story was put out by Senator Bowman, but Hookstraten roots out the real culprit: a former aide of hers who had to resign for reasons involving actual corruption on his part. It's to Hookstraten's eternal credit that even as she's going down, she effortlessly owns the weasel behind her misfortune. Maybe she shouldn't be vice president after all; she's much better suited for the top slot.
- Attorney General
Even with Atwood on the DL and gutpunching Abe Leonard outside a diner, Wells and Forstell are finally getting somewhere. They figure out that Catalan was not only not killed the night of Kirkman's shooting, but that someone else took his place on the morgue slab -- someone who owed a favor to Patrick Lloyd, the ex-CEO of the company that owns the missile silo. Wells and Forstell brace the guy, but aside from letting slip some unhinged jargon from the Pax Americana manifesto, he doesn't give them enough to act on...yet. But then Wells gets kidnapped by Catalan and his crew, so maybe that will change the situation. If she survives, that is.
- Secretary of Homeland Security
Mike's main job is to express skepticism that Wells really saw Catalan at the missile silo, which isn't a great look for him. However, he's not the only representative of the department in this week's episode. Meet Jay Whitaker from DHS (above right), who helpfully provides Wells with a full surveillance record of "Catalan's" exit from the scene of Kirkman's shooting, all the way to the building where Catalan was supposedly killed. But another interesting thing about Whitaker is that he's secretly Abe Leonard's mysterious source into Wells's investigation. And another interesting thing about Whitaker is that he's high enough in the conspiracy to be overseeing Catalan and his kidnapping of Wells! What a shocking betrayal from somebody we thought we knew so well after meeting him half an hour ago!