“Designated Survivor” has much in common with headline news and the 2016 presidential campaign and in episode 2, “The First Day”, there were symbols everywhere that touch our hearts about terror attacks in the United States and the issue of profiling certain ethnic groups. The good news is that new POTUS Tom Kirkman began to understand his role and was able to quell rebellion by a state governor as well as inside his own administration, such as it is.The bad news is that he’s got a massive rebuilding of the federal government that has as much urgency as finding the terrorist who took out the U.S. Capitol.
The challenges from within are from the military chief, General Cochrane who insisted that the terrorist organization Al-Sakar be named as the culprit, and retaliated against. In the video clip posted below, Kirkman demands to know why it’s important and for there to be 100% certainty before deadly force is considered.
Then there is Hannah Wells, the FBI agent who lost a loved one in the attack and is more in tune with what POTUS needs. In the video clip below, listen to her insist that those briefing Kirkman give him the news that there may be a rush to judgment about Al-Sakar that could be part of some other terror group’s strategy to keep the U.S. from looking elsewhere.
His inside battles begin with the two people vying for the job as his chief-of-staff, including the usual fight for face time. They are stuck in the weeds trying to come up with names to fill the president’s cabinet and there’s gridlock because of their differing points ov view. Again, like last week, we have to ask whether the Supreme Court might not be a better place to begin, or getting 50 states grinding on setting up interim appointments to congressional and Senate seats before special elections can be scheduled.
To supposedly quell unrest in his state, Michigan’s Governor Royce, who insulted Kirkman by questioning his status as POTUS, has his state and local police arresting people who violate a curfew, aimed at neighborhoods of Muslims, in and around Dearborn. It resulted in clashes with citizens and ultimately the death of a young man who was beaten and kicked to death. Closer to home, the president’s speech writer, was stopped outside his home during his commute to work and asked to prove his identity and questioned about what was in his backpack.
Kirkman got advice from his wife Alex, a lawyer by trade, that when faced with a rebellion by George Wallace, the Gov. of Alabama over desegrating public institutions, John F. Kennedy nationalized the guard. It was discarded as being a so-called nuclear option. Instead Royce was told that unless he instructed his law enforcement employees to stand down and release anyone swept up in arrests, the public would learn that included in the arrests were undercover federal officers investigating the illegal profiling of Muslim Americans. It was a bluff on Kirkman’s part, because there was no such operation in progress, but it worked with the recalcitrant governor.
Oh yes, and there’s a second designated survivor. A GOP Congresswoman picked as the person to do the TV speech for her party after the State of the Union Her name is Kimble Hookstratten who presented herself as an ally, at least for now. She agreed to a bi-partisan approach and eagerly accepted inside access from Pres. Kirkman, including help with getting Gov. Royce, a member of her party, in line.
The scene of President Kirkman going to the rubble and asking for a bullhorn to address the first responders had to resonate with viewers as a reminder of George W. Bush’s trip to Ground Zero in New York City. Kirkman tried to survey the damage, but was hustled out of the scene, when a man approached, reaching for something in his pocket and walking towards the president.
It was all caught on cameras including Secret Service leading him back to his vehicle. When he returned later that night, without his protective vest or cameras to personally greet the men and women coming through the wreckage, he did so with a calm that didn’t exist earlier in his day. His confidence growing, Tom Kirkman might just survive even day two of his presidency.
Some bits and pieces:
- When the episode ended, first responders screamed that they had found a survivor and FBI Agent Hannah was hopeful.
- POTUS’s son Leo is already chafing at his lack of independence and the responsibility placed on him to protect his little sister. If you recall, he was found by the Secret Service when his family was rushed to safety the night of the attack, at a club selling drugs to young people.
- The Secret Service have named Kirkman, “Phoenix” and when he asked what his previous name was when he was HUD Secretary, he learned it was “glasses”. As suggested in last week’s recap, they are coming on and off depending on where the president is and what he’s doing.
- For those that haven’t gotten past the Jack Bauer memories, you know that if it were an episode of “24”, Bauer would be working with Gen. Cochrane or at least acting on his information to get the president to 100% certainty that the terror was perpetrated by Al-Sakar.
ABC airs “Designated Survivor” Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT Image/video credit: ABC, used with permission