Designated Survivor season 3 episode 2 could be considered the moment that Tom Kirkman became a politician — or, at least the moment he started to really think like one.
In the early moments of this episode, we see Tom in the middle of a new political quagmire. After all, he ends up taking a photo with an influential Saudi Arabian man and a young woman who he originally perceives to be his daughter. However, it’s soon after this that he learns that this woman is actually his teenage bride. Kirkman’s reaction to this is extreme, as you would expect it would be for a lot of people in that circumstance.
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In the aftermath of this moment, Kirkman does want to speak out against child marriages as passionately and as often as humanly possible. Yet, here’s the crux of one of this episode’s main conflicts. Kirkman realizes in the process of doing his campaign that there are a lot of different laws pertaining to marriages for people under 18 throughout the entire country, and that his initial perception of it is a little bit skewed. It doesn’t change how he feels about the issue, but at the same time, he doesn’t exactly find himself in a position where he wants to champion for it as much as he once did publicly — as a prominent female member of the Saudi Government told him, speaking out against their child brides is hypocritical given that America has its own.
Near the end of the episode, at an appearance in North Carolina promoting his infrastructure plan, Kirkman doesn’t go through on the idea of speaking about the issue. That’s something that is going to irk some of his staffers, most notably Isabel who fought so hard on the issue in the past and even spent some time face-to-face with Kirkman on the issue. Yet, Kirkman’s realizing that in the process of getting elected, he doesn’t want to alienate anyone. His hope is just that when he is elected again, he will be able to take care of the problem in a way that he can’t now. Whether or not that actually happens, that’s just something we’ll have to wait and see about if this show gets a season 4.
What made this episode effective is mostly that there is so much going on from start to finish a number of different characters. Take, for example, Seth realizing that he has a daughter out there that he never knew about due to some sperm donations he made when he was a young man. Meanwhile, we see Mars Harper working to get his wife treatment in the midst of an opiate addiction. For Emily Rhodes, she realizes that she’s more effective working with Kirkman on his campaign rather than working within the White House. Meanwhile, Hannah Wells is starting to realize the biological warfare is on the horizon, and that could be a pretty significant issue that impacts the entire country.
Oh, and did we mention Aaron could end up being a veep candidate?
Yet, despite so much going on, the focus here is still on kirkman’s campaign, and you have to wonder that this slippery slope on the child marriage issue (a nod to the title of the episode) is going to send him down a bad road. Is he compromising who he is for the sake of appealing to the most possible people?
If there is a flaw within this Designated Survivor episode, you can certainly wonder why Seth and President Kirkman had no idea that child marriages were allowed in certain parts of America. We are not a politician by any means, but we had heard that it’s possible for people under the age of 18 to get married in a number of different states long before watching this episode. That was a little suspect, as was Hannah looking around and opening doors the end of the episode without wearing any sort of gloves covering her hands. She knows about a mysterious virus already killing cardinals!
These little slips aside, episode 2 was very much an entertaining, intense installment of TV. We hope that the show doesn’t go to down far down the rabbit hole of biological warfare that it takes away from the election story, but for now, the balance is working and we’re enjoying our way through the story.
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