Designated Survivor Review: The End of the Beginning (Season 1 Episode 12)

Designated Survivor, Reviews

Mind blown, Designated Survivor. Mind blown.

Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 12 “The End of the Beginning” firmly establishes this show as not just one of the best new shows on television, or one of the best political shows, or one of the best dramas, or one of the best at suspense, no.

One of the best, period.

It also definitively proves that, yes, sometimes, fiction can still be weirder than the reality we’re living in.

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR - "The End of the Beginning" - Circles must tighten as a new discovery within the conspiracy emerges. Meanwhile, tension rises between Aaron and Emily as suspicions loom in the White House. A new lead places Agent Wells closer than before to the truth, on ABC's "Designated Survivor," WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15 (10:00 - 11:00 p.m. EDT). (ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)
DESIGNATED SURVIVOR – “The End of the Beginning” – (ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)

That’s a strangely comforting and still slightly disturbing thought.

Last week, I thought I knew what this show was about. I thought I knew where it was going. Turns out, like pretty much everyone else watching, I really have no clue whatsoever.

And this is legit the most excited I’ve been to watch TV in ages.

When you watch as much TV as I do, when you write about TV as much, when you’re tasked with dissecting it, it all starts to become predictable. The twists become less and less surprising, the flaws in the writing more and more pronounced, patterns are easier to detect.

TV, is, after all, very rarely truly original, so, if you’ve watched a lot of it, you can sort of predict it.

Sometimes, of course, shows surprise you. You miss things and you enjoy others even if you saw them coming, but even when they manage to shock you, it’s usually with one thing, one storyline. Because, truth is, viewers in general have become smarter.

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR – “The End of the Beginning” –  (ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg) ADAN CANTO, VIRGINIA MADSEN

Designated Survivor surprises all over the board. One episode it presents a perfect villain, sets up a long, drawn-out chase, next episode, the villain is gone, uncertainty left in its place. One episode it gives you a clear-cut traitor, the next it makes you doubt even the First Lady.

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Truth be told, I haven’t been paranoid since I was watching the X-Files regularly, twenty years ago. I also haven’t been this invested in a conspiracy.

Because, boy, this is way bigger than the now-deceased Beth and Peter MacLeish. So much bigger. And right now, I have no idea where to look.

Well done, Designated Survivor. Well done.

To be honest, for all I’ve praised the show, I didn’t think they had it in them. Killing the Macleish’s took Game of Thrones-level guts. And, like with Game of Thrones, I’m perfectly content to sit back and let the writers take me on this journey.

Trust. Hope. Excitement.

What a funny thing to feel for a TV show. What a beautiful, rewarding, brilliant thing.

Other things to note:

  • It’s a relief to watch a TV show with actual competent characters in law enforcement. Sure, Wells didn’t get her man, but it wasn’t because they messed up in any way shape or form.
  • The ending scene broke my heart. It visually sends the message that the Presidency is going to tear Tom and Alex Kirkman apart.
  • The relief I feel at having Kirkman know about this conspiracy cannot be expressed in words. Thank you for not dragging this for a whole season. Thank you.
  • Aaron’s face when he was staring at Emily playing the piano? Yeah, he still wants a chance. She, however, doesn’t seem to want to risk it – for obvious possibly traitorous reasons.
  • Or is she the traitor?
  • The only people who’re off my list of possible traitors are the kids. And Leo is old enough to be suspect.
  • I went from saying: It’s Mike, to thinking it might be Mrs. Kirkman and now I’m convinced it’s Emily. Watch it be Aaron who we didn’t suspect because it seemed too obvious.
  • Either way, the reveal is going to hurt.
  • Hookstraten appears to be wearing the same clothes on two different days, which would never, EVER happen. Ever.
  • The fact that I can watch this show and not see Jack Bauer in every thing Kiefer Sutherland does is a testament to how good of an actor he is.
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What did you think of this episode of Designated Survivor? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Reviewer Rating:

User Rating:

[Total: 7    Average: 4.3/5]

Designated Survivor airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.

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Lissete Lanuza Sáenz

Lawyer. Writer. Columnist. Geek. Falls in madly in love with fictional characters. Hates the color yellow, misogyny, and people who are late. Can always be found with a book. Watches an absurd amount of TV every week, often, while eating coffee ice cream. She has no regrets. You can check out her blog here: Absurday. Lissete is a senior writer for Tell-Tale TV.Follow @LisseteELanuzaS

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