Designated Survivor Recap

Designated Survivor Recap: Field of Conspiratorial Dreams

This week on ABC’s Designated Survivor — a show I long to love — Wells and Atwood dug up more details on the parcel of land owned by Browning Reed in Nowheresville, North Dakota, all building to the most boring “dramatic” reveal possible.

Having previously discovered in the underground silo a bazillion bombs just like the ones used to level the Capitol, Wells and Atwood made tracks for the nearby, very small town from which the land’s motion sensors must be monitored. There, they encounter friendlies who turn less so when you don’t know the right response/password to the greeting, “A storm is coming.” A bit of snooping reveals that the dozens of out-of-state visitors always pay with cash when they come through a few times a year, to gather at the abandoned airfield for “bonfires.”

Hannah pinches from one of the “True Believers” (as they are dubbed) a manifesto titled Pax Americana, which describes the creation of a new world order. It also solves the acronym stamped onto the bomb cases (and some militia members’ arms): “No Victory Without Sacrifice.”

Wells and Atwood stake out the airfield during one of the nighttime gatherings, where bonfires are used to denote a landing area. And when a helicopter in fact flies in, who steps out of it, to greet the awaiting crowd, but…

Congresswoman Hookstraten?

Former President Moss??

Leo Kirkman?!?

Nah. It’s Lozano. The shooter. Who we already knew was part of The Conspiracy, but (as a reader has reminded) was supposed to be dead, killed per MacLeish’s orders when the feds found and cornered him. But still. A bit zzzzz.

Meanwhile, back at the White House….

Kirkman enlisted an old college chum, Julia (played with great charm by Fonzie’s girlfriend, Linda Purl), to lock in place the new Supreme Court, to be comprised of four liberals, four conservatives and one independent. It’s meticulously set up to be an easy rubber stamp deal, but Senator Bowman — who is a real effing piece of work — balks at the deciding chief justice, claiming she has a record of leaning left.

Well, this all but turns Kirkman into Jack Bauer, as he bellows for everyone to sit their fannies right back down and hear him out as he rips Bowman a new one. For the time being, Kirkman agrees to come to the committee with an alternate name. POTUS reaches out to quasi-qualified Julia herself to fill the spot, but she declines, revealing she has an oddly meaningful disease for a guest star early onset dementia. Julia instead comes up with a way to go around Bowman. Kirkman later announces that they will move ahead to confirm the eight uncontested judges but hold off on the ninth for the foreseeable future, seeing as only a quarter of Supreme Court cases ever need that swing vote. This apparently does not fly in the face of the Constitution.

Elsewhere, career-rejuvenating journo Abe Leonard traveled abroad to learn (from Abu Ramal? Ibrahim Bin-Khalid?) that Al-Sikar was not behind the Capitol attack, but instead was paid — by Lozano — to lay claim. Leonard tells Seth he’s ready to run a story, and though Kirkman is prepared to let the reporter do so, Abe’s editor forces him to hold off until he gets a better-sourced sense of the big picture. In the meantime, Abe learns that the MIA Agent Wells was on the scene at the assassination, after which he starts being followed…..

What did you think of the episode “The Ninth Judge”?

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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52 Comments
  1. GuessWhat says:

    at least next week looks better.

    but until then, I cannot stop laughing at the exterior shots — yup, here we go again:
    it’s summer out
    then winter
    then spring
    then fall
    then winter again
    then summer
    goofs!

    • Chloe says:

      I noticed that, too. The same thing happened on Chicago PD a few weeks ago. In one scene, the ground & the trees were covered in tons of snow. Later on that same “day”, the ground was completely clear & there wasn’t a flake in sight. LOL

    • Zoe says:

      It’s called global warming. Just in late March there was snow in Washington, D.C. That destroyed much of the cherry blossom trees that were blooming already . Even here in Florida we had lows in the 40s and next day back to 80s.
      I don’t think it’s possible to film that far out of sequence but I don’t follow any of the actors on social media to keep up with their filming.

  2. Louis E. says:

    The shocker about Lozano getting out of the copter is that he’s supposed to be DEAD (by orders of MacLeish after shooting Kirkman,after the initial plan was to take him alive).

    Karen J. Williams (1951-2013),chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit,stepped down suddenly when she was diagnosed with early onset dementia;
    tonight’s Julia was “ripped from the headlines”.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Ah, yes. Funny — at the time, given we never saw the body or nothing, I speculated Lozano would resurface one day. I guess my theory gelled in my mind as fact, LOL. Still, I find him unremarkable, given the other ideas racing through my head as the copter flew in.

      • MelindaB says:

        My husband was sure that it would be Bowman. We were having trouble remembering who Lozano is, so now I can enlighten him. I seemed to remember that he was supposed to be dead, but I forgot that he was the shooter.

        I wasn’t sure of the significance of Joel–I mean, Abe–seeing the picture of Wells at Kirkman’s shooting. Those moments would probably be more impactful (heh) if I could remember the reason that I should find them so.

      • jrlfmoon says:

        What episode was that on. Which one was LOZANOt killed ON.?? does anyone KNOW ???
        I am confussed.HELP Love this show but it is on late and I fall asleep often. I AM THINKING THE traitor is the Presidents protector. The scary black dude.who told the presidents wife to leave his hospital room when they were discussing secret information. He told the president he had to tighten his circle.

  3. Fawnya says:

    I think it was gripping until the end when her dead fiancé should have stepped out.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Oh man, that would have blown my mind!

      • David says:

        Lots of more twisty people that could have shown up including Aaron, Van Hooten, Mcleiach, and The Kirkman’s or Hannah’s dead fiancé. Conspiracies always have dead people who are not or heroes who aren’t anything but the true villains.

        • Warren says:

          Emily’s gotta be the kingpin. All the others are just conspiracy bait.

          Why else would have Kirkman been hand selected as designated survivor if not to elevate his personal assistant? She was none too affected when Aaron left the administration, either. There was also an edit a couple of weeks ago when someone, I believe Kirkman, said something about the conspiracy going deeper than anyone could have imagined, followed by an immediate cut to Emily.

          Revealing her now would kill the whole thing, though.

          • Agree Warren says:

            I’ve been thinking that too. The former chief-of staff who they interrogated a couple of weeks ago (and who crashed his car in ROSSLYN, VA! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY WITHOUT ANYONE NOTICING!) said that he was tricked into helping out the conspirators by a woman he was having an affair with and that they insisted that Kirkman be named the Designated Survivor. Right then I assumed that he was having an affair with Emily and that the conspirators wanted Kirkman named D.S. because they knew he would bring Emily with him to the White House, giving them a mole.

          • Sharleen says:

            Warren I agree I think it will turn out to be Emily. Another thing I noticed there was a romance building with her and Aaron and now it seems like she could care less about him.

          • Nina says:

            I keep thinking it’s Mike!

        • No no no says:

          Or the First Lady herself, Alex. She has Russian family, and she pushed Tom to take the job in Washington. She also has a burning desire to make the world a better place…

    • I agreed. that was my first thought it was her dead fiance.

  4. On the bright side, at least it wasn’t as boring as the reveal with Jason Dohring on The Originals! At first, it seemed promising, that is until the very next episode when they gave him a plot that could have gone to any character. And then they killed him. Now that was anticlimactic! But I think I had all these big ideas in my head. But yeah, I hear you. There were so many more interesting possibilities that they could have gone with for this particular reveal.

  5. SWC says:

    I’m hooked on this series. I’ll be mad when the season is done. I sure hope they renew for another year.

    • Sharleen says:

      I feel the same as you. I really like this show and will be very disappointed if they don’t renew. I can’t tell you how many shows I really like only to learn that the network has canceled. Very frustrating especially when so many shows I have no interest in go on and on.

  6. Jake says:

    I thought this episode was a lot more eventful than the last one (which dealt with passing the bill). I have to say seeing Lozano come out of the helicopter was a nice twist to the series. Personally I wish McLeish was still alive; he was a bad person, but he was one hell of a character. I’m still wondering what is the status of the potential attacks in New York and San Francisco, which the simulations were previously shown a few episodes ago. Anyone have a guess for who called Abe Leonard? And who do you think is the “traitor” in the next episode?

  7. Jenna Wilson says:

    I personally think this is one of the best shows currently on TV . It doesn’t move so fast you cannot keep up with it as some shows do.

  8. Great episode, however too much politics that took up nearly 3/4 of the episode. I fast forwarded past all that BS as it was of no interest. Realizing that a new government needs to be established after the BOMB but PLEASE don’t concentrate nearly all the episode on that. Lets move forward with the conspiracy action and drama. Was fun to hear Sutherland get mad, sounded like Jack Bauer. That was a great scene.

  9. L Sinclair says:

    I love this show!! Keifer Sutherland is beyond awesome!! I love the little twists and turns, that’s what is so awesome about every episode!! (And thank God, it’s NOT a reality show!!)

  10. laurelnev says:

    Man…I was all set for Wifey to get out of that copter…especially after they set it up with all of those Camp David flights. ;)

    • Aeol says:

      You think a First Lady can just helicopter into North Dakota with no one noticing she’s missing? Is the SS in on it too then?

  11. Ryan Ortega says:

    I do agree that there were problems here (the exterior shot for the Washington bureau of Abe Leonard’s newspaper appears to have been shot in Europe – the vehicles shown have European-style plates!), and I do agree that Lozano’s return wasn’t too surprising. That said, I hope that the producers will compensate the viewers somehow; Lozano might very well be just a cog in the movement for Pax Americana. He WAS just a CIA agent, after all. Then the real question would be who is he taking orders from?

    I theorize that for the season finale, despite the efforts of the government with the success in preventing the attacks in New York, San Francisco, and the Hoover Dam, they might just launch a violent attack on Washington a la ISIS in Mosul and force Kirkman out. Blowing up Lady Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Hoover Dam would definitely cause panic and destruction, but an actual battle for seizure of the city might end up destroying the still recovering government – I could just imagine that there may be other cells that could be able to smuggle in arms and artillery and hijack missile systems to target Washington. But am I expecting too much?

  12. Doug Henning says:

    Linda Purl should know her law since she first played Ben Matlock’s daughter in the first season or so of that show.. Another daughter came along later in the run. As for weather… this show is shot in Toronto in the winter.. Not being totally familiar with how TV shows are actually filmed but I understand they do film a few episodes in the same area to save money.. Makes no sense to go through the costs to reset for multiple episodes…. One reason Southern climates are mostly preferred.. NY based shows on the other hand seem to film episodes more in sequence since the setup issues are less.. It’s not a big deal to put the Reagans outside with a film crew.. They’ve got the perfect background. So the weather consistency issues are for nerds who really care about that stuff.

    • Eyeem says:

      Tronto weather has been very inconsistent this year; snow storm one day, spring like weather the next day. This week alone was warm enough to wear sweater only, and back to warm coat a couple of days later. Torrential rainstorm today.

    • Diane kohan says:

      Doug. That’s a good one about Linda Purl!

  13. Kevin Fowler says:

    Really! This is getting old and it is also a bunch of BS. These is no way you could a conspiracy of this magnitude a secret for long. So let’s get this BS over already. I also love the fact that they divided up the season so it ends later than most shows that way the network can try to get to the show renewed.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Um, I’d prepare for the conspiracy story to stick around a bit longer. Kinda the point of the show.

  14. WoodieMD says:

    Whoever is the producer in charge to set continuity should be fired. The are way too many mistakes that cause the viewer seasonal whiplash!

    Watch for next week’s big reveal about the “mole.” My candidate is the other Designated Survivor from the Capitol bombing…K.K. AKA Kimble Hookstratten!

  15. Dominique says:

    that was a disappointing reveal. they literally could’ve had anyone more meaningful step out of the helicopter. i’m hoping there’s more to it and somebody we don’t suspect at all will be working with lozano, otherwise this was indeed boring.
    it’s such a shame because designated survivor started out very strong and has a stellar cast, but somewhere along the lines, it seemed like they had no long-term plan. maybe the result of the constant change of showrunners, but you’d think that with sutherland as (executive?) producer, he would at least maintain some continuity regarding the major storyline.
    i’m still holding out hope that there’s a bigger reveal coming. i still don’t completely trust the first lady although i can’t quite point out why. and how great would it be if emily would be a part of the conspiracy?

  16. dee Gabrielson says:

    Like the story line (but scary) Really like the characters; if no character likability – who cares what happens? Kept my attention. Love the Series!

  17. Jon Horton says:

    Jack Bauer “Damn it!” count so far this season = 3

  18. Constance Wolfe says:

    Loved it! He is my president for the next four years…if the show lasts that long. Otherwise it’s West Wing reruns!

  19. Dave says:

    Despite your apparent dislike for D.S. my wife and I eagerly await each episode. Wish they didn’t have so many commercials. As an upper-middle class, older couple, we have several friends who enjoy the show as well. I guess it’s to each it’s own.

  20. Allen Round says:

    Maybe the writers at Designated Survivor (ABC) and the writers at Quantico (CBS) should combine to hunt down all the bad guys and traitors and take care of all these conspiracy theories once and for all.

  21. Scot Bushong says:

    I actually liked it. I have thoroughly enjoyed almost every episode. I especially enjoy how the episode reinforces hatred for people like Bowman. I hope ratings go back up. Good luck Designated Survivor! :-)

  22. Bassim says:

    Amazing episode, it’s a true life like of a POTUS.
    I’m simply glorified by this TV show.

  23. 221bsam says:

    Ok, episode 16, they drive all the way out to North Dakota to find an empty plot of land, Hannah has complete autonomy from POTUS, they couldn’t task a satellite?! even I would’ve used Google maps, you can tell petrol is cheaper then here ;)