Designated Survivor

Designated Survivor 1×12 – The End of the Beginning

"He thinks he's playing you, but in reality, he's a prisoner in plain sight."


Designated Survivor reminds me a lot of Prison Break. It’s nowhere near as thrilling or impeccably-scripted as that show was in its debut season, but it’s the same kind conspiracy-infused ridiculousness. I don’t know why I’m still watching this show 12 episodes in, but for reason, I can’t stop.

Actually the more I think about it, the more I realize that I watch this show because of Kiefer Sutherland and Maggie Q. Both performers had far superior and intelligent shows in 24 and Nikita respectively, and I keep waiting for them to remind me why I love them so much. Sadly, Kiefer is relegated to playing the same beats over and over while Maggie is saddled with the cheesiest dialogue and barely an action sequence to spice things up. Thankfully, the two crossed paths with President Kirkman FINALLY discovering the truth about MacLeish and the conspiracy. The show dragged out their meeting and a whole lot of aimless plotting for far too long, so this is definitely a refreshing turn of events. Here’s hoping Kirkman makes Hannah his personal bodyguard going forward so that she can stay embedded in the main proceedings.

In terms of the season’s main arc, I must admit that I was taken aback by the deaths of both MacLeish and his bonkers wife. Who are the villains now? Aaron is far too obvious, and I really don’t see the show turning any of our core cast into a baddie (although I’d love to be surprised). Interestingly, this episode didn’t even end with a larger look at the nefarious cult behind the attack. And yes I’m assuming they’re a cult with all the endless talk about a higher calling and some mysterious purpose. Groan.

Presidential Bits

– I find it so amusing that no one wants Alex in the room. Could she end up being a mole? Because that would be so 24-ish and epic.

– I was very surprised to see Hannah confide in John. I was sure the show was painting him as a baddie.

– Thankfully the tension between Aaron and Emily has somewhat dissipated after Kirkman cleared the air. Get together already because this is starting to grate.

– Another genuine surprise: the show actually killed off a kid. I was positive Jason’s son would be saved. So what does this mean for the character?

– Emily can play the piano. Cute.

– Anyone else find Kirkman’s nightmare with the explosion and that goofy screen absolutely ridiculous? I feel like Kiefer deserves better direction on this show.

– So the baddies had to put a chalk mark so MacLeish would give them a call? That seems unnecessarily complicated.

– The scene between Emily and Seth discussing “perfection” was actually really well written and illuminating for both characters. More of this please.

– I’m going need Hookstraten to do much more ASAP.

Designated Digs

Hannah: XL1200C Sportster. That’s a nice ride.
Mechanic: Yeah. I can get you a good price on her once I’m through.
Hannah: I think it’s a little bit too much bike for me.

Seth: (to Emily) I’ll take “political malaise” for $20.

Emily: Seth, nobody can have a personal conversation with you without Harvard coming up, usually within the first 30 seconds.
Seth: That’s not true. I always say I went to school in Cambridge.

There’s nothing groundbreaking here but this was an entertaining enough episode. The final 10 minutes were certainly unexpected.

Nad Rating


  1. It's so weird because this has to be the most impressive mediocre show on television right now! Literally you just wonder “how underwhelming can this show get?” Lol.

    But those last 10 minutes!! WOAH. Let's hope they give Maggie Q something better to do. What a waste of ass-kicking talent.

    And I hope you're right about Kirkman's wife! That would be an epic twist.

  2. I love this line Chris “It's so weird because this has to be the most impressive mediocre show on television right now!”

    You just summed up the show PERFECTly! ahahahahah

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