TV Reviews

Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 13: Backfire Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: An investigative journalist shocks the White House when he reveals classified information during a press briefing; Hannah discovers a connection between MacLeish and the conspiracy. (IMDB)

Writers: Sang Kyu Kim and Pierlugi D. Cothran

Director: Tara Nicole Weyr

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 45mins

After what was an exciting episode last week, things were bound to slow a down a little and that was what happened here but not by much. The last episode ended with the death of both MacLeishes so this episode dealt with the aftermath. At this point, the public caught wind of what happened and it was up to the White House to make sense of all of it in order to avoid mass panic. To try and help this, Tom spoke about it to the press and told them what he knew about what had happened as there was still plenty more information to unearth about that evening.

Wells attended Atwood’s son Luke’s funeral. He was glad she could come but she still wishes she could have done more. She went back to Atwood for help to find the mysterious woman but found that Jason was now a broken man who wanted nothing to do with the investigation. Wells wanted justice but justice wasn’t going to bring Atwood’s son back. He is punishing himself for what happened.

Tom was back and working but instead of taking a step back after what was happening, Emily wanted him to take more of a proactive approach to keep it business as usual. This meant having to fill cabinet seats but people did not seem as willing to join. The person that Emily was supposed to meet for Secretary of State was no longer interested but he revealed that a former President was willing to lend his advice to Tom.

While Seth was addressing the press corps, disgraced journalist Abe Leonard (Rob Morrow) stood up and asked a question about Nestor Lozano (or Catalan) and Peter MacLeish’s involvement in the raid to apprehend him thus raising suspicion and conspiracy theories about MacLeish’s involvement in the assassination attempt on Tom. There was obviously a leak in the White House which explained how Leonard got that information and Tom wanted that leak found.

Tom wanted to address the nation about this new revelation but Seth advised him otherwise as it wouldn’t be the best time. Aaron, knowing that he told Hookstraten about what happened, confronted her about the leak and she didn’t even deny leaking it. She said that she was asked to look after MacLeish and that was what she did. Aaron went ahead and took responsibility for what happened but instead of being punished, Tom told him to take a week off and sleep since his exhaustion led to his bad decision to tell Hookstraten what happened. This meant that Emily was the acting Chief of Staff in his absence.

The whole conspiracy was based on what happened to MacLeish’s unit in Afghanistan so in order to understand it, Wells went to visit one of the members of his unit, Alvin Joyner (Daren A. Herbert). He told her that his unit was tasked to escort a Major, Catalan, to meet an Afghan warlord. They were betrayed so they had to shoot their way out. When the warlord retaliated, there was a shootout and rules of engagement no longer applied.

Lozano was carrying bags full with 5 million dollars which the unit wanted in exchange for the bodies they lost but MacLeish stopped it, allowing Lozano to get back and home and be in MacLeish’s debt. She then told Tom what she learned. She believed their mission and their sacrifice was ignored and erased by the government they were working for which may be why they did what they did.

Following the assassination attempt on Tom, the White House was beefing up its security which was worrying Alex. She believed that she should take the kids out of the White House. She didn’t think it was safe anymore because Tom was a target. She thought the kids were being deprived of a normal life but Tom believed that his family was the only thing holding him together. She wanted him to think about the kids. Tom later realized what was going on and agreed to send them to Camp David.

The best part of the episode was the battle between Seth and Leonard. Leonard was a disgraced journalist wanted to make a comeback and believed that Seth was in his way. He thought he was a child who wasn’t worthy of his position. The reason why he got the leaked information was because he and Hookstraten knew each other. He was determined to find the connection between Lozano and MacLeish at all costs. Leonard was getting close so Seth tried to discredit him but that failed to dissuade him.

Tom eventually made that speech to the nation where he told the truth about what happened during Lozano’s apprehension. He believed in transparency and truth to keep the country united. It was a pretty good speech. The episode ended with Aaron running into Langdon, a man he used to work for, who wanted to talk somewhere else.

Overall, this episode was definitely a different change of pace as it addressed the aftermath of what happened but was still compelling to watch with Tom wanting to keep his family and the nation together. The battle between Seth and Leonard was fun to watch and doesn’t appear to end anytime soon.

Score: 8/10

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