Designated Survivor Holds Its Own Election

Designated Survivor Poster

‘The Results’ Plot Summary:

Safety becomes a concern the day before the special congressional election, and to make matters worse, Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) must also grapple with a bombshell dropped by FBI Deputy Director Atwood (Malik Yoba) and the lingering question of who Leo’s (Tanner Buchanan) birth father is.

Despite others challenging President Kirkman’s leadership left and right, Kirkman has handled more emergencies in his first 100 days than most of his predecessors. He’s done a stellar job given where he started. He’s quite presidential compared to then. This is television, of course, so he’s obviously going to face more crises than normal. You have to fill up the season somehow.

Photo Credit: ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg
Photo Credit: ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg

To achieve this task, the writers have been not-so-subtlety pulling stories from the headlines. The outcomes of these situations are fictional and perhaps idealized, but that doesn’t the mean the writers don’t at least give the impression of doing their research. The past weeks it’s been defiant governors and refugees. This week it’s a ricin attack which resembles several real life incidents, most notably the anthrax attacks shortly after 9/11.

Even if its solutions might be a tad too clean cut at times, Designated Survivor continues to provide food for thought. Remember when hackers threatened violence if Sony released the movie The Interview? In that case, most major theater chains folded. According to Designated Survivor, no election has ever been delayed. Ultimately, Kirkman probably made the right decision in keeping the date the same. It would be a sign of weakness to cower in fear. People might have felt differently if more attacks did occur though, or if only 10 percent of the country went to the polls. How many Americans have to vote for the results to truly represent the people? It’s another good question.

Photo Credit: ABC/Sven Frenzel
Photo Credit: ABC/Sven Frenzel

The question that we really didn’t need to have brought up was whether or not Kirkman was Leo’s biological father. It might have been better saved for later, because right now there’s so much going on that it makes things feel crowded. Let us not forget that Leo is still in possession of illegal drugs. The resolution is nice though and should make us all feel warm and fuzzy inside, I guess. There’s a nice lesson to be learned about the importance of just being raised by someone who loves you.

While the fatherhood storyline is this episode’s weakest link, Atwood’s plotline greatly improves. Sure, we can still criticize exactly how we got here, but we need to recognize how good this week’s twist is. If you said you guessed that the bad guys would force Atwood to admit killing Nassar, I have to call you a liar. At least for me, I thought he would have to exonerate MacLeish (Ashley Zuckerman). MacLeish, however, might not be quite as bad as his friends.

Outside a few blemishes, I’m glad to say that Designated Survivor returns strong from Thanksgiving break.

In Kirkman we trust.


Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky

Aaron Sarnecky is The Pop Break’s Television Editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of staff writer Josh Sarnecky. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed.