‘Designated Survivor’ Season 1 Episode 19 Recap and Review: Misalliance

Designated Survivor Episode 19
Colin Woodell, Natascha McElhone and Kiefer Sutherland in ‘Designated Survivor’ episode 19 (Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg / ABC)

“Use every resource available to you but find Agent Wells,” says President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) to John Forstell (Reed Diamond) and Special Agent Mike Ritter (LaMonica Garrett) who have just informed the President that Agent Wells has been kidnapped in season one episode 19 of ABC’s Designated Survivor. As the episode begins, an unconscious Agent Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) is taken out of the van and put in a large storage container. One of Lozano’s thugs puts shackles on her hands and feet, leaves her mouth covered by masking tape, and locks her in.

At the White House, First Lady Alex Kirkman (Natascha McElhone) is talking to a tour of school kids when President Kirkman makes a surprise appearance, even taking a photo with the kids. He’s approached by former President Richmond’s son who’s their teacher and he asks the president if he could help the school get its grant renewed. If not, the music program the kids are in will end. Kirkman tells a cute story of how he tried to learn an instrument but, alas, he wasn’t very good at it. He believes the experience was important, so he tells the young man he’ll see what he can do.


Forstell checks in with Ritter and tells him that even though Agent Wells does things her way, she would have reported in by now. They check on her at her hotel and immediately determine she was never in her hotel room. They pull the video security footage and see Wells being abducted.

Meanwhile, Hookstraten (Virginia Madsen) is being grilled by the Ethics Committee on her Turkey scandal. It becomes clear very quickly that most of the new Congress wants her gone.

Over at the White House, Ritter and Forstell inform President Kirkman of Wells’ kidnapping and he gives them the go-ahead to use all their resources to find her. They also bring him up to speed about Patrick Lloyd (Terry Serpico) possibly being involved in the kidnapping as well as the attack on the Capitol.

Jason Atwood (Malik Yoba) visits a shop to pick up some necessary spy equipment so he can keep tabs on Patrick Lloyd as he promised he would for Wells. He pays a security guard at the metal detector Lloyd will go through before delivering his speech to his followers to swap his lapel pin for another that’s really a tracking device.

Hookstraten meets with Kirkman after her hearing and isn’t sure how it went. Kirkman says he’ll stand by her, no matter what. He also asks if she can use her influence to fast track the grant for the school. Hookstraten admits that with the investigation going on, she has very little clout. Plus, the congressman heading up the school grants program is her adversary. She suggests Kirkman reach out to him instead. Kirkman does as she recommended, but the meeting doesn’t go well and Congressman Saluda is unwilling to fast track the grant.

Patrick Lloyd delivers his “Take America back speech” to an excited crowd that includes FBI agents who are surveilling him without him knowing it. Afterward, Lloyd drives off with Atwood following him not too far behind.

Aaron (Adan Canto) reaches out to his cousin to try to find out how Hookstraten is doing with the Ethics Committee. To his disappointment she tells him it will most likely be a 9 to 3 vote against her. Aaron gives Hookstraten the bad news and she says might have one last hurrah to play before she’s voted out. She meets with Saluda and tells him she’ll resign the speakership and her seat but only if he authorizes the grant for the school. Later, Hookstraten meets with President Kirkman and tells him the deal she struck. Shocked, Kirkman tells her he refuses to accept her stepping down and has other plans for her.

Out in the woods – nothing good ever happens in the woods on this show – Atwood is listening to a conversation with his spy equipment between Patrick Lloyd and Homeland Security Adviser Jay Whitaker (Richard Waugh). He hears them admit they have detained Agent Wells and have been giving the reporter Abe Leonard (Rob Morrow) misinformation. Atwood also discovers the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Hoover Dam are all just decoys, too. Suddenly, Atwood hears noise nearby and goes to check on it only to discover a deer. Atwood turns to go back and is shot twice by one of the conspiracy thugs and left for dead.

Forstell and Ritter track down some files during their investigation and realize someone deleted files. They plan on setting a trap for that person because whoever it is is the traitor. They inform the President about their plan and Ritter wants Kirkman to bring extra security along on the National Summit. Kirkman tells Ritter to handpick the agents but that he needs him to stay with Forstell and find the traitor and Wells.

Later, Alex, noticing something is bothering Tom, tells him to tell her what he can so she can help him and be there for him. “I asked someone to do something for me and it might cost them their life,” says Tom to Alex who hugs him close. Right before the school’s musical performance Kirkman makes an announcement that Hookstraten has been chosen as his Secretary of Education nominee. Seems Hookstraten isn’t leaving D.C. anytime soon.

Wells has been brought a sandwich while trapped in the storage container but hasn’t eaten it. She tells the thug checking on her she can’t reach it and as he goes to take off her chains, he doesn’t realize Wells has already picked the locks and freed herself. She attacks and uses his own knock-out syringe against him. She makes a run for it only to quickly discover that she’s on a barge in the middle of the ocean.

Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 19 Review:

Intriguing and surprising, episode 19 titled “Misalliance” moves the conspiracy forward a little with the revelation that the landmark clues are all red herrings and the big shocks of Atwood getting shot (perhaps fatally) and Wells trapped on the high seas. Unfortunately, the political storyline of saving a school’s art program although timely is not all that exciting and does very little to move the main storylines forward. Also, this is the first episode to put Natascha McElhone’s character, Alex, in a “supportive wife in the background” role. Alex doesn’t have her own real storyline but is simply there to provide Tom emotional support.

With Wells somewhere on the ocean and President Kirkman headed for the summit, this could be what the people behind the conspiracy have been waiting for to make their next deadly move.

GRADE: B-

More on Designated Survivor:
Designated Survivor Episode 18 Recap
Designated Survivor Episode 17 Recap
Designated Survivor Episode 16 Recap