There are a number of different ways to remember Designated Survivor season 3 episode 6. More than any other, you’re probably going to look at it as the story of Mateo. Most of this episode was a real test of precisely who Aaron wants to be and the difficult, annoying compromises that can come sometimes with being a presidential/vice-presidential candidate.
From the start, there was an obvious political angle to what president Kirkman wanted to do with the young boy. His parents were illegal immigrants coming up from Guatemala, and they wanted to do what they could in order to get help for their child with the kidney. All of this makes sense, and all of it is human. So is the idea of Kirkman and the rest of his team wanting to treat the boy. Aaron took the lead in order to find a proper way in order to do so, and this led to initiatives to ensure that he was able to get the transplant with the help of his father. Most of this ended up scoring political points.
Where things get a little bit messy in the story of Mateo comes via his aftercare. Aaron helped to raise the money in order to ensure that he would continue to have the medication he needs. It was a noble gesture, but then he grew quickly enraged after the fact when he realized Kirkman final plan. Regardless of whatever Tom may have wanted to do, he also recognized that most of the potential voters he needed were against the idea of Mateo and his family staying in America or getting amnesty. That’s why they were eventually deported — it was the sort of centrist decision that gets easily ripped, but it’s the difficult walking of the line that can make someone electable.
In general, you could say that a lot of this episode involved tough choices and trying to figure out what is the right and wrong thing. For Mars Harper, he seemed like he finally figured out that he wants to be a good husband. It doesn’t exactly take away from the fact that he cheated on his wife when she was at a low point in her addiction, But after her overdose and his decision to sit at her bedside, we’re starting to wonder if he actually wants to come around.
For Emily, she’s going to have to continue struggling with the reality that her mother didn’t come to Washington DC just to be cared for. She came there because assisted suicide was legal and this was a way for her to actually die on her own terms.
Finally, with Hannah Wells, you have the big story that closes the episode, one in which she realizes that all the effort that she put into stopping the bio-weapon and its potential spread is far from over. Even though she’s been effectively benched from field work, she’s got to find a way to get back out there if she wants to save potentially much of the country.
Designated Survivor season 3 episode 6 may end up being one of the quieter episodes of the show’s run on Netflix, mostly because a lot of the things that happened probably aren’t going to sit around in the viewer’s mind for long. The story of Mateo is probably one of the most notable, and it still seems reasonably standalone — though there could be some surprising tentacles that come on the other side of it.
Meanwhile, the story with Sasha having the police called on her for being in a woman’s bathroom is an unfortunate reality that transgender people face. This was probably an important thing for the writers to include here, though through episode 7 itself, it does feel like this story is incomplete.