The last 20 minutes of Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 16 shook things up, didn't they? An explosion and another tragic death were the least of the hour's shocking moments when you compare them to the character development that has taken place.
Though I can't resist pointing out that in our real government everyone gets terminated, resigns, or are taken out by some scandal or another, in this fictional world, everyone dies!
The hour was meant to pick up where Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 15 left off with Kirkman and the gang discovering that a dirty bomb was somewhere out there in the good ole' United States and realizing that there was limited time to find it.
You know, just your typical Wednesday.
I'll take this moment to point out that Aaron has somehow become my favorite character. It could be because I'm a sucker for underdogs, and he still is plagued with the least amount of screentime out of everyone. When you're granted so little screentime, you learn how to make every second of it count.
The complete and utter lack of faith Aaron displayed in the others finding the bomb before it exploded made me laugh out loud. Aaron has had it with all of these people.
Anyway, what unfolded from there was a series of discussions, some high tech goodness, and Hannah racing around trying to track down the suspect, Arturo, and this dirty bomb.
The first half of the hour was slow considering the urgency of the matter. Kirkman immediately held Kim responsible for the dirty bomb. He refused to let the man leave the country until he could resolve the issue.
Did Kim ever leave? We never got any confirmation on that. The focus shifted to Joon being shady as all hell for the remainder of the hour and Joon becoming the primary suspect.
The evidence doesn't point to your father, it points to you.Hannah
Joon was a pain in the ass, but when you consider that the FBI effed up repeatedly when it came to keeping an eye on him, can you blame the guy for not cooperating with them?
Who is this new agent that Hannah is working with, and why is he so incompetent?
First, he turned his back on the son of a foreign dictator who happens to be at odds with the country long enough for the guy to fake being poisoned with his baking soda trick. Then, he wasn't watching Joon while he was at the hospital, so Joon was able to escape without an issue.
If this guy doesn't turn out to be some "big bad" down the road, I'll be disappointed. There is no way one person can be that stupid, but the show does like to act like Hannah is the sole competent FBI agent left, which is laughable in and of itself when you think about it.
If they're finally going to have Hannah working with someone, so she isn't taking on all of DC like some robo-agent, at least make her partner someone worthwhile who can balance all of her Hannah-ness out, you know?
Ironically, the dirty bomb storyline was the least interesting. The first bomb being a decoy was painfully obvious. We knew there was going to be an explosion. Even John's death was predictable.
The second Forstell came into the Oval office, proverbial hat in hand, seeking Tom's forgiveness, the writing was on the wall.
Tom actually forgave him, so of course, that gave him the opportunity to go out with a bang (literally) and as a hero instead of going out like the overzealous jackass that he turned out to be during the investigation into the First Lady.
What was interesting, however, was how they went about tracking down the bomber.
The real takeaway from this hour was that Kirkman and some of his staff members have waded into unethical waters, and I'm not sure they can be pulled out any time soon.
I like Andrea Frost. I also respect the fact that she's wary of the government and reluctant to work with them and fork over too much control. She has been hesitant about sharing Lyra with them because she knows what her tech is capable of, and she also knows what the government is capable of when they have access to something so powerful.
The only reason she has been forthcoming with her help is because she genuinely likes Kirkman.They have a nice rapport, and their scenes are pleasant. Yes, I'm still picking up on some serious chemistry there. Don't be mad at me for pointing out the obvious.
Kirkman went from assuring her that the government wouldn't take over when she rightfully bristled at the FBI director's involvement to having Kendra giving her special permission to essentially violate the rights of the American citizens in order to track down the bomber.
That was quick, wasn't it?
Andrea wants to uphold the privacy rights of the American people and the White House is playing the Patriot Act card for "the greater good."
That was the first indicator in this hour that things were going down a slippery, questionable path.
Another indicator was Emily's actions. It's like the show took the two earnest puppies and moral compasses of the series, Kirkman and Emily, and, well, they broke them. They broke the heck out of them.
Emily: If we get hemmed in by procedural niceties --
Kendra: Hemmed in by procedural niceties? I don't think I'm the one missing the big picture here.
Emily wants to eviscerate Moss for what his actions by copying him. What?!
She knows that she can't provide proof to support her case because she obtained the truth through illegal means. Kendra likely suspects this too, but Emily didn't hesitate to challenge Kendra. What I didn't expect was her leaking information to Simon that pesky journalist who can't let anything go.
Simon spent the entire hour sniffing around Seth and trying to get the truth out of him about the bomb situation, and he ended up hitting a gold mine when Emily anonymously leaked the Moss investigation to him. That was a dick move, Emily!
Her actions were reprehensible, but what's worse is that she doesn't think she did anything wrong. That's a sign that she's strayed too far away, and she needs to be reigned in. That's scary and sad.
She got it from Kirkman, though, didn't she? I've mentioned it before, but it doesn't matter how well-intentioned Kirkman is, it doesn't change the fact that he's turned into a total autocrat.
That was made abundantly clear when with barely enough information to make a concrete call, he pretty much declared war on Kunami.
That's where the excitement came from in this hour. How Kirkman got to that place again where he went off the walls. It's especially interesting how the hour ended when you take into consideration that lovely chat he had with Vice President Darby over a game of chess.
He appeared wise and gave sound advice while also explaining why he chose her to be his vice president. Darby's fear of the presidency was reasonable, and when Kirkman elaborated on what her fear meant, I couldn't have agreed more with his choice if I tried.
It was such a pivotal, poignant scene in the series.
So, it's wild that he went from talking about the humility one should have while in the role, to not listening to anyone before making the rashest decision to date.
It's likely that John's death is what fueled him. He has had an innate fear of losing anyone ever since Alex died. Losing Forstell clouded his judgment and pushed him off the deep end, but he can't afford to dive off the deep end when he's running a freaking country.
He disregarded the advice of his colleagues, of experts, and he refused to convene Congress to make a decision. He simply made the call himself. Kunami popping back up again was a nice touch, but do any of you believe they were the ones responsible for the bomb?
We don't have enough information to know if it was them for sure, and for that matter, neither does Kirkman. Now, he just declared war on a country mid-temper tantrum. I would laugh, but it's realistic enough and thus not a laughing matter. Sighs.
How the rest of the season will unfold from this point will be fascinating. Our protagonist is harder to root for now, and his right-hand woman is in the same boat as him. At this point, the hacker isn't the only threat to America. Kirkman is becoming a threat to his own country, too.
Over to you guys, how are you feeling about this hour? Did that ending shock you? Did you expect Emily to leak information to Simon? Will you miss Forstell? Sound off below!
Don't forget, you can watch Designated Survivor online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.