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DESIGNATED SURVIVOR “Misalliance” Recap

By on May 4, 2017

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR - "Misalliance"(ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg) KIEFER SUTHERLAND

By Kirsty Pearce

Designated Survivor “Misalliance”

The troubles Hookstraten encountered last episode due to her being one of the last political ‘old guards’ in DC continue to plague her this week as Tom focuses on prepping for his first NATO Summit and defending the place of Arts in education.

Alex also vacillates on bringing the kids back to DC so they can grow up with both parents, and Hannah contends with her kidnappers.

We jump right back into the action as Hannah is moved into a storage container and bound with chains. John and Mike soon grow concerned about her disappearance and head to her motel, which is clear of anything overtly suspicious. When they look through the shoddy security camera footage however, they see she’s been taken, and inform Tom, who is much more shaken than I expected, most likely flashing back to when a Navy SEAL was killed on a mission he signed off on.

At the White House, the shady Jay Whitaker is front and center now that we know he’s the mole. He shares a conversation with Emily before receiving the scheduled nefarious text concerning the successful kidnapping of Hannah, who is referred to as the “package.” Patrick Lloyd also gets the same message, concretely confirming his role in the conspiracy. Jason buys some spy tech ware and uses it to bug Lloyd’s lapel pin, which he managed to swap when Lloyd has to take it off to go through a security gate at a conference he is speaking at. His talk about the “illegitimate government” and how it needs to be taken back by people like them is downright disturbing and creepy. Jason then follows Lloyd after he ditches the official FBI surveillance to go to a rather cliché secret lodge in the woods to meet up with Whitaker.

Jason manages to get both pictures and audio of their discussion concerning playing the press through Abe, and the deliberate planting of their three next possible targets found by the FBI. At this point I’m starting to get legitimately nervous for Jason as we hear rustling in the woods. After sending the data, Jason investigates, finding a deer before turning around and getting brutally gunned down by Catalan in a truly awful moment. Too bad, I really liked Jason.

While all this is going on, John and Mike find out someone has been systematically scrubbing any mention of Browning Reed from the White House records, and believe they can use a digital trail to track the traitor. Finally, after biding her time and asking her captor to loosen her restraints so she can eat, Hannah is able to use her bra-wire to pick her locks (a move which gave me major Timeless pilot vibes), and take out the guard who was planning on plunging a needle filled with something into her. Escaping, she quickly finds out the container she was trapped in is actually on a ship, a twist I admittedly did not see coming.

Alex is shown giving a group of children who belong to a public school orchestra a tour of the White House, with the previous President’s adult son Tyler Richmond also in attendance, as the school was named after his father. Tyler informs Tom the National Funding scheme for the school is up for renewal very soon. So obviously a platform for a political debate over the importance of STEM versus the arts in today’s education, I can forgive due to the fact that I am an Arts person through and through, and will defend its value any day of the week.

Alex also has a frank talk with Tyler concerning how both she and her kids are handling their new lives, with Tyler providing some perspective from experience. This leads her to consider bringing their kids back from Camp David, an idea Tom is hesitant about because of the current danger.

The ethics committee hearing has begun, and although Hookstraten defends herself admirably, the feel of the room is noticeably cold. She debriefs Tom, and he asks whether she can help with the National Music Program Grant renewal project. Unfortunately, Senator Owen Saldua, a new addition to Congress who appears to be leading the charge to oust her on the ethics committee, is also the one who has the power to make the decision to pass the early renewal. Therefore, as Saldua is an independent, Tom decides to approach him himself. Saldua refuses to consider Tom’s request however, and remains determined to wait until the next budget comes up to make the decision. Aaron speaks with the cousin who encouraged him to get back into the political ring a few episodes ago about how she thinks Hookstraten went, and gets the discouraging information it’s 9-3 against. Kimble, however, gets an eleventh-hour idea, which is to inform Saldua she will voluntarily resign her speakership and seat in exchange for his approval of the public school Arts funding before she goes. When she informs Tom of this decision, he refuses to accept it, and instead makes her his Secretary for Education.

A small thread throughout this episode also deals with the upcoming NATO Summit. Secretary of State Moss informs Tom he was approached by the French ambassador about the possibility of de-escalating the nuclear program in Europe, and Tom gives him the go-ahead to do some back-channeling.

While it does have its occasional moments, overall this show has been slightly uneven, thus making it difficult to connect to and stay engaged with throughout its freshman run. One of the better plot-points the emotional toll the role of President has taken on Tom, especially as he doesn’t really have anyone he can share it with, something he does grapple with to a small degree tonight.

The most compelling characters continue to be Designated Survivor’s women, as we see both Hannah and Hookstraten kick butt and come out on top again respectively. Emily, in comparison, has been getting on my nerves the last few episodes. Lastly, the humor of “Misalliance” once again comes from an amusing little side-plot involving Seth’s excitement over flying on Air Force One to get to the NATO Summit, and taking a picture of it for his mother.

Ah Seth, never change.

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