Designated Survivor Series Finale Recap: Will Kirkman's Term Continue?

Designated Survivor Recap Finale

This week on Designated Survivor, in its Season 2 and, at very least, ABC series finale, Tom Kirkman’s administration stepped in it yet again, casting even more doubt on the future of his presidency.

But as the series cut to black, was change in the air?

Putting Kirkman to the test this week was a crisis involving Taurisi, a Puerto Rico/Cuba stand-in that was at a standoff with the United States about remaining a protectorate. Seth and Lyor traveled south to meet with the governor there, only to get caught in a tsunami that swept up neither of the White House staffers but caused insurmountable damage. Kirkman sought to deliver aid, only to be offered a token $3 million by the party leaders. When an executive action to offer much greater support got shot down, Emily made the misguided move of nudging the Chief Justice at a funeral. Such an ex parte communication, crossing the divide of justice and executive branches, should get a Chief of Staff fired, the extremely irked justice informs a contrite POTUS.

Kirkman’s staff eventually gets the idea to use an AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) to send food and supplies, after the Taurisi governor is cued to declare the area a war zone. That “end run,” as former President/re-election candidate Moss put it, draws Tom additional fire. And he seems poised at one point to succumb to it. But a meaningful gesture by Ethan West, who observed that Kirkman is the only one in town not working an angle, emboldened Kirkman to stay the course. As such, his address to the nation turned into him announcing a bid for re-election, catching his staff quite, but pleasantly, off-guard.

But what did the AG have to say to the president, as he picked up the phone at the very end…?

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Elsewhere in the episode:

* After her ex parte misstep, Emily turned in her resignation, sensing that she is holding on too tight to her job, and in doing so making bad calls that get in POTUS’ way; Kirkman begrudgingly accepted her decision, but assured her she always has a place at his side.

* Seth and socially inept Lyor realized they had bonded as friends during the tsunami ordeal, where a humble Seth apparently helped save a family by carrying the kids to the building roof.

* Leo got accepted into Georgetown, greatly pleasing his father, but he also got into Stanford, he confided in Emily. Leo later came clean to his father, including about his preference — but Tom already knew, having the university president on one of his committees. Leo kept quiet because he worries about leaving his father alone in Washington, after all they’ve been through, but Tom urges his son to chase his dreams.

* Hannah tracked down Damien’s daughter Amy, who tried to dodge the spook at first until she proved herself trustworthy. Amy shared that her father kept a secret safe, but they discovered it was now empty. Luckily, Amy has an photographic memory and can recite the five pages of names/addresses that had been stashed inside — a “knock list” of British operatives and their posts. Hannah uses the intel/Amy to draw out Valera, with whom she eventually gets into a scuffle/chase. Hannah emerges with the upper hand and declares that she is bringing in her adversary, but Valera maintains that an ex-FBI agent has no authority abroad. Hannah answers that by putting a few bullets into Valera, before fishing from her jacket pocket a flash drive. On it, Hannah realizes — as she escorts her new “ward” Amy home to the States — is video of Valera making a furtive exchange with… Emily Rhodes?!