Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 17: The Ninth Seat Review

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

Synopsis: As President Kirkman struggles to put together a new Supreme Court, FBI Agent Hannah Wells goes undercover and discovers much more than she ever could have imagined. Meanwhile, Seth Wright has to contend with journalist Abe Leonard, who returns from the Middle East with an explosive story. (IMDB)

Writer: Paul Redford

Director: Frederick E. O. Toye

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 45mins

As the title suggested, the big issue this week was to put together a Supreme Court. To help, Tom enlisted a woman named Julia, his former supervisor during his university days. She had been doing all the work behind the scenes along with the senior leadership in the Senate to find four progressives, four conservatives, and one impartial independent who would serve as chief justice so that everything is fair and everyone is happy. Or at least that’s what they thought.

Senator Bowman, perhaps upset about losing the Gun Bill, he threatens that the Republicans will not accept Tom’s chief justice nomination. They want five justices or they vow to hold up all the conformations. This led to Tom’s outburst that was shown in the previews of this episode. The Republicans offered a compromise if Tom put a new name forward for chief justice then they’d consider it.

Despite her lack of practical experience, Tom immediately thought of Julia but she refused, admitting that she had early onset dementia. Instead she came up with a plan to just have the eight judges where a supreme justice could be appointed later by the next President. Bowman and the other Republicans agreed.

Abe Leonard is back! Out of all the recurring characters this season, he has to be the best. He was doing his own investigation into the conspiracy. He went to Iraq and found out that Lozano paid Al-Sakar to take credit for the capitol bombing thus proving that they didn’t actually do anything. Of course when he went to Seth to confirm it, Seth denied it but this still set off some alarms within the White House. He also went to Hookstraten, asking her about delaying MacLeish’s confirmation hearing which she also denied.

Afterwards, Aaron tried to call Wells which alerted Forstell who then alerted Tom. Forstell believed that someone was leaking classified information to Leonard and that they should arrest him but Tom thought otherwise. It almost didn’t matter since his new publication refused to publish his story because his terrorist leader sources weren’t the most reliable. We then got our first glimpse of him receiving classified information with him getting a video on Wells and later, an envelope with a phone where someone called him to offer information on Lozano.

The last episode also featured Wells and Atwood finding that silo in North Dakota that was full of explosives. Here they decided to investigate the nearby town on their own as sending a team might tip them off. The town pretty much had nothing in it except for a lot of weird people from out of town with bogus licence plates and all with some sort of manifestos. We learned that these people were called “True Believers” who visited the Air Force property three to four times a year and burn bonfires and there were also lots of trucks and choppers going there regularly (so they found the terrorists).

When they went to investigate their hangout place but they were stopped by a group of hunter claiming that it was private land. They went back later and learned that the bonfires were there to create a landing zone for a helicopter that landed and Lozano came out of so he’s not as dead as we thought.

Overall, this was a compelling episode, properly balancing the Supreme Court story with Wells’ investigation. While it did answer some questions it still presented a few more that should be addressed over the final episodes of this season. I can’t wait to see how these parts will come together in the end and how they will set up the likely second season.

Score: 8.5/10

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