TV Reviews

Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 14: Commander-in-Chief Review

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

Synopsis: Turmoil in an African country forces President Kirkman to rely on an unlikely ally for help, as Hannah’s investigation into the Capitol bombing takes an unexpected turn. Meanwhile, Emily settles into her new role as chief of staff while Aaron has to make a difficult choice. (IMDB)

Writer: Michael Gunn

Director: Fred Toye

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 45mins

Ever since the show has come back from its break, it’s been focusing on the conspiracy subplot. Since we are still quite a ways away from the end of the season, it has to take a step back to fill in some time but there was still plenty of conspiracy-related content to be had here.

The last episode ended with Langdon running into Aaron and wanting to talk about something. This episode started right from that point. Aaron was surprised to see Langdon considering he thought he died in the bombing but that was obviously not the case. He pulled him away into a church to ask him for a favor but got taken in before he had the chance. He wanted immunity for his role in the bombing but that was going to be a tough ask.

Aaron and Langdon were both being interrogated, Aaron for taking the file and Langdon for allegedly orchestrating the bombing. Aaron denied being involved since he never saw the file because he made the request electronically. He was upset at Tom and Emily and the whole experience but he was eventually cleared. Tom later explained his reasons which he understood but rumours were circulating of his meeting with the FBI so in order to protect Tom’s administration from any scandals, he resigned which Tom accepted. I don’t think Aaron is going anywhere, if next week’s previews are any indication.

Langdon sort of admitted being part of the conspiracy but he was being blackmailed. Wells and Forstell were skeptical, of course, but he revealed that he was being blackmailed by that same mysterious woman who we now know is named Claudine (probably). On the day of the bombing, the same woman called him and told him to name Tom as the Designated Survivor or they would kill him. To prove they meant business, she knew the color of his tie, something only someone on the inside of the White House would know.

Obviously scared, he booked it to the FBI but had his car hacked, forcing him into a car accident and rendering him unconscious, waking up just as the Capitol blew up. Tom still wanted to know why he was named the Designated Survivor and Langdon guessed that it was because he was the least qualified option and that he would put up the least resistance (Hookstraten was also named Designated Survivor?).

I said that the episode was stepping back because also in the last episode, a former President was offering to come to the White House to offer Tom some advice, President Cornelius Moss (Geoff Pierson). Moss’ initial assessment was not good but Tom inherited an impossible situation. Moss thought that he was reacting instead of leading. This exchange took a little break, however, as a civil war was developing in the fictional African country of Naruba.

What didn’t help the case was that Russia vetoed the UN Security Council’s decision to get involved and stop what was happening so Tom decided to send in drones. Further complicating things, a group of American volunteers were kidnapped by the same militants. Moss advised him to think about the kidnapped Americans since his duty was to them and later offers a solution involving the removal of sanctions on his money. The White House policy was to not negotiate with terrorists but that’s what he kind of did. They later agreed to release the volunteers. After they are freed, Tom ordered strikes on the nearby infrastructure to delay the militant’s from advancing to the capitol. He then tasked Moss to negotiate with the Russians as his new Secretary of State, a position that he accepted.

Finishing off the episode with the conspiracy, Tom appoints Wells as the lead investigator of the conspiracy. He offered her a secret office in the White House so she can report to him with her findings, along with resources and complete autonomy. This would let her take care of the investigation, giving Tom the opportunity to govern which means that there will probably be more crises coming.

Overall, this was another good episode that didn’t really offer more in terms of the conspiracy (we probably could have figured out that they wanted Tom as the Designated Survivor) but it set up an interesting new direction with Wells’ investigation. It did offer a crisis from Tom to deal with which was fine but it was nice to see him and Moss, a welcome addition, figure it out together. I can’t wait to see what Aaron does from this point.

Score: 8/10

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