Designated Survivor recap: 'Suckers'
Sit back. Close your eyes.
Do this for me.
You there? Sitting back with your eyes closed? Okay. Think of a time when the president was held accountable for his actions — when his words mattered, and when, if he attacked, say, a portion of the nation, he would be taken to task. Doesn’t that seem reasonable? For now, we’ll have settle for fiction. Tonight is all about Kirkman and what happens when he says the wrong thing, because in an alternate universe, saying something offensive is, well, an offense. One that could cause you to pay dearly.
We open with the shooting of a woman who’s on a run while she’s recording notes on, wait for it, gun violence. We’re quickly thrown to a government-sanctioned hockey game (because that’s what government officials do), after which Kirkman is briefed on the woman who was shot. That woman, Charlotte Thorne, happened to be a member of Parliament and a potential future prime minister. Turns out she was going to out people around gun violence at the G-20 summit and thus was taken out before she could.
Meanwhile, Alex is choosing a lawyer for her mom because bribes. Kirkman recommends Kendra because she’s a lawyer who knows how to get things done [points directly at camera]. Designated Survivor is giving us a lot more walk-and-talk, Aaron Sorkin-esque, West Wing-looking scenes this season, so when Emily talks about wanting movement on Kirkman’s agenda and appointments, this feels like a political show, but I swear, it’s hard when every episode is caught up in an absolutely insane hot-button political topic. Then again, that’s reality these days, so who am I to judge?
But then, in a private moment with a senator, President Kirkman refers to the American people as suckers. Y’ALL, it does not go over well. Seth is stuck with the press, who aren’t letting Kirkman off easy, and the other representatives of the U.S. government aren’t loving it too much either. Meanwhile, Emily is meeting with a senator to discuss the judicial nominees, and she has her own idea of who should be nominated to the federal courts. It’s pretty controversial.
Alex meets with Kendra because lawyers with aggression are the way to go. You see, Kendra has defended 11 senators during criminal investigations and none have been convinced, which is like…Olivia Pope stats. As for her husband, after Kirkman meets with that senator, Alan, the senator turns over his words to the press and makes him seem like a total a–hole. Kirkman tells him to turn those words around, but Alan is not having it because he’s a salt-and-pepper god just trying to serve The People.
Somehow, in this world’s fragile state, the murder of MP Charlotte Thorne and this comment about Americans being suckers are enough to end Kirkman’s presidency. Does that make sense? Not really, but hey, sure, why not? If that’s not enough, there’s also a reporter trolling to unearth the First Lady’s mom’s subpoena, even if Seth tries to shut it all down. But when all else fails, Kirkman returns to Security Detail Mike, who says, “Don’t sling mud, sling hope.” God, why isn’t Mike president?
Of course, the real story line we care about is Hannah and Damian, because is that not honestly the best part of this show? They’re taking a moment off their normal case to look into the murder of this member of Parliament, and they find a suspect on a boat doing some mischievous things. When they go to inspect the boat (Hannah, stay away from boats, girl!), she’s almost attacked by a man before he’s shot by Damian. CLASSIC HANNAH.
Hannah’s alive, so back to Suckergate. The plan moving forward is to appeal to the American people by letting Kirkman be reasonable and accessible. While that’s in the works, Alex decides to attend the subpoena hearing for her mother. And not only that — she also decides to chime in as co-counsel because who cares about ethics here? Kendra calls a 10-minute recess because Alex is BONKERS.
In some diner, Kirkman holds babies and turns down trying some guy’s chili because he’s not ~crazy~ (insert laughter!). When he walks out, he’s met by a senator who is not down with his judicial choices, and then she makes the suggestion that maybe they all are suckers for trusting him. Yikes! With 20 minutes left, how will this get resolved? Oh, you just wait. It will. But as things start to spiral, Emily and team suggest that they have to cut the cord and solve this matter today, and the solution is sitting on the coffee table. Kirkman isn’t loving it, but he knows that he has to move on it. (Recap continues on page 2)
Back in court, Kendra throws down some truths about how that document against the First Lady’s mom was obtained, and even though we love Agent Wells, she got it illegally. And this judge loves the law, so she decides that this subpoena doesn’t hold weight and squashes it. Speaking of Hannah, she’s interrupted by Damian, mid-wine. You know what? There are worse people to be interrupted by, and even Agent Wells admits that she doesn’t hate Damian. In that moment, he goes all in and kisses her, but she stops it because she’s a professional! But then she doesn’t because she’s a woman with needs. But then she stops it again because her phone rings and it’s Aaron. He needs to see them because they have a new suspect in the Thorne case.
At the White House, Kirkman pulls in TV host Carson Kramer to throw that pious senator under the bus, but when the moment comes, Kirkman retreats and decides not to do that because he’s a GOOD MAN. And he calls the American people suckers because they believe in the American dream. But if they’re suckers, then so is he because HE BELIEVES IN AMERICA TOO. It’s, like, a lot guys. I loved Designated Survivor during season 1, but over the course of five episodes this season, the whole “Kirkman is a good ol’ boy, throw every single heavy scene to poor Maggie Q and hope she can handle it” thing is getting tired. Maggie Q is tired. If you’re like me, you’re also probably kind of tired.
As the episode winds down, Senator McPious Pants shows up to tell Kirkman that he was being a political opportunist and he’s deciding to support Kirkman now. Anyway, his wife has ovarian cancer and he cheated on her. Not sure what that has to do with Kirkman calling American “suckers,” but that’s apparently why Alan hung Kirkman out to dry because…um, he needed a victory? What a standup salt-and-pepper god of NO MORALS.
But Kirkman is the man with all the morals, as he reports back to that senator who was so high and mighty over Kirkman’s judicial nominees. She’s an advocate for her cause because her husband laundered money and undermined her way back when. Apparently, Kirkman has dirt on everyone, but he only has it so he can empathize with them. He tells them they have the power they have so they can pay it forward, so essentially, the moral of this week is that we can all be a little more like Haley Joel Osment.
No, seriously, that’s it. Do you feel like a sucker? I kind of do. And I didn’t even need President Kirkman to say it for me to realize it.