“We need to talk,” says Damian Rennett (Ben Lawson) to Agent Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) while holding a gun on her as season two episode 12 of ABC’s political thriller series Designated Survivor begins. Rennett puts down the gun, attempting to get Wells to listen to what he has to say and to trust him. She picks up the gun and knocks him out with it.
In the White House, President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) makes breakfast for his daughter, Penny (Mckenna Grace), but she doesn’t feel like eggs. He makes her promise to eat the fruit he’s given her on the ride to school. President Kirkman then heads to the office and talks via satellite with the commander of a space station to let her and the other astronauts know that the rocket bringing water, food, and other desperately needed supplies to them will be firing off shortly.
Meanwhile, Wells and Aaron (Adan Canto) are questioning Rennett who keeps trying to tell them time-sensitive information but they keep asking about who turned him and what he knows about the Russians. Rennett confirms he was recruited by the Russians years ago but that now they need to stop the launching of the rocket because the U.S. space agency has been hacked.
Kirkman gets updated on the threat of the rocket being hijacked. However, since the intel came from a Russian spy, he believes they shouldn’t trust it and should go forward with the launch. They do, and at first everything goes fine. But then the rocket goes rogue and heads back to earth and toward a populated area. To avoid anyone from being hurt or killed, they self-destruct the rocket with the astronauts’ supplies.
Kirkman meets with the Russian ambassador to convince him to get his country to help transport the much-needed supplies to the astronauts using their country’s supply rocket. The meeting doesn’t go well and Moss (Geoff Pierson) tells Kirkman they can’t trust or count on the ambassador. Kirkman has Seth (Kal Penn) hold a press conference in which he makes sure to paint the Russians in a negative light. He also announces they have a spy in custody. When Kirkman meets with the Russian ambassador again, he’s angry but assures the President he’ll get his countrymen behind launching the rocket.
Back in the interrogation room, Rennett tells Wells and Aaron that America’s space program is not the only program compromised and that the Russians have also been hacked by a major hacker. He has a lead through a retired hacker who might know the identity of the master hacker. Wells and Rennett (wearing an ankle bracelet) visit the retired hacker.
Meanwhile, there’s more trouble up in space as the hackers have messed with the space station again and now their cooling system isn’t working. The space station is now beginning to slowly cook the badly dehydrated astronauts. Kirkman has his staff reach out to the person who helped design the system, Dr. Andrea Frost (Kim Raver).
Wells and Rennett talk to the retired Russian hacker and he gives them a lead named Ollie who should know who’s behind the major hack of the space station. With Chuck’s (Jake Epstein) help, they track him to a flower show. When Wells approaches Ollie, he makes a run for it so they give chase. He finds cover and begins to shoot at Wells. Rennett has a shot so he tells Wells to toss him her gun. She does, and he wounds Ollie. Wells has a wounded Ollie tell Chuck what he knows of the codes and who might be behind it so that Chuck can do his magic and hopefully find a new lead.
Back at the White House, Kirkman gets word that his daughter had a fight with a girl at school. He talks to Emily (Italia Ricci) about it and worries he’s not helping his daughter deal with her mother’s death. Emily assures him that just by being there for her (and Penny knowing he’s there) makes a difference.
Dr. Frost comes up with an idea of how to manually change the space station’s temperature to cool it down. Fortunately, it works.
Chuck has been working hard and figures out the hacks had to be uploaded manually. After checking through the personnel records and the space station’s schedule, he zeroes in on a plumber who was at NASA and planted the malware to be uploaded. He gives Wells and Rennett the address. When they check it out, they’re met at the door by the man’s wife who tells them he’s dead. The widow lets them look around and after doing a little snooping, Wells finds the swipe card the plumber used to install the hack. His background indicates he’s just a mark and not the mastermind hacker. He died the day after he installed the malware.
Kirkman meets with Penny’s principal and says he believes his daughter’s just acting out. The principal tells Kirkman that she’s not. It turns out Penny is protecting other kids from the school bullies. The principal suggests Penny needs to channel her energy and caring into something positive.
Wells brings Rennett into custody and he admits he’s sorry. She asks if he was reaching for a gun the night she shot him on the bridge and he replies that he wasn’t.
The Russian ambassador meets with Kirkman after the Russian rocket with supplies successfully docks at the space station. He thanks the President for making his concession. Kirkman acts like he knows what the ambassador is talking about, but he doesn’t. Later, he finds out Moss made a deal with the ambassador on behalf of the President without his knowledge.
Kirkman meets with Moss and is upset Moss abused his position. Moss assures the President he had to make the tough choice because since Tom’s wife died, he’s been overly cautious and not fulfilling his duties as President. Kirkman tells Moss he cannot excuse away his undermining his authority. “Your services are no longer required,” says Kirkman, dismissing Moss.
That evening, Tom has dinner with his daughter and informs her they need a “no hurt” plan. Anytime she needs to tell him how much she misses mommy, she should. He’ll do the same. Tom then starts talking about some happy memories he has of Penny’s mom and she begins to share with him as well.
The final scene is the President’s team getting word that the video of his visit with the man who killed his wife has been leaked.
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 10 Recap
– Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 11 Recap
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