‘Designated Survivor’ 2×03 Review: Here We Go Again

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Here we go again!

Did I say the conspiracy was done? Well – it is, and it isn’t, because this is, of course, a TV show, and this particular writing team has done such a great job of keeping us at the edge of our seats for a little over a season, so I’m sure they figured, why stop now? Let’s just keep unraveling this and see what we come up with.

To which I can only say: Hallelujah.

No, really. I wanted the conspiracy to be over as much as the next person, because you can’t drag out the same mystery for seven seasons, but I also didn’t want this show to turn into The West Wing 2.0, not completely. And I’m saying this as a huge The West Wing fan.

Because, to be honest, the reason why I fell in love with this show wasn’t that it could be that – a political show with heart, but instead that it could be that and also be a family drama and a cop-mystery show. That’s when Designated Survivor is at its best.

Plus, as an unexpected bonus, of the kind the show didn’t really get to do as much last year – partly because most of the season had been planned in the pre-Trump days, in this episode, the show finally gets to correlate what’s going on in the real world to how a White House made out of good public servants would act.

And no, it’s not perfect. It’s not neat and tidy. But it’s still …common sense over fanaticism, leadership over greed and intelligence over …whatever it is we’re dealing with. And that’s a refreshing thing to see.

So, let’s discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of “Outbreak”



I have probably never cheered as loud for this show as when I saw Tom Kirkman eating that jello and making sure that the hero of this episode wouldn’t just die a stupid and unnecessary death to be brave or whatever it is she was trying to do.

And I get it – I understand that she was too deep to see common sense, that in her mind, the sacrifice wasn’t only worth it, it was the least she could do. But, in the real world, the one with common sense, it wasn’t, and if this show knows how to do one thing well, is show us a man who isn’t prone to hysterics, one who uses common sense to solve the complicated issues of policy and governance.

It’s the same thing he does with that asshole whose name I won’t mention, the one who was willing to let thousands of people die to make a pretty penny. Tom Kirkman is a leader not just because he gets what he wants; he’s a leader because he finds the way to get it. Sometimes that way might be brute strength, sometimes it might be intimidation, sometimes public shaming and, other times, it might be doing something you don’t want to do.

Either way, Tom Kirkman gets the job done, and he does it with a smile that makes us feel like, next time, he’ll get it done as well. And he leaves no one behind while he’s doing it.



The matter of confederate symbols is a hot-button topic, and though the show doesn’t do much in the way of addressing the issue, it does present characters that have a pretty defined, common sense approach to their thinking – and it quickly strips people of their excuses and shows them for who they really are.

Which really, when you contrast it to the shit storm that is real life is pretty freaking amazing. Is this how adults would handle a subject like that? Is this like a President with, you know, a beating heart and some understanding of the issues would? Is it too much to ask for the United States to get this?

I know, I always come back to that. But really, how could you watch this show and reach any other conclusion?

In my heart of hearts, this issue doesn’t deserve a compromise. I’d take all the monuments down and I wouldn’t even look back. But I’m speaking from a place of emotion, and I’m also speaking from a place of ignorance. I do not know what it is to grow up black, I don’t know what the people who had to suffer though slavery feel when they look at the monuments, and I wouldn’t presume to tell them what they can feel or how they should react to anything. I do not understand, and therefore, it is my duty to step back and let the people directly affected by this issue have a say – and lead the change we need.

But even from my limited understanding, it seems clear that they, and we, would be better off having someone in the White House who, not necessarily understands, but who understands that he doesn’t understand everything.

Tom Kirkman 2020? How I wish.

Things You Were Also Thinking:

  • I’m so glad this show is not going for the stereotypical bitchy mother-in-law thing.
  • What was that blueberry muffin thing? WHAT WAS THAT? Is that like, wait ….actual friendship? Between a man and a woman?
  • Is that even allowed on TV shows?
  • MI6 guy bores me.
  • I shouldn’t have asked about the First Lady’s father. It’s like I caused this.
  • “Not stabbed yet” is not a good thing to say. It’s the YET that fucks it all up. It truly is.
  • “I’m not a racist, just a capitalist,” is like the slogan for the Republican Party right now. Except they’re both.
  • Chuck doesn’t bore me.
  • Look, let me be honest, I could ship Hannah and Aaron. Talk about diverse AF power-couple.
  • I’m basically desperate for a ship, Designated Survivor.
  • I can’t even continue with the hair tracker – Aaron’s hair makes me too sad to continue. AND THERE ARE NO SHIPS FOR ME TO MEASURE. GIVE ME A SHIP, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR. GIVE ME A SHIP.

Designated Survivor airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.

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Lissete Lanuza Sáenz

Co-Executive Editor

Lawyer. Dreamer. Geek. Eternal optimist. Fangirl since the dawn of time. Hates the color yellow, olives and cigarettes. Has a recurring nightmare where she’s forced to choose between sports and books. Falls in love with fictional characters.