Warning: Spoiler Alert
Today is an early morning in the Kirkman White House. Kirkman, Aaron and Admiral Chernow meet in the Oval to discuss the impending attack we knew was coming. Chernow attempts to put Kirkman’s concerns of collateral damage as Seth enters the office. Aaron introduces Seth to the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Chernow.
Seth (extends his hand): How are you sir? Seth Wright, Press Secretary.
Chernow: It’s going to be a busy day for you today. (Look toward Kirkman) I’ll be at Command Ops.
Kirkman (to Seth): I had to clear my entire schedule today, wanna know why?
Seth: If I know why, am I going to have to lie to the press all day?
Seth: Ok, then let’s just assume that maybe somewhere there will be a military strike against the terrorist bombed the Capital. (Slowly turns to walk away) And I’ll just know more when I know more.
Kirkman spins the variables and potential casualties when Chernow reminds him of the time sensitive nature of F-18s flying toward the target. They don’t exactly have the time or fuel to wait. Kirkman takes one last look at the board, “It’s a go. Strike the enemy.” The order isn’t a go for 15 seconds before a station chief reports that the target is no longer in the compound. “We lost Majid Nassar”. The news gets worse, as intelligence suggests that someone inside tipped off Nassar who fled in a motorcade.
Hanna invites herself to Kirkman’s ceremony celebrating MacLeish. There is absolutely something very off about MacLeish. I’m not planting a flag anywhere with that comment, just reiterating. Atwood looks over at Hanna glaring at MacLeish as if she’s working on something in her head. “Just hope you never look at me like that.” As the event breaks up Hookstratten corners Seth. She wants to know when Kirkman plans on retaliating…AGAIN. Seth sees right through it, plays dumb and removes himself from the room.
The military brain trust meets with Kirkman in the Oval. Nassar’s location has been identified as a hospital. That makes the mission a little more complicated. At present, an airstrike is not an option. To get Nassar, they will need to be assets on the ground. This creates a new dynamic. Chernow wants to take Nassar alive. Kirkman is not willing to take Chernow’s word at face value regarding the confidence of the mission and request to speak to the commander on the ground and even asks for his location. Chernow give a great and at this point typical response.
Chernow: Sir. There is a chain of command. He comes to you.
Kirkman: I’m going to ask these men to lay down their lives, I’ll go to him.
With what should be the last ‘appointment’ before the President travels to the Navy Seals Training Facility at Little Creek, Hookstratten is all but demand stuff again. She lays out his ‘erratic’ behavior. Firing the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs. He was a man with his own agenda and circumvented the President’s authority. He should have been fired. Not erratic. Arrested the Governor of Michigan. Are you paying attention Hookstratten? He basically rejected the President’s authority, ceded from the Union, and arrested American citizens for being born the wrong ethnicity. Also, not erratic. She even pieced together the details of parking lot H at the Pentagon. Which would place high-ranking generals/admirals at the pentagon at 3am. She says all of this to suggest that the President is not consulting enough with Congress (i.e. her). Kirkman responds exactly how I wished he would.
Kirkman: Article one section eight. And I will notify you when it becomes appropriate.
Kirkman meets with the Seal’s Commander getting to know his men. Eventually Kirkman gets to the issue at hand. Kirkman is interested in the odds. The ‘odds’ are regrettably only 50/50, but the commanding officer gives the only response I would need.
Commander: We don’t know if they’ve wired the place. We don’t know if they have local militia. We don’t know a lot of things. The odds are 50/50, but we do know that Nassar is there. So we have to do it now. And may God have mercy on them, because the U.S. Navy will have none.
Kirkman meets with MacLeish and Hookstratten together in the Oval. This is where President Kirkman informs the current sitting members of Congress that he has deployed a seal team into Algeria to remove, dead or alive, Majid Nassar. MacLeish immediately conveys his support of this tactical decision. Hookstratten’s support is shrouded in her ulterior motives. She is a tiger laying in the tall grass waiting for the right opportunity to pounce. Aaron wants to look into putting Kirkman’s support to MacLeish for Speaker and not Hookstratten. There are bigger problems now. One of the Seal choppers has gone down.
The chopper had to perform a combat landing and Petty Officer Denton was injured, but no need to change the plan or abort. The Seal Team will proceed as scheduled. Meanwhile, Seth’s powers of disarm and deflect will be tested as the White House Press Corps has sources too.
Reporter: All of this adds up to a potential military strike. What’s the real story? You can’t keep pivoting to talking points.
Seth (stone faced): Watch me.
Kirkman accompanied by MacLeish watches from Comm Ops. Simultaneously, Hanna all but begs Atwood to listen to what she has to say about MacLeish. The seal team is efficient through the first floor. Once they make it to the basement floor the video feed is intermittent at best. Once the team gets to Nassir, the lighting changes and the picture clears. Nassir has a gun pointed on a child demanding the Seal Team lower their weapons. His words get louder and shots ring out. Communication with the seal team is lost.
All Capitol renovations are classified. However, Hanna convinced Hookstratten to assist in this. What Hanna has feels like its straight out of the Cold War Playbook. THe men in charge of making the renovation, specifically to room 105 (where MacLeish was found) are dead. First one ot a heart attack. Second to a car accident. All eight men who worked on room 105 are dead. All accidents or natural causes. Putting that on hold for a moment, the bigger elephant in the room is what were they renovating? Room 105 was transformed into basically a bomb shelter. And why would there be a need to build a bomb shelter in the Capitol two months before the State of the Union. MacLeish survived because he was supposed to survive.
A new concern arises. When Aaron dangled the potential of making Peter MacLeish the next speaker of the house, he declined. Opting for a position within Congress that isn’t simply bureaucracy and politics for politics sake. Now we feel fairly clear and certain that MacLeish was in on this from the jump. And now he is in a room with the President and military council overseeing a Seal operation aimed to take out the terrorist responsible. Right about the moment, Kirkman has the worst idea yet. Maybe Cochran was right. Just then Chernow announces that they have Majid Nassar. Amidst the celebrating, Chernow has to report that Clarkson, the seal team leader was lost in the assault.
There were seven children in the room. Clarkson shielded 2 with his body after the shots began. The seal team returned fire and captured Nassir. Clarkson took 8 rounds in the back and 1 in the neck. He was killed instantly but the children he shielded survived. Clarkson died but he died a hero. Due to his actions, there were no civilian casualties.
The President quietly makes his way into (what looks like the mural room?) unnoticed as his ‘senior staff’ discuss MacLeish turning down Speaker. This of course is news to Kirkman. Kirkman then offers up, maybe we offered him the wrong job. How about Vice President. So let me get this straight. MacLeish turns down Speaker because it’s purely political and doesn’t think he can actually get anything done from that perch? And you want to give him VP as if that’s better? Let’s disregard that MacLeish is probably as dirty as they come, Speaker to VP is downgrade move.
Aaron has been doing opposition research on Kirkman in an attempt to see the pitch before it’s thrown. In that digging we’ve discovered that there was infidelity on Mrs. Kirkman’s behalf. All of this is not new information. What is new information is that the other party in this is in prison and telling anyone who will listen that Leo is his son not Tom Kirkman’s. From her reaction, this is both startling and potentially true.
Jason Atwood is finally coming around to believing Hanna’s theories. However, he is not ready just yet to impune a sitting Congressman not to mention all the other names likely to be brought light. Not yet at least.