‘Designated Survivor’ Season 1, Episode 7: Whac-a-Mole

“Designated Survivor” has found its sweet spot: nonstop, soapy, chaotic. It started off a bit lukewarm, but suddenly developing into a 9’er just like 24 was. As every scene...

“Designated Survivor” has found its sweet spot: nonstop, soapy, chaotic. It started off a bit lukewarm, but suddenly developing into a 9’er just like 24 was.
As every scene of this week’s episode ends, a new crisis springs up, like Whac-a-Mole. Some shows fall victim to their own pace and devolve into frantic tedium. But here, every crisis feels earned with its own potent stakes; they all seem to build toward a promising and fiery conflict between two sympathetic characters.

The episode is called “The Traitor,” which could refer to many characters, all of whom serve important functions within the story. The first is the foreboding Catalan, now the story’s ultimate villain. He’s an American who not only seems central to the Capitol bombing, but also managed to casually masquerade as a guard in a high-security prison to murder the F.B.I.’s most wanted man. (Shout out to our eagle-eyed commentators who spotted him skulking in the hallway last week.) That he decided to personally take on the mission and risk capture seems like an extra audacious middle finger to the F.B.I., and I’m looking forward to seeing what other tricks he has up his sleeve.

The second is Coach Brad Weston, a bargaining chip in a three-way spy exchange, whose sole purpose, seemingly, is to create some goofy Cold War tension. An American Olympic-hero-turned-double-agent, Weston is a character plucked from a different era, and this subplot seems less about a national security threat than like a six-figure poker game. That’s fine, given how wildly entertaining Vladimir Jon Cubrt is as Ambassador Petrov of Russia, who preens and struts around, making veiled threats in an extravagantly put-on Russian accent. Whether or not such a three-way diplomatic deal would ever work in real life is beside the point. It makes for a juicy set piece, and it further hardens President Kirkman.

The final two “traitors” — Congressman Peter MacLeish and the F.B.I. deputy director, Jason Atwood — are surreptitiously locked in their own power struggle. Their secret psychological war is evidence that the show is taking on a life apart from its superstar lead; the stakes are raised precisely because Kirkman is kept in the dark. And it’s a sublime, fitting twist that Atwood is blackmailed the same way Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer is in Season 1 of “24”: with his daughter kidnapped by an omnipresent organization.

Atwood now will go face-to-face with the president with an earpiece and a motive. The stoic agent has grown on me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is the show’s first shocking casualty. He’s mostly served as a skeptical, logic-driven counterweight to Hannah, but he’s also the blandest character of the main cast. Moreover, elevating the sparkplug Hannah to his position would be dramatic and have unpredictable results.

At the same time, MacLeish is closing in on a spot inside the White House. It’s possible he’s had a change of heart and is trying desperately to cover himself because he was complicit in the disaster. Or maybe he’s still working for Catalan. Either way, his back story is fishy: His daughter’s disappearance during the State of the Union address is too coincidental — and if you’ll recall, she, too, was found eating ice cream. (Very weird signature touch by these kidnappers, but it seems to be working.) Moreover, there’s something suspiciously choreographed about the way MacLeish and his wife narrate their meet-cute, and his raspy, dead-eyed whisper gives me chills.
Stray Notes

• Lots of sports talk in this episode. Aaron’s resigned attitude toward the hapless Wizards might be the most realistic depiction of Washington life on the show. But as a basketball fan, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that the three-way deal Emily describes between the Wizards and the Thunder last year never happened.

• Hannah really is not keeping her promise to Kimble Hookstraten of informing her about any F.B.I. leads. The steely congresswoman was nowhere to be found this week.

• As if the American people needed another reason to be suspicious of the press: Lisa Jordan colludes with the White House to kill one story in favor of another scoop. Stay vigilant, Lisa!
(By Andrew R. Chow in NY Times)

Categories
MultimediaUncategorized

Related By:

  • Xpeng’s NGP User Interviews

    黑人工程师克服挑战直至遇到“干杯和烤鱼” 程雷(Emmanuel)已经来中国5年多了。解决问题,适应环境,他一直乐此不疲。 在此之前,他是某公司的首席信息技术官,喜欢“去做别人都不愿意做的”棘手事情。换工作的时候,华为和IBM都找到了他。但是,程雷想要尝试一个更有开创性的领域,所以他选择了前者。 他说,自己骨子里就喜欢挑战,喜欢逆袭的感觉。来自加纳的程雷,正是依靠着新兴科技适应了中国的一切。 作为一名来自加纳的工程师,程雷觉得,人们经常会因为他是黑人而有误解。有一次他去试驾,销售员一来就给他找说唱嘻哈音乐,令他哭笑不得,“他觉得我会喜欢吧”。 语言不通,程雷却靠着百度翻译在中国生活了那么多年。他经常说,挑战促使他往前走,“正是因为这一切,事情才有趣”。 他一直就是这样,灵活适应着周遭的一切。闲暇时候,他会去游泳、骑车、做设计,弹首曲子或者下个厨房,还会去旅… Read more at: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/FXRa0a5YtHxEZUOeN7tyLA...
  • What did NIO do? ET7

    Chinese automaker launched a flagship electric car with an available 150-kilowatt-hour battery pack last week with scheduled deliveries starting in early 2022. It could be the first mass-produced passenger...
  • Into 360 Photography? 

    If you’re into 360 Photography and creating Virtual Reality content or Virtual tours, then this is something that will interest you. This is the sequel to the Insta360X and...
  • ...