Designated Survivor season 3 episode 5 review: Emily, Aaron, & a debate

Designated Survivor season 3 episode 5 officially brings us to the halfway point of the season, and also to a place where things are messy — very messy. This is where everything starts to hit the fan.

Take, for example, President Kirkman talking one way in front of the public, unsure of some of the darkness swirling from within his own campaign. Lorraine, as it turns out, seems to be responsible for some of the fake news that is out there regarding the campaign. She’s the one who is causing a whole lot of the ruckus and yet, Kirkman is none the wiser. He’s just trying to own Presidential debates and come across as the ideal, everyman candidate. The one who is able to identify the lack of condemnation made by some of his rivals. He did that effectively and from what we saw, he won the debate without too much trouble.

Kirkman’s victory is almost even more remarkable when you consider how much of a struggle it was for his staff around him. Take, for example, Aaron getting into an enormous fight with Isabel over a cause that she wanted — pardoning a controversial speaker. It turned out that she was actually able to do this, and Aaron nearly lost a girlfriend over an egotistical argument he didn’t need. He and Emily Rhodes also slept together, a move that was also caused by some of her distress. Her mother, while still alive, wants Emily to help her plan her death. That includes giving her the drugs necessary to kill her if the situation calls for it.

Will there be blowback to Emily and Aaron? We gotta think so, mostly because it’s so hard to believe that the two would clam up over this for good. It’s the sort of secret that will be painful for the two of them to keep. We’re already seeing Mars trying to do this when it comes to his own affair — this is where we inject our commentary that sometimes, political shows jump to the conclusion that everyone is having affairs and sleeping around. We like to think that this is not always the case, though of course, it does certainly happen here and there.

Meanwhile, Dontae admitted to his new secret-service love interest that he has HIV, something that he really should have told him about before being with him (even though he knew he was having sex with him safely). It’s a tricky situation since you can understand Dontae’s perspective and, at the same time, we also get why staying silent about it leads to a loss of trust.

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What’s going on with Hannah Wells?

She is starting to actually get a good sense as to what is happening with the bioweapon, and it something seemingly designed by a white nationalist group to try and eradicate much of the country of minorities. It’s a horrific idea and a plan that they’re going to have to work into overdrive in order to stop.

At this point, does anyone feel like the Hannah storyline is a part of a separate show? We do still love Maggie Q and her character, but these threats are so far out there that it doesn’t full mesh with the rest of the show, especially when she’s not spending much time with the rest of the cast.

CarterMatt Verdict

Designated Survivor was at its best in season 3 episode 5 when some of the cast members were allotted individual moments to shine. Take, for example, Seth going at the press for their reporting of the fake news, even knowing that it was against the President’s wishes. Or, Emily knowing what her mother wanted her to do at the end of her life. Kal Penn and Italia Ricci were both outstanding within this episode, which feels like it’s starting to turn the stress of this season from a sprinkle into a downpour.

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