Designated Survivor Recap: Field of Conspiratorial Dreams

Designated Survivor Recap

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”?

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