‘Designated Survivor’ 2×12 Review: The Final Frontier

I’ll be the first to say I love Tom Kirkman. And that’s true, I love Tom Kirkman. He’s a kind, decent man who I think everyone who’s ever watched an episode of Designated Survivor would rather have in the White House than it’s current occupant. But the things that make Tom Kirkman such a great person, sometimes make him a somewhat predictable character.

He’s just TOO GOOD. What will Tom Kirkman do? The right thing, without fail, even at great personal cost. It’s admirable, it is, and a bit amazing, but it’s also a bit boring. Not saying we want a reckless President in fiction as in real life, but I am saying Tom Kirkman needs some lawyers. Like an onion. Not evil layers per se, but layers.

Boy, did Tom Kirkman get some layers in this episode. And not in the ways I expected.

Is it a good idea to fire Moss? Probably not. Was Moss trying to do a good thing, and would the Tom Kirkman of old have probably appreciated it? Yes. Is it still good that he fired Moss? Hell yes. Again, I’m not asking for chaos, but I’m asking for something different. You can’t grow if you’re perfect to begin with, and Tom Kirkman has been almost perfect in a way that’s boring for way too long.

And I’m not saying I’m happy they killed Alex, I’m still not. But, if her death brings out some change in Tom, at least they’re using it the correct way.

If her death brings more Penny and Leo, then that is also a good thing. The best part about this show in Season 1 was the balance between Kirkman’s family life, his Presidency and the conspiracy bits. The balance is long gone by now, and we only get little glimpses of family life – but let’s all remember that, despite being in a position where he’s probably got a lot of people helping out, he is now a single father.

Penny needs him. Leo needs him. And they need him in a way they didn’t need him before, a way that he doesn’t understand yet. That’s the thing with loss, you never really understand it till you live it.

We’ve sort of explored Penny’s pain, and I really hope that, in the same way, we can soon explore Leo’s anger. Not just because Leo is an interesting character, but because that adds more layers to the Kirkman onion, and he certainly needs those layers.

So yes, I’m not saying make him Donald Trump, and I’m not saying make him evil, but we could all stand to see Tom Kirkman being a little more human.

This is a step in the right direction. Now, let’s take some more.

Other things to note:

  • Aaron and Hannah together. We’re in, right? I’m in.
  • Emily and Seth, however ….
  • The reason they don’t work is because the show has given us WAY TOO LITTLE OF IT. I can’t invest without screen time. And every time we do get some of it it’s Seth looking like a puppy dog and Emily being unsure. Besides, did everyone but me forget about her thing with Aaron? Huh?
  • WHY ARE WE TRUSTING CORNELIUS AGAIN? DID WE FORGET ABOUT HIS INVESTIGATION?
  • Seth literally says nothing every time he stands on that podium.
  • IN CHARGE AARON IS HOT. So, so hot.
  • I just adore Kirkman’s relationship with Emily.
  • I’ve missed Kendra. More Kendra, please.
  • More Kendra and Lyor, and whatever that is. Probably friendship. Not sure we can handle anything else when it comes to Lyor.
  • Did they change the episode order or did they just play the wrong promo last week?
  • But hey, more layers are coming, apparently!

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

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