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S01.E16: Party Lines

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President Kirkman forms an unlikely alliance in the hopes of passing his first bill. Agent Ritter is briefed by Agent Wells about a new alarming threat to the nation.

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14 minutes ago, paigow said:

Wells & Atwood = Scully & Mulder

That North Dakota bit did feel very X-Files.

So Kimble dosn't want to be VEEP? I can't figure out what her end game is, and that's a good thing.

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Drinking game of the night:

Every time someone mentions how "flawed" the gun bill is, drink.

If anyone ever actually describes why it's flawed, finish the bottle.

Edited by Cthulhudrew
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C-9.jpg

I actually didn't think this was pretty bad...just out of place.

All this 100 days stuff with bills and political intrigue...the "business as usual"...should be second season stuff. "The Conspiracy" should be the priority this season.

Season One really should have been a police procedural with the President acting as the supervisor to Hannah Wells' lead investigator role. It's much better built to handle that kind of drama than the drama it's trying to tackle now.

I mean, I'm watching Wells and thinking she's on a completely different show. If I didn't know what channel I was on I would have thought she was. One that's better...I'm not so sure about that.

Great acting, as usual, from everyone. Also as usual...not so great writing. Ho-hum.

Side point- is it legal for President Kirkman to offer an administration position to a Senator in exchange for her vote? Seems like an ethics concern to me.

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This was not even remotely entertaining.  Is the fight over gun control a sign over future stories?  Will this show now try to address everything that is happening in true life politics?  Even the conspiracy story is boring.

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Did POTUS and Co. really say "time to bring out the big guns" when discussing which Senators they intended to flip? On a gun bill? Poor choice of phrase, I think.

Why is there no new VP? If you are going to vote on an important bill and expect a tie, wouldn't it be prudent to hold off until there is a VP?

When Wells and Atwood approached that door, I yelled "it's a hatch! Don't punch in any numbers!"

Still waiting for Kirkman to channel his inner Jack Bauer.

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C'mon Kirkman. You know you want to release the hidden Jack Bauer within.

US gun control is a massive issue and constitutional issue that may take years to take any real action toward. Too many interest groups. Too much money.

Since the VP just died a few days ago, it's probably too soon for an appointment.

I did like some of the Republican interaction and putting aside party lines. Not really going to happen in the current US government.

The old Cold War bomb shelter with old 50s and 60s computers was cool. Someone else obviously has the key. I half expected the real big bad to find the two agents.

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When did the third rail of politics become gun control instead of Social Security?

I like the opening graphics of this series. The red stripes evoke both the U.S. flag and blood running down a wall.

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the theme music is very similar to the  House of Cards.....very dark , if music can be dark

even i need that 'it' was underground so why didn't wells and jason know

i meant knew not need

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If the gun bill is so flawed that no one likes it, but they're sure the House can fix it, why can't the Senate amend it as needed?

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Another we're not even going to try and disguise the political subtext epi. Preach and lecture, the same technique that failed the followers of a particular ideology will also lose viewers, not just voters. And yes the bill still has to go to the house to be amended-I can hear "watered down version" already.  More deals to be made?

Was the Mass AG lady an actress from Major Crimes?

And yes Mulder and Scully at it again. What is it with the dark sets and flashlights-Supernatural? Maqgie Q in a missle silo again, Like no one is not going to guard or alarm their wmd/explosive stash-some people, jeeezzz

Edited by misstwpherecool
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2 hours ago, misstwpherecool said:

Another we're not even going to try and disguise the political subtext epi. Preach and lecture, the same technique that failed the followers of a particular ideology will also lose viewers, not just voters. And yes the bill still has to go to the house to be amended-I can hear "watered down version" already.  More deals to be made?

Was the Mass AG lady an actress from Major Crimes?

And yes Mulder and Scully at it again. What is it with the dark sets and flashlights-Supernatural? Maqgie Q in a missle silo again, Like no one is not going to guard or alarm their wmd/explosive stash-some people, jeeezzz

Yes, the Mass AG was man was kearran giovanni (Detective Sykes) from Major Crimes. 

And did anyone notice Toronto's well known City Council Chamber as the place the Senators were voting at?

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I was expecting the underground place to be fully staffed and be one of those pricy bug out bunkers people are installing-and for the daughters to be there.

Loved that no one bothered to ask the widow because of assumptions. Bit you in the ass, didn't it, Bowman?

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I liked it wayyy better than last week.

No kids, phewww. Very FF-able Alex scenes (sorry, Seth. I think I'd even fast-forward Aaron with her. Maybe).

Lots of Kimble made this episode one of my favorite. You don't mess with Kimble Hookstraten and for once I was excited because I knew Prick from Montana's plan was thwarted, from the mere look she gave him when he was trying to lay down the law. I can't decide if she should absolutely not be VP, since Kirkman would look like a debonair but colorless king next to her, or if she should absolutely be VP, because she might bring out anything less vanilla he must have somewhere inside him (poor Kiefer S. is doing his damnedest, but he needs help imo). Note: I love good guys. I love it when good guys win and I hate it when they lose. But you can be good and not (stupidly) naive.

Needless to say that I loved the Aaron/Kimble association. He's depicted as less cynical than in the beginning, but still he knows how to play the game. He's still loyal to Kirkman, but he's working for Hooskstraten and does what is in her best interest. I'm looking forward to see how this is going to develop.

Aaron and Emily are still a thing! More or less? I liked their scenes, plus it was connected to the main plot. But I felt, and it wasn't the only time during the episode (Hookstraten's VP bid was one) that the "pause" button was hit and they put the story on hold time to figure out where they're going in general. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it shows.

Talking about Emily, finally she is authorized to smile and have emotions again. Keep it this way, thanks. Somehow, the pop culture reference made me smile.

I liked the vote storyline,  its emphasis was on suspense more than on emotional manipulation or on promoting an agenda (maybe I feel this way since I FFed Alex's scenes?).

I love Mike, but it would be nice if Kirkman and Hannah could meet more often. Nice reveal with the bombs at the end. It could be stalling since isn't an answer, I do have some "pause button" vibe here, too, but at least it gives an impression of progress.

I agree, the show still doesn't know what it is. But this week's outing was more pleasant to watch for me and each of the two main storylines got my interest.

Edited by Happy Harpy
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I was kinda bored this week. Geoff Pierson and Virginia Madsen (both fantastic actors) did their best, but I was just not interested in that storyline. Yay, the (weak, "flawed") bill passed. And? Kirkman got a "win". Good for him. And?

Meanwhile, Maggie Q and Malik Yoba were X-Files-ing it up in the woods, discovering enough bombs to blow up half of the US! Like, come on! Show us more of that!

Anyway. Back to the politics. At first, I wasn't sure how to feel about Aaron "advising" Hookstraten. Does she even need advice? From Aaron, of all people? That's why I was pleasantly surprised when she calmly told him she has her own agenda, in the end. I just love her. Bowman tried to charm her (nice try), and she had Aaron get an almost-guaranteed offer for the VP spot, and then she told Kirkman she was supporting him because he was doing "the right thing" (which he seemed to believe), and then she made it clear that a) she doesn't necessarily care about becoming the VP and b) she'd win either way (because Kirkman's win would also be her win, and Kirkman's defeat would be his own failure). You gotta respect that.

I hope we don't spend another couple of episodes seeing how the "flawed" bill gets improved in the House. We get it. Let's move on. The only politics-related development I care about is who'll be the new VP. Otherwise, I hope we focus on the conspiracy. In this entire episode, we just saw an empty field and some bombs. I'm gonna need more than that to care.

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1 hour ago, Princess Lucky said:

In this entire episode, we just saw an empty field and some bombs. I'm gonna need more than that to care.

That were completely unguarded with no security codes on the door or anything. 

I found the gun bill bit  boring, except when that moment when one Senator  voting for it and it was a surprise because no one asked her. At least it was acknowledged that there are now lots of Independents .

Edited by marinw
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I call BS on no one asking the newly appointed Senator how she would vote.  I don't  believe Congressmen leave anything to chance assuming how a person will vote for ANY bill, much less an important one like a gun bill.  Also, we got to see the Senator's reasoning for her "brave" vote.  YAY!!!  Give me a break.

There are two potentially more interesting storylines:  1) conspiracy behind blowing up the capitol, 2) murder-suicide of the VP and VP wife.  Show needs more of that and way less of the commentary on real-life events.  The vote should have mirrored real-life and had a compelling story around the president's failure.  But, no, had to send a message about gun reform.  More stuff like this and I imagine viewership will drop off precipitously.  It wasn't just the subject matter, but that it was tediously boring to watch.

Edited by PsychoDrone
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I haven’t been paying too much attention to the politics on this show because I didn’t think it would be important so I may have gotten this wrong, but did a Republican senator actually introduce a gun control bill just so he could vote against it? If so that seems pretty farfetched if not ridiculous. And if a Democrat switched sides to vote against the bill wouldn’t be far easier to have the popular ex-president threaten to campaign against him in the primaries instead of relying on Sarah Palin-lite to vote against it?

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Moss is popular in Texas...pretty sure that the Democrat was not from Texas...so ex-POTUS would be an ineffective "stick"....

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34 minutes ago, PsychoDrone said:

There are two potentially more interesting storylines:  1) conspiracy behind blowing up the capitol, 2) murder-suicide of the VP and VP wife. 

So true about the MacLeishes. They were such fun, interesting characters and no one mentions them anymore. What does the general public think about their deaths, again? I think something about marital problems? Is that enough? Is the press buying that? Why? And what about Hannah? Why not dig into their past (some more) to get some leads on the conspiracy, now that Miss Kidnapper is gone?

58 minutes ago, marinw said:

That were completely unguarded with no security codes on the door or anything.

Right? That is a literal bomb silo which contains a large number of bombs (but not all, because you know there'll be more bombs in other silos) and it's just sitting there? For anyone to find? Why? Because the show couldn't afford another shoot-out, or they couldn't stage it in that set? Or because the writers don't know who's behind the conspiracy, and they didn't want to put a face to the guards? Eh.

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I thought the surprise encounter with the first lady and senators would become a bigger issue especially after they discussed hoping it would not.

Will Senator Bowman claim first lady interference or undue influence.

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1 hour ago, Princess Lucky said:

Right? That is a literal bomb silo which contains a large number of bombs (but not all, because you know there'll be more bombs in other silos) and it's just sitting there? For anyone to find? Why? Because the show couldn't afford another shoot-out, or they couldn't stage it in that set? Or because the writers don't know who's behind the conspiracy, and they didn't want to put a face to the guards? Eh.

Clearly the solution is to put a lock on the door so the bad guys can't get to their bombs! ;)  Problem solved.

This episode was so boring.  

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2 hours ago, deaja said:

Clearly the solution is to put a lock on the door so the bad guys can't get to their bombs! ;)  Problem solved.

This episode was so boring.  

Why did "Mysterious Woman" need to visit North Dakota? Inventory count? With a national conspiracy, some dudes with a truck could drive the loads to D.C. Or was she a micro-micro-manager????

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So, the good news is that I beat my high score at Sudoku while watching this one.

Ugh.

Look, I care about gun control--IN REAL LIFE.  I don't give a rat's ass about it in this show.  I'm far more interested in some big conspiracy, which is apparently being investigated by morons.  Really, shouldn't missiles/nuclear warheads be their FIRST thought when they found out the shadowy company owned land in North Dakota?  It was mine, which is why I kept yelling it at the TV while watching this--about every time I stopped the playback to see how much time was left in this episode.  The only thing I remotely enjoyed in this show was Kimball and Aaron and, frankly, I'd be happy if the show were about them.

Between the moronic behavior of "the FBI" (er, Nathan, Hannah, and the other guy) and the incredibly boring Gun Control story line, I might be done with this show.  They keep dangling new show runners in front of me, but I think that my goodwill is now gone.

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3 hours ago, deaja said:

Clearly the solution is to put a lock on the door so the bad guys can't get to their bombs! ;)  Problem solved.

This episode was so boring.  

LOL. Even more troubling is that a non armor piercing bullet from a pistol was able to damage a NUCLEAR missile silo door. (She didn't kick that in, right?....)

Apparently they did remember to pay the power bill.

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3 minutes ago, misstwpherecool said:

Apparently they did remember to pay the power bill.

And the property taxes....because if you are running an anarchist conspiracy, you definitely want to have tax records for all the hiding places for your nuclear weapons.

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8 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

And the property taxes....because if you are running an anarchist conspiracy, you definitely want to have tax records for all the hiding places for your nuclear weapons.

Just getting that many crates into the silo might have drawn attention. Heck if the Russians picked it up on satellite they could've accused the US of reactivating a silo that was listed as inactive in a treaty

Edited by misstwpherecool
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There is something very frustrating about wanting to like a show. It would be easier if DS was so horrible I could stop watching it or just hate-watch it. We keep seeing flashes of what this show is trying to achieve and what it could be with episodes such as “Pilot” and “The End of the Beginning”.

There is no shortage of apocalyptic shows out there. We don't need another one, but maybe if they showed us how socially, economically and culturally devastating the destruction of the government would be, then the hopeful parts of the show would feel more authentic.

Again, I am making a 24 comparison: That show (not the reboot) created such a compelling parallel universe that was close enough to ours to feel realistic, yet crazy enough to be a fantasy. If DS went this route, then we could see the government really being built up from almost nothing, and that new government would behave differently than the previous government. I think that’s what “Party Lines” was trying to do, maybe.

Edited by marinw
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2 hours ago, marinw said:

There is something very frustrating about wanting to like a show. It would be easier if DS was so horrible I could stop watching it or just hate-watch it. We keep seeing flashes of what this show is trying to achieve and what it could be with episodes such as “Pilot” and “The End of the Beginning”.

I agree, totally. It reminds me of The Blacklist- Designated Survivor is the kind of high concept, well-acted and high potential show that just fails to deliver. Like The Blacklist the promise of a grander, epic story keeps me coming back to DS, mostly because I keep thinking this great cast could one day really deliver something special if they ever got a showrunner that knew what they were doing.

Shows like this tell me that Hollywood isn't at a loss for ideas- it's at a loss for execution.

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Just read that gun control group is responsible for the framing of this episode.  The saying goes, "If you want to send a message, use Western Union."  Truer words were never spoken.  May not be long before DS is cancelled.  Hope it was worth it.

Edited by PsychoDrone
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19 hours ago, OtterMommy said:

Look, I care about gun control--IN REAL LIFE.  I don't give a rat's ass about it in this show.  I'm far more interested in some big conspiracy, which is apparently being investigated by morons.  Really, shouldn't missiles/nuclear warheads be their FIRST thought when they found out the shadowy company owned land in North Dakota?  It was mine, which is why I kept yelling it at the TV while watching this--about every time I stopped the playback to see how much time was left in this episode.  The only thing I remotely enjoyed in this show was Kimball and Aaron and, frankly, I'd be happy if the show were about them.

I couldn't agree more. If I want to watch real life politics, I would watch real life politics, which is far juicier than the after-school special they have going on here. They should know most people watching this show are above 12, right? I don't watch TV to be lectured or to be informed about current affairs. I watch TV to be entertained and this episode was so boring. They spent a bloody good 10 minutes showing the "live" vote. Is that supposed to be suspenseful? What a waste of episode time!

The only thing I enjoyed were the Kimball and Aaron scenes. At least they are interesting grey characters. All the others are so cardboard cut-out morally white/black characters. They might as well give Kirkman and his wife sainthood because they always appear morally superior to everyone else.

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I enjoyed the recap this week much more than the episode itself. Some of my favorite highlights:

Quote

Emily runs herself ragged trying to flip enough Republican votes to get the measure passed. This includes everything from promising pork to a Colorado senator (which works) to operating a sophisticated vote-tallying system that consists of flip charts and Post-its with the names and states of senators. Which sort of works. Specifically, far be it from me to question the White House Chief of Staff, but which state is abbreviated as AV?

lol! I didn't notice that AV one, but that whole scene was pretty funny. Especially how dramatic the C-Span voting was. Everyone waiting on pins and needles as the two swing votes paused and stared at the camera before finally casting their votes. 

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So it looks like the conspiracy isn't done yet. In unrelated news, somebody should tell whoever chose the establishing shot of North Dakota that Badlands National Park is in South Dakota.

I thought that's where that was! I've only seen it in pictures so far (going there in less than a month- yay!) but since they were in North Dakota, I assumed the showrunners must have chosen a similar looking spot for that shot, because surely they couldn't be that ignorant? But no, sounds like they were. Ugh.

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Wow, this was such an incredibly boring episode.  This show needs to decide what it is.  If it's a show about politics, then it should just come out and unabashedly portray itself as a show about politics and the inner workings of Washington, just like The West Wing.  But if it's a show about a political conspiracy and the FBI's efforts to uncover and defeat the conspiracy, then show us more of that.  

Because right now, particularly with this episode, there was such an imbalance.  I couldn't care less about the gun bill that consumed at least 75% of the episode.  I didn't care about watching all these random senators getting talked to by Tom, Emily, Seth, Alex, etc.  It was very uninteresting.

Although I do have a question... why were some of the Senators address as "Mr." or "Ms." and why were some addressed as "Senator"?

More Hannah.  More Atwood.  More evil conspirators.  Or I'm out.

Edited by blackwing
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This was a little dull. As others have said, I care about gun control IRL but not to watch a fictional gun control law being passed on a TV show. Maybe they could have done it in a way that didn't take up so much time.

I mostly want to see what is going on with the conspiracy but they are really handing out tiny tidbits of that story and spending most air time on political machinations 

Why do we never see that FBI computer guy whose apartment got blown up?  Seems like he should be on Hannah's team too.

Maybe Mystery Woman carried the nukes to the silo one at a time so as not to draw attention, and that's why she went there so often. *rolls eyes*

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51 minutes ago, Blue Plastic said:

Maybe Mystery Woman carried the nukes to the silo one at a time so as not to draw attention, and that's why she went there so often. *rolls eyes*

Wait, there were nukes in the silo?  All I saw was more of the same type of bomb used to bring down the Capitol.

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The only way this "business as usual" plot can work is if it is just a "facade" and another attack is in the works. However, for that to work, we need to see someone working to put that plan in motion, preferably someone in the government. I'm not sure killing Peter McLeish or having Kirkman shot was the best idea.

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Well, I guess that was something?  I mean, I do prefer the political aspects compared to the family drama, but this whole thing ended up being kind of a bore.  Probably because there was no suspense, because losing would have been a likely fatal blow to both Kirkman and Kimble, so I knew that wasn't going to happen.  Although, I did laugh when one of the "surprise" obstacles was some Democratic senator flipping due to Kimble's involvement, because if I have learn anything about politics, Democratic politicians excel at being their own worst enemies.  That might have been the most believable thing about the episode.  Second favorite bit was the Republican senator being from Tennessee, because that's my home state.  Yay, us!

But the biggest issue going forward is definitely going to be Bowman.  Nothing against the actor playing him, but I'm already over him.  Just your typical smug, smirking opposition, that will always go against the "heroes."  I doubt we will ever get any layers of dimensions from him.  At least with Kimble, there is more to her (plus Virginia Madsen being awesome.)

On the flip side, the addition of Moss is definitely a good thing.  Geoff Pierson is always awesome and I'm loving him here.

I'm glad it worked out for Alex, because if her conversation had accidentally made things worse and killed the bill, I wouldn't blame Seth if he suggested that she just never leave Camp David for the rest of Kirkman's term.

Hannah and Jason's quest now takes them North Dakota (well, Canada pretending to be ND.  Pretty sure I saw some of those locations on Maggie Q's old stomping ground, Nikita), and find some kind of bunker filled with old weapons and bombs.  Exciting!

Not enough Mike.  Every episode could have more Mike. 

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In real life, do they still use the paper and board method for tallying up senators?  I mean, Microsoft or Apple would have jumped at the chance for some product placement to show off their electronic boards where you can move files from one side to the other with your fingertips.

The silo.  They walk in through a padlocked door at ground level(let's just assume for the moment that none of the local high school kids have never, ever gone out there for a party or anything and cut the padlock) and walk down the entryway, and then look upward at the humongous 200'+ tall silo.  Slight continuity problem there.  

On 4/13/2017 at 0:50 PM, misstwpherecool said:

Heck if the Russians picked it up on satellite they could've accused the US of reactivating a silo that was listed as inactive in a treaty

Interestingly enough, south of Tucson, AZ, is an actual Titan Missile silo museum.  The US had to make a deal with the Russians that, 1) The missile would remain inert (duh) and could be observed as such (they cut a hole in the warhead), and, 2) the silo doors would be locked in an open position at all times so it could also be observed.  I couldn't transfer it, but a Wiki search under Titan Missile Museum will take you there.

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On April 13, 2017 at 8:38 AM, Rambler said:

I haven’t been paying too much attention to the politics on this show because I didn’t think it would be important so I may have gotten this wrong, but did a Republican senator actually introduce a gun control bill just so he could vote against it? If so that seems pretty farfetched if not ridiculous. . . .

Okay. I am technically sworn to secrecy — but I think it's only when I'm not cloaked by my screen name — but my close, nameless relative recently started working for a nameless state's government where she was mildly horrified to learn that certain politicians were intending to make the other party's bad bill even worse in a gamble that it wouldn't pass. So maybe that's just politics?

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Hopefully we'll never know what happens after an event leaving only the Designated Survivor left alive but I agree with those who have said they've kind of glossed over the actual rebuilding element of things in favor for the "fish-out-of-water" story with Kirkman and the "conspiracy theory" story with Wells. Maybe the story of replacing senators and Cabinet members, etc was determined to be too boring? I think there's a lot of political drama to be had with who gets seats and how and why (like the guy undermining Hookstraten and working on a Presidential run) but they don't expand on it. It does seem like you're watching two different shows and I'm interested in both, but it's hard to watch them at the same time.

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2 minutes ago, tvfanatic13 said:

Who is the actor playing Bowman and where have I seen him? Many thanks in advance.

His name is Mark Deklin. You've seen him everywhere, he's guest starred on pretty much every show out there. Most notably (to me), he was on Hawaii Five-O as the new husband of Scott Caan's ex-wife (Step Stan), he was a regular on the gone-too-soon GCB, and he also appeared in a very memorable role on Better Off Ted (he played a magician who used to date Portia de Rossi, and we were treated to flashbacks of the magic show they used to perform together).

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1 minute ago, Princess Lucky said:

His name is Mark Deklin. You've seen him everywhere, he's guest starred on pretty much every show out there. Most notably (to me), he was on Hawaii Five-O as the new husband of Scott Caan's ex-wife (Step Stan), he was a regular on the gone-too-soon GCB, and he also appeared in a very memorable role on Better Off Ted (he played a magician who used to date Portia de Rossi, and we were treated to flashbacks of the magic show they used to perform together).

Thank you Princess. It was from Hawaii Five-O that I remembered him!

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