Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 17 Review: Overkill

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The moral and ethical complexities continue, and it made for a great hour. 

That's not to say that Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 17 didn't leave me feeling perturbed, however.

Let's unpack all of that and discuss the exciting leak that the White House will have to deal with next. 

At War  - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 17

It's fascinating how Kirkman has evolved on the series, and the same can be said for Emily as well. What's interesting is that no matter what was put out there, and who questioned him, Kirkman was consistent with his stance on declaring war. 

He was consistently wrong, but he committed to it. He didn't waver once, and that was shocking. Every time something would pop up that would maybe make him reconsider his actions, he doubled down on the declaration. 

Related: Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 16 Review: Fallout

There is a growing sense of discomfort coming from some of the staff members. Now that the hour ended with the latest leak, and we know that only a handful of people had information pertaining to what was leaked, it heightens the tension. 

When the Capitol was bombed, I swore an oath to protect this country against further aggression. The dirty bomb was a declaration of war by a foreign nation, and it is a war this country will win. God bless you, and God bless these United States of America.


Lyor was the most visibly uncomfortable and vocal about Kirkman's declaration of war on Kunami. For some reason, Lyor didn't think Tom would use words like "war" at all when addressing the nation. He thought and hoped that Tom would play it safe and walk down the middle. 

He wanted Tom to reassure the American people, but Tom bluntly laid it out there that he took the dirty bomb as a sign of war against the US. He also swore that he would continue shooting missiles at Kunami until the emir turned himself over. He was dead serious about that. 

It freaked Lyor out because he knew there wasn't enough evidence to support this decision, and it's his job to make it all look good. It's hard to spin questionable decisions that everyone knows are made based on emotion. 

Seth: Um, Mr. President, um, I know it's not my place, sir, but the bombing, is it not overkill?
Emily: The President had to respond decisively to an act of war, and he did. No one thinks war comes without a cost.
Tom: We only have one option here, that's to win this war. The faster we do that, the more lives are saved.

Kirkman was happy with his decision until it was revealed that one of the missiles hit a civilian hospital and killed many innocent civilians. The moment when Aaron delivered that news was the moment where Aaron appeared like he may have had some doubts, too. 

It also was what gave Seth pause. As Press Secretary, he's out front and center taking the brunt of the attacks and questioning from the media. His orders were to tell everyone that Kirkman wasn't calling off the attacks after killing all of those people,  but rather he was playing it safer with where the missiles struck. 

Related: Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 15 Review: Summit

My thing is when he first addressed the nation he told everyone then that the missiles were strategically being sent places. Was a civilian hospital part of that strategy or just an error? Either way, it doesn't look good. 

Hannah Wells Gets Involved - Designated Survivor

Kirkman committed to his cause. He kept dragging the Kunami ambassador in to send messages to the emir and laying down all of these threats, and while taking a strong stance and sticking to it makes sense in most cases, it didn't make sense here. 

I actually agreed with Lyor throughout all of this, and that doesn't happen all that much. 

Hannah and Blakey the Useless penned down Lyor's nemisis, Gregory, and found out he was the one helping Kunami set up East Han Chiu for the dirty bomb. 

A show of hands, did anyone else find Hannah's behavior during that interrogation ridiculous? I didn't even know she was that close to John, and now she's losing her mind and aiming guns at suspects. Hannah, simmer damn down already. 

There's a big difference between bravery and recklessness, so what is it you're working out? Huh? 'Cause I'm not gonna let you do it at my expense.

Simms [to Hannah]

Of course, she couldn't though because guess who got to go on a special expedition to track down a rebel leader who the US was willing to help overthrow the emir? Hannah, of course! So, about her job description, what the hell is it? 

I don't mind Hannah going out on in the field, but they get carried away with some of her missions. For example, I loathe the fact that she has no military experience whatsoever, but she's always thrown in fatigues and sent out there with the soldiers where she brings all of her recklessness and bullheaded behavior. 

Related: The Resident: Why Should Medical Accuracy Be Prioritized Over Entertainment?!

Which of course is exactly what she did this time. A round of applause to Trish's kickass SEAL brother who served as Hannah's companion. If I could have reached through the screen and kissed that man, I probably would have. 

Sergeant Simms - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 17

He called Hannah out multiple times on her reckless behavior, her inability to think things through, and her inexperience in the field. Sergeant Simms is the MVP of this installment. 

He didn't care what her problem was, he just didn't want her leading him to death because she was caught up in her emotions again. I loved that she tried to excuse her behavior by mentioning John's death, but Simms, you know, the soldier who just lost two of his men, basically told her to miss him with all of that noise. 

His advice was the best you can give anyone. The best way to honor the dead is to freaking live, and Hannah isn't going to do that if she continues to be reckless as hell. 

The best way to avenge the dead is to stay living.


I guess we should be thankful Hannah was over there because she realized that the Kunami ambassador was in correspondence with Amal the whole time. That meant the ambassador was the one to set everything up and was responsible for the dirty bomb. 

Related: Get Starz via Prime Video Channels for Captivating Original Series & Hit Movies!  

He wasn't acting on behest of the emir, he was on his own mission and wanted to get Amal to take over Kunami. So just as everyone pretty much suspected, Kunami wasn't responsible for the bombing, per se, and Kirkman was needlessly bombing this country for no damn reason. 

Now the part where they irritated the hell out of me was when they had to scramble to find a way to justify Kirkman's actions. The man had gone so far that the UN wanted to meet with him. 

What pissed me off is how the SEAL team conveniently stumbled across bombs or whatever that the emir planned on using on his own people. Kirkman didn't know anything about any of this but because they dug deep enough and found something it's now perfectly OK that Kirkman bombed this country under false pretenses. 

Civilians were killed. For no reason. 

Yeah, no. That may have worked for Lyor and the others, and the music swelled, and we're supposed to be OK with the fact that Kirkman went off the rails because he accidentally fell into being right. That doesn't work for me at all, though. Kirkman was dead wrong. Period. 

Ties To The White House - Designated Survivor

Other people know it, too. Trey has been picking up on all of this and kept checking in with his brother because he knows his brother is going off the deep end. I wish they used Trey more, though. 

Now, the whole world is going to have more reason to question Kirkman's mental state and wonder if he's up for the job because of the leak. 

The fallout from the therapist's notes being leaked should be epically good. I can't wait to see how this plays out! Emily's observation brought the intensity.

Only a few people knew Kirkman was seeing a therapist. Could the person who leaked it be one of the main characters that we know? 

Another Leak? - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 17

Not everyone has been happy with Tom's decisions, and Simon has noted more than once that he has plenty of sources in the White House. 

Hannah shouldn't have been on the other side of the world. She should have been investigating the hacker case, which I thought was her main purpose these days. Instead, Chuck and Damian were left alone to make strides in this time-sensitive case. 

Related: Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 14 Review: In the Dark

Don't get me started on Damian, a traitor, spy, and killer, taking point on this investigation in Hannah's absence. Like, what? 

Sergeants Simms won my heart, but my boy Chuck gave him a run for his money. Chuck's sass was the best during this hour. His utter disbelief that Aaron had him working with Damian was too funny for words. Same, Chuck. 

Chuck Gets Real - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 17

The absurdity of Damian's presence aside, I thoroughly enjoyed Damian and Chuck's weird partnership. Chuck is finally getting to shine on his own, and I adore the fact that he is getting more screentime and field experience. He's such a versatile character when they allow him to be. 

The two of them made some strides in the hacker investigation. They followed a lead and got a name: Gamine. Now they just have to figure out who and where Gamine is. 

You know who else had some fantastic screentime for a change? Aaron. 

They traded in the usual Lyor and Seth interaction for some Lyor and Aaron goodness that had me laughing a few times. Aaron's dig about Lyor's position was priceless. It's good to have you back, Aaron. Please, stick around. 

Did Kirkman make the right call sticking to his guns with the missile strikes? What did you think of the Chuck and Damian team up? Do you 'ship Trish and Mike? Hit the comments. 

Don't forget, you can watch Designated Survivor online here via TV Fanatic!

Overkill Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.3 / 5.0 (22 Votes)

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

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Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 17 Quotes

Aaron: One thing I haven't figured out, what the hell is it exactly that you do here?
Lyor: I make everyone look good. I should charge you double.

When the Capitol was bombed, I swore an oath to protect this country against further aggression. The dirty bomb was a declaration of war by a foreign nation, and it is a war this country will win. God bless you, and God bless these United States of America.