Designated Survivor Recap: Is Tom About to Unwittingly Abet the Enemy?

This week on ABC’s Designated Survivor, President Kirkman sweated out the repercussions of a critical decision, while FBI agent Hannah Wells uncovered another explosive secret.

In the wake of canning Cochrane and installing Admiral Chernow as his new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — and after being assured of a surgical hit — Tom gave the order to strike the Algerian bunker where Al-Sakar chief Nassar was holed up. Alas, Tom waited just long enough that the strike was called off, because Nassar has been whisked away to the basement of a well-populated hospital. The new plan is for a Navy SEAL strike team to infiltrate the hospital and take Nassar — alive, ideally, as he likely possesses intel on other imminent attacks. After meeting with SEAL commander Clarkson, who is orchestrating the op, Tom gives his OK, and things go pretty well — save for a sandstorm that grounded one chopper and injured a SEAL, leaving Clarkson to step in. The commander ultimately lost his life while shielding innocent children during the shootout in which Nassar was captured.

Meanwhile, Hannah Wells looked into the “Room 105” that she was tipped off to by the anonymous caller. Tracking down the Capitol’s architect, she learns that 105 was a “hidden” room, used for private meetings and such, and that it had been involved in recent renovations. Securing the classified reno plans from Congresswoman Hookstraten, Hannah discovers that Room 105, in the vicinity of which Congressman McLeish had been found, had recently been shored up as a bomb shelter — and that every subcontractor who worked on it was now suspiciously dead!

Hannah shares this McLeish-implicating proof with Deputy Director Atwood, who agrees that it is damning — and obviously incendiary, given the many bodies left in its wake. As such, he implores her not to share the info with anyone. Hmmm….

Little do the FBI agents know, McLeish is on the verge of rising higher in the D.C. ranks. After receiving a medal from Kirkman, and then offering his unqualified support for the Nassar op, McLeish has the Speaker of the House gig dangled before him. He, however, doesn’t want it, or at least the politics that come with it. He prefers to serve his country. Learning of the noble decline, Kirkman instead wonders if McLeish would make a fine Vice President….

Elsewhere in the episode:

* Working off the he received, Chief of Staff confronted the First Lady, Alex, about Jeffrey Meyers, a former lover who has been in prison, and claims to be Leo’s biological father. ‘Tis true, and the lad doesn’t know. (Let’s tell him off-screen, though, OK?)

* When not securing Hannah’s loyalty in trade for the reno plans, Hookstraten made clear to Kirkman that if the Nassar op went sideways, she on behalf of “Congress” would let it blow up his already tenuous presidency.

What did you think of the episode “The Mission”? Glad to see some of the not-so-fine details — e.g. the vice presidency, electing some new senators — at least get a passing mention?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Louis E. says:

    The show is really losing credibility over its contrivance that two lone House members remain the only Congress when Governors can fill vacant Senate seats at any time (Kirkman specifically said that none had been appointed).Those seats would have been filled quickly and the power dynamic been quite different as a result.

    House members can only be elected,not appointed,and who became Speaker would be entirely a function of which party won the most seats by the time a quorum had been chosen.Seniority only decides committee chairmanships,not party leadership ladders.

    • tardisrepairman says:

      That would be a different and probably less compelling series.

    • Preacher Book says:

      One of the Congressional survivors was the other designated survivor, so no surprise there. McLeish was the only person who was intended to survive the bombing. As for filling the Senate seats quickly, the timeline on the series has been pretty short. I doubt even a couple of weeks (in TV narrative time). I would also imagine getting 100 Senators and staffs up and running might take a little longer if only finding office space in a town like DC. I would suspect show narrative drives this more than a civics lesson to audience does.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        I don’t even think weeks, plural, have passed. Remember how under the gun he has been to order a strike against someone.

        Regardless, +125 TVLIne Power User points (no cash value) for the “civics lesson” observation.

      • Louis E. says:

        I tend to hate it when a show is driven by a premise that constantly begs the question of why things are that way.None of the Senate Office Buildings (Russell,Dirksen,Hart) was said to have been damaged,and the Senate is on the opposite end of the Capitol from the House wing that was destroyed by the bomb.

    • FeedTheCath says:

      Look, if you’re not a fan of the show, stop coming here and bagging it. As someone who knows minimal about American government (because I don’t live there), none of this bothers me and quite frankly, it’s a TV show, so it shouldn’t bother you. For your input: thank you, but no thank you.

  2. Shaun says:

    What kinda idiot prepares to ask an unknown quantity to be their VP?!Gah!!

    • BM says:

      The same who doesn’t use his power as POTUS to make sure he’s briefed on every step the FBI takes and everything they find in their investigation into the crime that wiped out the *entire* government.

      • Ella says:

        Well, he thinks the problem was solved. Nobody told him about McLeash. He is probably just informed about “nothing new” but they are all convinced Nassar did it. why would he ask about something he doesn´t know exists?

  3. N says:

    Does anyone think this whole McLeish is a red herring, and someone else is behind this whole thing, such as Hookstraten. There moving so fast on the McLeish story line it just makes me think theirs a bigger twist coming, Any Guesses as to whats really going on.

    • Gram says:

      I believe McLeich’s wife is part of this because when Hannah Wells came to their home, he said he didn’t remember anything and the Mrs. jumped right in with her explanation of why he had to leave the assembly. However, I think he was drugged as he was leaving (which was why he couldn’t remember anything). Now he will become an unwitting tool.

    • Dianne Muhs Fournier says:

      I love this program! It seems to me that McLeish is the “Designated Survivor”. I believe that whoever is behind the bombing has plans for McLeish to take over the US government. If he becomes the V-P., there will be an attempted assination making McLeish president then who knows what will happen.

      • FeedTheCath says:

        Maybe McLeish was drugged…. and coerced or put in that room to throw the investigation. Until I know, I don’t trust him.

  4. CaptMediocre says:

    I rolled my eyes so hard at the Leo’s father reveal. That’s a pure Hollywood trope storyline (that wasn’t necessary) because it’s impossible to have a happily married couple on TV, that takes what was a good show and dives it straight into mediocrity.

    I said I’d stop watching when Kirkman had an affair with his aid, this is about the same.

    • Jimmy says:

      I didn’t mind that reveal because this show has to find a way to utilize Alex as more than just Tom’s supportive wife. This provides her with a story and will also play a vital role down the line when the secret inevitably comes out.

      I also don’t think Tom would have an affair with Emily because a) he doesn’t seem like that kind of guy; he’s way to genuine for that, and b) they’ve been teasing an Aaron/Emily romance and I think that’s the direction we’re headed in

      • Temperance says:

        Sorry, I’m not interested in the kids or her infidelity and I’m *really* not interested in the show wasting time in that direction.

  5. jr. says:

    I’ve lost interest in this show.

  6. kmw says:

    Good episode. I suspected that their son was fathered by someone else. That will be damaging news down the road. Really love what Virginia Madsen brings to the show

  7. Gayle says:

    Who played the part of Seal Commander Max Clarkson

  8. Barbara Duncan says:

    If writers on “designated survivor” are going to make congressman survivor v.p. with plans to off Sutherland (which won’t happen) don’t go there. It’s too trite and too pat. If I can see it…it’s poor
    plotting and poor writing. Give me something I don’t expect. Show me better skills.

  9. Garry says:

    Flag’s stars on wrong side of casket of seal team leader.
    Stars should always be over the heart ( on the left ) of the dead serviceman or woman. Can’t believe this wasn’t caught.. Otherwise a great show.