Designated Survivor faces one of its ickiest, but all too real issues this week: bad choice of words. When you’re the most powerful man on the planet, every word you say is scrutinized. This is why so much of what a President says is scripted, and the headache comes when he goes off course. This President has always spoken from his heart, but he is also very intelligent and conscientious, so he’s never really had this type of problem. All it takes is one hungry enemy to take his words out of context, and the dominoes start to fall.
During a friendly hockey game, President Kirkman tries to get a senator’s support for a pension bailout bill that saves a few thousand American’s livelihoods. Unfortunately, Senator Rouse is not the President’s friend. President Kirkman’s sarcastic comment is taken out of context, and “Suckergate” becomes the top story. The fallout is immediate and widespread. From the intended target of the bailout bill, right down to the Halloween candy. Believe me, I wish I was kidding about that last one. How in the world is the President supposed to convince the American people they can trust him when the genie is out of the bottle, no matter how false? Not surprisingly, Rouse refuses to retract his statement, claiming he was within his rights as the people’s representative to tell them the truth. People tell themselves all sorts of lies to misrepresent the context of a conversation. This is something Kirkman has now been made painfully aware of. The problem is that Kirkman is not a fighter. He’s always refused to engage a bully, but this time he has to. He just has to get creative if he wants to engage the bully without tearing down his own dignity in the process.
Kirkman tries with a public appearance at a diner, to really get the American people to understand that he knows them. It still backfires, and he’s as close as he ever comes to fighting fire with fire. At the last second, Kirkman changes his mind, refusing to hurt Rouse just because he can. Rouse is a politician, but he isn’t a bad man. He had no idea that the President already knew he had an affair, and had the ammunition the whole time to destroy him. He goes two for two and relieves some of the pain of the victim’s advocate for those in need of the pension bailout. All the while this woman was hiding the fact that her husband was one of the crooks who stole money from innocent people. That is the type of guilt the President knows all too well. He feels it every second he is in the White House, simply because he survived.
Away from the Oval Office, Alex has no choice but to hire Kendra to represent her mother against the U.S. Attorney’s office. Despite the First Lady’s insistence that she can help, she very nearly makes the situation catastrophically worse for her mother. Kendra avoids that catastrophe, but the information was left behind for a reason. If there is any chance that the First Lady’s actions, even 30 years beforehand, could have led to the terrorist attack, Forstell won’t give up. Especially because it seems that the conspiracy might not have ended with Patrick Lloyd’s death. A member of the British Parliament named Charlotte Thorne is gunned down while jogging in the park. The situation is so important, Damian Rennett returns to investigate. Their main suspect is Darius Cray, an arms dealer closely monitored in Europe, but allowed to run amok in D.C. Rennett puts a bullet in him before he can skip town, but ballistics later show that Cray is not the gunman.
President Kirkman can still rally the American people, even if he only narrowly avoided sinking someone else to do it. Can his presidency handle another close call like this one?
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 5 Review: "Suckers"
Designated Survivor puts President “Honest Tom” Kirkman in a sticky situation with unintended, yet very, very bad, consequences.