‘Designated Survivor’ 2×13 Review: Anger, At Last

Would you look at that, Tom Kirkman is actually human.

At times I have loved this show, at times I have been so bored by it that the idea of even watching one more episode left me wanting to bang my head against the keyboard. “Original Sin,” however, elicited neither of those responses for me. It wasn’t an episode to love, though I didn’t think it was meant to be. But hey, it wasn’t a boring episode either, and these days, I’d call that a win.

Tom Kirkman is grieving, and grief is a strange, complicated thing. There are stages, some people would say, and this is anger. It’s normal. Except the stages are just a thing you tell people who’ve never been there and could not possibly understand. Sure, they’re real to some extent, but there’s no order or logic to them, or to feelings.

Just as there’s no logic or order to Tom Kirkman’s behavior.

And isn’t that a beautiful thing for a man who’s been nothing but common sense and the greater good and a whole bunch of other ideas that are wonderful and sound perfect if he were really the President in real life, but that are just boooooooooooooooring considering he’s a fictional character?

You know my answer to that.

So, let’s go into “Original Sin,” what worked, what didn’t, and where we need the show to go next:



  • The B plot of Kirkman dealing with a past “mistake” and how he’s willing to bend the rules to fix it. Granted, you can say he’s always willing to go the extra mile to fix shit, but he’s not usually one to bend rules, so at least that’s something.
  • Trey Kirkman, because hey, at least he’s shaking things up. I don’t particularly like him, but he’s family. It’s complicated.


  • Why is Seth not funny anymore?
  • Why is it that lately, Emily’s only job is to wrangle the men around her?
  • Why aren’t we getting more Emily/Kendra scenes?
  • Why is Aaron wearing a suit and hair gel? I have a problem with the hair gel.
  • Damian.
  • Hannah’s supposed feelings for Damian. STOP MAKING SMART WOMEN FALL FOR BAD GUYS 2K18.


  • A romance. ANY ROMANCE. I don’t even care at this point, just make me feeling something.
  • We also need Kirkman to give us way more than a little inkling of actual human emotions. We need him to spiral. We need to feel like he’s a human being, not a robot who’s been programmed to be good.
  • Hell, if it can’t be Kirkman, can it be anyone else? This show is trying so hard to be The West Wing 2.0, but The West Wing actually gave me human stories and this is just politics after politics.
  • McKenna Grace. She makes me feel twice as much as all the adults combined.
  • BALANCE. The one they promised me in Season 1 and didn’t really deliver.
  • Waaaay more Leo. He’s an interesting character, and the dynamics with his dad could be awesome and complex and actually interesting.
  • Look, I love Tom Kirkman. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, he’s a great guy. I wish he were real. I wish he were the President. As a character, though, he’s hella boring. You always know what he’s gonna do: THE RIGHT THING. He needs growth, and for that, he needs to make a mistake or two. A real mistake.

Agree? Disagree? Have any other thoughts on the episode? Share with us in the comments below!

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

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