Designated Survivor Recap: Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

Designated Survivor

The Traitor
Season 1 Episode 7
Editor’s Rating 5 stars

Designated Survivor

The Traitor
Season 1 Episode 7
Editor’s Rating 5 stars
Kiefer Sutherland as President Kirkman. Photo: Ben Mark Holzberg/ABC

This week’s episode of Designated Survivor feels a lot like 24. So many things happen in such a small amount of time. Every scene introduces a new plot twist, every room the setting for a surprise that ultimately turns disastrous. And so, in honor of the speed of this frenetic episode, let’s get to it.

[deep breath]

Nassar is dead and Yoba is pissed and the USA track-and-field team is headed to Russia with their Olympic hero coach and the MacLeish family has dinner with the Kirkmans and then out of nowhere Aaron is watching the Wizards game, complaining about Bradley Beal.


Aaron tells the president that Nassar is dead and then — boom — a slow-motion shot of Yoba walking in the White House looking like Blade and then — double boom — Yoba walks into the Oval Office to tell the president about MacLeish, but he finds himself staring right at MacLeish’s grill, which make Yoba flip the script and say that they’re still following leads and then — holy shit — the track-and-field coach just got arrested in Russia for smuggling in HGH.

[grabs inhaler]

Kal Penn breaks the news to Kirkman that WFLOTUS’s ex might take this whole “the president might not be Leo’s dad” thing public and then we learn Kirkman never got a paternity test and then we find out that they really need to get that track-and-field coach back BECAUSE HE WORKS FOR THE CIA AND IS A SPY AND IF THEY DON’T GET HIM BACK HE’LL GET LIFE FOR THE DRUGS AND DEATH FOR ESPIONAGE BECAUSE THEY DON’T PLAY GAMES IN MOTHER RUSSIA and then a Windows 10 commercial came on and it was so sweet I actually started crying.

[needs oxygen]

Maggie Q walks into a pinball bar to roll up on her contact that might know more about this “Catalan,” who tells her to “stay out of it” and calls Catalan a mercenary and a traitor — the latter a sign that he might be American — and then the president has a standoff with the Russian ambassador about the track coach spy and then MacLeish shows up in Yoba’s office with 10 years of his tax returns, causing another standoff because this show loves parallel standoffs and then Emily makes a basketball analogy about a three-way trade that somehow will get the track coach back on American soil and then WFLOTUS goes to the prison to meet with her ex and he tells her that he’ll shut up about paternity-related things if her husband reduces his sentence and then shut up shut up shut up Yoba’s son has gone missing and MacLeish is the goddamn devil.


WFLOTUS tells Jack that her ex is trying to blackmail them and then Jack semi-alludes that he needs to get a paternity test and then this insane trade between three countries seems like it will work but as soon as you see Jack crack a smile you know it won’t and two seconds later we learn the track coach didn’t get on the plane to the United States because THE GODDAMN TRACK COACH AMERICAN HERO IS A DOUBLE AGENT and then a commercial for a 20/20 special called “The Real Designated Survivor” came on, causing me to laugh because all I could think about was Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and that weird way everyone would say Stephen’s name.

[turns blue]

Maggie goes back to the pinball bar to get more information on Catalan and then Jack meets with the Russian ambassador and called him a pawn and then Jack goes home and tells his son that he loves him but forgets to tell him about the whole paternity thing — which is probably okay since his son hasn’t told him about the whole Molly thing — and then Maggie Q goes into a parking garage alone which means she might die but ultimately her car is broken into and there’s a file on her front seat with all of the information on Catalan, his picture triggering a flashback to a man who worked at the prison where Nasar died and then … wait.

[final breath, good-bye world]

An evil lady walks up to Yoba outside of the baseball fields where his son should have been and shows him a livestream — maybe it’s Periscope, maybe it’s something else, I JUST DON’T KNOW — of Yoba’s son eating ice cream, making it clear that she has him and if Yoba doesn’t comply with all of her demands, the boy will die, which means Yoba has to listen to her and schedule a meeting with the president and communicate only through a phone she gives him and this is so wrong, I hate this show, I hate MacLeish, I hate D.C., I love Wednesday night dramas, this was the best episode of the season.