Designated Survivor 1×02: “The First Day”

In Designated Survivor’s second episode, a second (Republican party-)designated survivor makes her appearance as Kirkman learns that his first presidential address didn’t inspire confidence in anyone; there is an outbreak of racial profiling that leads to the death of a teenager; Kirkman visits the site of the attack only to have violence erupt there too; and the shiny-haired, mumbly FBI agent played by Maggie Q tries to prove a theory that an undetonated bomb is a plant rather than evidence that terrorist group al-Saqqar committed the bombing.

Read on for a rundown of the highlights, and the moments that made us shake our heads.

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Designated Survivor: What if the President was Jack Bauer and Jack Bauer was a nerd?

If there’s one drawback to the fact that this is the golden age of TV, it might be the fact that it can spark discontent with regular old network TV shows, where the pilot introduces you to the whole cast of characters in broad, archetype-inspired strokes and people express their feelings by stating exactly what they are feeling.

Designated Survivor is one such show. In the beginning, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Tom Kirkman is lounging in jeans and a sweatshirt to watch the State of the Union from afar. One minute he’s a meek, minor Cabinet member about to be fired from his job; the next, the Capitol explodes and he is sworn in as President. The first ten minutes, in between explosions, serves as a series of not-so-gentle reminders that you are not watching Jack Bauer. He is meek! He wears spectacles! He cooks breakfast for his kids! At one point, he even defers to the President’s opinion! Basically he is everything Jack Bauer is not! But when he is thrust into a situation that requires strength and leadership, will he be able to rise to the role? WHO CAN TELL?! (My guess is yes. Otherwise this show would be on HBO.)

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