'Designated Survivor' Recap: Racial Tensions Reach New Heights
'Designated Survivor' Recap: Racial Tensions Reach New Heights
Jilliane Johnson
Jilliane Johnson
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
President Tom Kirkman and his administration enter our homes once again as Designated Survivor enters its third week of the second season. Patrick Lloyd has finally been taken out, killed by a drone strike while hiding in a bunker. This can only provide a brief period of relief, though, after seeing Hannah and Damian unearth Lloyd's laptop. Something was being uploaded during his final moments, but it won't be so easy to uncover the mysterious details.


Minorities Fall Victim to Outbreak

A woman exits a local place of business and discovers a young boy upset by his car. "What's wrong?" she asks. "My mom," he cries. Upon opening the driver's door, out slumps the mother. She falls to the ground, unconscious and foaming from the mouth.

At the White House, the First Mother-in-Law doesn't wish to impose her presence on everyone any longer after her scary home invasion by Lloyd. Kirkman insists she stay as long as she needs. Something about that boyish charm and his Kiefer Sutherland voice melts her immediately. The First Lady is convinced her mother likes her husband more than she likes her own daughter.

A call takes the President away from his family to the Situation Room where everyone has gathered around the screen, looking on at a widespread epidemic of Influenza A sweeping the nation and rapidly taking lives. It seems the pandemic has evolved from animals and made its way to the people of the United States. Perfect timing.

Art Imitates Reality's Headlines

Counsel Kendra Daynes, the newest addition to the White House staff, is taking on a controversial confederate statue on federal grounds. Some wish to keep it while others argue to have it taken down. The room if full of commotion from the Black Congressional Caucus until Kendra demands some order. Emmet Aiken, a former mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was an influential character in the state's history and a slaveholder, but also someone who stands as a reminder of a painful past. Middle ground would be to move the statue to a less trafficked area. Reverend Dale (Ron Canada), who has been sitting quietly in a corner, stands and states that the past must not be "whitewashed." Obviously out of reality's headlines, this sensitive subject of racism and the country's roots is interesting to see play out on screen. 

Hannah and Damian sit in her office, struggling to figure out why Lloyd trashed the First Lady's mother's house before holing himself up in that bunker before his death. Damian's suggestions aren't even worth mentioning and he doesn't care for the why, but more so about what will happen next. (Does anyone else suspect something here?) Chuck has found that Lloyd uploaded that last file across three continents and it's incredibly corrupted. In other words, he's having quite the time deciphering the details. Hannah leads Damian to Mrs. Booker's home where they walk through and investigate the destruction. Everything he did was done for a reason and just as suspected, he has led them to an envelope left in the unharmed desk. Insider are medical documents for a 1987 heart transplant for Andrew Booker, the First Lady's father.

A White House medical representative reports back to Aaron and Emily that ten more civilians have lost their lives in South Carrol Parrish to this swiftly sweeping pandemic. Along with the bad news, though, comes possible good news. There is not a preventative solution, but there could in fact be a cure in an experimental cancer drug called Extasis. Carlton Mackey is the lone holder of the drug. Until they can get their hands on this drug, a quarantine is severely needed before more lives are lost.

A Frog Named Kirkman

Meanwhile, Seth and Lyor witness a White House guest who uncovers a new Amazonian specimen to be named after Kirkman. It's a frog. It's a hermaphrodite frog. The room quickly dissipates and the comic relief duo agree that the President cannot see this. Lyor leaves to find Kendra who is leaning against the door that leads into a still ongoing heated argument over the Aiken statue. He informs her that not only are racist issues running wild in one part of the country, but people of color are dying of an outbreak in another. "I'm on it," she says. He smirks and she continues to sigh heavily through what looks to be a ridiculously stressful first week on the job.


Mackey has been invited to the Oval Office and agrees that his drug will in fact help save lives, but the untested drug may also kill more people. Kirkman smooth talks his way into getting what he wants and that's to save more lives. Mackey agrees, but reluctantly. Let's hope this is a smart move and not a deadly one.

Hannah sits down with the First Lady, looking over files and documents touched by Lloyd during the invasion. She finds the heart transplant insurance form interesting. She didn't realize her mother had kept it. Apparently, it was the first in the area of its kind. Her father was far down on the list, but suddenly it "all came together." Hanna most definitely keeps this in mind.

Counsel Daynes to the Rescue

Mackey has reneged on offering up his drug to those who need it. Well, some of those who need it. He gave it to the highest bidder, someone from another parish. The team springs into action in search of an alternate route to saving lives. Time to call Kendra. In she walks to the courtroom where she stands opposite Mackey. The Defense Production Act requires businesses essential to national defense, such as Mackey's, to sign a contract to help the matter at hand. The government is facing a public health emergency, giving the President freedom to distribute Extasis where he sees fit. Mackey is made to hand over those ten thousand doses. That's 2-0 for Daynes. She's on a roll! 

Kendra reenters the room where the argument over Aiden's statue is reaching an all time high and getting personal. Reverend Dale, who still opposes the statue being taken down or moved, is called out by a young woman for "selling out" in order to visit the White House. (It's a pretty weak jab if you ask me.) His rebuttal tears her apart. "You are young, white and have no idea what it's like to walk in my shoes," he says, staring her down, "and I won't always be around to tell you. That statue will. It stays." Perhaps things are getting a little out of hand now.

Damian Hurts Himself Again

Hannah and Damian are doing more spy work as they snoop around an old building in the hopes of finding more information on what Lloyd is trying to convey by leaving those insurance papers. As Hannah touches the doorknob to look further, Damian yells out for her and pushes her out of the way in just the nick of time. There's an explosion and the door flies back and lands on Damian. Yes, he is once again injured on the job. Hannah has to pull him from the wreckage. (Why do we need this guy again?)

The death toll of the outbreak has now risen to 74 over two Louisiana parishes and one county in Texas. Mackey comes into question yet again when the doctor informs Kirkman that there's no way he only had ten thousand doses. Emily hurries off to look into it. 

Meanwhile, Lyor has been staring at the frog for some time and it finally, uh, squawks back. Yes, it opens wide and squawks. Coming off of this, he takes to the Black Congressional Caucus with Kendra where he points fingers at almost everyone in the room and unites them against him. Giving them a universal bad guy to focus on brings them together to finally agree on something. Kirkman soon congratulates Reverend Dale on his compromise on the removal of the statue.

Mackey is back, but he will never be setting foot in the Oval Office again. He has been producing more drugs for distribution, approaching the matter from a business standpoint. Kirkman challenges him and reminds him that lives are at stake, minority lives. Mackey could care less if he's called a racist. He wants the money he deserves from making this drug and he hopes the President will be prepared to meet with his lawyer when the time comes.

Kirkman turns the television off just as Mackey witnesses Reverend Dale ruin his reputation, calling him someone who cares more for modern medicine than the lives of minorities. He gives him a chance to clear his name, letting him speak for himself and right his wrongs.
Damian is leaving the building, literally and figuratively. Hannah walks him out herself. "Cheerio, mate!" (Same to you, buddy. Hope you don't trip on the way out.) Now that he's out, Chuck is back in the field. He finds a correlation between Mrs. Booker's husband moving up the heart transplant list and an Eric Little. 

"Just beautiful," Kirkman loves his new frog mini-me. Who would've thought?

What A Guy!

While the drugs have been distributed to the infected civilians, the doctor relaying information on the case has unfortunately fallen ill herself. It's not Influenza A, though. It's kidney failure. She vows to stay put and see the "last shot fired." Yet this isn't going to work for Kirkman as he is soon by her side as she lays in a hospital bed receiving treatment herself. 

Hannah and Chuck (I like the sound of this duo better) come upon a residence where they find the door is unlocked. They quietly make their way through the home to find the lifeless body of the homeowner, Eric Little.

Just as suspected, Patrick Lloyd is dead and gone, but the threats continue to mount. Who killed Eric Little? How will Kirkman juggle relations abroad? Why is Damian back so soon? Tune in as we answer these questions and so many more on Designated Survivor.

Designated Survivor airs Wednesdays on ABC at 10/9c. Want more news? Visit the BuddyTV Designated Survivor Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of ABC)