Consider Designated Survivor season 3 episode 8 a story of justice — and also a conspiracy. Even when people are heroes, everyone wants to doubt their heroism. Even if the hero wore a cape this time, nobody would really acknowledge it.
Following the shocking and/or aggravating death of Hannah Wells at the end of episode 7, this installment was geared almost entirely around finding a way to stop the virus from spreading. This was a race against time to 1) find the bad guy and 2) contain the disease. This was easier said than done, and it took Kirkman and federal law enforcement bobbing and weaving through a large number of threats — including politicians not so inclined to believe him. The Moss campaign, as a matter of fact, was desperate to stand in his way in their home state of Texas … and also was desperate to be named the heroes.
In the end, the threat was neutralized — or, define “neutralized.” While the man was defeated, his nefarious plans will live on — he did upload his recipe for that future racist engineers could try to eradicate minority groups from the Earth. Yet, that wasn’t the biggest issue. Instead, it was the reveal that one of the people still looking to make ethnic bioweapons was Phil Brunton, the previously-labeled “reasonable” spokesman for the Moss campaign. As it turns out, he was low-key just because he knew he’d still have his chance to be awful later!
How good is this twist? Well, define “good.” If you love Designated Survivor as a complicated political thriller, this is right up your alley. We prefer the show a bit more straight-laced where it isn’t veering in these weird, over-the-top directions.
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The other storylines
The relationship between Emily and Aaron is blown right open! This means that Isabel knows and, understandably, Isabel’s not happy. That’s a grenade right in the middle of a staff that desperately needs to work together. At least Isabel had a good distraction in working to try and take down a pharmaceutical company with the help of Mars — if nothing else, they wanted to make sure the drug was free so that these drug scammers couldn’t turn its consumers into a human ouroboros.
While that was going down, suspicions were starting to get going about Lorraine’s ties to the Moss campaign … you know, the thing that would expose her dirty tricks. Everyone’s a little preoccupied to worry about this right now, but it’s certainly something to worry/think about later.
Also, can we root for Dontae for getting his romance back together? It wasn’t his responsibility to do so, but he’s a guy who, after his assault earlier this season, deserved this victory.
We’re clearly in the “one twist after the next” phase of the season now and if Designated Survivor was a weekly show, we’d be asking questions like whether or not Phil Brunton is working alone in his actions or as a part of the Moss campaign. Meanwhile, we’d probably be stewing over Aaron a little more than we are.
While this entire storyline still feels so extreme to everything else happening, no doubt Designated Survivor is at this point in the midst of its strongest run ever. If the first two seasons were as strong creatively or as diverse as this one, perhaps it would’ve never been canceled at ABC in the first place. Yet, the irony there is that this show feels like a perfect match for Netflix — it just makes sense given that politicians probably swear every bit as much as they do here.
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What did you think about Designated Survivor season 3 episode 8? Be sure to share in the comments. (Photo: Netflix.)