It wasn't awful, but for a network thriller — especially one on twist-friendly ABC — to end what was overall a successful first season with its bad guy quietly disappearing into the ether that only rich a-holes can afford was a bit of a letdown. The good news is that Designated Survivor will be back for a second season (with its fourth showrunner); the bad news is that we'll have to deal with more Patrick Lloyd (Terry Serpico), the show's last-minute vanilla bad guy.
Let's review what happened in "Brace for Impact."
1. Hannah saves the day with questionable driving
Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) ended last week's episode waking up from a nap underneath FBI headquarters inside a van full of bombs and a three-minute countdown and with agents pointing a ton of guns at her. So what did she do? She threatened to blow them all up! It was a smart move on her part, but what was even smarter was getting behind the wheel and hauling ass out of there, smashing into railings and anything else while looking for a good place to dump the exploding van. She settled on a pond near the Washington monument, jumped out of the van and did one of those cool rolls that I one day hope to perform, and the vehicle blew up in the water, causing one heck of a CGI splash! What an exciting show for all the tourists in the area!
2. Lozano gets his hack on
With a fake ID acquired by traitorous mole Jay Whitaker (Richard Waugh), Lozano (George Tchortov) waltzed into the Pentagon and hacked a computer server for some reason — more on that later — and walked right out of the Pentagon because apparently it was casual Friday at the Pentagon and no one could bother to do any real security. As Lozano was driving away, Hannah was driving in — convenient! — and she busted a U-turn to start up a car chase. They ended up fighting in an abandoned house (where else does one fight?) and it was over when Hannah threw Lozano through a wall and impaled him on three pieces of rebar! Adios, Lozano! This time you are dead for realsies.
3. Digging up the mole
"Brace for Impact" kind of felt slapped together, to be honest. And it felt that way because so many of the loose threads were just wrapped up in the simplest way possible. After Hannah returned to work, she sifted through her emails and discovered a note from Jason (Malik Yoba) from the beyond the grave with photos he took and audio he recorded while spying on Patrick Lloyd. And yep, Jay Whitaker was right there in both, so he was brought in by Mike (LaMonica Garrett) in a "gotcha!" that didn't really feel earned. I mean, the mole was caught because Hannah checked her email. Is that the kind of season finale tension you look for? The episode never showed what happened to Whitaker, but I like to think he got waterboarded by Kirkman in the White House's secret torture chamber.
4. Tom didn't do much
Seriously, Kirkman was in a lot of scenes, but he didn't do a whole lot in the season finale. He got Aaron (Adan Canto) to take a new to-be-determined position at the White House, he asked for help finding the mole, but other than that, he didn't have much to do at all until the very end, when he talked a lot at the American people saying how great America was. Sometimes Designated Survivor gets in a place where Kirkman isn't the focus, and until Kirkman starts going in the field and beating up terrorists himself, we'll just have to get used to that.
5. Hannah has flash-bangs
You know that thing that TV shows do with flashbacks of female characters where they give them bangs to make them look younger? That's what happened with Hannah, when we looked back at her first day with Jason. I love it when shows do this. Someone please make a listicle.
6. The setup for Season 2
Though his cells were raided and followers were arrested, Lloyd got away from the good guys to who knows where, and the explanation was simply that he was rich enough and had the resources to not be found. We never really got to know Lloyd, but apparently "rich" and "right wing" were good enough descriptors for Season 1. But the big deal is we found out what Lozano was actually doing in the Pentagon: He hacked a high-security server that had all sorts of sensitive information on it, like intelligence information, data on America's armed forces, and such, and passed it all to Lloyd. And that's where the season finale left us. What will Lloyd do with the information? Can we muster ourselves to care enough about it? Shouldn't there be one more episode in this season? It all fell flat for the conspiracy thread, unfortunately, and made me long for the political maneuvering in Washington that carried parts of this first season. Still, bring on Season 2!
Designated Survivor returns for Season 2 next fall on ABC.