TV Review: Designated Survivor (Season 2, Episode 11)
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Finally, Designated Survivor is back after a lengthy mid-season hiatus that left audiences on the edge of a devastating precipice. ‘Grief’ picks up the pieces ten weeks after Alex’s death, as Tom attempts to simultaneously grieve for his wife and lead the Free World. As this week deals with Tom’s emotional journey, the kidnapping of an American delegation to Cuba by Cuban rebel forces, and general day-to-day workings of the White House, Designated Survivor continues to do too much. What was a political thriller continues to veer into also being a political drama, and in doing so is weakening the essence of the show that audiences fell in love with. It also continues to cater to too many storylines each week, which once again results in artificial plot devices with little organic developments. As always however, where the plot might let the show down, the acting carries it home. Kiefer Sutherland gives another fantastic performance as the grieving husband and father, and while the episode may not have been sob-worthy, certain scenes remained incredibly emotional. The direct aftermath of Alex’s death is revealed in flashbacks during Tom’s therapy session, which he is pushed to had by his staff, who feel like he is not dealing with his grief. As a result, his role as President is compromised in his inability to make decisions that might put further people at risk; it means the White House has been on pause for over two months. I believe jumping ten weeks was a mistake, and I think trying to pack such a significant emotional journey into a series of flickering flashbacks with mediocre dialogue fails to give proper significance to Alex’s death. It’s another testament to Sutherland’s stand-out performance that the scenes can still resound with real emotion.
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