Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 20 Review: Bad Reception

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The hacker storyline has concluded, and we now know who the real hacker is. Are you surprised? 

Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 20 laid to rest one of the many ongoing arcs it had going on, and it wasn't who the show wanted us to believe it was. 

Did anyone ever believe Andrea was the hacker? 

Negotiating With a Foreign Government - Designated Survivor

Andrea was so clearly a misdirect that it was difficult to go along with her being the number one person of interest. On that note, it wasn't surprising that Kirkman and Hannah had put together a plan this entire time. I mentioned in my review for Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 19 that Kirkman firing Hannah was a hoax. 

He was giving her the opportunity to investigate more, and that's what she did. The only surprise in this was that she was looking into Dax and not Andrea. I thought she was still looking into Andrea, and I fully anticipated it to drag on until the end of the season before she realized that Andrea wasn't the hacker after all. 

Related: Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 19 Review: Capacity

As for Dax being the hacker, were any of you shocked by that revelation? Personally, I was not. That could be because the theory that Dax was the one bugging Kirkman's office via that collector's car he gave him had been floating around for weeks now. There is also the fact that Kirkman isn't allowed to have trusted friends and confidants that don't betray them. 

Dax and Tom - Designated Survivor

He can have loyal staff members who happen to be friends, but he can't seem to have a single person who is a friend, and only a friend, who sticks around or doesn't betray him. The poor guy. 

Dax was there to spout off all of his radical, tech, anarchist gobblygook, and Kirkman was able to let him know in the most Kirkman way imaginable that he was on to him. It was an OK scene. 

I hated that practically right after that Andrea was brought in to say farewell. Since she no longer was needed to serve as a red herring, it was time to ship her off to the other side of the country and give the fans one last taste of that sexual tension between her and Kirkman. So, that's it for Kim Raver's arc, huh?  Well OK then. 

Andrea's Farewell - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 20

Let the reveal breathe a little, why don't you? So long, Andrea. 

Now that the hacker thing is wrapped up, the show can now go back to doing something about Moss. Sometimes it feels like this series has so many dangling plots that they're going down a checklist trying to address them all. 

The hacker situation was tied up in a sweet bow, and silly me, I thought that meant the end of Damian's murder investigation, too, but I guess we have to resolve that as well. 

It turned out that Dax teamed up with Damian's Russian handler, Valeria. He wanted to take Hannah out because he knew she was investigating the hacking case, and she would be on to him. Who better to get help from than the woman who wants Hannah dead? 

Aaron: Think, Hannah. You lay those down you may never get them back.
Hannah: [puts down her shield] Bye Aaron.

The series has been gearing for a Hannah vs. Valeria showdown ever since they exchanged threats instead of, I don't know, killing the other person when they had the chance. Who can forget when Hannah warned Valeria against making another attempt on her life?  Why give someone another shot a trying to kill you? Oh yeah, drama. 

Valeria, who we are led to believe is some sort of super spy, meant to kill Hannah but killed Damian instead. Hannah has to avenge Damian's death now, and since she has wrapped up the hacker case, now is the right time to do it. 

This storyline would be slightly interesting if anyone else cared about Damian as much as Hannah. I can't bring myself to care that much, so by the time she was sliding her badge and ID to Aaron, I had to resist the urge to roll my eyes. 

Hannah's Revenge

She said something about how she can't be FBI when she confronts Valeria. I snorted because when has her being an FBI agent ever stopped her from doing whatever the heck she wants anyway? 

Chuck was pulling double duty helping Hannah break into Dax's house and helping Mike figure out what happened with the Ambassador. This increase of Chuck time, especially Chuck time out in the field and with other characters, is one of the best things that has come out of this season. 

Related: Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 18 Review: Kirkman Agonistes

Chuck and Mike are two of the most lovable characters in the series. It was like having the wonder twins power activated having the two of them working together. Has anyone ever solved a murder as quickly as the two of them? I think not. 

Your oak. Your ring. Your ass.


The irony of the tree-hugging, nature-loving diplomat killing the ambassador over the removal of a tree was too much. It's right up there with murderous vegans or something. I don't know, but it was ridiculous and ridiculously amusing though there was already too much happening during this hour.

Kirkman and Ethan are another unexpected, effective duo. 

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The international incident that involved Matthew Jennings was ripped from the headlines. Otto Warmbier was the college student who was sentenced to hard labor in a North Korean prison for a petty crime. Matthew Jennings was facing a similar fate, but he, fortunately, had a happier ending. 

The prime minister was vile using a teen as a playing card to blackmail Kirkman and America. Matthew was impressive when he told Kirkman to not give in. In the end, I'm glad that he didn't. 

Ethan's Reputation

Initially, Ethan was in the way thwarting progress at every turn, but once he got to the root of why the case got to him so much, my heart broke for the guy. He felt like he owed it to the memory of Matthew's aunt to save him. His story about how Matthew's aunt was murdered the night he stood her up was heartbreaking. 

It made an antagonistic character sympathetic in a split moment. It's a testament to Michael J. Fox's everything that he pulled the scene off so well. I was practically giddy when he and Kirkman strongarmed the prime minister into releasing the boy.

Kendra is usually a rational, logical person, but the writing was on the wall early on that Flannery was a lecherous son of a gun who would cause issues down the road. It's not just that he's a flirt, but he showed a clear pattern of pursuing women who were subordinates. 

Steven Flannery - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 20

Kendra fell into some sort of fog when she was around the guy, and she was eager to please him. It was difficult to watch. Thankfully the fog was lifted, and they didn't hire him. 

It's crazy to think that he would have sailed past the vetting process with flying colors despite the multiple claims against him.

Over to you Designated Survivor Fanatics, did you guess who the hacker was? Will you miss Andrea? Should Hannah have given up her badge? Hit the comments. 

Don't forget, you can watch Designated Survivor online right here via TV Fanatic. 

Bad Reception Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
  • 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (2 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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