Designated Survivor finale recap: 'Brace for Impact'
The American government comes together under one roof, because that went fine last time
The president is sitting back and watching some weird-looking cable-news program called The Nate Butcher Show when, all of a sudden, Aaron Shore shows up to butts heads with none other than pesky Senator Bowman of Montana. The topic? President Kirkman, more or less. Shore, as he often does, offers up a full-throated defense of Kirkman, which pleases POTUS greatly.
Back in the press shop, Seth battles Abe Leonard once again on yet another breaking story: that the White House tried to cover up FBI Deputy Director Jason Atwood’s arrest in the Oval Office. Seth runs to the president with the story. Kirkman’s response? Let me talk to him one on one.
But first, Kirkman brings Aaron into the Oval Office to let him in on the big secret that’s been roiling the West Wing: There’s a traitor in the White House, and nobody knows who it is. Kirkman wants to know: Might Aaron have any clues to who the culprit might be? Aaron says he’ll look into his records for hints.
After his chat with Aaron, Kirkman brings in Leonard to ask him not to publish his article. Leonard resists at first, but then Kirkman high-roads him by reminding him the respect the press gave FDR during his wartime tenure. Kirkman says he merely wants the same latitude from Leonard, at least for the time being. It works: Leonard decides he’ll hold off for the moment. The lesson? The White House might have an ally of sorts in the press.
Later, Aaron presents the president with a list of names given to him by General Cochran. Each person on that list had a hand in selecting Kirkman to be the designated survivor during that fateful night back in the premiere, and thus one of them is likely the traitor.
The president later adds that he’s been more than pleased with both Aaron’s performance and his loyalty, so he makes him a tantalizing offer: Come back to work in the White House. We’ll make up a position just for you. Aaron agrees, lining him up for a big role in season 2.
If you recall, last week’s episode ended with Agent Wells in an about-to-explode van at FBI headquarters, surrounded by agents with guns. Now, knowing that the safety of the basically entire bureau is at stake, Wells decides to hijack the van and runs it into the Tidal Basin in front of the Jefferson Memorial, jumping out just before the vehicle explodes underwater.
Wells is promptly arrested, but it only takes a few seconds before Director Forstell intervenes and tells the agents that the president wants to see her. She’s taken to the White House to explain herself to President Kirkman and Secretary of State Moss, both of whom, of course, believe every word she says. They instruct Wells and her team to bring in Patrick Lloyd, the ex-Browning Reed CEO they suspect — but, so far, cannot confirm — is behind all of this chaos and conspiracy.
An armada of government-issue black SUVs speed towards Lloyd’s compound to arrest him, but just before they infiltrate his home, he’s able to escape through an underground tunnel that he has built into his study. Just before he escaped, however, he was able to contact Lozano and put some sort of plan into motion.
Before long, we see the results of that plan: Lloyd’s man in D.C. hacks into the Pentagon’s system to create a government ID — for Nestor Lozano.
Once inside the Pentagon, Lozano, dressed in a military getup, heads straight for the building’s server farm. Why? It’s not clear yet, but he seems to download some sort of information in his own briefcase-computer.
As he leaves the Pentagon, Wells happens to run into him on the road — literally. A chase ensues, but Lozano ends up crashing his car and taking off on foot. Time for a footrace!
Wells hunts him down into what seems to be an abandoned apartment building. There, they engage in hand-to-hand combat for what seems like forever. At first, it seems like Lozano has the upper hand. But then Wells does what she does best: accidentally murders a prime suspect in her investigation.
With Lozano lying on the floor, iron pipes sticking through his chest, he’s able to gargle out some final words: “It’s not over.”
Back at her office, Wells opens an email from ol’ Jason Atwood that reveals the identity of the bad guy everyone is looking for. It’s Mr. Whitaker! We already knew that, of course, but this is big news for them, so they immediately team up to corner him in the halls of the White House. Hooray!
Lloyd is still on the loose, of course, but thanks to Whitaker’s capture, the FBI was able to apprehend over 200 co-conspirators in cells all across the country.
To celebrate, Kirkman decides he wants to make an address to Congress and tell them the entire truth of what’s been transpiring the past few months. That means, of course, that nearly all of the government will once again be under one roof — so he’ll need a designated survivor of his own. He picks the man who has become his closest advisor, former President Moss.
On the floor before Congress, Kirkman, dressed in a black funeral suit, reveals all to the nation — that Al-Saqar wasn’t behind the attacks, that domestic terrorist Patrick Lloyd was the architect of the bombing, and that Abe Leonard’s a pretty decent dude.
His voice begins to raise during the speech, and before long he’s downright soaring. He has to shout just to be heard above the thunderous applause. Everyone loves him! The country is healed! God bless these United States of America!
But the high is short lived. Minutes later, Kirkman is pulled into the Situation Room for an update on Lloyd’s whereabouts. It’s not looking good: Thanks to Lozano’s hack at the Pentagon, Lloyd now has access to the Defense Department’s most highly classified server. In other words, he has access to everything from troop movements to nuclear intel to covert identities. Basically, he’s the eye of God — and could ostensibly hold the entire United States hostage.
Season 2 should be interesting!