DESIGNATED SURVIVOR - "The Ninth Seat" - As President Kirkman struggles to put together a new Supreme Court, FBI Agent Hannah Wells goes undercover and discovers much more than she ever could have imagined. Meanwhile, Seth Wright has to contend with journalist Abe Leonard, who returns from the Middle East with an explosive story, on ABC's "Designated Survivor," SUNDAY, APRIL 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)

Designated Survivor Review: The Ninth Seat (Season 1 Episode 17)

Designated Survivor, Reviews

Can Tom Kirkman ever have an easy day?

Forget I asked. He is the President of the United States and this is TV.

Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 17, “The Ninth Seat,” leaves out the family aspect but balances the politics and the mounting conspiracy pretty well, and at the end of it, we’re once again, left more than a bit unbalanced.

Not by the politics – in this case, even though Tom Kirkman didn’t really win, it kind of feels like he did, and Jack Bowman is setting up to be a thorn in the side of the President and Speaker Hookstraten for some time to come.

This sounds like a bad thing, but for the sake of entertainment it’s really, really good.


As for the conspiracy, though? That’s getting even more convoluted – and the more answers we get the more we feel like we really don’t know what’s going on.

Which is all fine and well for the beginning of the season, and even the middle part, but if the show is set to wrap up this storyline anytime soon, it’d be good to feel like we the endgame is in sight.

Moreover, it’d be good to know what the endgame is.

Not saying you have to give me everything all at once, Designated Survivor, but considering there’s so few episodes to go in this season, I wish you’d give me something.

And by that I mean something more than Nestor Lozano.

He’s not behind the conspiracy – he can’t be. It’s both too easy and too hard. He just couldn’t pull it off by himself.

I think.

I hope.

But, and here’s the thing, I don’t know. I can’t even make an educated guess, because even though the audience is privy to everything Agent Wells has uncovered, for someone as competent as she is, she has a whole lot of nothing.

Heck, Abe Leonard seems to know more than Hannah. Which is ironic, considering that, in the times we live in, it’s quite possibly journalists are going to be the ones to save us all.

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Lozano isn’t a big enough name – we don’t know him enough for him to provide an actual WTF moment. For seventeen episodes he’s been nothing more than a piece of the puzzle, a piece we didn’t even know that well. He can’t be the big bad right now, not because it’s impossible, but because we expect better from the show.

“We always have a choice,” Kirkman says at some point in this episode, because he’s the equivalent of Jed Bartlet from The West Wing: a good President and a good guy you want to root for. Let’s just hope this can also be applied to the writing and to the resolution to the conspiracy.

So far Designated Survivor has been one of – if not the best new show of the season. But to keep that title it has to close off what has been a remarkable Season 1 so far with a little flair.

I mean, I’m not saying bring Peter MacLeish back from the dead too, but hey – that would at least be a surprise.

Other things to note:

  • Jason’s blue vest is hideous. I can’t even look at it. My eyes hurt.
  • Maggie Q is so awesome that I’d watch 45 minutes of just her walking through the woods.
  • I’m glad about the Supreme Court, I am, but it’s starting to feel a bit like the Kirkman administration wins them all, and that’s not always a good thing.
  • Aaron, we need to have a serious conversation about the hair gel.
  • Ditch it. You look way better without it. I bet Emily would agree.
  • Everyone knows Kirkman is going to end up offering Hookstraten the VP position, right?
  • Just so we’re clear on that.
  • Abe Leonard getting a link that just happens to have all the information he needs is the worst case of deus ex machina ever.
  • But it’s not even close to the stupidest thing in this episode, no. That’d be his search term. WTF.
  • Italia Ricci’s wardrobe. That’s all I want.
  • When did this show become so feminist? Because I love it.
  • Seth, you’re my fave. Be the Press Secretary for real. Please?
  • Abe, I have a bad feeling about …everything. So should you.
  • I’m so glad this is not Scandal and no one has secret rendezvous in the Oval Office. SO. GLAD.
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What did you think of this episode of Designated Survivor? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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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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