It’s been a heck of a political year, and unfortunately, we’re not done with it yet. It’s as if time is simultaneously moving too fast and too slow. It’s the same for Designated Survivor, which began under the worst possible circumstances a presidency can. In the beginning, newly appointed President Kirkman struggled to tread water in his new position. He did it because there was literally no one else, and he felt a duty to honor those who didn’t survive. Fast-forward nine months and he has transformed into a president to be proud of. He has built a trustworthy, capable circle to help guide him in forming policy, and also to snuff out the terrorists responsible for starting this whole journey. The one thing President Kirkman did promise his constituents was transparency, and in the season finale he could not afford to stall any longer. He must heed Secretary Moss’s advice, as we all should: brace for impact.
The season finale leaves off seconds after the previous episode, with Hannah waking up in a wired van in the parking lot of the FBI. Hannah does some quick-thinking with the bomb she is left holding so that no one is hurt, and Forstell is able to get to her quickly so that she can brief the President. She informs him of everything she’s been through, including the fact that former FBI Director Jason Atwood has been killed. The time for surveillance is over. Hannah uses her anger to go after the conspirator Patrick Lloyd, but by the time she and the FBI raid his compound, he is nowhere to be found. What’s worse is that Lozano is in Washington D.C. and the mole is still in the White House. Chuck realizes too late that the mole created an ID to access the Pentagon, which he gives to the top terrorist in the country. I’m not sure what lockdown means to the Pentagon, but in elementary school you’re given the impression that it means no one in or out. Yet Lozano gets in, and out, with what he needs, no problem!
Now that the world knows there was more to the Capitol bombing than they were told, Kirkman has to bring more people into the fold to keep things contained. The last thing the country needs is mass hysteria while the White House and FBI are trying to prevent another domestic terrorist attack. Seth is shocked when he’s asked to arrange a face-to-face between the President and Abe Leonard. Kirkman is a smart man. He actually respects the press, even when he doesn’t necessarily agree with the stories being released. He also knows that the best way to face someone who could unravel your plans is to have an honest conversation with them about your intentions. It’s called common consideration! What a concept, right?
Aaron goes head to head with Senator Bowman live on the air, which convinces Kirkman to bring him in all the way. Once Aaron is informed there is a traitor in the White House, he goes to former General Cochrane for help figuring out who it is. Like others before him, Cochrane has had time to reflect on Kirkman’s character and has determined he did the right thing. He sees what made Aaron, Seth, and Emily so loyal to Kirkman. Aaron earned his keep helping Cochrane get to this point. No matter what capacity he returns to the White House, he’ll be valued there.
Though all of the FBI has worked to find the mole, it was Jason who proved the truth about former Homeland Security Director Whittaker. Somehow he managed to email Hannah the proof that Whittaker was the mole before he died. Jason may be gone, but damn if he was going to leave this world without living up to commitment he made to his country. One last time, Jason Atwood proves his patriotism.
The time finally came to let the country in on what’s been going on. Not that they need to know every detail, but some transparency goes a long way to honoring the trust people have put in their president. This time Kirkman has to choose his own designated survivor. The honor goes to Secretary Moss. Thankfully this presidential address does not end the way the last one did. In a Joint session with Congress, Kirkman delivers the speech of a lifetime to the American people, and makes it home to hug his children for the first time in months.
All in all I’m exceptionally proud of the first season of this show. The details of the conspiracy and the politics were well thought out, and even the path moving ahead in Season 2 has a solid premise. Lloyd had to get away for a reason. He proved that he was never interested in being a leader as he left all of his followers to be arrested in simultaneous raids across the country. Hannah took care of Lozano when she impaled him. Lloyd used whoever he needed to in order to access the Pentagon server. He gained access to anything and everything classified, and nothing’s to stop him from selling American Intelligence piece by piece to the highest bidder. Opportunists don’t change.
That closes out Season 1 of Designated Survivor. What’s your take on the freshman season? Tune in when the show returns this Fall on ABC.
Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 21 Review: "Brace for Impact"
Designated Survivor closes out its first season with a turnaround in transparency and morale from the beginning of the year.