“There are times to say no, but this isn’t one of them,” says Alex Kirkman (Natascha McElhone) to her husband, Tom (Kiefer Sutherland), as she remembers back to when she talked him into accepting the position offered to him by the President of the United States in ABC’s political thriller, Designated Survivor, season one episode 11.
After a very long midseason break, the popular show returns right where it left off with the unnamed assassin firing his shot but his aim being off, thanks to Agent Wells (Maggie Q) shooting at him. Episode 11 picks up with Kirkman protecting his wife, Alex, by pulling her down to the ground but then realizes he’s been shot. THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN SHOT!
The President’s on a gurney being wheeled into the hospital and is told, after a quick examination, it looks like the bullet went straight through and didn’t hit anything vital. Kirkman sends for Mike Ritter (LaMonica Garrett) and tells him to question Agent Wells, who’s currently in custody, to find out what she knows.
Emily (Italia Ricci) finds the First Lady and tells her Aaron’s name was on the list Kirkman had her checking on, indicating he might be involved in the conspiracy. Alex tells Emily not to let Aaron near Tom and to keep an eye on him.
Kirkman gets some upsetting news from his doctor. It appears there are some pieces of shrapnel in his chest that could be life-threatening if they move, so the doctors have to go in and take them out. This means he must go in for surgery and will be unconscious so he’ll have to enact the 25th Amendment and put the Vice President in charge. (OH NO!) After telling his wife, he asks to see Senator Kimble (Virginia Madsen) in private in his hospital room. He tells Kimble that although they haven’t really agreed on many issues, he thinks she does act in what she believes is the best interest of the country. He tells her to keep an eye on MacLeish (Ashley Zukerman) and says, “Make sure he’s working in the country’s best interests.” Kimble nods in agreement.
Meanwhile, MacLeish and his wife are trying to figure out what went wrong. “We need to wash our hands of this,” says MacLeish. But his calmer and cooler wife, Beth (Lara Jean Chorostecki), tells him the mission didn’t fail entirely and calls him Mr. Vice President, reminding him he’s only one seat away from the big chair. When they hear about Kirkman going in for surgery, Beth tells her husband he should make the most of what little time he has as acting president.
In an interrogation room, Wells is being questioned but refuses to answer. Mike enters and advises her President Kirkman sent him and if she knows anything about the man who tried to shoot POTUS, she needs to tell him. She tells Mike she doesn’t know him and if President Kirkman wants answers, she will only tell him in person. Mike informs Wells that MacLeish is the acting president and she looks concerned but still remains quiet.
Back at the White House, MacLeish gets his briefing and decides to let the markets play out the crisis even though everyone is advising him to order the SEC to shut down the markets to avoid panic. Later in the Oval Office, Kimble tells MacLeish that when she first met him, she didn’t really think much of him but now she realizes just how ambitious he is. She lets him know she’s going to be watching him. “Are you threatening me?” asks the Vice President. “Absolutely, sir,” replies Kimble.
Back in the FBI interrogation room, Wells still won’t talk and as Mike starts to leave she attacks him, jumping on him. During their struggle she whispers something in his ear. The guards race in and subdue her.
Mike visits Chuck (Jake Epstein) asking about Wells and what she knows about the man who tried to kill President Kirkman. After saying a word Wells gave Mike, Chuck believes him and tries to quickly bring him up to speed. Chuck reveals the new Vice President is linked to the man who tried to shoot Kirkman.
Meanwhile, the government has tracked down the suspect they believe shot Kirkman. In the situation room, MacLeish gives the greenlight to go after the suspect and tells the general to give the order to shoot to kill. Aaron (Adan Canto) tries to talk him out of his decision saying Kirkman would want the man alive to see who hired him and who’s behind this, but MacLeish won’t listen and tells the general again to give the order, which he does. They learn the subject has been neutralized.
Later, Aaron corners Emily telling her he learned she’s been checking on his phone records. She tells him she’s not at liberty to discuss it. “Am I being investigated?” asks a shocked Aaron, and Emily repeats the same sentence.
Back at the hospital, Alex gets the good news the surgery was a success and Tom is out of the woods. Kirkman wakes to see his wife smiling down at him as she says, “Hi.”
The next morning, Kirkman has Emily, Alex, and Seth (Kal Penn) in his room going over what’s happened while he was in surgery and recovering. He hears about how MacLeish kept the markets open and how Wall Street has plummeted. He sends Seth down to talk to the press who are hovering outside the hospital along with a large crowd of citizens. As Seth keeps answering the same questions from the press and is getting annoyed, he hears the crowd start to cheer and applaud. He looks up to see President Kirkman in his hospital robe by the open window waving to the crowd with Alex standing by his side. (It’s a great scene!)
The last scene has Mike arriving at Kirkman’s hospital room. Tom asks him if she’s here and Mike answers yes. Kirkman tells everyone he needs the room and they clear out, and Mike clears the floor of the hospital. Wells walks in and Kirkman says, “I understand you have some things to tell me about the Vice President.” “Yes, sir, I do,” answers Wells. “Then let’s get started,” replies Kirkman.
Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 11 Review:
Suspenseful and revealing, episode 11 titled “Warriors” brings the political thriller back with the urgent question finally answered, who was shot – Kirkman. It also brought Kirkman and Wells together, finally, to hopefully work on who’s behind the conspiracy as a team.
The stand-out performance goes to Natascha McElhone as First Lady Alex Kirkman who goes through a wide range of emotions including anger, fear, guilt, pride, and love as she waits to see if her husband is going to survive the surgery. It’s the first episode of the series that really gave McElhone some powerful scenes to play out.
With President Kirkman about to be brought up to speed about his Vice President being in on the Capitol attack and Kimble seeming to be backing him, it looks as though for once the good guys have the upper hand…for once. Let’s see what they do with it.