Designated Survivor – Home
By: Patience Kapfer
We take a break from the stress surrounding the President’s mother-in-law on this week’s episode, in order to spend some time in the Middle East. When the episode begins, Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) is onboard Air Force One to an undisclosed location. All we know is that the plane is 30 miles out and they are about to go dark, which means wherever they are going it is super secret. Back in the White House, Emily (Italia Ricci) explains to Lyor (Paulo Costanzo) that they were successfully able to get the President out of the country for the next 48 hours without anyone finding out. It is of the utmost importance that they keep the press from finding out that Kirkman is halfway around the world in a country where he is decidedly less welcomed. While Emily handles Lyor, Seth (Kal Penn) encounters some trouble of his own. After taking his brother (Abhi Sinha) out to celebrate “killing” the MCATs, Seth is stopped by a police officer who searches his vehicle.
The President is transported to a military base in Bagram Afghanistan where he is met with cheers and applause from all of the soldiers awaiting his arrival. Kirkman stopped to see the soldiers to express his deepest gratitude for himself and the entire American people to the soldiers for serving their country and making such incredible sacrifices. The President then proceeds to serve all of the soldiers breakfast, while chatting with each one as he serves up their bacon. It’s always touching to see how much Kirkman truly cares about the people and how much effort he put into learning about each of the soldiers.
After having a nice conversation with Harry (Brian Howe), the chef, Kirkman goes to meet with Hannah (Maggie Q) and Kabul Station Chief Kevin Dean (Steve Boyle). We learn that of the 98 U.S designated terrorist organizations, 20 of them operate in Afghanistan and 40 percent of the country is controlled by warlords. All of this leads to the reason the President is in Afghanistan to begin with: to meet with the two most powerful warlords, Mullah Fayad (Nasser Faris) and Mullah Bahri (Mousa Kraish). The goal is for the U.S to back one of the warlords in order to consolidate power in that region over the next few months. Unfortunately, Hannah and Kevin have heard that one of the warlords is planning a major attack on U.S soil. Therefore, the goal is to throw the United States’ backing behind the right one and he can then help them stop the attack and finally be able to bring the troops home. If they back the wrong warlord they run the risk of bringing a terrorist into the fold. It is imperative that they figure out which warlord the U.S can trust during the meetings held with Kirkman, otherwise they could be responsible for the nation’s next 9/11.
Kirkman holds his first meeting with Mullah Bahri, extending his hand in partnership. The first warlord is young and charming; he offers to use social media to change “hearts and minds” at a much quicker rate than waiting for generations. He says he could begin a new Arab Spring and with the help of the United States, they could prevent an Arab Winter by reducing the desperation followed by extremism. In Kirkman’s second meeting with Mallah Fayad, he doesn’t receive the same willingness to compromise as with Bahri. Fayad also tells Kirkman that Mullah Bahri is an infidel and a liar, and says that since Kirkman treats Bahri as his equal he isn’t sure he can trust the President.
While Kirkman is enjoying a sandwich with Harry, there is an explosion and the President is rushed out of the mess hall towards Air Force One. A suicide bomber leveled a market a few miles away and the CIA safe house was also raided. They are unsure if Kevin Dean managed to escape the safe house and are unable to reach him. President Kirkman is adamant that he is not leaving the base and will remain there to finish what they started. Hannah is told that they received a distress call from Kevin’s vehicle and they are sending in TAC units to track the beacon on his vehicle. However, Hannah completely disagrees with them, saying that Kevin isn’t going to be anywhere near the vehicle. Instead, she insists he is either dead or the insurgents are baiting the soldiers. Hannah is adamant there is absolutely no way that Kevin would leave that beacon in a stationary vehicle and is told by Aaron (Adan Canto) to go do things her way to look for Kevin. But she is required to bring a partner-none other than our very own Mike Ritter (LaMonica Garrett). On their way to the safe house, what appears to be a road-side bomb explodes in front of their vehicle and they are assaulted with gunfire as Hannah and Mike exit the vehicle. Hannah and Mike are able to take out the shooter and make it the rest of the way to the safe house. Kevin isn’t there, but Hannah notices blood towards the base of the wall with a number that alerts Hannah to his location.
The bombing implies that one of the warlords has already betrayed the United States since nothing happens in Kabul without Mullah Bahri or Mullah Fayad knowing about it. The President plans to meet with both warlords again in order to get them to talk about each other and try to determine who was responsible for the suicide bomb. Bahri says that Fayad is an animal and many of his followers were at that market and died in the attack. Bahri informs Kirkman that the explosive used at the bombing was triacetone triperoxide which is made using hydrogen peroxide, of which there is a shortage. However, Fayad owns a company in Pakistan that manufactures that very ingredient. Obviously Fayad insists that Bahri is a liar and that they manufacture hydrogen peroxide for medical purposes, not to make bombs. After Hannah and Mike find Kevin they are able to tell the President that he heard the attackers speaking Urdu as he was fleeing, leading the President to assume they are Pakistani. Even though Kevin’s not fluent in Urdu, he was able to overhear some intel. Mullah Bahri was responsible for the attack, and used Pakistani license plates to try to frame Fayad. Now Kirkman knows he can trust Fayad.
Seth’s search doesn’t go without incident, as the officer finds 200 tabs of Modafinil (pharmaceutical equivalent of caffeine). Kendra (Zoe McLellan) explains to Seth that this is going to be extremely tricky to get out of unscathed because that number of pills suggests the intent to distribute. Emily benches Seth and suspends him from doing any briefings or other press related tasks until this situation is taken care of. Seth refuses to testify if this case has to go to court, which causes Emily to bring in his brother to discuss the Modafinil. Emily realized that the reason Seth won’t testify is, because in order to defend himself, he would have to commit perjury since the pills belong to his brother. However, possessing that number of pills would prevent his brother from ever getting into medical school. Luckily, Kendra is able to convince the judge that since the police officer has been trying to get a promotion to detective, he was attempting to reach his end of the month quota therefore leading the judge to dismiss the indictment.
Lyor encounters his own issue on this week’s episode when Emily and the audience learn that Lyor has been married for the last six years. Being married isn’t necessarily a problem; it’s the fact that he has been misfiling his income taxes and now owes 826,000 dollars. Kendra plans to argue that the marriage was a sham and they’ll get an annulment immediately and then the IRS won’t buy that it was a real marriage. The problem is that both Julie (Sarah Power) and Lyor don’t seem to want to sign the annulment.