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Recap / Designated Survivor S 1 E 21 Brace For Impact

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Agent Wells races to avert a bomb from detonating in downtown Washington, D.C., while Kirkman's administration and the FBI work to root out the traitor in the White House and bring down The Conspiracy.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Artistic Licence - Geography: It is highly unlikely that Agent Wells would be able to get the van full of explosives into the Potomac River in the amount of time she had to get it there from the Hoover Building.
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  • The Bus Came Back: President Kirkman vows to find Aaron Shore a new position working at the White House.
  • California Doubling: The Toronto City Hall council chambers double as the setting for Kirkman's address to a joint session of Congress at the end of the episode. The room, spacious as it is, looks far too small to be the House of Representatives, although that is justified by the House side of the Capitol still being under reconstruction in-universe.
  • Cosmic Deadline: The Plot Armor on Nestor "Catalan" Lozano and Jay Whitaker expires and most of the conspirators around the country are rounded up just in time for the end of the season. Only the Big Bad, Patrick Lloyd, escapes as a Karma Houdini to cause trouble another day.
  • Defiant to the End: Before he dies, Lozano spends his last breaths spitting the conspirators' motto back in Agent Wells' face: "No victory without sacrifice."
  • Dunking the Bomb: Agent Wells resorts to driving the van full of explosives into the Potomac River to get rid of the Time Bomb before it goes off.
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    • It's an interesting – and quite realistic – variant, as it's clearly shown that Wells, just a few metres away from shore, is still somewhat affected by the pressure wave, just not quite as badly as she would have been if the van had been in the open air.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Lozano ends up this way when Hannah tackles him off of a ledge in an incomplete building onto a bunch of steel rebar.
  • Irony: Secretary Moss notes that before the attack on the Capitol, being the "designated survivor" was considered a menial duty in the administration. Now, it's an honour to be chosen as Kirkman's designated survivor during the address to the joint session of Congress.
  • Karma Houdini: Patrick Lloyd gets away largely scot-free and in possession of a large amount of military information stolen from the Pentagon. Fortunately, his reputation is most likely ruined, thanks to President Kirkman outing Lloyd as the Big Bad in the address to Congress.
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  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Agent Wells and Catalan exchange these in a lengthy fight in an abandoned housing complex. Ultimately, Wells wins.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Much like when she thwarted Kirkman's assassination, Wells ends up in this situation. Due to coming out of the van holding the bomb, the FBI agents automatically think she's behind it. Even after she saves everyone's lives by getting rid of the bomb, she's still arrested. The authorities originally don't believe her when she claims she only found herself in the van, but luckily, Foerstel arrives to verify her claims.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jay Whitaker has an understated one when he is finally cornered in the White House by Ritter, Wells and Foerstel.
  • Race Against the Clock: Hannah has one of these when the van that she awakens in is full of explosives on a timer counting down to detonation. She resorts to driving the van into the Potomac River so that the bombs can go off harmlessly.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The episode amounts to the FBI and the Kirkman administration pulling off a lengthy Curb-Stomp Battle against The Conspiracy, killing or arresting the conspirators' best assassin as well as the traitor within the White House, and apprehending cells of conspirators right across the country. The season is coming to an end, after all.
  • Rousing Speech: President Kirkman gives one of these before a joint session of Congress at the end of the episode.
  • Sequel Hook: Patrick Lloyd escapes arrest and goes into hiding with the information Catalan stole from the Pentagon.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Catalan is able to march into the Pentagon's server room, download whatever he wants, and leave again entirely without incident — and all this while the entire facility is already on lockdown. Agent Wells only catches up to him because she saw him driving away and managed to turn around and pursue him.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Jason Atwood is posthumously revealed to have pulled off one; he sent Hannah Wells his photographs and recordings of the meeting between Lloyd and Whitaker before he went to investigate the nearby woods. Even though he was gunned down by Catalan, the message and attachments reached Agent Wells successfully and allowed her, Russink, Ritter and Foerstel to track Whitaker down in the White House.
  • Title Drop: Moss gives this as advice to Kirkman for the fallout of the investigation.
  • Unfolding Plan Montage: President Kirkman's speech explaining the terrorist threat to the nation is intercut with scenes of police and the FBI arresting cells of conspirators all over the country.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: President Kirkman is welcoming his family back to the White House when he is called down to the command centre to receive the news that Patrick Lloyd escaped with the data from the Pentagon, meaning that The Conspiracy is still alive and well.

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