Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 10 Review: Line of Fire

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Welp, a chapter of Designated Survivor as we know it has officially closed.

Just as pretty much everyone suspected, Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 10 was a swan song for Alex Kirkman, and we officially bid Natascha McElhone adieu.

The question is, how are we feeling about it, and how are we feeling about this Fall finale overall?

The First Lady Testifies - Designated Survivor

The news breaking that Natascha McElhone would be exiting the series to pursue another opportunity was unavoidable, but the Designated Survivor Promo for the Midseason finale was avoidable. It turns out that it wasn't a red herring after all.

Traditionally, promos tease the audience with the possibilities but also manage to deliberately mislead viewers so, in the end, not all is what it seems.

The promo for the finale not only essentially confirmed that Alex would be killed, but it also pretty much told us how things would go down with Damian. So if the whole idea was to make those the two biggest cliffhangers of the season, well, it wasn't executed properly at all.

They sort of played into a new life is just beginning in the world while another life is ending bit. That was quintessentially Holiday-ish, wasn't it? 

Kirkmans Last Day

But in all honesty, the wildfire, the religious cult church organization's moral/religious dilemma and having a whole standoff, the mother eventually caving in. It all felt like unnecessary fodder used to pad the episode.

A noticeable flaw in Designated Survivor, especially during this season, is that there seems to be great difficulty for the writers trying to find something for some of the characters to do.

Arguably, the only reason the hour consisted of this very tired trope of a case is that they needed a way to feature the White House Staff in the finale. 

Otherwise, with the primary and secondary plots being the situation with Hannah and Damian and the resolution of the Alex investigation, Seth, Emily, Lyor, and Aaron would have had nothing to do.

Hannah: You think I'm compromised?
Aaron: I know you're compromised. That's how he was able to play you.

Speaking of Aaron, I understand that liberties are taken and belief is suspended when it comes to political operations and the workings of the White House, and the majority of the time, it's something that one just rolls with, but why was Aaron on the ground in Shenandoah? 

Was that a situation that called for the Director of the NSA?! One single deacon and his flock staging a standoff until he was able to speak to the President personally via video chat was dicey enough as it is. 

It was such a weak storyline. Not only was it weak, but it was redundant as well. The "religious freedom clashing with healthcare" scenario has been done to death, and this wasn't even a unique spin on it.

One of two things was going to happen, Carrie's love for her daughter would outweigh her religious beliefs as her daughter's condition worsened or the doctor with his medical procedure that would prevent a blood transfusion taking place would be a success.

Emily, yes, Chief of Staff Emily, was simply there to coax the woman into making the right decision by relating to her as a fellow Christian and finding creative ways to poke holes in Carrie's logic.

Emily's line about seeing God in other things was a beautiful one, though.

Carrie: Are you devout?
Emily: No. Nine years of Catholic School and I never saw God there.
Carrie: I'm sorry.
Emily: Don't be. I see it other places, like in a Mother's love.

She at least got the lion share of the trite storyline. Aaron continues to get the short end of the stick when it comes to halfway decent screentime and further character development save for his very minor arc regarding his cousin and his conflicting interests as a Latino and political affiliate.

Seth and Lyor spent the hour playing off of one another and building upon their unusual albeit entertaining camaraderie. They have a fun thing going here, you have to admit. And Lyor, for all of his quirks and antics that border on obnoxious, works well as the comic relief. 

Lyor's exchanges with the chorus of pigtailed schoolgirls were the height of frivolity at its finest, but Lyor can at least make me chuckle while simultaneously wondering what the point is.

Tactless Lyor

Back to the First Lady. The worst part about her dying so abruptly within the show's universe is the fact that Kirkman will feel guilty to a degree. He and Alex were so frosty towards one another for a bit, or rather, she was frosty with him. That will eat him up inside.

Is anyone else wondering how anyone was able to T-bone the First Lady's vehicle? It should not have been that easy. Is this the next conspiracy leading into the second half of the season? No way it was just a freak accident.

Also, a car crash? Really? They even did the thing with the oncoming headlights. I'm so disappointed in this character exit. It didn't require thought, and at the risk of sounding harsh, it was just lazy.

Death of FLOTUS

Alex had her typical moment of badassery and triumph when she and Kendra outmaneuvered Forstell. Opening up the records, a move not unlike something he would have and has pulled, was a genius move. 

It gave her the opportunity to direct ire and attention to him for his wasteful expenses and underhanded, unethical practices throughout this entire investigation. She went out on top with her name cleared.

I can't live like this. Not anymore. One way or another this investigation ends today.


How shady is Damian? Is it possible that this is a misdirect? The game of cat-and-mouse between Damian and Hannah was...what it was. Aaron and Chuck both were right about her being too close to the situation, and it frustrated me that Aaron gave in to her anyway.

Chuck was eager to prove that Damian was shady, even if he didn't know why, and as much as he is a biased person in that regard, he has a gut feeling that may not be wrong.

Damian being so lovey-dovey with Hannah felt strange. His accepting the gift of a watch with a tracker and taking her bait, it all seemed off. 

Hannah Betrayed

Hannah caught him associating with the Russians, and the belief is that he may have turned, but I'm mildly curious as to what he was going for in his pocket. The fact that he was wearing a bulletproof vest at all suggests that he knew Hannah was setting him up.

Speaking of the bulletproof vest, shocker right? Heavy on the sarcasm there. And was I the only one who saw him swimming underneath the water after he fell in?

Damian is about to lead us down the path of another conspiracy. It's going to be interesting when he reveals to Hannah that he's alive. 

Over to you all, how did you like the midseason finale? What would you have changed about it? Are you disappointed by the predictable way Alex was written off? Sound off below!

The (fictional) White House shenanigans and political conspiracies won't pick up again until February 28. Until then, you can watch Designated Survivor online right here via TV Fanatic.

Line of Fire Review

Editor Rating: 3.1 / 5.0
  • 3.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (14 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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