Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 7: The Traitor Recap

If you would like to read a recap of last week’s episode, click here. This show has really found its groove as of late. It pretty much lives or dies on the relatability of Kiefer Sutherland as Tom. It’s main selling point comes from seeing a seemingly normal person put through extraordinary circumstances. After seven episodes, this selling point is starting to wear away but it is up to the writers to throw enough exciting things at us to keep our interest.

This episode starts off with Wells and Atwood assessing the fallout from last episode with Nassar being mysteriously killed. They figure out that someone took him out before he can reveal what he knows but since he already told them, it’s only a matter of time until they become targets.

Tom makes a speech about members of the U.S. track and field team going to Russia. Tom talks to their coach for whom he idolized. He gets pulled away because the MacLeishes have arrived for dinner. They share stories about how they first met each other. Aaron and Emily are going over VP candidates and Emily thinks that they should just announce MacLeish since he’s a perfect choice. Aaron gets an important phone call and goes to Tom. He runs into Seth who wants some personal time with Tom but Aaron tells him that he’s busy.

Aaron comes in the room and pulls Tom away. He also informs Tom of Nassar’s death and tells him that he was poisoned. Tom asks Aaron to fetch director Atwood. Tom tells Aaron to not mention it to anyone until they had more information. Tom excuses himself but before he leaves, MacLeish offers to help him in anyway he can. Atwood informs Wells of his meeting. Wells wants him to tell Tom everything but Atwood is hesitant because he doesn’t want to look crazy.

Atwood arrives in the Oval Office but is surprised when he notices that MacLeish is there too. He tells them that they are looking into every possibility. He doesn’t say much else with MacLeish being in the same room. Tom thinks that it didn’t make much sense but MacLeish tries to reassure him.

Tom arrives late to the bedroom and Alex brings up all the times she came home late to him. Tom tells her that he thinks he’s being lied to by Atwood and that things don’t feel right. Alex tells him to give it time. Tom tells Aaron to stay on the Nassar investigation. Tom learns that the coach was arrested in Russia with vials of HGH on him.

Atwood tells Wells that he is worried about being fired for looking incompetent earlier. Wells tells him that she has nothing new on Catalan but she is going to speak to a CIA source. Emily looking into the coach situation. Seth still wants personal time with Tom. He tells Aaron that it is because of Lisa, the reporter, who has a source claiming that Tom isn’t Leo’ father.

Tom tells Seth to hold off on the story. Aaron told him that Alex already knew and that she would tell him but she never did. Tom confronts Alex about not telling him but she blames the fact that he was busy with all those earlier crises. Tom tells her that whatever happens, their children always came first. Alex offers to go talk to Meyers.

Tom is called to urgent meeting. He thinks its about terrorists but it really was about the coach who got arrested who also happens to be a CIA spy. Tom can’t believe it. They tell him that he was used mostly as a resource by being in the same room as many important foreign dignitaries. The drugs were planted on him so they would have an excuse to arrest him.

Wells meets her source but he doesn’t want to help because the FBI took Nassar away from the CIA. She brings up Catalan and he tells her to lay off. When she presses him a little more, she learns that Catalan is an american mercenary and a traitor. Tom gets ready to meet the russian ambassador but is warned to not tell him that he was working for the CIA. The russian ambassador brings dignitaries of the ministry of defense while Tom brings in members of the CIA. The ambassador knows what’s going on but Tom denies it. Tom asks them what they want in exchange and they want nuclear weapons out of a base in Turkey.

Seth takes some questions by the press and then talks to Lisa privately afterwards. He begs her to hold the story on Leo and she agrees to give him 24 hours. Wells tells Atwood about what she learned on catalan when MacLeish mysteriously shows up. Atwood brings up their countless unexpected meetings and MacLeish hands him a file full of information in order to help them with their vetting of him. Atwood tells him that they intend to continue their own vetting. He’s looking for stuff that’s not on paper because it is important. Wells wondered if he brought all the information to distract them from what he’s trying to hide.

The coach makes a televised speech in Russia. Emily suggests they try and make a three-way trade in order to get the Russians what they want and get the coach back. Alex talks to Meyers (Erik Palladino). He will stay quiet about Leo if they help him to get released. He sees in her face that even she’s not sure and Alex tells him that he hasn’t changed at all.

Aaron and Emily tell Tom that they may have found something that the Russians want. Wells believes that catalan may be the connection between MacLeish and Nassar. Atwood gets a phone call telling him that his son never made it home. Tom meets with the Saudi and Russian ambassadors. Tom tells the Saudis that they’d get some of their nationals in their custody in exchange for some Russians they have in custody. He then intendes to exchange those Russian national for the coach. He tells Aaron and Emily that he needs them to stay on it.

Alex tells Tom about her meeting with Meyers. Tom forgives her for not telling him sooner. Tom believs that Leo has right to know who his father is. Atwood son is still missing. He goes ahead and tries to look for him himself. Tom is monitoring the exchange and notices that the coach never got off the plane.

Atwood believes that it isn’t a coincidence that his son goes missing right after his meeting with MacLeish. Tom learns that the coach never got off the plane because he was never on it because he was a double agent. Wells goes back to her source and pleads for information before it’s too late. Tom meets again with the Russian ambassador and tells him how he didn’t like being played and makes a few subtle threats about him being a pawn.

Seth meets with Lisa and tells her that she could write about Leo but offers the story about the double agent coach instead. Tom runs into Aaron and Emily who tell him about his day tomorrow. They suggest that he should go ahead and announce MacLeish but he wants more information from the FBI first as he does not want to get fooled again. He asks Aaron for an update on Nassar but Aaron tells him that Atwood has been out all day for personal reasons (i.e. looking for his son). Tom orders them to go home and get some sleep.

Tom goes to Leo’s room to tell him goodnight and struggles to tell him the truth so he just tells him that he loves him. Wells hears a disturbance in the parking garage but just gets the CIA file on Catalan. As she reads it, she figures out that catalan was posing as a guard at the prison and killed Nassar. Whil looking for his son, Atwood runs into a woman who has a live video of him on her phone and tells him that he wants him to ask for a meeting with the president and do what she says.

Overall, this was an okay episode that didn’t really go anywhere and didn’t really advance the plot, offering a throw-away subplot about a double agent working with Russia but did give us a little more information about the Capitol bombing and a mysterious new suspect in Catalan.

Score: 7.5/10

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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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