TV Review: Designated Survivor (Season 2, Episode 10)
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Designated Survivor deals President Kirkman his most devastating blow in its sophomore season’s winter finale, and as everyone had suspected since May, it also served as Natascha McElhone’s swan song. Meanwhile, the episode split three-ways between the investigation into the First Lady, the struggle between Hannah Wells and Damian Rennett, and a political dilemma between a fundamentalist Christian organisation and modern medicine.
Viewers have been teased for months to expect a big ‘midseason event’, and whilst it certainly was a bold move to kill off a main character, the rest of the episode failed to deliver. The conflict between rights of religious freedom and the morality of letting a child die by withholding treatment was clearly only utilised to pad the episode, and to give the White House staff something to keep occupied with. Otherwise, with the two primary plots being taken up by Alex and Hannah, Kirkman’s staff would have had nothing to busy themselves with. In the end though, whilst such a struggle of moral and political philosophy could have produced a fascinating challenge if handled properly by the writers, in reality it only resulted in a weak and redundant plot. The partial resolution of the Wells storyline was equally disappointing despite Maggie Q’s best efforts, and her discovery of Damian’s betrayal and the subsequent shooting were both predictable and lacking catharsis. Everything is too rushed, too undercooked, to cause any sort of emotional reaction, and so another hour goes by without much engagement on the part of the viewer.
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