Designated Survivor: ‘Grief’ Recap & Review

After that shocker of a mid-season finale, Designated Survivor returned last night on ABC. But we skip forward about ten weeks after Alex’s unfortunate death. Understandably, this week’s episode deals a lot with President Kirkman’s grief over his wife, hence the name of the episode. But after Damian’s shooting, the FBI suspends Agent Wells and gets Aaron to be her babysitter until further notice.

and skips forward about 10 weeks after Alex’s death. The episode starts with Kirkman talking to a therapist about Alex’s death or rather not talking about it ten weeks later. From this very short initial session, we found out that the car accident wasn’t related to any of the conspiracies but was caused by a driver that blew through a red light while texting.

Full Recap

Leo (played by Tanner Buchanan) hugging Tom (played by Kiefer Sutherland) after finding out his mother died

Through President Kirkman’s therapy sessions, we quickly learn that Alex’s death had nothing to do with the conspiracies. Rather, a driver blew through a red light while texting. However, the session continues in batches as we get a bunch of different flashbacks. We see glimpses of what Tom and Alex’s life looked like before they moved to D.C and how he got involved with politics. Despite his initial resistance to it. Then, we see how Tom had to break the news to his children and it’s devastating. Ultimately, we discover that Tom hasn’t really been dealing with his grief. Instead, he’s been letting his emotions affect his presidential duties.

Speaking of, President Kirkman hasn’t been pushing any policies as of late. Since Alex’s death, he’s been a little gun-shy. And it’s surprising to everyone because he’s been a pretty big risk taker prior. With all things political in this episode, Kirkman continues to be hesitant in his decisions. But by the end, he finally realizes how his emotions have been clouding his judgment. So I can only imagine this means he’ll finally face it head-on moving forward. However, I’m sure it’ll be a while before Kirkman reaches the acceptance stage in the grief process.

Kidnapped in Cuba

Hannah (played by Maggie Q) talking to Aaron (played by Adan Canto)

After Damian’s disappearance, the FBI investigate all their agents and end up suspending Hannah. Not only that, they get Aaron to be her “babysitter”, as they call it. They then go into Cuba for a trade mission for a policy Kirkman’s delegating with Cuba’s president. However, Cuban rebels end up stopping them as they’re on a bus and they take all the passengers. Among Hannah and Aaron, there are also multiple congressmen and councilmen, and they all become hostages. It turns out the Cuban rebels want $500 million from the president. In response, Kirkman decides to put a Blackhawk on course. That way, they’ll get a better idea of what they’re dealing with via drone for what Seth calls a peaceful recon mission. However, their plan backfires as the rebels immediately shoot down their drone. But later on, Kirkman finally agrees to send the troops in to rescue the hostages.

As they’re held hostage, Hannah asks to go to the bathroom. There, she finds a way out through a loose wooden plank on the floor. But she doesn’t get far before she encounters an army of men and is taken back to the shack. But her failed attempt at an escape wasn’t completely useless. She finds out that Cross, one of the bus passengers, is working with the kidnappers. So she uses that info to her advantage by covertly sending a message. When the rebels threaten to kill her on video, Hannah does the sign of the cross, despite the fact that she’s not Catholic. And Emily catches on to the fact that she’s sending a message. Then, they discover the Cuban president’s also in on the kidnapping. Turns out he did all of this to get his way in the policy that he and Kirkman have been working on.

Final Thoughts

(from left) Leo (played by Tanner Buchanan), Penny (played by Mckenna Grace), Tom (played by Kiefer Sutherland), Emily (played by Italia Ricci), Seth (played by Kal Penn), and Aaron (played by Adan Canto) at Alex's funeral with others dressed in black standing around and behind them holding umbrellas as it rains

The shocker of Damian surviving after Hannah shot him doesn’t come to a head until the very end of the episode. When Hannah gets back to her apartment, Damian surprises her by pointing a gun to her head. Unfortunately, it’s also the episode ends. On another cliffhanger.

Overall, there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered. As always. But I’m assuming they will eventually get answered as we inch closer to the season finale. But I applaud the writers for writing a political show when it’s become such a controversial topic these days. I just hope we won’t have to wait too long before we figure out more about Damian. And since Lloyd died, we still need to figure out who’s behind the entire conspiracy and why the Russians are involved.

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