Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 9 Review: Three Letter Day

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Now that's how you end an hour. 

I was all prepared to chalk up Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 9 as a solid hour that was entertaining at times but mostly run of the mill in regards to the larger arcs, but the ending turned everything up a notch.

Chuck's open hatred for Damien fueled me, but now, this latest twist is sweet, sweet validation for good ole Chuck and me. There's a reason we disliked Damian or at least a reason why we've been wary of him.

Saving a Life - Designated Survivor

Hannah had her hands full the entire hour, most of the House did with juggling Three Letter Day and the investigation into the First Lady. The dynamic duo of Hannah and Kendra happened to be tasked with both the investigation and a Letter case.

Did anyone else find the teams as interesting as I did? Kendra and Hannah were a great team-up and the women worked well together. Kirkman assigned them the case of the inmate, Dern, who was to be executed for murdering a young woman. 

It was the perfect case for the two of them to be working on. They pulled out all the stops looking into the matter, and the resolution was the most interesting because of how twisted it was. 

If you want the President to pardon you, he needs to hear the truth from your lips.


It turned out, Dern didn't kill the woman, but he was covering for his son, Frank, who did the deed. It's amazing how his entire family fell apart because of what his son did. He lied to cover for his son and spent years in prison, had a crappy lawyer who screwed him over, and exhausted all of his appeals. 

His daughter descended into a drug addiction and homelessness because she couldn't emotionally handle the fact that she knew the truth about her brother being the real killer, and couldn't take the idea of her father being executed for something he didn't do. 

Then Frank, well, he got to mostly live his life just fine because his father took the fall for him. But then, like a complete jackass, he tried to kill Hannah to keep her from looking into the case further and discovering the truth. 

His father gave his life, figuratively and darned near literally to save him, and Frank will still end up in prison by the end, this time for attempted murder. What a disgrace he is, and what a waste. 

The ending wasn't that happy for his father either because though Kirkman saved from the death penalty, he'll still spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in covering it all up.

Aaron and Emily's case was heartbreaking in a way, too, although, it was the more traditional Designated Survivor formula. It was the first time in a while where Emily and Aaron really worked together one on one, and it was so uneventful.

It was too uneventful. Apparently, the show is still just ignoring all of their...stuff. Sure, OK. It felt like more tension would be there for their case, but they merely disagreed on whether or not to tell the widow the truth about her husband.

Yes, her husband was a hero, and yes, he deserved a medal of honor, but if he got it, it would also come with the ugly truth that he had been having an affair. Honoring his sacrifice and his memory would simultaneously include tarnishing it.

Border Dispute - Designated Survivor

Kirkman's method of handling it was true to form. He spoke one-on-one with the widow and told the son that his father was a hero, which is really all the wife wanted to begin with.

Seth and Lyor were not only an unusual pairing, but they proved to be the most amusing. Lyor was an absolute hoot throughout the hour. One of the best parts was figuring out that he is that person who likes to learn everything he can about a subject even if he wasn't initially interested in it.

He went from whining about being stuck with the bee case to becoming a bee expert within the day. It was absolutely hilarious. Don't you just love Lyor? If he's not good for anything else, he's good for pure, unadulterated entertainment and laughs. 

Eddie: You must be a fellow melittologists?
Lyor: I dabble.

The bickering couple at the end, confessing to ruining each other's passions was top-notch.

It was some light-heartedness that distracted Seth from his paranoia about his job. It turned out, Kirkman already heard about Seth's indiscretion by the time Emily worked up the nerve to tell him the truth.

It was a sucky position that Emily was put in, and it's admirable that she was able to be impartial on the matter and make the appropriate decision. Unfortunately, that included firing Seth. And Seth, not to be outdone by Emily, was willing to turn in his resignation.

Of course, Kirkman gave him a one-time free pass. Aren't they all disgustingly good people?

I told him to fire you, and he declined.


This new, undefined romantic relationship between Seth and Emily is weird. It's not bad or even good, it's just, I don't know, odd. I'm just not convinced of it yet. 

I wasn't convinced of Hannah and Damian either. Yeah, they were good for a roll around in the hay, but that was about it. No amount of sexytimes with Bishop Briggs playing in the background could keep me from rolling my eyes when they got hot and heavy.

That's why the twist is more my speed. Damian as a baddie is soooo much better. Hannah is at her best when she's pissed off, and hell hath no fury like a Hannah scorned. When she finally confronts him on using her and betraying her, it's going to be epic.

DS- Damian

Hopefully, Chuck will get in an "I told you so." 

What's with this relationship between Damian and Forstell though? How are they connected, and how did they end up working together? 

Forstell is shady as all hell, but Kirkman was right, he couldn't just fire him no matter what Alex thought. It's crazy that she would even suggest it. As a lawyer, she should have known better, and her questioning Kirkman's judgment as the president and as her husband was painful.

You're a hell of a lawyer, Alex, but you're a lousy defendant.


If they can sort through this lead with the banker, they could possibly save Alex from all of this, but Alex needs to keep her head on straight.

Over to you guys, did you expect that Damian twist? How do you feel about Seth and Emily? Is Alex getting carried away? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

If you need to catch up before the midseason finale, you can watch Designated Survivor online here via TV Fanatic!

Three Letter Day Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (4 Votes)

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

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Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 9 Quotes

I can be very persuasive.


Alex, you are a fighter. It's one of the many things I love about you, but we're not fighting this, we're hiding.