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S01.E13: Backfire

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An investigative journalist shocks the White House when he reveals classified information during a press briefing and leaves Seth struggling to contain the damage from the leaked story. Hannah unearths a key connection between MacLeish and the conspiracy.

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Another few hours of "extreme vetting" for VP....they will bring Atwood back to supervise background checks...

Kirkman: Jason, under normal circumstances I would let you grieve, but your country needs you now!

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I really do not like Abe.

I was glad that Seth didn't get falling down drunk. That was unexpected.

Edited by marinw
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President Kirkman is really doing it for me in this series. Kiefer Sutherland is really shining. In fact, I think a lot of the actors here are truly great.

I'm also amazed at this show's ability to bring in major league talent. NUMB3Rs and Northern Exposure alum Rob Morrow as this show's Alex Jones? Yes, all the way.

The writing...it's just so sub-par. I'll grant that this half-season is better focused than the first half-season but this show still feels like it's just trudging along. This episode really did feel like a "filler" episode all the way.

I'm also not sure enough was done to truly portray the Americans' sense of confusion. I grant there's only so much time in an episode but it felt "too normal". I might have liked a scene maybe where we've got some talking heads dishing out the wild speculation an event like Peter McLeish's death would bring.

Having said that, I do think things are starting to right itself. If the writers could ever get to the level of the acting, we'd have real dynamite on our hands.

Episode Grade: C+. It plodded, but I was still entertained. Morrow was fun to watch, though.

My brother suggested to me while watching this episode that perhaps this show would have been better as a movie, since it's got an "obvious conclusion"- Kirkman gets established as President. I think there may be something to that.

Edited by Danielg342
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The show would probably be better as a limited run, maybe 10 episode series.

Sutherland is really doing well as the President. So far, handling the position with honour. Just wish it had more Sorkin-like writing.

No real explanation of the MacLeish murder-suicide. Still don't really know who the real leak is.

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3 hours ago, marinw said:

I really do not like Abe.

I was glad that Seth didn't get falling down drunk. That was unexpected.

Making Seth into a closet alcoholic would be a deal breaker for me.

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4 minutes ago, Frozendiva said:

No real explanation of the MacLeish murder-suicide. Still don't really know who the real leak is.

It's like Timeless.... chasing the mysterious Rittenhouse conspiracy. This week's episode focused on controlling the press - no matter how sleazy the reporter is, he did have the facts correct - instead of moving ahead with the investigation about the shooter and the VP wife's murder suicide.

I hope this former President they're bringing in isn't a Bill Clinton-like good old boy. Whose wife died and that's why he didn't run for re-election back in his day. Hoo boy. Do Not Want

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13 minutes ago, Tabasco Cat said:

Whose wife died and that's why he didn't run for re-election back in his day.

I fear they will use this as a way to set up President Moss as Kirkman's electoral rival. I'll reserve judgement until the character actually debuts, but I'd rather see Kirkman face someone we already know- like Kimble Hookstraten or even Abe Leonard (Morrow)- or have the show go through the primary process and "grow" a rival organically.

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19 minutes ago, merylinkid said:

Am I the only one who thought the helicopter would blow up as the First Lady and First Brats were taking off?   Just me?    All I thought was "well that would be one way to get rid of the kids on this show."  

I thought it would happen too. I guess I always expecting "fireworks" after a cerebral outing (as this was).

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Am I the only one who thought the helicopter would blow up

*raises hand*

Can't wait to see who they get for the former president.

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26 minutes ago, merylinkid said:

Am I the only one who thought the helicopter would blow up as the First Lady and First Brats were taking off?   Just me?    All I thought was "well that would be one way to get rid of the kids on this show."  

Oh no you weren't! I held my breath waiting for the explosion a la Col. Blake on MASH many, many moons ago.

I'm not crazy about the First Family, but I really didn't want to see them go up like a Roman candle either!

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2 hours ago, janeta said:

Oh, good to have Rob Morrow back on my TV.

That was Rob Morrow? Damn, I'm going to have to watch again, and pay attention this time.

47 minutes ago, merylinkid said:

Am I the only one who thought the helicopter would blow up as the First Lady and First Brats were taking off?   Just me?    All I thought was "well that would be one way to get rid of the kids on this show."  

No, add me to that list too.

This show is starting to wear me out.  It feels a little bit like Burn Notice - every time Michael thought he found the person who burned him, there is some other "big bad guy" above him lurking in the shadows.  Same thing here - you think you know where the conspiracy is headed, then there is someone else somewhere pulling the strings.  This really needed to be a shorter mini-series, not an open-ended, full season show.

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Yeah, I thought the chopper was going to go boom, too.

I'm guessing Seth is an illegal immigrant who took over someone else's life.

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8 hours ago, marinw said:

I was glad that Seth didn't get falling down drunk. That was unexpected.

I was kind of hoping we'd find Seth guzzling from a beer bong and then noticing a fat bag of weed in a friend's pocket. He'd then yell "Let's show these fools how we smoke weed at the White House!" Cut to the next day where a bleary-eyed, unkempt Seth has to fend off reporters who can smell his booze breath from across the room. But if that was going to be the case, I'd insist on John Cho being one of the friends who showed up out of the blue. In any case, this show could use a touch more levity. It takes itself much too seriously.

Emily sure transitioned from cute to gorgeous with the quickness.

So now MacLeish is a good guy who stopped the bad guys from doing even worse things? To the point where POTUS will declare yes he ordered someone murdered in cold blood but you know what, he's not so bad?

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So according to the corporal's story, in Afghanistan, MacLeish cared enough to stop his men from hurting/killing Catalan...yet at the first opportunity, MacLeish doesn't hesitate to have Catalan killed just to hide their connection?

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7 hours ago, janeta said:

Oh, good to have Rob Morrow back on my TV.

So THATS who that was. Thank you.

6 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

President Kirkman is really doing it for me in this series. Kiefer Sutherland is really shining.

All hail the Commander in Kief. Hope he get's an Emmy nod. 

6 hours ago, merylinkid said:

Am I the only one who thought the helicopter would blow up as the First Lady and First Brats were taking off?   Just me?    All I thought was "well that would be one way to get rid of the kids on this show."  

I thought that too. Then I though that Alex kinda went Melanie Trump on Tom, (Albeit for diffrenet reasons) taking herself and the kids out of the White House. That scene did kind of break my heart with Kiefer looking all sad.

Edited by marinw
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6 hours ago, merylinkid said:

Am I the only one who thought the helicopter would blow up as the First Lady and First Brats were taking off?   Just me?    All I thought was "well that would be one way to get rid of the kids on this show."  

I'm still wondering if it's too late. I mean, the next episode could pick-up just right where this one stopped. Especially with the ten-ton anvil "my family is the only thing keeping me together". Come on, show! It would be shocking, but not for shock value since it would be gold for Kirkman as a character and Kiefer S.has the chops. It would also change the way the people perceive Kirkman, and to be honest I don't feel yet another  Kirkman the Underdog vs Saint In the Public Eye that seems to point at the horizon.

But if the First Annoyances were Put On A Bus, and are never to be seen again, I'll be OK with it.

I got two other wishes: President and Hannah regular meetings, and Kirkman getting to make decisions and be more proactive. Loved his shade throwing/backhanded compliments at MacLeish in this last speech. Kirkman is no alpha, doesn't mean he should be a doormat.

My poor Aaron. He's still my favorite, and I still don't believe he's a traitor (they don't even try to make it convincing, imo) but I wonder if maybe he's set up to switch teams and work for Ominous Ex-President at least temporarily. Because from his perspective it will sure look as if Kirkman didn't look out for him. Or Emily. 

Not liking the journalist. No "love to hate", more of a "get that ham off my screen". If the OTTness is an act from the character, I could change my mind.

Hookstraten is so devious, ruthless, and yet not evil. She's an excellent frenemy.

I liked Seth's collaborator with the short bob. I don't know, she clicked.

I find the tone of the show much better, more neutral than the first half of the season. No more more pushing a political agenda or self-righteous lectures and focusing on the characters. I have the feeling that they're trying to tighten the plot, too. The conspiracy is quite muddy for me and I'm going with the flow without trying to make sense out of it, but I'm interested in what Langdon has to say. Hopefully, it will be the first real answer.

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13 hours ago, Happy Harpy said:

I wonder if maybe he's set up to switch teams and work for Ominous Ex-President at least temporarily

Hope Kiefer signed Haysbert or Itzin, as "Cornelius Moss"

Edited by paigow · Reason: ot made no sense
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2 hours ago, Happy Harpy said:

My poor Aaron. He's still my favorite, and I still don't believe he's a traitor (they don't even try to make it convincing, imo) but I wonder if maybe he's set up to switch teams and work for Ominous Ex-President at least temporarily. Because from his perspective it will sure look as if Kirkman didn't look out for him. Or Emily. 

I  know, poor Aaron, people don't trust him because he is too handsome. LOL, I kid. I don't blame Aaron if he switches team. It should be obvious Kirkman doesn't trust him, no matter how he tried to spin it. A whole week to "rest"? Bitch, please. If Kirkman was sincerely, it would only be a day or two. He is always going to trust Emily more than Aaron, because he has worked with her before. In that case, Kirkman should have accepted Aaron's resignation the first time. It is not fair to Aaron.

Sorry, I have a lot of Aaron feelings because I hated to see that sad puppy dog look as he was leaving Kirkman's office. 

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1 hour ago, paigow said:

Hope Kiefer signed Haysbert ot Itzin, as "Cornelius Moss"

That would make me so happy! 

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11 hours ago, janeta said:

Oh, good to have Rob Morrow back on my TV.

Speaking of...does anyone know if Northern Exposure was ever put into syndication? I know that sounds silly (what show hasn't) but why can I never find reruns of it on any channel? Or am I just missing it and it has been shown somewhere?

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Is Numb3rs-guy a new character?  Because I can't remember seeing him before.  

Stupidest words ever spoken by any FLOTUS?

Spoiler

I want out kids to have a normal life!


 

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4 hours ago, Happy Harpy said:

 

Not liking the journalist. No "love to hate", more of a "get that ham off my screen". If the OTTness is an act from the character, I could change my mind.

 

I agree. I love Rob Morrow but the character is so cringeworthy I wanted him off my screen. I hope they tone him down. 

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7 hours ago, mertensia said:

I'm guessing Seth is an illegal immigrant who took over someone else's life.

It's weird the way they keep bringing up Seth's background.  There was the whole parents are immigrants/father is an engineer last episode and this episode the journalist brings up his last name.  Is there some nefarious reason why he changed it or was the journalist just needling him because he changed his name to fit in? And why would that be so terrible?  I'm not sure if it's just poor writing or some sort of clue we are supposed to be picking up.

And I'm guessing the wife and kids are moving to Camp David so one or all of them ends up kidnapped/in danger somehow.

Edited by DoubleUTeeEff · Reason: add some speculation
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It did seem weird that Tom was telling Aaron that he needed to get some rest when Tom himself was just out of the freaking hospital. 

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13 hours ago, Danielg342 said:

I'm also amazed at this show's ability to bring in major league talent. NUMB3Rs and Northern Exposure alum Rob Morrow as this show's Alex Jones? Yes, all the way.

 

I admit I wasn't watching very carefully, but didn't someone say he was a Pulitzer Prize winner?  My impression was that he had once been a respected journalist whose life had gone off the rails (substance abuse?) and now couldn't find work with a legitimate news organization.  Again, I wasn't paying close attention and could be reading this all wrong.

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Hope Kiefer signed Haysbert ot Itzin, as "Cornelius Moss"

In case someone here did not watch "24," they played Good President and Bad President. Haysbert said in an interview that they are friends and play golf together. Sometimes someone recognizes Haysbert, walks toward him smiling, then recognizes Itzin and goes "eww." Haysbert attributed this to Itzin's good acting. I would be pleased to see either of them in DS.

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I'd love to see Haysbert, but I saw him on a commercial for Shots Fired (Fox). I'd like to see Gerald McRaney, but the new version of 24 has him.

Ooh, I'd love to see (and hear) "Bill Buchanan" on my screen again -- anyone know if James Morrison is available?

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This was the first episode where Hookstraten really pissed me off. I HATE how she threw Aaron under the bus. No Kimble, I blame YOU for the leak...Aaron just mistakenly trusted you, seeing as you are the Speaker of the House and the President asked you for help, not to create problems for him. This may be what happens in Washington, but I don't find it acceptable.

And what did she even gain from it? The country now knows MacLeish ordered the "Shoot to Kill," but then in his address, Kirkman seemed to spin it in a positive light. So what was Hookstraten trying to accomplish by betraying Aaron's confidence? 

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Add me to those who thought something would happen to the chopper.  I didn't think it was going to crash, but I expected someone to take a shot at it - just enough to show that no one is really safe.  I'm hoping the Camp David relocation is just an excuse to not have the children on-screen.  I'm hoping the writers learned from the comments from the first few episodes that we really don't care about the son's drug use or teenage angst, and these are not characters we need to see every week. 

I love Rob Morrow, but not a fan of what he's doing with Abe.  The odd mannerisms just bug.

I was certain Seth's "friends" were going to get him drunk and pump him for inside info.  Or he would blab and someone would overhear.  But, no.  I really don't understand what the whole point of that scene was.  I'd like Seth to be just Seth, and have no drama of his own.  Not every character has to have a nefarious backstory or hidden secret or be a double/triple agent or whatever.  Let Seth be just Seth. 

And, finally, add me to those who are confused about MacLeish's motivation for whatever he and his wife were up to.  If he's a good guy, that doesn't make sense. 

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I really like this show, but something about it has always bothered me and I finally figured out what it is...It is really slow-paced compared to other shows I watch. Not much at all happened in last night's episode, but I was still glued to it.

I don't understand the philosophy that the kids will be safer away from the white house. If the security is better at Grandma's house than the friggin White House, we are all in trouble.

I'm not buying that Aaron is a bad guy.

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I don't understand the philosophy that the kids will be safer away from the white house. If the security is better at Grandma's house than the friggin White House, we are all in trouble.

I agree. Secret Service has to be present wherever the members of the first family are, so I don't see how a different location gives the kids a more normal life?

 

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Add me to those who thought something would happen to the chopper.  I didn't think it was going to crash, but I expected someone to take a shot at it - just enough to show that no one is really safe.

Funny how so many of us thought something was going to happen to the chopper. What exactly was it about the scene setup that made it feel that way?

Edited by calipiano81
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9 minutes ago, calipiano81 said:

Funny how so many of us thought something was going to happen to the chopper. What exactly was it about the scene setup that made it feel that way?

The swelling, epic Sean Calley music and the dramatic lighting. 

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Sending the family to Camp David was a way to accomplish a soft exit from the show for the characters. The show seems to be developing into a political thriller so there is really no place for the family in that. The family drama in the fist half of the season went over like a lead balloon so it's better to just eliminate the characters in a plausible way. I guess they thought one dead child was enough. They could always kill off the Alex later and then the kids go to the grandmother.

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2 hours ago, clb1016 said:

I admit I wasn't watching very carefully, but didn't someone say he was a Pulitzer Prize winner?  My impression was that he had once been a respected journalist whose life had gone off the rails (substance abuse?) and now couldn't find work with a legitimate news organization.  Again, I wasn't paying close attention and could be reading this all wrong.

You got it right. I just felt that they wanted an Alex Jones type vibe from Abe Leonard, him also being a conspiracy nut and all.

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37 minutes ago, JusLaugh said:

If the security is better at Grandma's house than the friggin White House, we are all in trouble.

They're not at Grandma's house.  They are at Camp David which has pretty decent security, seeing as it's actually a military base.

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And, finally, add me to those who are confused about MacLeish's motivation for whatever he and his wife were up to.  If he's a good guy, that doesn't make sense. 

Do we know how/when MacLeish met his wife? I'm thinking that she was a sleeper agent, sent to work on MacLeish after he got back from the Afghan mission.

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2 hours ago, marinw said:

It did seem weird that Tom was telling Aaron that he needed to get some rest when Tom himself was just out of the freaking hospital. 

And, really, Aaron did look very well-rested.  I mean, would it kill the make-up department to give him shadows under his eyes or something?

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10 minutes ago, orza said:

Sending the family to Camp David was a way to accomplish a soft exit from the show for the characters. The show seems to be developing into a political thriller so there is really no place for the family in that. The family drama in the fist half of the season went over like a lead balloon so it's better to just eliminate the characters in a plausible way. I guess they thought one dead child was enough. They could always kill off the Alex later and then the kids go to the grandmother.

I don't think this is a way to get rid of Alex--she said she'd be back often and, honestly, I think there is some interesting potential with her.  

But, yeah, I hope the kids love Camp David.

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1 hour ago, calipiano81 said:

Funny how so many of us thought something was going to happen to the chopper. What exactly was it about the scene setup that made it feel that way?

All the talk about safety was what convinced me we'd see it blown up. And what better way to isolate and rattle a president than to leave him standing on the White House lawn as his family, which was being sent away for safety reasons, is destroyed.

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1 hour ago, calipiano81 said:

Funny how so many of us thought something was going to happen to the chopper. What exactly was it about the scene setup that made it feel that way?

Staging. It was so quiet and nondescript that I just "expected" something to happen.

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Maybe it was just the way he was sitting, half slumped most of the time, but it looked like Rob Morrow has put on some pounds. But probably not as much as his tv brother-- David Krumholtz looks like he's gained 50 + pounds since Numbers. He has a small part on 'Mom', but he's not on very often.

 

I'm still liking the show a lot. I really like conspiracies on shows, so this is right up my alley.

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6 hours ago, Driad said:

In case someone here did not watch "24," they played Good President and Bad President. Haysbert said in an interview that they are friends and play golf together. Sometimes someone recognizes Haysbert, walks toward him smiling, then recognizes Itzin and goes "eww." Haysbert attributed this to Itzin's good acting. I would be pleased to see either of them in DS.

Itzin played the most fabulous repulsive snake on the sadly underrated and short-lived mid-90s show Murder One. I was so glad when he "made it" with 24.

6 hours ago, calipiano81 said:

And what did she even gain from it? The country now knows MacLeish ordered the "Shoot to Kill," but then in his address, Kirkman seemed to spin it in a positive light. So what was Hookstraten trying to accomplish by betraying Aaron's confidence? 

I think she wants to undermine Kirkman's team. I mean, how many times did they save his butt? It also came to my mind that she might be in cahoots with Ex-president and push Aaron to work for him. Since he's clearly an asset.

11 hours ago, waving feather said:

Sorry, I have a lot of Aaron feelings because I hated to see that sad puppy dog look as he was leaving Kirkman's office. 

The most cynical character at first sight happens to be the most sentimental. It's a trope but it works for me. It works very, very well.

Also, I love Hannah and her guys. But I'd like to see Emily/Kimble/Hannah share scenes, too.

Edited by Happy Harpy
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4 hours ago, willco said:

Maybe it was just the way he was sitting, half slumped most of the time, but it looked like Rob Morrow has put on some pounds. But probably not as much as his tv brother-- David Krumholtz looks like he's gained 50 + pounds since Numbers. He has a small part on 'Mom', but he's not on very often.

Krumholtz always had a tendency to gain, but he also had thyroid cancer several yrs ago; presumably he doesn't have a thyroid anymore, and that can wreak havoc on weight.

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I'm ashamed that I didn't recognize Rob Morrow at all - I was a big 'Northern Exposure' fan and watched that series from day one all the way through. I, too, wonder if it's in syndication somewhere; I'd love to revisit it.

Add me to the swelling list of those who thought/hoped something might happen to the First Family in the chopper! And yes, I wonder as well why so much is being made of Seth's name/background.

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I was certain Seth's "friends" were going to get him drunk and pump him for inside info.  Or he would blab and someone would overhear.  But, no.  I really don't understand what the whole point of that scene was.  I'd like Seth to be just Seth, and have no drama of his own.  Not every character has to have a nefarious backstory or hidden secret or be a double/triple agent or whatever.  Let Seth be just Seth. 

I was really afraid he'd get a little drunk and let something slip to his friends. I guess the possible point of that scene was to demonstrate Seth's loyalty to and belief in the President, which is perhaps a minority opinion outside the immediate White House circle.

The scene in which Hannah visited her now-former boss was very sad. With his hand tucked up inside his coat, I thought perhaps he was hiding/holding a pistol, with the intent to use it to kill himself. I sure hope we see more of his character, though - he and Hannah have - had? - a strong relationship, it would be a shame to see it tossed away. He needs something to do, something to focus on, other than his grief and guilt - which are legitimate feelings, of course, but I don't want him to succumb to them. Poor Hannah - she was trying to help.

So who will be the new VP?

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On 3/22/2017 at 10:48 PM, merylinkid said:

Am I the only one who thought the helicopter would blow up as the First Lady and First Brats were taking off?   Just me?    All I thought was "well that would be one way to get rid of the kids on this show."  

I did too!!!  I couldn't even watch it pull away and then nothing...  I was relieved that it did not blow up.

19 hours ago, chaifan said:

I was certain Seth's "friends" were going to get him drunk and pump him for inside info.  Or he would blab and someone would overhear.  But, no.  I really don't understand what the whole point of that scene was.  I'd like Seth to be just Seth, and have no drama of his own.  Not every character has to have a nefarious backstory or hidden secret or be a double/triple agent or whatever.  Let Seth be just Seth. 

There was def something fishy with Seth's friends....

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