‘Designated Survivor’ Season 2 Episode 22 Recap and Review: Series Finale Ends on a Cliffhanger

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Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 22 Recap

Paulo Costanzo in ‘Designated Survivor’ season 2 episode 22 (ABC/Sven Frenzel)

“You will always have a seat next to me, Emily,” says President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) to his Chief of Staff as she hands him her resignation letter in season 2 episode 22 of ABC’s political thriller, Designated Survivor.

As the episode begins, the President and his Secret Service race to the hospital to check on Emily who was shot by a sniper. Turns out he was a bad shot and it only grazed her arm. Emily (Italia Ricci) is ready to get back on the job. (Really?! After just being shot? C’mon!)

The next day at the White House, Ethan West (Michael J. Fox) presents the recommended charges he’s given to the Attorney General against President Kirkman. They include burglary, witness tampering, and obstruction of government proceedings. Kendra (Zoe McLellan) informs West and the Attorney General that the President did none of the things he’s being accused of. West responds by saying Agent Wells did and the President is guilty of conspiracy.

The Attorney General and the two lead senators of both parties suggest to Kirkman that all of this could be avoided if he announced that he has no intention of running for another term. Kirkman ends the meeting.

In the U.S. territory Taurasi, Seth Wright (Kal Penn) and Lyor Boone (Paulo Costanzo) are meeting with the Governor to convince him not to break away from being a U.S. territory. The Governor doesn’t see the benefit of being tied to the U.S. and wants to be its own entity.

Aaron Shore (Adan Canto) meets with Kendra who tells him to get rid of this problem facing the President, Wells needs to testify. Aaron tells her that’s not going to happen because she went off the grid and he can’t find her until she wants to be found.


Over in London, Agent Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) is looking for Rennett’s daughter, Amy, who she believes Valeria the Russian assassin wants dead. With Chuck Russink’s help, Wells gets a lead on where to find Amy.

Back in D.C., Kirkman’s called into the Command Ops Center and is told that a massive earthquake has occurred and created a tsunami headed straight for Taurisi. He watches in horror as the tsunami hits the beaches and heads inland.

Knowing Taurasi will need help, Kirkman meets with the senators of both parties to try to come to an agreement on sending them aid and money. Both senators play politics and say Taurasi is not America’s major concern because they wanted to break away. They offer up a token $3 million which Aaron points out is basically $3 per person.

Angry and fed up with dirty politics, Kirkman asks Kendra to see if there’s a way he can get around Congress with an executive order to help Taurasi. Brainstorming, Kendra tells Emily the President can temporarily redistribute funds. She gets to work on it.

Back in London, Wells finds Amy but Amy clocks her and makes a run for it. She appears to know bad people are after her and believes Wells is one of them. Wells later catches up with Amy and corners her, telling her about her father and that she only wants to protect her. Amy decides to trust Wells, for the moment.

Meanwhile, Taurasi has enough power for Kirkman to speak with Boone via satellite. Kirkman tells him he’s relieved he’s okay and to get an update on the situation. Boone and the Governor inform the President is grave. At least 100 people are dead and massive power outages expand over the island. Kirkman asks where Seth is, telling Boone he wants his input. Boone confesses Seth is still missing.

Meanwhile in London, Amy reveals to Wells she shared a secret safe with her father. Wells tells her they need to check it out. Wells also says whoever is after her is most likely looking for something her father had. When they get there the safe is empty much to Wells’ disappointment. However, Amy reveals it was a list of names on a piece of paper. Amy also tells Wells that she has a photographic memory and has all five pages of names as well as the addresses that were on the list.

Wells realizes after talking with Chuck (Jake Epstein) that the list is a “noc list” of British agents.

Kirkman’s executive action gets shot down by Congress and the Chief Justice because Emily made the mistake of approaching the Justice at a memorial for a colleague. He found that to be in very bad taste and tells the President she should be fired for such behavior. Kirkman meets with Emily after the Chief Justice leaves and scolds her for what she did but leaves it at that.

West meets with Cornelius Moss (Geoff Pierson) and Moss reveals he plans for West and wants him to be his advisor. West replies that he’s happy where he is. He seems to be bothered by Moss’ behavior.

In Taurasi, Boone continues to search for Seth and finally finds him no worse for wear. The two colleagues and friends hug awkwardly and head back to update the President.

Seth, Boone, and the Taurasi Governor explain the south part of the island took the worst hit and there’s looting and chaos happening. This gives Kirkman and his staff the idea to use an AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) to send in food and supplies via the military after the Governor declares the area “a war zone.” The Governor agrees but when Moss gets wind of what the President did, he tries to spin it as though Kirkman sees himself as a dictator not willing to work with Congress or anyone else who disagrees with his ideas or actions.

Over in London, Wells sets a trap for Valeria using Amy as bait back at her apartment. After a few hours, Valeria makes her move and Wells is there to take her on. They fight and Valeria manages to stab Wells and makes a break to get away. However Wells isn’t badly wounded and gives chase, ultimately getting the drop on Valeria. Valeria reminds her she’s an FBI agent and has no jurisdiction to arrest her. Wells responds by shooting her dead. Before leaving, Wells searches her pockets and secures a flash drive.

Emily meets with Kirkman and hands him her resignation which he refuses to accept. She admits she has lost her way and has found herself doing things she never thought she would to protect him. She’s afraid if she stays, she’ll do something he won’t be able to protect her from. She would never want to do anything to hurt him. “You will always have a seat next to me,” says Kirkman as he’s called away to meet with West.

In the Oval Office, Kirkman tells West he really doesn’t have time for him and West promises to be quick. He’s realized that out of everyone in D.C., Kirkman doesn’t play the angles. “You don’t scheme, you serve,” says West.

West hands Kirkman a piece of paper reminding Kirkman he gave it to him and he’s giving it back hoping it helps. West leaves and Kirkman looks at the paper and sees nothing on it; it’s blank. Kirkman remembers that before West investigated him he gave West a blank piece of paper saying these were his demands. Since it was blank, it meant everything was open for discussion.

Wells is about to take a cab to the airport to return home when Amy explains that with her father dead, she doesn’t have anyone in London. Wells reluctantly agrees to let Amy come stay with her back in D.C., but the minute she doesn’t listen to her she’ll send her back to London. Smiling, Amy hails them a cab. Wells says out loud to herself, “This is a bad idea.”

President Kirkman addresses the nation and announces his intention to run. He wants to continue to be America’s president as an independent and to keep working for the good of the people.

Wells and Amy board the plane and head for the States. While Amy sleeps, Wells puts the flash drive into her computer to see what’s on it. She’s shocked to find photos of Emily meeting with Valeria and handing her documents!

Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 22 Review:

Unlike the first season-ender, season two episode 22 titled “Run” failed to have the same sense of suspense, urgency, and intrigue that made the first season of Designated Survivor thrilling and engaging to watch. The season two finale of the political thriller/drama, and most likely the series finale (ABC didn’t renew the series for a third season), focused on charges possibly being brought against the President. They would never hold up in court once Wells testified, so the drama just wasn’t there.

The best written storyline of the episode was the tsunami disaster in Taurasi. The special effects were impressive, and the struggle to get aid to them during tough and hostile political times on both sides was engaging to watch unfold.

The constant changing of Emily’s moral and ethical conscience also became a problem this season. The evolution of character strayed too far from how she was written and portrayed in the first season. Hence, her actions didn’t ring true or feel authentic.

Overall, the season/series finale was much like many of the episodes this season, lacking any real tension and turning what used to be a smart, original, and exciting political thriller into a weak and at times boring political soap opera.

GRADE: B-

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
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 12 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




Kevin Finnerty

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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