Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 2 Review: The First Day

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Tom Kirkman gets no respect, dammit!

As hard as he tries, people are still looking through him rather than at him. That is, until he puts his foot down and lets them know who's boss.

On Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 2, not only did Tom have to deal with the continuing situation of the Capitol bombing, but he also had to deal with a crisis in Michigan that really tested his limits.

Stepping into a Role - Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 2

Tom needs to channel his inner Jack Bauer more often. He can still be the soft-spoken, kind-hearted guy that he is, but as President he's going to need to pull out a little more of that gumption he's got hidden away. He has to see how effective he is when he doesn't play Mr. Nice Guy, right?

And with all the trouble brewing around him, Mr. Nice Guy is not going to cut it. There are some people who might be nice to him now, like Congresswoman Hookstraten, but that's not going to last.

These people are going to look at his niceness as a weakness and walk all over him if he doesn't shut it down now. He may not have the political experience, but this is a new government. This is his house, as Hookstraten told him. He needs to build it the way he sees fit.

This is your house now, so make it your own. Whatever you need, just ask. Republican, Democrat, Independent. It doesn't matter anymore. We're all Americans today.

Congresswoman Hookstraten

But it's difficult to do when you have a General who wants to go to war at the drop of a hat and a crisis in Michigan that makes no sense. Why cause trouble where there is none?

It's not surprising that the Muslim community would be the first ones to be accused for the horrendous attack on the Capitol. It doesn't matter if they're members of Al Zakar, the fictional group the FBI believes is behind the attack, or not; as long as they're Muslim or look like a Muslim, they're the ones responsible, right? 

It's what the police in Michigan believe when they start attacking innocent people for no reason at the urging of the Governor. Tom is surprised that Governor Royce would allow such a thing, but Royce doesn't really care what Tom thinks, because he refuses to recognize him as President.

Royce: There is no Congress. Tehre is no Supreme Court. When it comes to the people of Michigan, I am the highest authority, and you have none over me.
Kirkman: With all due respect, sir, I am the President.
Royce: Not mine. So, you'll have to excuse me, Mr. Kirkman, while you're busy learning how to become president, I got ten million citizens to protect.

It was shocking to see Royce dismiss the President the way he did, but Tom didn't really have a handle on the situation at the time. Tom is quite resourceful, though, and by the end of the hour, he had the situation under control. Coming up with the bluff about undercover operatives was rather clever, but you have to wonder if he showed too much of his hand to too many people.

How many were really his friends in that room?

Still, it was another turning point for Tom. One I hope continues as he navigates his way through this crazy situation in which he's found himself.

I liked that he once again stood his ground with Cochrane. You'd think that of all the people who would intimidate him, the General would be one of them, but he's not intimidated. That, in itself, shows how much strength he has, even if he continues to be overwhelmed by it all.

I absolutely loved when he got in the General's face, not afraid to stare him down. War is a serious thing, and it's good to know Kirkman doesn't take it lightly.

Cochrane may be Mr. Tough Guy, but I don't think he understands that Tom isn't going to falter under pressure. He hasn't yet, and I really don't think he will.

Still, Cochrane is determined to start a war with someone, which really isn't surprising, but how far will he go to get that done? I have a feeling that Hookstraten is going to team up with Cochrane at some point, and I'm really not sure where Aaron stands. He can go either way. His only concern right now seems to be getting that Chief of Staff position.

And let's not forget about Jason. He listened to Hannah's concerns and theories, but when it came right down to it, he didn't inform the President about any of it. Could he be working with Cochrane, too?

Considering how much Tom wants to be 100% sure of who, exactly, the attackers are, I don't think he's going to be very thrilled if he finds out there are theories out there he wasn't aware existed. It's going to be interesting to see how Hannah gets the information to the President, because you know she will. I don't see her as the type of person who's going to sit back on her haunches and watch the world go 'round.

All the Details - Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 2

It's good to see that Emily is in the thick of things. She's the one person Tom can absolutely trust, because she's been with him for so long. Did you see her face when she realized Tom was bluffing with the Governor? She's worked with him long enough to know his game, so it would be wise of him to put her in the position closest to him.

I also like how Seth is slowly changing his mind about the President. Even though it's only been a day, it seems like he has more trust in Tom than he did the day before. And, that's a good thing, because Seth is going to be a great ally, and Tom definitely needs all the allies he can get.

Other Thoughts:

  • What happened to Tom's glasses?
  • I love how Tom planned to call each individual country to thank them for their condolences until he learned there were 195 of them. Tom Kirkman is still Tom Kirkman.
  • Not really liking the Leo storyline. Why couldn't the kid just watch his sister?
  • Alex worrying about what to wear and how to act at Ground Zero was so real. This is all as new to her as it is to him, and it can't be easy to have had such control over your life and then have it changed so completely so quickly.
  • Loved the conversation between Tom and Mike about what his code name was when he was HUD Secretary. Tom: "Mike, Just out of curiosity, what was it before?" Mike: "Sir?" Tom: "My code name when I was Secretary of HUD. What was it?" Mike: "Glasses. Sir."

What did you think of "The First Day"? Does Designated Survivor still hold your attention? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

If you missed the premiere, you can watch Designated Survivor online right here via TV Fanatic.

The First Day Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (64 Votes)

Lisa Babick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Royce: There is no Congress. Tehre is no Supreme Court. When it comes to the people of Michigan, I am the highest authority, and you have none over me.
Kirkman: With all due respect, sir, I am the President.
Royce: Not mine. So, you'll have to excuse me, Mr. Kirkman, while you're busy learning how to become president, I got ten million citizens to protect.

We need order, a system, or this is never going to work. We need to get this government up and running.

Kirkman