Designated Survivor: Catalin Identified

Courtesy of ABC
Courtesy of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Nassar lies motionless, mouth foaming from inside his cell. Not really planting any flags here, but treachery is afoot. Atwood, pulls out all the stops trying to identify the mole inside the facility. The bigger issue at hand is that Atwood and Hannah are the only people aware of the name Nassar revealed before his untimely and intentional death.

The Kirkmans and McLeishs finally sit down to have that dinner. So far so good, just basic pleasantries and old stories at this point. Meanwhile Aaron and Emily converse in Aaron’s office. I could do without the unrealistic yelling at the tv that Aaron’s doing. Its a valiant effort by the writing staff, but sports fans don’t yell at the tv that way. Aaron gets a call that dramatically changed the mood in the room. Aaron bursts into the President’s dinner party, removes him to inform him that Nassar, who was in there custody is now dead. The President needs to excuse himself but not until McLeish offers his assistance in whatever has prioritized the President’s time.

Atwood is summoned to the White House, presumably to speak on the Nassar incident. Kirkman asks Atwood if he has any answers. He responds in the affirmative, not noticing Peter McLeish in the distance of the room. Atwood is cryptic and refuses to give any answers to Kirkman in McLeish’s presence. Kirkman can sense something’s off but he’s having a hard time seeing the forest for the trees. Matters are not made better by the news that the US Track and Field team have been arrested in Russia on a suspicion of Performance Enhancing Drug use.

Seth enters the room and makes a formal request with Aaron for five minutes with the President. Aaron reiterates that the President has no time for personal matters. Seth has to clarify that he is not asking for Seth personal, he’s asking for POTUS personal. This is in regards to the reporter sniffing around about Leo not being the President’s son. The story is true and among his senior staff, the President doesn’t mince words. Its not an issue of infidelity, its an issue of poor timing. The problem comes in when Aaron reveals that Alex knew the father was stirring stuff up a week ago. While the surface, it looks innocent. Poor timing and all, but Tom Kirkman is way more uptight about this than he should be considering the surface.

Kirkman is escorted to the Situation Room where he is met by representatives of the CIA. Kirkman thinks this is about Al Secar, but they are there to speak about Westin, the “National Hero” former Olympian and current track coach. You guessed it, Coach Westin is a spy. Side note, my affection for this show is directly connected to its plausibility. Believing that a Michael Phelps type athlete turned Olympic coach turned CIA operative is a difficult sell. I hope its an outlier.

Hannah walks into a poorly lit bar to find a contact, later revealed to be CIA. He shrugs off her request as Atwood did what he does to get Nassar removed from CIA custody and placed in FBI custody where he would eventually die. An issue the CIA apparently gets their panties in a twist over. Outside Hannah tries again, then drops the name ‘Catalin’. This grabs the man’s attention immediately. He gives up very little except for one major detail.

CIA Agent: Here’s what I know. Stay out of it. And if you ask anyone else they’ll tell you the same just less politely. The man’s a mercinary…and a traitor.

Hannah: What do you mean? He’s American?

In a remote conference room within the White House, Kirkman and his CIA representatives meet with a Russian diplomat who brought his Defense Minister to a meeting about a coach and drugs. Both sides know exactly what’s going on. The Russians are using this as an opportunity to leverage US nuclear weapons out of Turkey. An idea that Kirkman will not consider.

The moment Hannah begins to spill what she knows now about Catalin, McLeish shows up. Atwood and Hannah put a pin in their discussion. McLeish has come to deliver paperwork that the FBI would likely dig up during his vetting process. What follows is a very uncomfortable ‘Justified-like’ stand off. Neither man saying what they really mean and both men holding their relative ground. As if to say, Atwood doesn’t trust McLeish and McLeish knows there is a great deal that Atwood doesn’t know.

Hannah: What the hell was that?
Atwood: What the hell do you think it was? A bunch of BS. The guy is going to walk in here and voluntarily give over ten years of papers that no one asked for? Now, why would he be so eager to do that?
Hannah: Because he’s got something to hide.

Westin appears on Russian television to make a formal apology. For the second time tonight, Emily tries to assert that men don’t know sports and provides a sports analogy to help with their Coach Westin problem. When two teams want to trade players but can’t agree on compensation, they illicit the aid of a third team. Kirkman purposes, Emily find out what the Russians want and seek out a third trade partner.

Alex visits the ex in prison. Another Justified like standoff. At first, it felt like a money play. Which isn’t really that far off. This person does have a motive but its not money. President Kirkman throws his weight around to get Leo’s ‘supposed’ biological father released, or he tells the world ‘his story’. Alex returns to report to Tom. He is naturally not inclined to grant his request. However, it does level with Alex that his decision to not get tested and find out for sure who Leo’s father is was a decision of emotional self preservation for Tom not Leo. And Leo has every right to know who his biological father is.

Hannah and Atwood try to make heads or tails of what McLeish’s latest actions mean when Atwood gets a frantic phone call from his wife. Their son never made it home from school. When Atwood arrives at the school, they have no new information and try to downplay the severity of the situation. Atwood directs his wife to go home in case he turns up there. Atwood, plans on finding his son the old fashioned way. And yes, you’re conspiracy theory concern meter should be going up.

The President’s new play to acquire a third trade partner includes Saudi Arabia. The United States return four Saudi agents being detained in the US for industrial espionage to Saudi Arabia as long as Saudi Arabia returns a Russian agents to Russia and Coach Westin is returned to the United States. An international three way spy trade. The situation room convenes to ensure the delivery of the respective spy trade. Westin doesn’t step off the plane. The Russians double crossed us. Brad Westin never made it on the plane. Hollywood never misses an opportunity to make Russia the cold war bad guys again. In short order, the CIA gets its hands on new intel. A photo of Brad Westin meeting with who the CIA believes is Westin’s contact and handler. Brad Westin is a double agent.

Hannah meets with her CIA contact again with a much more desperate plea for assistance. This time the contact is at least willing to eventually give up something on Catalin.

Seth meets with the reporter Lisa Jordan. Seth has something to deal, but before he reveals that, he tells her that she can run her Leo story but doesn’t think she should. He makes an appeal to her that Tom Kirkman is a good man with a good family who never asked for this job, but now he has it and everyone’s gunning for him. Seth offers an exclusive. First person accounts of Tom Kirkman brokering a deal to have a US citizen returned only to find out that the US citizen is not who he seemed. In a uniquely timed parallel, Aaron and Emily want to push through McLeish as VP with the Congressional elections coming up. Shortly after I yelled at my TV, Kirkman suggests that there’s not harm in waiting to see what the FBI has on him. Especially in light of the Westin situation. Now if they could only find Jason Atwood.

Hannah walks down a decline in a parking garage when she hears something. She pursues with her gun drawn. Her car appears may have been broken into. The driver’s door is open. When she gets there she finds a manila envelope with CIA documents inside. She views the Catalin file and remembers staring at one of the guards at the black site. The guard looks strikingly like the picture in the file. Hannah tries to call Atwood but he’s in find my son mode.

Atwood goes to his son’s baseball practice where the coach has no information. Before Atwood gets back into his car, a woman approaches assuring him that his son is fine. After I yelled the b-word at my television, the woman reveals herself as involved in the abduction in some way. Simple power play. They have Luke Atwood and can get Yvette Atwood whenever they want. No harm will come to them as long as Atwood does exactly as instructed. She hands Atwood a phone and tells him he will make an appointment with the President and do as instructed.

Speculation time: The obvious angle is to assume that Atwood will be instructed to convey to President Kirkman that the FBI found nothing of concern while vetting McLeish. However, I’m not opposed to considering that its something else entirely.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.