‘Designated Survivor’ 2X09 Review: Three Wishes

On the first day of Christmas ….oh, wait, no. Wrong show. Right season, though, and right tone for this entirely feel-good episode of Designated Survivor.

This, of course, probably means we’re in for a hard time next week, in the winter finale, but a feel-good episode just in time for December is never a bad thing and boy, does Designated Survivor hit all the emotional notes in this episode.

And I don’t just mean the How-I-wish-Tom-Kirkman-was-my-President notes, though the show hits those every week without fail. In fact, those notes are basically why we watch. I mean the show goes full on with the family notes, in this episode. And the country ones. Plus, there are bees, though I’m not sure what message that storyline was supposed to send. Something about how lying is bad?

Oh, yes. That’s it. Lying is bad. Bad, Emily. BAD. Especially lying to the President to try and protect someone who made a decision – a bad one – that didn’t really take into account his job, or you. And I’m saying this as someone who really and truly likes Seth.

This was a test. For you. You failed. If this was the kind of show that did drama for the sake of drama, you’d be fired. Since it isn’t, and since the President is Tom Kirkman, you get another chance. Don’t disappoint us again.

Now that I got that out of the way, back to the feel-good stuff!

Ironic how the feel good stuff also involves lying, though in this case, Kirkman is lying, per Aaron’s recommendation, for a good cause. The grieving widow doesn’t want a medal; she wants her husband to be recognized, his memory to be enshrined, and her son to be proud. She wants comfort.

The medal won’t give her that, because the medal comes with the knowledge that her husband wasn’t the man she though he was, and so the greatest gift Kirkman can give her is not the medal, but the recognition she wants – from the mouth of the President himself.

(Did I say this was feel good? Maybe I lied)

We’re not going into the bees, cause bees, but the other letter had to do with a man who lied to save his son. Considering all we know of Tom Kirkman, you, me and everyone watching knew he was probably going to commute the sentence. Knowing all we know about Tom Kirkman, though, everyone also knew that wasn’t going to be the only thing he did. If Tom Kirkman believes in anything, it’s being fair.

But what is fairness? What is goodness? Does this show give us a definite answer? No. Does it continue to try? Does it gives us an ideal to strive for, every day, with its portrayal of a fictional President we’d take as the real one in a heartbeat?

You can bet it does. And, if nothing else, that makes us feel good.

Other things to note:

  • On a completely shallow note, Emily’s lipstick shade is perfect. So is her wardrobe. When I grow up I want to be Italia Ricci.
  • I’d settle for Emily’s wardrobe, though.
  • Aaron is hot. Do I say this every week? Well, Aaron is not getting any less hot.
  • Damian is boring. Do I say this every week? Well, Damian still bores me.
  • Hannah is the actual best. This is also something I say frequently, but well, it seems this episode did a good job of reinforcing some ideas.
  • No one cares about bees.
  • No one.
  • Seth, you need to shave. NOW.
  • Kendra + Hannah is my aesthetic.
  • You can try to keep pushing Seth/Emily, show. I ain’t buying it.
  • If this episode proves something, though, is that I could still buy Emily/Aaron.
  • Can we have something resembling a Christmas episode with both Kirkman kids in the room at the same time? Is that a thing that’ll ever happen?
  • Do Penny and Leo ever see each other?
  • What does Leo think about his mom’s legal issues?
  • WHERE IS MY BALANCE?
  • Last year, this show kept me at the edge of my seat. It rarely does that anymore. It doesn’t bore me, though, and that’s a good thing.
  • “What’s an oval?” “Sort of like a circle, but squished.”
  • Tom Kirkman, never change.
  • Alex, you’re losing it. FIRING PEOPLE NEVER WORKS. Ask Nixon. OR TRUMP.
  • Are you ALSO starting to think Alex did do something wrong?
  • You know why the idea that Damian is dirty doesn’t even bother me? BECAUSE I DO NOT CARE ONE IOTA.

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

Lissete Lanuza Sáenz

Senior Managing 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.

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