My main issue with Designated Survivor (aside from the fact that it’s not exactly subtle television), is the fact that it’s been stalling for far too long. We’re ten episodes into the show’s run and President Kirkman and Hannah STILL haven’t crossed paths. As for the conspiracy itself, do we even really know all that much at this point? I love it when a show burns through plot and proves that it’s got other tricks up its sleeves, because so far, I don’t have much faith in Designated Survivor’s long-term prospects.
As effective as this midseason finale’s cliffhanger is in getting us all amped up for the show’s return (all the way down the line in March), I can’t help but compare it to The Walking Dead’s season six finale. Just like that episode, this finale didn’t really give us any answers, and ended up being a cop-out in the process. Wouldn’t it have been more infinitely more powerful to show us who got shot and instead leave us with baited breath as we imagine the repercussions? Obviously Kirkman won’t die, so I’m not exactly dying of suspense.
Since the action-y and thriller aspects of Designated Survivor haven’t been the most engrossing, it’s funny that the highlight of the show lately has been the growing sexual tension between Aaron and Emily. In fact, I’m really rooting for them, which makes the Aaron-is-a-potential-traitor subplot all the more ill-timed (and kind of cliche). Still, I’m intrigued to see where the writers take this even though it’s undoubtedly a red herring. Also, Italia Ricci can do no wrong!
– Poor Hannah getting strangled post car-crash. For a second there I thought the show might actually off Maggie Q after under-utilizing her so much. Seriously she deserves better after Nikita.
– The most poignant moment Hannah’s gotten so far: opening up to Chuck about her father and how they must do good in this evil world. In fact, I’m kind of shipping these two now.
– Cochrane is back! And surprisingly not so evil anymore! Good, I prefer characters with layers; he was way too one-note in his previous mustache-twirling appearances.
– Speaking of complex characters, I like Kimble. She’s not clearly good or evil.
– Did anyone else notice that super unnecessary slow-mo shot of Hannah running down the stairs? Talk about style over substance.
– Seth and Lisa – I can do without these two even though the former is a likeable presence.
– I will admit to being surprised at Langdon being Hannah’s mystery female caller. However, networks should seriously ban writers from using the whole “this conspiracy is bigger than you think” shtick any longer. Cringeworthy!
– The one clue we got about our super villains: MacLeish’s wife being some sort of dastardly fanatic who wants to make America great again. Okay…
Cochran: This is what this room is usually like. More calm than storm.
Aaron: Hey, listen. About last night…
Emily: You mean when you kissed me? You don’t have to be weird about it.
Aaron: Well, what if I want to be weird about it?
Emily: How did you know I like Elvis?
Aaron: Well, opposition research comes in handy sometimes.
Emily: Seth told you?
Aaron: Seth told me.
There’s enough excitement here to warrant coming back in March. It’s not must-see television, but it’s enjoyable, in a disposable sort of way.