Designated Survivor – The Oath
By: Patience Kapfer
When we thought “Designated Survivor” couldn’t get any more stressful, it did just that. After leaving a cliffhanger with Agent Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) in a car accident on her way to deliver important information concerning Peter MacLeish (Ashley Zukerman) to Congresswoman Kimble Hookstraten (Virginia Madsen), the audience was left wondering if Agent Wells could possibly save the day this time.
Agent Wells seems unresponsive as what appears to be an innocent civilian attempts to help her, but both Hannah and the audience soon realize this is no innocent civilian hero. He is actually an assassin sent to keep Hannah from delivering the classified information to Congresswoman Hookstraten. The man then attempts to strangle Agent Wells to obtain the classified information folder that she has in the passenger seat. Hannah is able to muster enough strength to push on the gas pedal enough to loosen his hold and move the car to escape. However, she leaves the folder in the car allowing him to take away her only shred of evidence against Peter MacLeish to keep him from becoming the new Vice President.
As Hannah dips into an alley to hide from her attacker, Congresswoman Hookstraten is left trying to delay the Congressional hearing that will decide MacLeish’s Vice Presidential future. Unfortunately, Hookstraten is threatened by a fellow Congress member to either move the hearing forward or he will inform the nation that she blocked MacLeish’s Vice Presidency so that she could become Vice President herself. Late that night, MacLeish is confirmed in a historic vote as the next Vice President of the United States.
President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) begins the episode wondering who in the government could have given the blueprint of the Capitol to the terrorist group that committed the attack. This blueprint was designed to alert the government to every possible weakness after 9/11 in the hopes of preventing another major attack. Proving once again to be an extremely intelligent President, Kirkman decides to keep this information between a small group of people and not inform any authorities for fear of who distributed this information in the first place. President Kirkman meets with the man responsible for creating the blueprint in order to find out who else had access to these plans. From this meeting the President learns the file was sent to the general he fired much earlier in his presidency, the same general who questioned his orders incessantly.
The president questions the general on his knowledge of the threat assessment blueprint, in which he learns that the general was never able to access the file as it had been recalled and redirected by the Secretary of Defense. In order for the blueprint to be reclassified it would have to have been directed by someone in the White House, leading to an even greater problem: Who in the White House would want to reclassify that file and what were their motives? President Kirkman provides Emily (Italia Ricci) with a list of people in President Richmond’s administration to uncover who the traitor in the White House is. In her search, she learns there was a call made from inside the White House from the President’s Chief of Staff Charles Langdon (Peter Outerbridge) to the Secretary of Defense.
As President Kirkman continues his search into the mystery of the blueprints, he questions Congresswoman Hookstraten about her information regarding the Vice Presidential hearing. She informs him that Agent Wells came to her and has been digging into the case, but never made it to the hearing the night before. Kirkman is his ever inquisitive self and realizes that something concerning Agent Wells seems off and sends his trusty secret service agent on a mission to find Hannah.
Once Agent Wells learns of MacLeish’s confirmation, she is even more determined to uncover what is the master plan of this terrorist attack. Her last hope is to attempt to track the woman who has continually provided her with tips to help solve this case. They track the caller to a store in Dupont Circle where Hannah goes to review the surveillance footage and manages to get a license plate. She tracks the license plate to a farm in Virginia where she chases a man into the forest. In a major twist, this man ends up being Charles Langdon, and it has been him the whole time calling Hannah to give her tips to solve the case. The same man who tried to kill Hannah in the car accident attempts to shoot her and Langdon in the forest, but Hannah is quicker on the trigger. She finds a keycard in his pocket that she tracks to a building that has a perfect view of the Capitol steps. And this is when she knows for sure that someone is planning to kill President Kirkman.
The final ten minutes of the mid-season finale are quite possibly the most stressful moments since the opening minutes of the premiere. The President is forced to go through with the swearing in ceremony of Peter MacLeish even though he does not have full information on Agent Wells and the information she found. He worries this could be the wrong decision, but is unable to leave the country without a Vice President any longer. While Kirkman struggles with his decision, MacLeish is also struggling with his own decision. When his wife (Lara Jean Chorostecki) tells him it’s time to leave, Peter tells her he doesn’t know if he can go through with this. As the tension rises, his wife provides an ominous pep talk in which she tells him he is destined to restore this nation to the empire it once was, leaving us wondering just what role she might have in all of this.
Agent Wells finds herself on a mission to make it to the swearing in ceremony and prevent the assassination of President Kirkman, while the audience observes an unknown man entering the room facing the Capitol steps and setting up a sniper rifle. While the President is preparing to swear in MacLeish, Emily receives a call that informs her that Langdon did not ring the Secretary of Defense. Instead, in yet another twist, we learn that Aaron (Adan Canto) made the call! As everyone looks on as Peter MacLeish is sworn in, Emily looks at Aaron with suspicion and fear and Hannah sprints toward the shooter that only she knows is there. Hannah realizes she is too late as she sees the sniper and his window open. In a final, dangerous effort to stop the assassination of the President, Hannah takes out her gun and takes aim. In that exact moment that she pulls the trigger, so too does the sniper. We are left with a final gunshot as the screen goes black.