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DESIGNATED SURVIVOR “Brace For Impact” Season Finale Recap

By on May 18, 2017

(ABC/Ian Watson) KIEFER SUTHERLAND

By Kirsty Pearce

“Brace For Impact”

It’s Season 1 Finale Time, and this one definitely packs a punch.

We find Hannah where we last left her, in a tough spot between a bomb and FBI agents with guns. She threatens to blow the building up if they get any closer, driving the van out of the garage, and into the Tidal Basin in front of the Jefferson Memorial, rolling out just in time. A relieved John shows up and takes her from the custody of the local FBI officers, who have charged her based on the blueprints and schematics that were planted in her apartment. Hannah and John then debrief Tom, Moss, and Mike, with Tom giving the order to bring Lloyd in on the advice of Moss and Hannah. John is also separately coordinating raids on several newly discovered cells across the country thanks to intel provided by those arrested on the cargo ship.

Bowman has taken the opportunity afforded by Abe’s article last episode on Al-Saqar not being behind the bombing to further try and discredit Tom in the media. However, in one interview he is set up opposite Aaron, who yet again staunchly defends Tom’s honesty, emphasizing that no one should be making judgements without all the facts. Having watched this umpteenth example of Aaron’s loyalty on his special White House TV, Tom brings him in and shares about the mole, asking for his take in coming up with a list of suspects. Aaron decides to go see General Cochran for help.

There’s a hand-off of a suspicious briefcase to Catalan, which Lloyd is notified of, prompting him to tell Whitaker to ‘Execute’ whatever the next part of their plan is. The FBI arrives at his house shortly after, but only finds a tunnel and no Lloyd, with multiple sightings reported in a type of shell game. Whitaker sets up a laptop connected to the White House server, getting into the Pentagon system. This catches the attention of Chuck, who figures out he was making an ID, which we soon see was for Catalan to be able to gain admittance to the Pentagon. Catalan brings the briefcase-computer that was handed off to him earlier into the Pentagon’s server farm, scrambling the security cameras, and downloading something we don’t know the identity of yet. Hannah passes him driving away and gives chase, smashing into his car. They proceed on foot, leading to a long-time coming hand-to-hand confrontation in an abandoned building before Catalan is impaled, whispering the group’s creepy motto before dying. Making her way back to the office, Hannah discovers an email from Jason, which contains the photos and audio recording he had made implicating Whitaker as the mole, finally leading to his arrest in a pretty satisfying scene. She then goes to Jason’s office and reminisces about her first meeting with Jason when she was transferred to DC, breaking down in a well-deserved release of emotion.

Abe comes to see Seth (read: ambush him), for a comment on his next article detailing the arrest of Jason in the Oval Office for the murder of the Al-Saqar suspect in the bombing. When Seth informs Tom about this, Tom instructs him to set up a face-to-face between himself and Abe. During this meeting, Tom tells Abe he needs to hold his story, sharing an awesome tale concerning the press keeping back an image of FDR being helped out of a car during WW2 until after the war was over, due to the country’s need to have their President be portrayed as strong and without vulnerabilities. Asking for the same courtesy, Abe later tells Seth he will honor Tom’s request, though not indefinitely.

Aaron, Seth, and Emily are at last read in on everything to do with the conspiracy, and of course no one is mad Tom didn’t confide in them before. He also informs them that over 200 people have been arrested so far, and a large number of guns and explosive ordinances seized. At the end of the debrief, Tom tells Aaron he wants him to come back to the White House for good, saying he will create a position just for Aaron if he has to. Aaron, of course, says he serves at the pleasure, which is pretty much a yes.

As Tom prepares to make a speech to Congress and the media concerning the truth behind the bombing, he tells Moss he has chosen him to be the Designated Survivor. Lifting the lid on Pax Americana and their twisted philosophy, Tom then gives a rousing, blatantly patriotic American speech, (giving props to Abe Leonard in the process), and receives a standing ovation, while we also see the General getting his anklet off. Tom reunites with his kids before being pulled into the Situation Room, where he is informed of what exactly it is Catalan had done in the Pentagon’s server room. He had uploaded DOD’s most highly classified information, which consisted of everything to do with the country’s defence system, including troop movements and covert identities, etcetera, and which it is now all in the hands of one Patrick Lloyd.

I found this first season as a whole to be on the uneven side, along with nerve-wracking, and frustrating in parts, as the conspiracy leaders always seemed to be five steps ahead. However, it was not without standout moments, successfully drawing out the suspense in several sections, and providing us with timely topics to think on presented in compelling ways, as well as interesting characters to root for, with Seth, Aaron, Hannah, and Hookstraten absolutely the best aspects so far. Giving us humor, emotional connections, and rewarding character arcs, hopefully their roles will be expanded further next Season, especially Seth and Aaron’s.

Unfortunately, I found Emily to be largely one-dimensional, especially when compared with Hookstraten. She didn’t really have any significant character arc outside of taking on the challenge of being Chief of Staff, something they really didn’t put a lot of effort into making interesting. Let’s hope she is given meatier stuff to deal with next season as well, as Italia Ricci is a talented actress worthy of more.

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