Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 4 Review: Equilibrium

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On Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 4, Hannah's digging into the Patrick Lloyd's actions leads to a full-blown FBI investigation into the First Lady's mother.

Agent Wells is just doing her job. Right?

She's supposed to leave no stone unturned until she uncovers the truth behind how Capitol bomber Patrick Lloyd and defense contractor Eric Little were connected. But, Wells is starting to realize that her actions are causing some serious damage. 

Confrontation - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 4

First, she got Damian sent back to the UK. Now, she has the FBI subpoenaing Eva for information on a bribe taken 30 years ago. Hannah understandably feels apprehensive about asking the First Lady if her mother is a criminal, but the question needed to be asked. 

Whatever you’re mixed up in, your hands better be clean. Or, even this place can’t protect you.


White House counsel Kendra Danes serving as the moderator between Wells and Alex was funny. Danes' facial expressions during the exchange said more than any words could.

The First Lady was snappish towards Wells, and Danes tried to defend her. I don't understand why Alex, an attorney herself, was upset that Hannah was coy with her investigation.

Clearly, Hannah wasn't trying to offend anyone by refusing to ask whether Eva took a bribe directly, but this administration had a corrupt Vice President who was willing to kill the President. Alex's had her daughter hat on, rather than her lawyer one, and it was clouding her reaction. 

When Eva does finally confess what she did to Alex, Alex probably felt like a fool. She's angry at her mother for not telling her, but I agree with Eva. There was no time.

If Tom Kirkman were a political candidate running in a general election, a scandal such as this would have been exposed or even talked about. Instead, the whole family was thrust into the spotlight with no time to brace for impact.

With Eva now being subpoenaed by the FBI for details of the bribe, despite President Kirkman's assurances, this indiscretion doesn't seem like its going away.

Confession - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 4

Alex: Mom, you committed a federal crime.
Eva: Bought me 15 more years with a wonderful man, and gave my daughter her father. And I’d do it again. Ten times over... because my family means more to me than anything else.

Meanwhile, Kirkman dealt with an international crisis involving labor and trade between Mexico and the U.S. This week focused more on Aaron, who is described as the only Mexican-American official in the administration.

As tensions were building between the two nations following the shooting death of a Mexican citizen, Aaron had his own internal struggle with being Mexican American and National Security Advisor. 

The struggle between two identities is common in the American story. It reminds me of a scene in the film "Selena," when Selena's father told her that she had to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans.

Aaron Asks for Help - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 4

Aaron was pushing the struggle narrative on himself, and it caused a rift between him and his cousin. He didn't believe that she got her new job because of her abilities, and resented her using her personal experiences to pull on his heartstrings.

But, isn't that what a Congressional aid is supposed to do? Use whatever tools they have to get bills passed. Surely someone like Aaron, who used to be an aid himself, understands how Washington works. He was letting his pride overrun his emotions more than his cousin could have. 

It’s hard to talk substance when emotions are running high.


The team's plan to use the widow for publicity was shoddy, at best. As the widow was standing next to Kirkman, shaking, I was sure she was going to go in front of the press and make matters worse by going off script. 

It was smart of Kirkman to immediately shut the press conference down because he could tell she wasn't ready for that.

Group Think - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 4

Something I've noticed is Kirkman is starting to utilize this good cop/bad cop routine each week. When he needs something done, there is always opposition on both sides and he, himself, serves as the middle ground.

Kirkman will flex his political muscle with some sort of threat to one party, while gently asking the other party to help their fellow Americans in some way.

It's an effective method, but I can see Kirkman running into some walls pretty soon. Not everyone is going to respond to his threats in the way that he wants them too, especially if they have something over him (like another scandal brewing in the corner). 

I am not going to milk human tragedy for political gain.


I enjoyed the fact that Aaron's personal background was highlighted this week, but I don't enjoy how Aaron continues to do other people's jobs. It's like he's still Chief of Staff, but he's the NSA director.

Why is he meeting with a Senator to get her to endorse the President's trade deal? That sounds like a job for the Secretary of State, or the Chief of Staff, or an advisor to the President. But instead, Aaron is doing it.

The broken vase story was a nice way to introduce a potential love interest for Lyor. Of course, an investigator from the Office of Budget Management would fall for him. If the relationship sticks, their couple nickname should be "Logical."

What did you think of Episode 4 of the second season?

  • Will the Kirkman Administration's many scandals snowball into irreparable damage?
  • Did Eva's bribe deal go deeper than just handing out military contracts?
  • Do you want to see more of Lyor and his new date Maya Dunning?

Remember, you can catch up on episodes of the show by watching Designated Survivor online via TV Fanatic.

Equilibrium Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (6 Votes)
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Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 4 Quotes

I am not going to milk human tragedy for political gain.


Alex: Mom, you committed a federal crime.
Eva: Bought me 15 more years with a wonderful man, and gave my daughter her father. And I’d do it again. Ten times over... because my family means more to me than anything else.