TV Reviews

Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 2: The First Day Recap

This is also my 1000 post!!!!!!!

In the first episode, after the tragedy that befell the capitol, Tom Kirkman is now the President of the United States. In the episode, we saw how overwhelmed he became and his inner conflict around how to handle the position. For a recap, click here. Now how will he handle his first day? Since this episode is titled “The First Day”, let’s see.

The episode starts off with the continuing investigation of the rubble from the explosion at the Capitol building by the FBI. It is still a tense time as the area is under high alert. We hear the tail end of Tom’s speech that he started at the end of the previous episode. Tom watches the various cable news “talking heads” questioning him and his ability. Tom is still trying to find his way around the White House meanwhile we see that people are still grieving after what happened.

Tom is still feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility. A large group of officials meet him in the Oval Office, trying to give him briefings but they are just arguing loudly to each other. Wanting some quiet, he leaves and goes to another room. Aaron and Emily walk in and Tom tells them that he wants to get things in order by putting a cabinet together. Aaron and Emily argue about who should be Chief of Staff. Tom shares that he wants to visit the bombing site.

Now we see Seth on his way to work but as he leaves, a pair of cops stop him as they are profiling him because he looks like a Muslim. They don’t believe he works for the White House. This pretty much set the tone for the rest of the episode. We learn that the police in Michigan are targeting Muslims as per the Governor’s orders. He believes that he is keeping his people safe. Tom presses him on this but he doesn’t recognize his authority and blows him off.

Apparently Tom wasn’t the only Designated Survivor since we meet another one, a Congresswoman named Kimble Hookstraten (Virginia Madsen). It’s odd since she seemingly has more experience than him. Despite that, she seems supportive of him. Tom suggests that they visit the bomb site together and she agrees.

Wells still misses the person she lost in the bombing who appears to be her boyfriend. She walks into a large hall containing body bags with all the bombing victims. She learns that the bombs used parts from Russia and Iran. Aaron and Emily are discussing Cabinet choices. They have different approaches as Aaron goes with whatever is on paper and Emily goes by feelings. The Kirkmans are still getting used to being in the White House.

Tom is told that they believe they figured out who is responsible for the bombing but also reveal that they are only 75% sure. Tom, on the other hand, wants them to be 100% sure before he commits to anything. The FBI are rallying around the fact that they now know who is responsible but Wells is still skeptical. She believes the extra bomb they found was meant to point them in the wrong direction.

As Tom and Alex head to the bomb site, Leo is tasked to watch Penny and keep her away from the TV which of course doesn’t happen. It’s a very somber moment as Tom walks around for the first time. He gets a briefing from the FBI but they keep put Wells’ theory. Tom takes off his bulletproof vest as a sign of confidence. Tom makes a speech to the first responders as news of a Muslim boy beating beaten by the police in Michigan comes out. Tom is saved by Aaron as he is bombarded with questions from the press. A man storms the barricade soon after with a gun and/or a bomb. Craziness ensues as Tom is being driven away.

We learn that the beaten boy is 17, the same age as Leo. Wells confronts her superior about leaving her theory out but he wants more evidence first. To try and deal with the Michigan Governor Royce (Michael Gaston), Tom talks with some lawyers who don’t give him any real solutions. Leo and Alex argue about the TV incident and she tells him that everyone’s roles have changed and he needs to grow up faster. The beaten boy from earlier is now dead.

Tom finally gets a hold of the Governor and manages to bluff him into stopping the police and releasing innocent prisoners. Tom talks to Seth about the earlier profiling incident but he’s okay and refuses Tom’s help. Tom talks to the dead boy’s family while Seth walks by a vigil at the bombing site and he participates. Tom revisits the site more conspicuously. Wells is looking at pictures of the missing and the dead when we hear that they found a survivor.

Overall, this was another good episode, continuing with what the pilot started. With the shift in focus slightly away from Tom, things slowed down a little as we got to learn a little more about the story. The addition of Virginia Madsen as another Designated Survivor presented an interesting new dynamic. The Michigan subplot was okay as it showed Tom’s ability to stand up for itself but it just felt a little lazy.

Score: 8/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, follow me on Instagram, and also like me on Facebook.

*Note: These may come later on certain weeks as this show airs on the same day where I attend advanced screenings*

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