Designated Survivor Recap: Hall Mary — Was That the Strongest Episode Yet?

ABC’s Designated Survivor, with its 15th episode, delivered an engaging 42 minutes of drama, punctuated by just the right amount of conspiratorial intrigue. Has the show, now under its third showrunner, struck the right balance?

Make no mistake, Hannah Wells, now working directly for President Kirkman (as a sort of Agent X), still had plenty to do this week — especially after she got the idea to have techie pal (and unrequited crushee?) Chuck “lift a fingerprint” from the mysterious dark-haired woman’s wine glass, spied in one of Langdon’s photos. The woman’s identity — Brooke Mathison, a Seoul-born Army brat with a dishonorably discharged father — led Hannah to an abandoned location, and in doing so kept the former G-woman squarely in her adversary’s cross hairs. To the point that Brooke had a henchman blow up Chuck’s apartment, though both he and Hannah escaped unscathed.

Having been benched earlier, after proving too hot under the collar to help Hannah track his son’s killer, Atwood cooled off and rejoined his colleague as she sniffed around another property owned by defense contractor Browning Reed. There, Brooke confronted Hannah, gun a-blazing. As the ladies duked it out, Brooke emerged with the upper hand — until Atwood sneaked up and aimed his gun at her noggin. Hannah kept Atwood at bay, until Brooke reaceded for a sidearm, earning her a lethal hail of bullets from both Hannah and Atwood.

Afterward, Hanna fired up a thumb drive (from… where?) that contained simulated demolition plans for such landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam and Lady Liberty herself.

Elsewhere, on a refreshingly more intimate scale (and more in the vein of The West Wing, or at least Scandal), Kirkman again met the press, acknowledging what I said recently — his administration to date has been one bananapants spectacle — and thus inviting them to “reset the clock” and start marking his “first 100 days.” He set out to enact some policy, while steering clear of “third rail” topics such as Social Security and gun control, though First Lady Alex created a stir by speaking to the latter at a function.

Having drawn fire from the chairman of the Senate appropriations committee, Tom nudged Alex to “walk back” her opinion, claiming it as merely her own, while he readied to conduct a “town hall” meeting with constituents. After being coached by Emily and Seth to be less professorial (less Jed Bartlet-like, hmm?), Kirkman came off quite well, up to and including his response to a woman who lost her daughter to senseless gun violence. Kirkman later met with key House members to suggest they work together, as non-partisan as possible, to get things done — even if such things include a compromise on gun safety.

Lastly, in a somewhat random B-story, it turns out Aaron’s arc is not over. After bumping into Hookstraten in the course of accompanying a cousin to a job interview at the Rayburn House Office Building — and after being reminded by his kin of how far he came, from their old ‘hood — Aaron took Kimble up on a job offer, signing on as the Republican congresswoman’s card-carrying Democrat chief strategist, raising Emily’s eyebrow.

What did you think of the episode “One Hundred Days” ?

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