“Sir, they need to see you in Command Ops. The Verona is sinking,” says Mike Ritter (LaMonica Garrett) to President Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) as his boss struggles to save a U.S.S. Destroyer in hostile waters in season two episode six of ABC’s political thriller series, Designated Survivor.
As the episode begins, the U.S.S. Verona is in the Persian Gulf dealing with a storm when she collides with a garbage barge from Kunami. 16 crewmen have lost their lives, and the captain was one of them. Kirkman is brought up to speed about the international incident and tells his staff he wants to speak with the officer now in charge. That’s turns out to be Lt. Griffin (Gregory Smith) who brings the President up to speed on the condition of the ship and the crew. The President assures Griffin he’ll get his crew back home.
Moments later, Secretary Moss (Geoff Pierson) offers the President assistance with Thorne’s murder, letting him know that he has a good past relationship with the Prime Minister. Kirkman thanks Moss and tells him to visit Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) and she’ll bring him up to speed.
Over at the FBI, Agents Wells and Damian Rennett (Ben Lawson) talk to Ms. Peyton Lane who tells them Cray’s wife moved a large number of Euros from her husband’s account just after he got shot. Wells and Rennett decide to go see Cray, convinced she’s behind the murder of Thorne.
Back at the White House, Aaron (Adan Canto) talks to the Ambassador of Kunami who’s upset an American Destroyer was in its waters and relays the info his country’s leader is convinced it was there spying on their country. Aaron tries to convey that all the President wants to do is work out a rescue mission, but the ambassador will not allow any other American ships in their waters. In fact, a little while later Kirkman learns of a blockade by the Kunami government to stop any rescue ships.
Emily (Italia Ricci) is extremely distracted and is repeating herself. Seth (Kal Penn) notices and asks what’s wrong. She confides in him that she’s supposed to have lunch with her father who walked out on her and her mom 23 years ago. Seth tells her he would never tell her what to do, but that she shouldn’t use the chaos at the White House as an excuse to see her dad and face her past.
Emily visits her dad and confronts him about walking out on his family. He reveals he didn’t think he could be in her life if he wasn’t with her mother. Emily tells her father about birthday after birthday hoping he would show up or send a card, which he never did. She tells him to say goodbye and as he starts to leave, he shows her an old newspaper clipping of her winning the national spelling bee when she was 13 years old, giving the clip to her to keep. As he walks away, Emily gets teary-eyed and calls out to him.
Wells and Rennett sit down to talk with Mrs. Cray and her lawyer, and she still insists she had nothing to do with Thorne’s murder or her husband’s business. Her lawyer threatens the agents with a lawsuit. Chuck Russink (Jake Epstein) pulls Wells and Rennett out of the meeting to show them a video he found of Peyton Lane being taken hostage. The kidnappers declare that if Darius isn’t extradited to Malaysia, they will kill her.
Back at the White House, in-house council Kendra Daynes (Zoe McLellan) approaches the President and tells him she needs to have full access to the First Lady’s mother in order to try to kill her hearing. Kirkman reluctantly agrees.
Meanwhile, the Kunami government holds a presser claiming the U.S. warship was spying on their country and is now their property. The Admiral of the U.S. Fleet tells the President that indeed the U.S.S. Verona was spying and they cannot afford to let the ship be taken by the Kunami government because of the diplomatic mess it would create. Kirkman reminds everyone his first priority is to save the men on board.
Emily’s dad is visiting the White House and in a running gag-style of humor keeps getting sidelined while Emily keeps getting pulled in to do her job. She and Aaron meet with some senators to see if the President can get Congress to lift the sanctions on Kunami to appease them into letting them save the crew. However, the vibe is that the Hill won’t go for it. They tell Kirkman how it went and Ritter informs Kirkman he’s needed in Command Ops because the ship is now sinking.
President Kirkman talks to Captain Griffin (yes, Kirkman promoted him to Captain) and tells him to let his crew know they’re taking the diplomatic route but will save them. Griffin informs the President he and his crew are willing to go down with the ship if that’s what needs to happen. Kirkman assures Griffin it won’t come to that.
Wells and Rennett meet with Moss and tell him they believe Mrs. Cray is behind the Thorne murder and Lane kidnapping. Moss says moving Darius to Malaysia is out because he’ll only get a slap on the wrist for all his crimes since he has major holdings in East Asia. Wells and Rennett head out to track down Ms. Lane.
Kendra meets with the First Lady’s mother, Eva Booker (Bonnie Bedelia), trying to get her to sign a document saying she hasn’t had any contact with contractor Eric Little for 30 years. Booker doesn’t want to sign and says maybe she’ll have her own attorney look at it. Finally, Booker admits she did see Little about three or four weeks ago, but it slipped her mind because it was only for a few minutes. This could open up the First Lady to charges of obstruction of justice.
The Verona is taking on more water and has only five or six hours left to stay afloat. Running out of options and realizing all of this tilts in favor of Kunami, Kirkman orders a re-creation of the Verona’s collision with the garbage vessel. In recreating it, they realize the Kunami vessel turned at the Verona and speed up, deliberately ramming the ship. Kirkman confronts the Kunami ambassador with this new information, and he responds by informing Kirkman the U.S. has turned his nation into a pariah. He threatens to bring in neighboring allies against America in the name of war.
Kirkman returns to Command Ops and tells the Admiral to run the blockade, adding, “Admiral, if they engage sink every ship they’ve got.” The result is good news as all of the dead have been accounted for and the rescue ship saves the crew of the U.S.S. Verona.
Meanwhile, Wells, Rennett, and Chuck are watching the hostage video of Lane when they realize she mentions siblings but in fact she is an only child. It’s a code that Chuck breaks and they realize she’s giving them the names of the cross streets of where she’s being held captive. Wells and Rennett charge in with a handful of FBI men, take out the kidnappers, and save Lane.
Everyone on board the Verona has evacuated except Captain Griffin. Kirkman calls up the live video and asks what the Captain is still doing on board. Griffin tells the President he’s staying so the VDR and war equipment is properly destroyed and doesn’t fall into Kumani hands. He’s going to scuttle the ship. Kirkman asks him where he’s from and if he has any family. Griffin says he has two sisters and a girl back home. Kirkman asks Griffin not to go through with his plan and to let him bring him home. Griffin pauses for a few moments and replies, “No. It’s been an honor to serve you, sir. Verona out.”
Over at the White House, Emily gets a rude awakening. It turns out her father wasn’t interested in reconnecting with her at all but merely wanted to meet the President and hopefully get a picture of him with his new product – a new and improved corkscrew. Seth visits Emily later in her office and she opens up to him with tears in her eyes about why her father really came to see her. Seth suggests that if her father can’t see how great she is, then forget him. He continues by showering her with heartfelt compliments, and Emily responds with a kiss and a hug.
Wells and Rennett talk to Cray again. It seems the kidnappers’ burner phone was traced back to her phone. She finally admits to being an arms dealer but not to killing Thorne. In fact, she needed her to keep the attention away from her business. So, it’s back to the drawing board for Wells and Rennett. Fortunately, Chuck has been going over hours of video footage and sees someone out of focus visiting Thorne the night before she died. He tries to enhance it and it’s none other than Secretary Moss! (Seriously, Chuck needs to get a huge raise for all the leads he discovers!)
At the Oval Office, Kirkman is heading to the residency for the night when Ritter asks him the name of the officer who stayed and scuttled the ship. Kirkman asks why and Ritter replies, “Because he was a hero and I want to tell my kids about him.” The President tells Ritter he was the Captain and walks out. Kendra enters the office asking if the President has left and Ritter says yes. He asks her what she has and Kendra tells him it’s bad news. Ritter asks if it can wait until tomorrow and she admits it can. “Let it then. The man has done enough for today.”
Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 6 Review:
Dramatic and stirring, Designated Survivor season two episode six titled “Two Ships” moves the show back on course to its political thriller origins and finally has a crisis worthy of Kirkman’s presidency with the U.S. destroyer in peril. The strong writing, fast-paced drama, and political game-playing is reminiscent of the series’ first season.
Kiefer Sutherland delivers a stand-out performance in this episode as he perfectly conveys Kirkman’s concern for saving the crew and his sadness in losing the young officer who stepped up and took over as captain when all the other senior officers were lost in the collision. Sutherland subtly conveys the connection Kirkman feels with Captain Griffin since both of them are men who want to serve their country but never dreamed of becoming the man in charge.
Italia Ricci’s also outstanding as she shows Emily’s heartbreak not once but twice in this episode. It’s heartbreaking to watch Ricci as Emily look at the clipping her father saved all these years. And, it’s equally emotionally moving when Emily realizes her father used her to get to President Kirkman.
With Moss now the main suspect in the murder of Thorne and the First Lady possibly being targeted for obstruction of justice, it looks as though life is going to get difficult and dangerous for President Kirkman once again.
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 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 16 Recap
– Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 17 Recap
– Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 18 Recap
– Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 20 Recap
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