‘Designated Survivor’ Season 1 Episode 15 Recap and Review: One Hundred Days

Designated Survivor Episode 15
Italia Ricci, Kiefer Sutherland, and Kal Penn in ‘Designated Survivor’ episode 15 (ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)

“I am hoping today to reset the clock. I would like my first hundred days to begin now,” says President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) at a press conference where journalists are only too happy to get on board with the idea. Watching the event on television, Aaron (Adan Canto) sends a text to Seth (Kal Penn) telling him it’s a great idea. Seth texts back it was actually Emily’s (Italia Ricci) in episode 15 of ABC’s political thriller, Designated Survivor.

After the successful press conference, Emily and Seth get to work with the staff on figuring out which policies to focus on for the first 100 days. Once again, Kirkman steps in and gives everyone a few words of positive encouragement. “Our government will be the phoenix rising from the ashes,” says President Kirkman.


Meanwhile, while working to uncover the conspiracy Agent Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) is staying with Chuck (Jake Epstein), her computer hacker friend and one of the few people she trusts as she attempts to keep a low profile. She asks him if he can pull a fingerprint off of a photo and to her surprise he can. The search is on now to identify the mystery woman.

Out for a jog, Aaron gets a call from a young lady and heads back to his apartment to wait for her. Turns out it’s his cousin, Nadia (Mercedes de la Zerda), who’s in town trying to get a job on Capitol Hill. She’s reaching out to her cousin for help and moral support.

At a luncheon, First Lady Alex Kirkman (Natascha McElhone) is delivering a speech and gets hit with a few questions she’s not expecting. At first it’s all right but when she’s asked about gun control, she goes off on a tangent. Alex feels passionate about the topic and says, “We need to deal with guns differently in this country.” The conservatives are not happy with her answer, believing it to be part of her husband’s main policy goals in his first 100 days.

Seth and Emily inform the President who talks to Alex, telling her he needs her to walk back her comments and she needs to make it clear she was speaking for herself and not the White House. Feeling bad that she made waves and created a political problem for Tom, Alex agrees to do it although she does let her husband know she’s not used to backpedaling. She gives a televised interview and does a great job of making clear she’s still getting used to being the First Lady. She admits she spoke from her heart but not on behalf of the White House. She adds that she’s very excited about her husband’s political agendas.

Wells finds Jason Atwood (Malik Yoba) to tell him she’s discovered the identity of the mystery woman who’s responsible for the death of his son. Her name is Brooke Matheson (Mariana Klaveno) and at first Atwood doesn’t want to know more, but once Wells reveals her identity and that she knows her location, he’s all in to go and get her.

Over on the Hill, Aaron lands his cousin an interview with a congresswoman. While waiting for her, Speaker Hookstraten (Virginia Madsen) spots him and asks how he’s doing. She offers Aaron help if he ever needs it, and he thanks her.

Wells and Atwood are on the hunt for Matheson when they’re almost hit by a reckless driver. Atwood overreacts almost punching the jerk. Wells tells him she can’t have him along if he’s like this and that she’ll take him home, but he says he’ll just walk.

When Wells gets to the building where Matheson should be, she sees it’s been cleared out. What Wells doesn’t know is that she’s being watched by Matheson on video.

Back at Chuck’s apartment, he has tracked down the company controlling the abandoned building and discovered it’s Browning Reed. “Do you smell that?” asks Wells. Chuck says that the gas guy was at the building to check for a gas leak but that it’s okay. Wells reminds Chuck it’s the fire department’s job to check out gas leaks. “Run!” yells Wells. As the two sprint down the hall, Chuck’s apartment blows up nearly killing them. A little later while still waiting for the ringing in his ears to stop, Chuck tells Wells that Browning Reed has another building here in D.C.

Meanwhile back at the White House, Emily and Seth are prepping Kirkman for his Town Hall. Although he’s answering the questions, Seth and Emily tell him he’s coming off like a stuffy professor and he needs to personalize his answers more. At the actual Town Hall, Kirkman handles himself extremely presidentially. He’s personable and doesn’t just recite facts and figures, but is honest to those with questions including a man who lost his job. When he asks President Kirkman what’s he going to do to bring jobs back, he answers that as bad as he feels for the man, his job is gone. But, he does give him hope about government programs and the creation of lists of those who lost their jobs over the last four years. Those people will go straight to the top of the list for help finding another.

Just as it seems Kirkman has the Town Hall in his pocket, a woman describes how her daughter was killed by her ex-boyfriend because even though he had gotten out of jail, he was able to get a gun and shoot her dead. Kirkman answers the woman by telling her he will work on coming up with a more reasonable stance on gun laws. As he closes the Town Hall, he goes over to the woman and hugs her. The hug is met with applause from the audience. Aaron and Nadia are watching it at his apartment and she says to him that Kirkman is really good. “It’s because he means it,” answers Aaron with admiration in his voice.

The next day Aaron visits Hookstraten and asks her if she would help him, like she offered. She asks what he wants and he asks if she would introduce him to a lobbyist. “Washington needs you on the inside. You’re too talented to leave it,” says Hookstraten. Aaron asks if she has any ideas for him and she suggests he work for her.

Kirkman sits down with the leading senators and House representatives to find a way to start to work together for the good of the country, reminding them he’s a registered independent and he sees that as a strength not a weakness to accomplishing this. Unfortunately for Kirkman, the Montana senator hijacks the gun bill after the meeting when he’s speaking to the press, saying how HE will reintroduce it to Congress. This puts Kirkman in a corner. If he supports it as is with all its flaws, he’ll appear as a weak president. But if he opposes it, he comes across as a backpedaler after his speech at the Town Hall.

Wells gets ready to check out the other building in her search for Matheson and asks Atwood how long he’s been following her. “Since the explosion,” admits Atwood who asks if she’s okay. The two team up to check out the dark and apparently deserted building, quickly finding out the building isn’t empty. They find Matheson who gets the drop on Wells but Atwood has her back and almost shoots her dead. Wells tells him not to since they need her alive. Matheson doesn’t give up and instead goes for a small, hidden gun, prompting both Atwood and Wells to shoot her dead. Wells searches her body and finds a flash drive. She plugs it into a computer and what comes up is extremely disturbing, a virtual simulation of American landmarks including the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge being targeted for terrorists attacks. “Oh my god,” exclaims Wells.

Designated Survivor Episode 15 Review:

Suspenseful, dramatic, and with a surprising ending, episode 15 titled “One Hundred Days” sees the first real move toward getting Kirkman’s administration off and running, while advancing the much bigger plot of unveiling who’s behind the death and destruction that took place at the Capitol.

Kiefer Sutherland once again owns the episode as President Kirkman, a decent man trying to fill the role of president and rebuild the nation while dealing with crafty and self-serving politicians who are constantly looking to play an angle or benefit themselves somehow. Sutherland really shined in the Town Hall scene where Kirkman delivers honest answers to some tough and emotional questions regarding real heartache and fears.

With Kirkman and his rookie staff working to rebuild the nation and actually begin his presidency and Agent Wells coming across evidence of future American targets, it should be a very intense remainder of the season.

GRADE: B




Kevin Finnerty