“The Results” is not one of the better episodes of Designated Survivor. The series has thus far refused to break from its signature formula: Kirkman facing and conquering his procedural challenge of the week. But even though “The Results” is a weaker episode on the whole, it still has its moments, and brings us some great revelations and character developments.
Every week throws a new hurdle in Kirkman’s way, and “The Results” is no exception. With ricin attacks threatening potential voters, how can Kirkman ensure he’ll get a new, nationally elected Congress? It’s strange that the nation doesn’t seem to appreciate Kirkman as much as it should. If he was our president, he’d be considered too good to be true—hence he’s a television character and not a real politician. While this was not one of the stronger challenges-of-the-week Tom has faced, his decision to go to the polls signifies democracy carrying on regardless of the obstacles.
In one of the most unpredictable moments of the series yet, Atwood “confesses” to the murder of Nassar and Secret Service agents swarm the Oval Office to arrest him. Not only is this a great plot twist, but it’s a shocking moment for the audience concerning Atwood. Here is a man willing to sacrifice himself, reputation and career, for his family—who will probably never get to see him again. While the series may be starting to get a little monotonous in its weekly A stories with Kirkman, at least it’s making up for it with other surprises. What’s also fantastic about this moment is how it makes the secret terrorist group controlling Atwood even more ominous. If they can get the Deputy Director of the FBI to do whatever they want, who else can they get?
Leo hasn’t added much to Designated Survivor. If not for this subplot, his character would have no reason to exist. When was the last time we even saw Kirkman’s daughter? The last memorable moment with her was Kirkman’s phone call with her before the explosion at the Capitol, way back in the series premiere. Since Kirkman is a president with wife and kids, I suppose he must go through familial issues every now and then. The issue of Leo’s paternity has been the strangest subplot for the show to take on, and now that it’s over it raises the obvious question: What was the point of exploring it? It did at least bring us a unique father/son moment, as Leo hands back the envelope unopened, conveying the lesson of love having nothing to do with biology. The writers could have made this issue melodramatic, but thankfully chose to go with a more heartwarming result.
Kimble has clearly been a shark in the water for some time now, and her statement to MacLeish would seem to militate against any saving grace. She’s one of the best characters on Designated Survivor and has the most potential for future plot twists. What makes their conversation so thrilling is not only the clear revelation that she’s out for Tom, but also that she’ll be out for anyone who might stand in the way of her getting to the presidency—even MacLeish, whom Kimble herself once considered to be a possible ally. She’s not a character the audience is ever going to root for, but she’s a character whose every move hooks us deeper. She’s more of the typical, backstabbing politician we expect to see on TV, providing a great contrast to Kirkman’s honest and true character.
We’re a third of the way through the first season and we now know without a doubt that he’s in it with the terrorists. “The Results” could have tackled this revelation with a straightforward scene showing MacLeish as one of them, but what makes the moment stand out is his question to the mysterious woman asking how many more good people need to die. While MacLeish may be one of the bad guys, he’s not without a conscience. I’m excited to see where the writers take him. Is he willing to do anything, or from this point on are we going to see someone whose conscience is in conflict with his actions?