Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 3: The Confession Recap

If you would like to read a recap of last week’s episode, click here. Tom is finally starting to get the hang of being President but there is still a lot of work to be done. He is President but because of his lack of experience, not everyone sees him that way so there is still work to be done on that front. Part of the fun from this show is seeing that evolution. Also there is still an investigation into the bombing and the episode ended with an exciting development. How will this affect everything? Read more to find out.

The episode starts off with that survivor from the bombing being pulled out from the wreckage. He happens to be Senator Peter MacLeish (Ashley Zukerman). Tom, Aaron, and Emily have an early meeting to go through the day and everything seems to be okay. Things are calmer in Michigan, they are going over selections for the Cabinet, and they are still looking into the terror group who they believe are responsible for the attack.

Suddenly the power in the White House cuts out. They have been cyber attacked as hackers attempted to hack the supposedly secure White House network. The hackers didn’t seem to do anything other than to prove that they could do it. Despite this, Aaron and Emily want to act like things are business as usual in order to avoid panic. They also both pry into who Tom will select as his Chief of Staff.

FBI director Jason Atwood (Malik Yoba) seems to want to focus on the crash site but Wells convinces them to let her interview MacLeish. Aaron and Emily are still playing mind games with each other. They have a meeting with Congresswoman Hookstraten to go over Cabinet selections but they are quickly pulled away. Hookstraten wants to know what’s going on but she’s being kept out of the loop.

We learn that hackers didn’t take anything but left a video message behind. The video seemingly is from the terrorists responsible so Tom’s detractors claim that this is the proof he wanted but he want them to prove that they did the things they said they did. In the meeting, Well’s theory about purposely pointing the finger at a specific group is brought up by Atwood but the only evidence is his belief in her. Tom wants to keep the video away from the public until he can get this proof.

Wells interviews MacLeish and he claims to not know much about what happened. He questions why it was him who survived. Tom meets President Richmond’s son Tyler. He clearly misses his father and gives Tom a story about him. This makes Tom miss his family and he calls Alex asking for a family dinner. Alex is putting away close with Penny and she finds drugs in one of Leo’s drawers. She tells Penny that they are headache pills.

Tom has an interview with ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas (who plays herself). The interview goes well until she brings up the fact that Richmond fired him on the day of the bombing. Aaron and Emily briefly pull him out and the conflict arises as Tom is unsure whether or not to tell the truth. He does which was that he was given and Ambassador position that he hadn’t yet accepted.

Wells investigates MacLeish and finds that the video of the Richmond’s speech cuts out before the bombing actually happened. She asks to look into the cell phone of a woman who was taking pictures at the time, hoping that she would catch something during that missing time.

We then see Leo who is frantically looking for his pills. Alex confronts him about it and their conversation is cut short when she is called to attend Richmond’s funeral with Tom. After Tyler saw Tom’s interview, he asks Tom to not eulogize his father. Instead, he undermines him by asking Hookstraten who gave a very presidential sounding speech which undermined Tom even more. Friction begins to develop between the two.

Because of Hookstraten’s speech, controversy arises as people wonder if they picked the right Designated Survivor. Alex has a conversation with Leo about why he did what he did saying that the White House didn’t make them who they are now but they brought their own problems in. We also learn that Richmond and Tyler’s relationship did not end under the best of terms which makes these new feelings a little weird.

The terrorist video is leaked which makes Tom immediately suspect Hookstraten. He brings her in and accuses her of doing it for political reasons but she denies it. She claims that she doesn’t want to be president but her actions are starting to appear otherwise.

Wells has a meeting with Atwood where he confronts her about the illegal phone hack of the dead woman but claims that these are tough times. He also tells her that her boyfriend is dead. We learn that he was a Congressman who may have been cheating on his wife with her and that Atwood did not know about the relationship.

The leaked video has apparently distracted the public about Tom’s potential firing. Because of this, Tom now suspects Aaron and he admits to have done it for Tom. He pleads his case claiming that he was on his side and that he would do anything for him and he also hands him a letter of resignation just in case. Tom looks over it and then calls Tyler in to tell him a story about his father that he attended one of his violin concerts incognito to keep the focus on him. Again, Tyler and Richmond didn’t have the best of relationship since Tyler thought Richmond was never there but this makes him see his father differently and Tyler thanks Tom, seemingly getting him back on his side.

Wells is notified of a breakthrough in the investigation. Tom brings Emily in and tells her that he is picking Aaron as his Chief of Staff but he still wants her around as his advisor. Tom is scared of failure so he chose the more politically-savvy option. Emily tells him to not get comfortable. Tom shows up late for the family dinner but everyone shows up at the table anyway and they have a family moment.

The breakthrough was that MacLeish is in his seat as the video feed is cut but one of the pictures taken during the missing time shows him out of his seat. Aaron meets a woman in the middle of the night who hands him a file on Tom.

Overall, this was another exciting episode where we got further with the bombing investigation and we saw Tom being more confident in the position. The start of a battle with Hookstraten appears promising and the Richmond family subplot was good but the Leo subplot at this point feels forced and pointless.

Score: 8/10

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*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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