‘Designated Survivor’ Season 2 Episode 10 Recap and Review: Line of Fire

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Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 10 Recap

Natascha McElhone and Zoe McLellan in ‘Designated Survivor’ season 2 episode 10 (ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)

“One way or another, this investigation ends today,” says Alex (Natasha McElhone) to White House Counsel Kendra Daynes (Zoe McLellan) as she goes in to face John Forstell (Reed Diamond) and give her testimony in ABC’s mid-season finale of Designated Survivor.

As season two episode 10 begins, Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) goes through Damian Rennett’s (Ben Lawson) things while he sleeps. She finds a flash drive and downloads its content onto her computer. Just as Rennett is waking, she finishes and turns off the computer. She offers to get him some aspirin, but he decides to take her back to bed.

Meanwhile at the White House, President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) and his staff are dealing with how to handle a national park wildfire that’s been burning for over 20 days. They agree it’s best if they just let the fire burn itself out, however Aaron (Adan Canto) reports from the scene of the fire that there are a handful of diehard religious believers, led by Deacon Sheridan, who have barricaded themselves in the cabin. They are refusing to leave unless the Deacon gets to speak with the President.

Aaron talks to the Deacon who tells him he wants a little girl named Grace who’s been hospitalized to be given back to her mother so that God’s will can intervene. Grace needs an operation to save her life, but her mother and the group don’t believe in using blood transfusions, believing it’s not God’s will. Until he hears Grace is back with her mother, Deacon Sheridan’s group will stay put in the cabin – even if it means the fire will consume them.


Kirkman sends Emily (Italia Ricci) to talk to the mother to see if she can reason with her. Emily meets with Grace’s mother, Carrie, but she won’t change her mind since it would mean denying her daughter entrance into heaven if she agreed to the blood transfusion.

Kendra and Lyor Boone (Paulo Costanzo) suggest that Kirkman talk to the Deacon via video to see if they can declare him mentally unstable, allowing them to legally demand his followers evacuate the park. Kirkman tries talking to the Deacon about evacuating, but Sheridan is adamant they won’t leave until Grace is back with her mother and out of the hospital. After listening to the conversation, Kendra determines that although the Deacon may be a fanatic, he does not fall under the category of being mentally unstable. They don’t have legal grounds to remove them by force.

Wells is working with Chuck Russink (Jake Epstein) to uncover what they can about Rennett, and Chuck discovers it was Rennett’s phone number that called their suspect and gave him a head start to escape. Chuck tells Wells that Rennet is suspect and she needs to be careful.

Back at the White House, Aaron gets a heads up from Detective Blakey (Dillon Casey) that Rennett is not what he seems to be. Blakey gives him a video and tells him to watch it so he knows who he’s dealing with.

Kendra meets with Forstell and asks for a postponement of the hearing. Forstell and Kendra go back and forth, and he gives her a counteroffer to take to the First Lady. It’s an obstruction plea with no time served. Kendra takes the offer to Alex who seems happy to take the deal and put all of this behind them. However, Tom is concerned about Alex’s reputation and this plea following her everywhere she goes. “You are innocent and that’s where I stand,” says the President as he leaves the room.

Wells meets with Aaron who shows her the surveillance footage of the warehouse fire she and Rennett investigated. It turns out he was there two hours before she showed up and set the fire. Aaron confronts Wells on having a physical relationship with Rennett, suggesting she’s compromised. “You let him play you,” says Aaron to an upset Wells who refuses to be benched from the investigation. Aaron tells Wells she’ll be on a short leash and that they will set up a sting on Rennett.

Kirkman meets with one of the best open heart surgeons who lost his license a few years back due to performing a procedure on a patient that wasn’t yet approved by the medical board. Kirkman offers to reinstate him as a doctor if he’ll perform the operation on little Grace. He agrees to try but says he can’t make any promises because of her young age and the high risk factor of the operation.

Wells meets up with Rennett to exchange gifts (it’s Christmas time) and she gives him a fancy watch. She says she has to get back to work but she’ll see him tonight for dinner. Later, Wells and Chuck track Rennett by the watch Wells gave him because, of course, it’s bugged. The two discover Rennett is at Wells’ apartment going through her laptop.

Alex is preparing for her deposition when Tom comes in to wish her luck. Before he leaves, he tells her that he hates she’s going through all this and when it’s over later tonight he’ll make it up to her. Making her smile for the first time in weeks, Alex tells Tom she’s going to hold him to that.

Kirkman speaks to Carrie about her daughter and convinces her to let her daughter have the life-saving surgery.

Things get complicated again though when the doctor tells Carrie that Grace is going to need a blood transfusion and that Carrie has the same blood type. Carrie wants to save her daughter but believes transferring blood is a sin and against God. Emily reminds Carrie she carried Grace for nine months and gave her everything she needed; this is no different. Carrie’s blood is her daughter’s blood. Emily’s words hit home and Carrie agrees to go ahead with the transfusion.

Alex and Kendra show up to the disposition which was supposed to be private. The press got wind of it and bombard Alex with questions as she enters the building. Kendra tells Forstell they want the proceedings to be unsealed. He agrees.

Little Grace makes it out of surgery and is going to be fine. The President informs the Deacon via video chat and they agree to be evacuated by the firefighters.

Aaron meets again with Wells after receiving new intelligence indicating Rennett has been meeting with a Russian agent. He suspects that the British agent may have been turned.

At the proceedings, Alex reads an opening statement into the record including all the facts of the FBI investigation into she and her mother, as well as Forstell opening a committee to research his run for a Senate seat. Furious and surprised, Forstell screams for the recorder to be turned off.

Wells meets with Rennett on a bridge and after a kiss tells him she knows about everything. She reveals she knows he set the fire and he accessed her laptop. Rennett tries to tell Wells he can explain, but he needs to get something out of his pocket to show her. “You reach for it and you’re dead,” says Wells, pointing her gun at him. Rennett reaches for it and Wells shoots him. Rennett falls into the river and disappears.

Kirkman goes to the hospital to see baby Grace. He misses his wife’s call and she leaves a message telling him they beat the case and it’s finally over. She says she loves him.

Wells is sitting at a bar getting quietly drunk while down the river up pops Rennett. He drags himself out and unzips his jacket to reveal he’s wearing a bullet-proof vest.

The First Lady’s motorcade is driving Alex back to the White House when a truck slams into her side of the car. A Secret Service agent checks on Alex and is shocked and upset with what he sees.

Kirkman is starting to leave the hospital when he receives a call and stops to take it. After a few seconds, he drops the phone and falls to his knees, devastated.

Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 10 Review

Dramatic and shocking, episode 10 titled “Line of Fire” reveals the terrible and tragic end of First Lady Alex Kirkman as actress Natascha McElhone exits the show permanently. It’s just a waste to have a smart and tough character like the First Lady be taken out by a senseless accident. If her death was tied to the leftover conspirators of the Capitol bombing from the first season or a brand new threat facing the nation, it could have been the catalyst to bring the show back to its suspenseful origins.

The entire storyline of religious fanatics, the wildfire, and trying to save an innocent baby felt contrived and not very believable. The second storyline of the reveal that Rennett might actually be an enemy is another substandard plot compared to the original and intriguing storylines of the show’s first season.

With the First Lady gone and President Kirkman now a widower, here’s hoping the series doesn’t become a melodramatic soap opera with a grieving President trying to run a country and his staff playing matchmaker for their boss.

GRADE: C+

More on Designated Survivor:
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 1 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 2 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 3 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 4 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 5 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 6 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 7 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 9 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 11 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 16 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 17 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 18 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 20 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 21 Recap
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 22 Recap




Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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