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Recap / Designated Survivor S 2 E 19 Capacity

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Kirkman faces an inquiry before his Cabinet on his fitness to remain President of the United States. Meanwhile, Agent Wells furiously tries to find the culprit behind Damian's shooting and the "Gamine" cyberattacks.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Blessed with Suck: Ethan West notes that it sucks, From a Certain Point of View, to be a famed attorney who constantly wins.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Ethan West once again, and lampshaded by Kirkman.
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  • But Now I Must Go: With the Cabinet hearing concluded, Ethan West departs to return to his legal practice, not that his absence lasts long.
  • Character Death: Damian Rennett is mentioned to have died in hospital following the drive-by shooting.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Cornelius Moss and Andrea Frost reappear once again.
  • Cowboy Cop: Agent Wells, who is enraged by Damian's death at the end of the preceding episode.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: With Damian dead, the Love Triangle is now down to Chuck Russink, who still Cannot Spit It Out, and Hannah, who is correspondingly Oblivious to Love.
  • Doom Magnet: Hannah opines that everyone who gets close to her tends to end up dead.
  • Graceful Loser:
    • Vice-President Darby, who would have taken over the Oval Office from Kirkman and who initially approved of the Cabinet invoking the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, is pleased for him when the hearing concludes and the Cabinet votes to keep him in office.
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    • Similarly, Ethan West congratulates Kirkman on him surviving his hearing and states that it was Nothing Personal.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Trey Kirkman briefly carries it when he semi-threatens Ethan West in the White House servery, whereupon West calls him to the stand in the Cabinet hearing to provide ambiguous but damning testimony about past mental health struggles in the Kirkman family.
    • Agent Wells puts all of her previous such moments to shame when she accosts Ethan West and then Andrea Frost in public with purely circumstantial allegations of Frost's supposed involvement in the "Gamine" hacks and Damian's murder. It gets her let go from White House service ... or so we think.
  • Insistent Terminology: Cornelius Moss corrects Kendra that he is to be addressed as "President" once again, as he is no longer the Secretary of State.
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  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Moss has gone from merely defying Kirkman within his administration to actively criticizing him to the media and testifying in the Cabinet hearing with material that is clearly slanted to undermine Kirkman.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Cabinet hearing gets to operate outside the normal rules of legal proceedings, and Ethan West exploits this fact as best as he can.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Hannah Wells is convinced that Andrea Frost is tied into the "Gamine" cyberattacks — so instead of proceeding cautiously and amassing more evidence in a discreet manner, she first accosts Ethan West and then Andrea Frost in public with her allegations, (seemingly) scuttling the whole effort.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: Congressional leaders from both the Democrats and Republicans try to strong-arm Kirkman's administration over a budget deal while he faces the prospect of removal due to the Cabinet hearing. Ultimately, Kirkman mentions that he left word of his deal to Vice-President Darby, who will insist on the same deal if she takes over as President. The Senators then back down.
  • The Lost Lenore: Damian Rennett, having died in hospital following the shooting at the end of the previous episode, is now this for Wells.
  • Near-Villain Victory: In the end, the Cabinet narrowly votes to let Kirkman remain President, despite the fact that most of them were recommended by the increasingly antagonistic Cornelius Moss.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Former Secretary Moss claims that he's taking the stand for the love of his country, but it's clearly more self-serving than that.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Whether or not Kirkman is overly sympathetic to Dr. Frost, the president and Aaron rightly reject Agent Wells' evidence of Frost's involvement in the "Gamine" hacks as purely circumstantial, and ask her to find more solid proof.
  • The Reveal: It turns out that the reason so many of Kirkman's Cabinet members were so quick to invoke the Twenty-Fifth Amendment is because they were largely recommended by Cornelius Moss, and are his loyalists instead of Kirkman's allies.
  • Ship Tease: With Kirkman's administration seemingly on the way out the door, Emily and Aaron bring up the subject of their brief relationship in the previous season and whether or not it might be revived.
  • Special Guest: Michael J. Fox as Ethan West.
  • The Starscream: It turns out that Cornelius Moss, in advising Kirkman on his Cabinet picks, maneuvered several of his own loyalists to the positions, and said Cabinet members are now turning on Kirkman as a result.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Agent Wells' blundering in the "Gamine" investigation gets her (seemingly) let go from the White House by President Kirkman after more than a year of close service, presumably to return to the main administration of the FBI.
  • What an Idiot!: You'd expect that Hannah Wells, as a trained and professional FBI agent, would go about seeking more evidence on Andrea Frost's involvement in the "Gamine" cyberattacks more discreetly in order to build up a more solid case. Instead, she goes all Leeroy Jenkins and accosts Frost in a restaurant, and Frost very justifiably has Wells thrown out and threatens to litigate for slander. Wells' Cowboy Cop behaviour finally gets her released from her White House service ... but as the next episode, "Bad Reception" reveals, this is actually intentional cover.

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