‘Designated Survivor’ 2×19 Review: It’s All Coming Back To Me

See, Designated Suvivor, I knew you had it in you.

For someone who’s been asking for drama (the good kind of drama, not the OMG I HAVE A KID I NEVER TOLD YOU ABOUT kind) and for characters to make wrong choices and all of that, you’d think I’d be angry that the show wrapped up the Kirman possibly being removed from office story-line so quickly, but I’m really and truly not, because the episode also did something else that I wanted even more than moral questions: It reminded me of why I fell in love with this show, and with the character of Tom Kirkman.

It also reminded me of why I hate politics.

Has Tom Kirkman been perfect? Well, I’ll argue that other than the show using Alex Kirkman’s death to push him towards a spiral of bad decisions lately, he has been pretty damn good, but I’ll also agree that the bad decisions lately have been, well …bad.  But bad enough to remove him from office when you-know-who is still sitting in the Oval Office and doesn’t seem to be moving anytime soon?

Yeah, no. No one’s buying that.

And that’s why the story-line felt, at times, a little off. We’re just comparing it to real life, even if real life is what should be feeling off – not the show.

The storyline, however, served to showcase a few things. First, Michael J. Fox, an extraordinary actor and the sort of charismatic performer that just draws the eye whenever he’s on a scene, and why Tom Kirkman is so loved by all.

He’s a good man. Simple as that. And good decisions, questionable decisions, his staff trusts that he is the person they first met, after the Capitol bombing. That he is the right man to be President of the United States. And they have his back.

More importantly, the show managed to shine a light on mental illness and turn it around on a positive way. Tom Kirkman is grieving, and grieving is a long, complicated and deeply personal process. No one can tell other people how to grieve, and grieving does not make you incapable, though it does change you. Trying to compare that with Trey’s mental issues, and trying to shame Trey for those mental issues, was a low point for Ethan, but the message at the end was important.

Your issues don’t define you.

Mental health awareness is still a subject that most shows, and most people, get wrong. We can and should all strive to learn how to be better at this every day. And the first part, is, I think, for shows to tackle the subject, for it to stop being taboo and something we sweep under the rug.

As for the rest – and by the rest I mean Hannah, I don’t for a moment believe she’s actually been fired. That’d defeat the purpose of the episode, which is that Tom Kirkman really is, deep down, a rational man. Yes, Hannah is way over the line, but she’s trying to protect the President. So this is more than likely Kirkman’s way of freeing her to continue the investigation and doing just that.

Now the question is – with only a few episodes left to go, where is the story going? And can we keep Michael J. Fox around?

Other things to note:

  • It was nice to see Aaron/Emily discuss what could have been, but if that’s the reason we’re going with for why that never happened, then I’m just gonna call BS, writers. Because, yeah, it’s like you forgot that she went on to have a thing with Seth.
  • Also, the thing with Seth …how is that going? I never know. Not that I care, it’s more professional courtesy at this point.
  • The budget storyline just reminded me, again, how very little actual care for the general public the people who represent us actually have.
  • Hannah losing it is all fine and good. Hannah losing it this way because of Damian, when she didn’t lose it in S1 when she lost someone to the Capitol bombing? Yeah, that doesn’t really compute. She’s a trained agent, for crying out loud.
  • Chuck is still massively underused.
  • So is Trey.
  • Has Mike spoken in the last few episodes?
  • Moss, you rat.
  • If Andrea Frost really is the hacker, then I’m just gonna say this: Well played, Designated Survivor. Well played.

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

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.