Designated Survivor Review: People Who Use You

Designated Survivor

One of the most difficult things a leader must grapple with is trying to work with someone who works under them who chooses to resist an order. In its worst format, this is insubordination. However, seen at its best, that kind of decision isn’t made to be difficult or defiant. This week on Designated Survivor, resisting an order in this case is done to protect others, and even as a greater show of respect for the person who is trying to help you. It’s the kind of sacrifice that President Kirkman admire, but it’s also the most heartbreaking part of his job that he will never, and should never, be numb to.

A U.S. war ship runs into a garbage barge in international waters, which the local country believes could be a hostile move against them. The damage is so great that the Captain of the ship and his senior staff are swept out to sea. This leaves President Kirkman no choice but to put another man in the position he was once put in: answer the call years ahead of your time with no warning. He puts a young Lieutenant, Will Griffin (Rookie Blue alum Gregory Smith), in charge of the ship with an updated rank of Captain. The country whose waters the ship is stuck refuse to allow a rescue ship into the area. Talk about what a country will do to prove its legitimacy.

What’s worse is that Kirkman can’t afford to wait. He has hundreds of sailors lives at risk versus an unstable regime that will not blink. The only thing that could make the situation worse is a hostile country getting its hands on proof of U.S. surveillance on them, and using it as leverage to lift sanctions on a nuclear program. I’d say it couldn’t get worse than that, but I’d be lying. At some point, taking a diplomatic approach goes out the window. The President has no choice but to give another country control of the ship in exchange for U.S. Navy lives, all except one. No matter how hard he pushes, even under a direct order from his Commander-in Chief, Captain Griffin refuses to leave his ship until he is sure its tracking records are destroyed. To protect his country, Griffin sacrifices himself. Though we hardly knew this young Captain, it’s a testament to Gregory Smith’s acting chops that we left sad that we will not be seeing him again.

With the President tied up trying to prevent an international crisis, it falls on everyone else to handle other affairs. Kendra is doing her best to squash Forstell’s investigation into the President’s mother-in-law, but it’s tough when her opponent is doggedly persistent in his investigation, and her client is shrouded in secrets. How is Kendra supposed to end the investigation when the First Lady’s mother fails to disclose that she spoke with her “co-conspirator” just months prior, not years? Of course Kendra is furious. This throws her entire defense out the window. I do not envy this woman her job.

As all of this is going on, Emily has an emotional reunion with her father after 23 years. He’s charismatic and draws out sympathy at just the right times. He gets Emily to the point where she feels like she is getting her father back, before cruelly snatching that hope away. All he wanted was a photo op with the President. The worst part of that is that Emily is a tough, professional woman. That man made her feel like she was a scared, lonely little girl again. Seth reminds her who she is, and is rewarded quite affectionately for his efforts. Did anyone see this one coming?

There’s one other thing we could not have seen coming. Secretary of State Moss takes over the lead in smoothing diplomatic relations over the British ambassador’s murder. The only thing Hannah and Rennett can tell him is that they are following the money, to their main suspect’s wife. Mrs. Cray’s guilt is even greater when Ambassador Thorne’s chief-of-staff Peyton Lane is kidnapped. That’s definitely not what Moss wants to hear. Luckily, Lane drops enough breadcrumbs so that she she can be rescued and Mrs. Cray’s guilt is irrefutable. But she didn’t kill the ambassador. The only suspicious person hanging around her before she died was none other that Secretary Moss himself.

Is Designated Survivor building to another conspiracy?

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