At the end of Designated Survivor season 3, we certainly saw the future for Emily Rhodes thrown into chaos. For most of her career with Tom Kirkman, she’s believed him to be a good man. Yet, throughout the past 10 episodes, we saw him as a man compromised. He did what he tried to do in order to hold onto the moral compass that guided him but, in the end, his desire to keep the office proved to be too much. He decided to not disclose what he knew publicly about President Moss, ensuring he won the election, but also losing his integrity. To go along with that, he also lost Emily’s respect.
Is there a way to still see the Emily character in a possible season 4, after the conclusion of season 3 left her upset and her future ambiguous? We obviously hope so, mostly because we love Italia Ricci as an actress first and foremost. With all the cast changes over the years, we really need to hold on to as many longtime players as we possibly can. Also, Emily has a vast knowledge of the political system at this point, and it’s good for President Kirkman to have a foil — someone who knows him almost as well as he knows himself. We don’t exactly think that she’s ever going to trust him the same way that she wants did, but maybe rebuilding this relationship can be a key component for the next batch of episodes, if renewed.
The first thing that Kirkman needs to do is, of course, acknowledge more of what he is done. He needs to sit back, reflect, and maybe reach out to Emily himself. He needs to be the proactive one here and make sure that she understands how he feels now over what he did then. Will he go so far as to make a public admission of guilt? It’s hard to really think of that, given that him doing so could cause the entire presidency to descend into chaos. He may need to find a compromise then, some way to win her over without also destroying the election that he just won. Can you argue that he could just try to offer her a higher position in the administration? Sure, but at a certain point that isn’t getting you respect. That’s just doing the political version of paying someone off.
We’re sure that there are larger issues on a global scale for Designated Survivor season for could tackle, but on a character level, establishing this relationship once again is important. It’s the backbone of the story! We want to see Emily back so that we can see the relationship through and learn if there is a way to make things a little bit better. Tom can fix things with her, that could prove essential; we wouldn’t be surprised if Designated Survivor season 4 opens up a can of worms elsewhere. If Moss or someone else fights hard enough, or if the truth somehow comes out about what Kirkman really knew, the President is going to need however many allies as possible on his side for a Congressional hearing or something worse. Finding a way to retain Emily is the best way to avoid catastrophe.
If it’s not Tom, could someone else reach out to try to make sure Emily is okay? We’ll be rooting for that, but the buck has to stop with Kirkman. That’s the only way to make things right and the story complete.
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