According to the Constitution: Designated Survivor, Episodes 3 & 4, review

Back in 2005, Geena Davis starred as the President of the United States in Commander in Chief, safely qualifying her as America’s first PILF.

Sorry, I’ve been sitting on that joke since at least 2013.

The real hook of the series was the fact that it portrayed a female POTUS, which at the time was still considered the fantastic stuff of legends, and not something that’ll happen in a little over a week’s time if the entire United States doesn’t have a lobotomy and think electing a racist orange would be a good idea.

Anyway yes, female President. But the odd thing about that show was how she came to power. No, she wasn’t elected by the people of America. She’s Vice President when the President dies, and inherits the position. Because obviously the American people would never elect a woman, that’d just be ridiculous! They’d be too concerned with her menstrual cycle…

That was sarcasm by the way.

But before her predecessor kicks the bucket, as he’s lying on his deathbed, he asks her to resign because he does not want her to become President.

Now, you’re thinking this is probably legit, because he’s the President, and it’s his wish, and he should be allowed to choose his successor, etc., etc.. However, if she does step down, the Speaker of the House would become President, played by Donald Sutherland, and he’s a sexist dickhead. So she refused.

Halfway through the series, this information comes out, and the public starts calling for her resignation. How dare she remain President when the last President didn’t want her. But then she comes out with what I believe is technically termed a ‘mic drop’: Constitutionally, the President had no right to ask her to resign, and if she did step down it would’ve been a betrayal to the American people who elected her as their Vice President.


And that’s the interesting thing about government operations. For the most part you can’t just fire someone, unless they’re a lower-level civil servant or something. Even the President of the United States can’t do it. The only thing they can do is ask the person to resign, with the key word being ‘ask’. They can’t be forced to resign unless blackmail gets involved. I might be oversimplifying here by the way. But the point is, the President of the United States can’t fire the Vice President or any member of the Cabinet. They just don’t have that right, especially once the person is elected by the public or confirmed by the legislature. Though if they do try to fire the person, it would be quite odd to then appoint the person as designated survivor, don’t you agree?

Yeah, remember him? Tom Kirkman, the designated survivor in Designated Survivor. In the very first episode of the show he was informed that President Richmond did not want him to remain in the Cabinet. Then of course, he became President of the United States. Three episodes in, the public finds out… and they’re not happy about it. Then again, what exactly do they want at this stage? For him to step down, leaving no one in the White House? Yeah, we don’t need a President, fuck that.

Or maybe they want someone else.

Because shortly after it’s the funeral of President Richmond; where Kirkman was about to speak before Richmond’s son, annoyed over the news, shuts him down. So instead, Hookstraten gives a roaring eulogy about… um… America?

Anyway, Hookstraten is now placing herself as a successor to Kirkman, even suggesting running in the next election. And that annoys the hell out of the President. After all, it was only one episode earlier that she spoke to him about unity and solidarity.

“Republican, Democrat, Independent, it doesn’t matter anymore. We’re all Americans today.” – Hookstraten


But this is a real problem, because in order for Kirkman to appoint a new cabinet they need to be confirmed by her as the sole-surviving member of Congress. Which is why we see her with Rhodes and Shore going over their nominees.

Except, and this is real nitpicky of me, they need to be confirmed by the Senate, not the House; and she’s a congresswoman, not a senator. And this is really annoying since this plot hole could’ve been avoided during her introduction by just calling her a senator. The only change is that they wouldn’t be able to refer to her as the presumptive speaker, but the presumptive president pro tempore of the United States Senate. (Doesn’t scan as well, but still.) And that would still place her in the line of succession which is where I think they’re going with this. But as a congresswoman, she would only have a say in the appointment of the Vice President. And even then, we’d need a senator as well. This is why, as I mentioned before, congress normally sets aside more than one designated survivor.

So as Hookstraten begins her power play, someone else is trying something bolder.

Yes, the Governor of Michigan, whom I haven’t named as I stubbornly refuse to. Because that’s really all he is, he’s the Governor of Michigan. He doesn’t need a name because in the long run he’s just a footnote in the plot. He’s also a dipshit, because he’s up to his old tricks and has basically declared his state a sovereign state, refusing to recognize Kirkman’s presidency.

Yeah, like that. So finally, at the end of his rope, Kirkman decides to take drastic action, and federalize the National Guard. So he talks to his wife, who is apparently both an immigration and constitutional law attorney, which is convenient; and she says that because the Governor of Michigan appears to be declaring some type of coup, he’s well within his rights.

He makes the call to General Hammond (whom I’m guessing isn’t the same Hammond from Stargate: SG-1) and gives the order. And when the commanding General of the Michigan National Guard arrives to meet with Rhodes, he quickly gives his opinion of the situation.

“It is my duty to inform you we refuse the order to federalize. The Michigan State Guard stands behind its true commander-in-chief: Governor [The Governor of Michigan].” – General Moron

Yeah, you can’t actually do that. And now, the situation has officially reached a tipping point. It’s clear that this is just the start of the breakup of the union. And the last time something like this happened, three-quarters of a million people died. And this was before they had automatic weapons, bomber jets, semtex and nukes.

So that’s when Rhodes comes up with a plan. You see, she was sent to Michigan to observe a protest by local Muslims, but is being blockaded at the airport by the Governor and his thugs. But with no options left she decides to use the protesters to her advantage, and has them go directly to the Governor.

Because the Governor had the bright idea to bring news crews there, to record his coup for the history books. And with the news recording a peaceful protest, he can’t just have his goons cart them off. So Rhodes offers to call the protesters off, if he agrees to accompany her to Washington and meet with the President to discuss his grievances. And finally backed into a corner, he agrees.

So they go to Washington, where President Tom Kirkman immediately places him under arrest for treason.

Even less smug now are you? Ya bastard.

But the question is, is this an overreach of power? Well, it’s hard to say, because shortly after he says he did it to send a message to any other Governor who attempts to question his authority; which is a bit Machiavellian. However, by trying to usurp Presidential authority, the Governor did commit treason, so that is legit; and he will get a fair trial, surely. Besides, Kirkman also mentions that Lincoln, during the Civil War, suspended habeas corpus, which protects against wrongful imprisonment; and so far Kirkman hasn’t even attempted that. Everything he’s done has been well-within the law, and he hasn’t tried to escalate the situation too quickly.

So I’ll say, fair enough to him. Though if we see him start sending people to Guantanamo, we’ll start panicking.

But the fact that the Governor of Michigan tried to overthrow Kirkman’s authority really gets to me. He says on the news that the man is unelected, and has no right to be President. But he was appointed by the elected President Richmond, confirmed by the elected Senate, and remained in that position at the time of the bombing. Sure, perhaps Richmond didn’t want him to be in his cabinet anymore, but he was fine with him before and didn’t appear to be in any rush to get rid of him. Then he appoints Kirkman as designated survivor, which is the person who takes over as President in the event of a catastrophic attack on the Capitol, which actually happens. Oh sure, perhaps Richmond didn’t take the role seriously, but that’s his own damn fault, isn’t it?

And as for Kirkman being unelected, he wouldn’t be the first. That would be Gerald Ford, who was appointed as Nixon’s Vice President under the 25th amendment, being confirmed by both the House and Senate, after Spiro Agnew was forced to resign. Then, when Nixon stepped down, Gerry became president without being elected to either the Presidency or Vice Presidency. The only President ever to do so. But I’m pretty sure no one questioned his legitimacy. They didn’t say, ‘err, you don’t count.’ Mainly because that would be stupid.

So in summation, the people are stupid, and I’m quite disappointed we haven’t seen this come up. Surely in this universe there are some arrogant news pundits willing to defend Kirkman’s legitimacy as I have. We get shots of the President watching the news, and yet he never tunes into Dipshit Pundit Tonight, or some other debate program to see people arguing about this issue. They just offhandedly mention that #BogusPOTUS is trending. And that’s slightly disappointing.

Though with Michigan dealt with, it’s not the only crisis that popped-up.

It begins with a blackout at the White House, which, as Kirkman’s staff explain, should never happen. And the Secret Service quickly realize it’s because someone’s hacking into the White House computer network.

And I’ll be honest: if you hack into a network and it causes a power surge, you’re a shit hacker. Surely the goal of a hacker is to do their business without getting noticed, because if you get noticed one could easily just pull a cable to stop you. But no one thinks of doing that. Though given how many alarms the hack sets off, the fact that no firewalls came up, or any failsafes were triggered to cut off their access, proves that their network security is shit. Even though they say it’s the most secure network on Earth.

However, that was probably just dramatic licence. Would’ve been quite boring if no one noticed and just suddenly the President found a new file on his computer from out of nowhere. Because that’s all the hackers did, plant a file on his computer. Not a virus or anything, just a video containing a confession to the Capitol Bombing by Majid Nassar, leader of Al-Sakar, which is the terrorist group they already suspected in the last episode.


But now, they have proof. Surely this’ll be the moment Kirkman decides to stop pussy-footing around and begin bombing the bastards into oblivion. Except for one thing: He’s a bit suspicious. Why bother hacking into the White House just to leave a confession? Why not just dump it off with Al Jazeera? There’s also the fact that Al-Sakar has a bit of a reputation. They’ve previously taken credit for terrorist attacks they’ve had nothing to do with. Perhaps this is just another example.

So it’s possible this is just them posturing. But if you ask me, if they’re stupid enough to confess to a crime they did not commit, they’re asking to get bombed. They’re waving a flag saying, “Please send SEAL Team 6 to shoot our leader in the head! We’d be ever so grateful!”

But Kirkman wants to get this right. He asks around the table for any further reason not to suspect Al-Sakar. And that’s when Atwood steps up.

You’ll remember in the last episode, he suggested Hannah’s theory needed more supporting evidence before he could deliver it to the President. But once Kirkman starts actively soliciting dissenting opinions, I guess his view changed.

But with this theory presented to him, I guess Kirkman realizes he can’t take any risks. This is the one thing he has to get right. So he declares that no one sees the Al-Sakar video, not until they’re sure the confession is legit.

So, that’s dealt with. Meanwhile, the nation learns that Kirkman was ‘fired,’ then Hookstraten’s speech, then the video ends up on national news.

Now how did that happen? Kirkman immediately suspects Hookstraten, because of the shit she tried to pull earlier, and the fact that he did show her the video earlier that day.

Though I’m pretty sure he didn’t give her a copy. So how she would’ve been able to leak it is beyond me. This isn’t Stargate. I doubt they developed memory-extraction technology.

Anyway, she pleads innocence, but mentions that the leak actually helped him; Because now that people are talking about Al-Sakar, they’re not talking about the legitimacy of his Presidency. And of course, this leads him to Shore.

He quickly comes clean, and explains himself by saying that if he didn’t, Kirkman wouldn’t be President for much longer anyway; and that confuses me. What exactly did he think might happen? Would a mob of idiots storm the White House and stage a coup?

Anyway, because of this, Shore offers his resignation. But Kirkman refuses, and offers him the full White House Chief of Staff position. Which is an odd reaction. However he’s holding onto the letter of resignation. I assume this’ll be a future plot point.

But now that the public knows, the war is on.

Cut to a week later, when an American spy, who successfully embedded himself within Al-Sakar, sends information confirming he knows where Majid Nassar, their leader, is.

This is right before a group of terrorists burst in and grab him.

But the information makes it to Kirkman, and they tracked Nassar to a compound in Algeria.

Well, I’m glad the writers picked a real country, rather than just continually make names up. It strains credulity after a while when we’re just supposed to assume these countries fit in between the borders of two other countries, because there’s totally a gap there. They’d be better off picking a country that the vast majority of the world doesn’t recognise, like Transnistria or something. That way, we know where it might exist, but they can’t complain that they’re being treated unfairly. Just a thought. Some may complain that’s not realistic enough, but we can just assume circumstances changed that gave the nation international recognition. After all, we can get by with the U.S. President meeting the Ambassador of Iran, when these two countries haven’t had any official relations since 1979. We’ll just assume circumstances changed. President Richmond reopened the Embassy. Though that should also mean Iran would’ve been friendly enough with the U.S. to not try to blockade the Strait of Hormuz…

Anyway, the military’s all ready to bomb the compound into dust, but Kirkman’s hesitant because they think the spy’s still in there. He decides to hold off on the attack until they’re sure he’s safely away. But of course, if they wait too long, who knows if the target will still be there.

Surely though, there’s an easy solution: They can deploy a surgical strike team to arrest Nassar. Just send in SEAL Team 6! Oh, are they busy? Well I’m sure someone from SEAL Teams 1 through 5 are free! Send them!

But Kirkman does come up with an alternate solution. He contacts the President of Algeria to convince him to send his own people in to arrest the members of Al-Sakar. Of course, much like certain equatorial presidents before him, he claims there are no terrorist leaders in his country. Of course, Kirkman doesn’t believe him. But he’s still not willing to deploy the airstrike yet.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Cochrane, the dickhead from the first two episodes, starts preparing for the airstrike before receiving a Presidential order. And this pisses Kirkman off, though I’m not exactly sure why, since he did give every indication that he would eventually order the airstrike once their agent was safe. He was just getting everything ready.

But rather than make this argument, Cochrane basically says that the loss of one American life is worth it if they get their revenge, which makes him a sociopath and an idiot.

So Kirkman fires him, because he can do that to military officers.

Cochrane’s face: What? Help!
Shore’s face: Fuck off, mate. You were asking for it.

Because he was. And of course, this brings an end to his subplot. You see, he was trying to plan a coup with Shore, but I never mentioned it because Shore wasn’t going for it and I knew it would never get anywhere. And I was right!

But I don’t think this event is the sole reason he was sacked. I think it has more to do with everything that built to it. Cochrane’s been butting heads with the President since the first episode, and it seems Kirkman finally got sick of his shit. So he’s been sacked. Not complicated.

Then, a few hours later, Kirkman gets word that they finally know the status of the agent they’ve been waiting on. His body was dropped off at the Embassy in Algeria. He’s dead.

Worth noting though that this probably also means Al-Sakar knows he’s a spy, and that he probably leaked information to America. So they’ve probably reacted accordingly. This tells me an airstrike is a bad idea, because you won’t be able to confirm that Nassar’s dead with much reliability. I hear that’s why Obama ordered a surgical strike on the bin Laden compound. Because if he didn’t, it may have turned out to be a suburban family of five, and imagine the reaction from that.

Anyway, with the spy’s death confirmed there’s no reason to hold back. Kirkman gives the order to attack, which surprises the new commanding Admiral. And that confuses me.

And that’s where the episode closes, because American TV loves cliffhangers. And I gotta say, this plot thread has been disappointing so far. But I get the feeling that’s only because it’s just started. They’re building a universe, no need to rush.

Thankfully, there are other plot threads to develop our interest. For instance: Alex, the first lady.

In episode four, we see her dealing with one of her old clients, a woman from Honduras who is trying to get asylum in America because she can’t go back home. And that makes sense, because Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world. I’m guessing her husband or something pissed off the leader of a street gang, and had a death sentence placed on the entire family.

Anyway, she can’t go back, but has been arrested by immigration officers, likely to be deported. Looks like the Homeland Security offices are taking advantage of the fact that the courts are closed, and have been since the attack, and are arresting anyone who doesn’t have a pending appeal. Now they could merely file an appeal once the courts reopen, but by then she’ll be on a boat, back to Honduras.

It makes me wonder, who gave this order? Some bureaucrat decided to take advantage of a bad situation? What exactly do they hope to gain?

“Oh, if I get all these refugees deported and killed, I’ll surely get that promotion.” – Some idiot

Also, this is the Department of Homeland Security. Surely Kirkman could be able to investigate this. Tell them to stop deporting anyone who’s helpless to appeal. And he does suggest it. But Alex dismisses the idea, surely using executive privilege to do his wife a favour isn’t such a good idea. Except it wouldn’t be, would it? I mean, it would if he specifically asked them to release that one individual. But if he ordered them to release everyone until the courts reopen, it would be him stopping them from being racist assholes, much like he was doing in Michigan.

But she doesn’t consider that, and instead goes to Kimble Hookstraten.

This is where it gets a bit weaselly. Alex suggests that Hookstraten, who was on the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, call the woman as a witness to appear when the new congress meets. She agrees, on the condition that Alex owes her a favour. Which I’m pretty sure is going to end badly. What favour might she ask for from the wife of her biggest political opponent? This is not good. Should’ve probably just asked her husband to investigate Homeland Security.

Regardless, it works. But during this plot thread, I had a thought: Why did Alex have to quit her job? She’s the First Lady, therefore she can’t do anything else?

Really, the job of First Lady is merely to act as White House hostess; organising official functions, that kind of thing. Surely that’s not a full-time job. And even if it is, she has staff that can do most of it. And even then, it doesn’t have to be her in the First Lady role. There have been several women, acting as First Lady, who weren’t married to the president; Either because the president was unmarried, or widowed. Most recently, Chelsea Clinton acted as First Lady while her mother was running for U.S. Senate. Surely Leo could act as First Gentleman while his mother is doing her law work. They could do a family job-share. Besides, he needs to keep busy. Stop him from dealing drugs.

Oh, yes, he was dealing drugs. That plot thread doesn’t actually go very far, other than his mother finding out and yelling at him. Though let’s be honest, I doubt he’ll do any more dealing with a team of Secret Service agents on his ass constantly. Though the thread ends with a nice bit about family togetherness, with Kirkman, inspired by a conversation he had with President Richmond’s son, to plan a family dinner. But he ends up working late so they eat breakfast cereal. This is despite the fact that the White House kitchen is supposed to be open around the clock.

Anyway, let’s get back on track. Now it’s true that, historically, no president’s spouse has ever worked outside the White House. But until recently, no woman ever worked. Times change. Maybe the next change could be ‘working First Lady.’ Is it a security issue? In that case, I wouldn’t be surprised if they appointed her as Attorney General. I doubt the double-act from episode two is still in the running.

But since we’re on the subject of White House appointments: Seth Wright, White House Speechwriter.

He has to deal with the current White House Press Secretary, formerly the Third Deputy Assistant to the White House Press Secretary before his rapid and unexpected promotion. And he is shit.

He constantly stumbles over his words and can barely answer questions coherently. So it’s up to Seth to coach him. And to cut a painful story short, it doesn’t work. He ends up making a complete ass of himself and the President, by saying things that are incorrect both factually and politically, and bolts out of the room, leaving Seth to take his place.

He proves himself a natural, mainly by being able to talk, and is quickly offered the Press Secretary position. But he turns it down because Shore is shit at convincing him. He basically says, ‘we need a muslimy person addressing the press.’

Admittedly, it’s not entirely stupid. Place a muslim in a public position of power, it might curb violence against muslims. Though it is a bit condescending. Then again, America had a black man as President, and other innocent black men still got shot. But of course, that’s not the real reason he should be press secretary. He should be press secretary because he’s the best man for the job. He already had a smashing audition, and he’s one of the President’s trusted advisors. Thankfully, later that day, President Kirkman sells it to him.

“I just wanted to have someone on the podium that I respected. Come on, Seth, don’t make me beg.” – President Kirkman

And you don’t want to make the President beg. So he takes the job, which I really like. But it makes me wonder why we never saw the Press Secretary before now. We’re four episodes in here, while Kirkman had to deal with one PR incident after another. Where was the Press Secretary during this time, dealing with these crises? But I think Seth’s promotion is a demonstration of what is often called ‘The Peter Principle’. Basically, it’s the inherent flaw with a hierarchical system. As you get promoted, eventually you’ll be promoted to a job you can’t do. For example you were an excellent stock boy, so they promote you to store manager, meanwhile you don’t know how to organize a team. And that shit press secretary from earlier? Yeah, he’s an extreme example of that. Though he wasn’t promoted, he inherited the position after all his superiors died.

But Seth is a natural. And he wasn’t promoted to the position merely because it was time to promote him or something. He was promoted because he’s good at the job. And I imagine this is a problem across the White House, but we haven’t heard anything about that yet from anywhere else. That is, except for the Attorney General’s office, where we had a comedy double-act in the running.

But anyway, with Seth as Press Secretary, we’ll be seeing a lot more of him, as if we weren’t already. He was spending an unusual amount of time around the President when he was a humble speechwriter. This is one of the problems with a such a structured script development. Here are the main characters… we’re not changing it. And having him take the job in the first episode would probably have been a bit stupid.

But overall, a bit stupid would probably define the series so far.

I’m not saying I hate Designated Survivor, but it feels like they’re missing points. There are gaps in the narrative that look like they need to be filled. I understand they want to portray Kirkman as some type of underdog, but he’s the President of the United States so it’s a bit of a losing battle. Surely someone outside the White House, specifically someone from his party, would come to his defence. And the operation of the rump legislature seems like it’s not even being properly dealt with. It really irks me that they only have Hookstraten as a designated survivor when they should have at least three more. I guess they want to consolidate the narrative, but again, they could’ve at least made her a senator instead so the point about cabinet confirmations would make sense.

However, it’s easy to look past that. The only real issue as the series has gone forward is in the character’s performances, because they seem to have gotten over the Capitol bombing pretty damn quickly. I don’t see them constantly distracted over the emotional impact. Then again, after a week passes, they might’ve dealt with it off-screen. Plus, they all have a job to do in fixing the damage. When you have a job to do, you do it, and deal with everything else later. But I really think the writers need to roll with this more. Just one scene with Shore in his new office saying about his old boss, ‘I keep expecting him to walk through that door, asking what I’m doing in his chair.’ Bit cliché, but it would be nice. Also, who did Seth and Rhodes know? What were they like? Perhaps a flashback episode from before the bombing, with a framing device involving them talking about who they lost while the White House is under lockdown.

It just seems like something they’re avoiding. Well, at least for the White House cast. Because there’s one character outside the White House whom I’ve still been avoiding: Hannah Wells.

Because despite how important this plot thread is, it’s still boring!!!

So far, Hannah’s big break in the bombing investigation is centred on Peter MacLeish, the sole-survivor of the bombing.

Yes, out of over 500 people, one manages to survive. He’s a third-term congressman, which means there are still no surviving senators here!

Anyway, Hannah wonders how he managed to survive, and on the news footage of the State of the Union she notices a few things. First, that the feed cut out over 30 seconds before the bombing, and that one woman was taking a few crowd shots with her phone. So Hannah gets access to her cloud account, where they find a few photos of MacLeish’s seat after the feed cut out.

Before the feed cut Six seconds later

Now, a few things. Number one: I guess we can assume her phone complies with the MIL-STD-810 standards for durability if it managed to survive being caught in that explosion, since I highly doubt the photo was uploaded over the cell networks in the 30 seconds between when the feed cut out and the bomb went off. Number two: they say the photo was taken six seconds later, but it was obviously taken after he’d left his seat, and had left the chamber, which would take more than six seconds. Ten, twenty… maybe even thirty because he’s not even in the wide shot! And number three: I find it incredibly suspicious that this woman, sitting in the public gallery, was taking shots from the exact same angle as the official news feed.

Also, he was clearly Photoshopped into that first shot. Probably because he was. They couldn’t get a set for the seats in congress so they had to improvise. It’s pretty bad when you notice those moments in television production.

But anyway, where did he go? Why wasn’t he there? And why was he in such a hurry? I mean, six seconds, he must’ve legged it down the aisle.

Actually, they don’t mention that last point. But Hannah does actually get an answer to that first point. Turns out, his wife called him in a panic because she couldn’t find their child in a mall or something. So he left to answer her messages.

But she doesn’t believe him, and pulls a few phone records to disprove his story. Unfortunately for her, they don’t. All evidence points to him just being lucky. And then she realizes, she wanted him to be guilty of something to explain why he survived, and why her lover didn’t.

That’s right, the entire investigation was her grieving process. Because she was having an affair with a married senator who was caught in the bombing. This had been building since the first episode, but only now reaches its crecendo. And it seems the only reason she’s been investigating this attack so fervently is because of him. Seems a bit shitty from a feminist perspective. It’s not her passion for justice that makes her investigate the bombing, but a man. That being said, I could easily see the same thing happening if the genders were reversed. Also, it’s a good a reason as any.

But the point is, she seems to be the only character who seems to actually do a bit of grieving. We see her have a moment, alone, in her car, in the rain, shortly after learning her boyfriend is confirmed dead. However we don’t see her crying, just slightly sad.

Seems to me like they’re missing an opportunity here. I want to see someone have a breakdown! I want to see someone completely lose it! I want to see tears… anger! Five hundred people died! Don’t they care!?

Yes, they might’ve dealt with it off-screen, and the show follows a lot of people who have important work to do and can’t waste time on bereavement. But they’re still human, so surely it’ll still affect them whether they want it too or not. Let’s see some emotional slip-ups, or at least some shitty pop-psychology. I find it odd that this shit was dealt with better on an episode of My Little Pony, over a serious live-action drama. The five-stages of grief isn’t exactly a state secret. The only characters we see shedding tears include extras and that one-shot character, also known as the previous president’s son.

During the first episode, I wrote it off as shock. By the second episode, I would say it was mostly them too focused on the job at hand. But by now, it feels like the writers just forgot about it. Especially with regards to Hookstraten’s political opportunism.

This is something I merely brushed past, but in all honesty, it does seem quite odd. I understand she’s a politician, and might want to run for President in about three years, but surely she would’ve realized there are more important things in the world than politics. Plus, if she indicated her support for Kirkman’s presidency in a time of crisis, it could actually help her politically. She would be seen as someone who isn’t a political opportunist.

It reminds me of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who, in 2012, was on the news talking about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which struck his state like a sledgehammer. At some point, he was asked a question about the 2012 presidential campaign, which was in its final days. His response? He doesn’t give a shit! His state was just hit by a hurricane! They’re in the middle of a major crisis! Why the hell would he be worried about how this would affect Romney’s chances!? And I’ll be completely honest, I gained a lot of respect for him after that. I mean, since then he’s been a bit more of a dicksack, but forget about that! Focus on 2012, he was a stand-up guy then, he had the same priorities as normal people.

But yes, if Hookstraten at least pretended to be normal, people would think she was, and would respect her. But right now, I’ll bet most just see her as a political opportunist… or at least they would if they saw her criticise Kirkman in any way. Right now, all she did was make one speech. Which makes me think the American public is thick, because it was only one speech and they were thoroughly impressed by it. I feel like we missed something.

So overall, how can we rate episodes three and four of Designated Survivor?

Well, the thing is, there’s a lot to love. In terms of plot development, they are trying some interesting things. The Michigan plot illustrated the fear of the people and the fragility of the union in such desperate times, which demonstrates just how tough Kirkman’s job is. But I feel like there are gaps in both character development and overall narrative that aren’t being filled; and really, a lot of inaccuracies that five minutes of browsing Wikipedia could’ve fixed. I mean, I’m not saying the show has to be 100 per cent accurate. That’d be stupid. It’s alright to sacrifice accuracy for the sake of a good narrative. But that’s not what they did! Because the point about confirmations… there’s no excuse. The House doesn’t get involved! It’s a Senate confirmation!

But overall, I guess I can give it a 50/50. There’s a lot to hate, but a lot to love. And the hate, honestly, is easy to ignore. I only noticed because I’m doing this heavy analysis. But the rest is really about potential. The show is building plot threads that are sure to pay off within the next 18 episodes. They’re playing a long game, so I’ll give them some credit. But the last time I gave a show credit based on potential, they shit on it during the final two episodes. But at least Designated Survivor has better acting.


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