'Designated Survivor' season finale preview: Refresher before the nail-biting season ender


Millions of people have been tuning in to see what will happen next with the United States' inexperienced (and some say illegitimate) president. Throw in a thrilling conspiracy and an FBI investigation that extends into the White House, and it is understandable why so many viewers are hooked. Obviously, we are talking about ABC's political thriller Designated Survivor

The fictional, yet shockingly relevant, series has been one of the best new shows of the year. And fans of Designated Survivor can celebrate knowing that the freshman drama has officially been renewed for a second season. But while celebrations are certainly in order, it may be too soon to breathe easy. 

Designated Survivor's season finale is right around the corner, and things are just heating up. The season's penultimate episode ended with Hannah Wells, played by Maggie Q, waking up in the back of a van surrounded by a bunch of high-powered explosives. If that wasn't bad enough, she soon realizes that the van is parked in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the headquarters of the FBI. 

Need a brief refresher on what came before? You have come to the right place. 

Designated Survivor season one brief refresher

Ben Mark Holzberg/ABC

The series begins with a devastating attack on the United States Capitol. The federal government is virtually wiped out, with the entire presidential line of succession killed, save Tom Kirkman, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, played by Kiefer Sutherland. From that moment on, Designated Survivor has put its foot on the gas and hasn't let up one bit. 

The primary focus of the series has been twofold. First, the newly sworn-in president must work to keep the government running, despite fierce opposition and a lack of trust from those on all ends of the political spectrum — though he starts to win over many of his critics as the season progresses.

The other, probably more exciting, aspect of Designated Survivor has been figuring out who was behind the bombing at the Capitol. Throughout the series' first season, we have learned that the attack was part of a large conspiracy that extends into the White House. Early on, it is revealed that the only surviving member of the attack, Peter MacLeish, was in on the bombing, all so he could eventually become president. 

The FBI investigation

Ben Mark Holzberg/ABC

In the midseason finale of Designated Survivor, Kirkman is nearly assassinated by the man who carried out the bombing. Not surprisingly, it is revealed in the midseason premiere that, while shot, Kirkman survives the assassination attempt. Not soon after, the president puts FBI agent Hannah Wells in charge of her own investigation into the bombing. 

Hannah's investigation leads to proof that MacLeish had perjured himself in his vice-presidential confirmation hearing. Unfortunately, before the FBI can take him in, and thus get some answers regarding the bombing, MacLeish's wife kills him and then turns the gun on herself. After that dead end, Hannah's investigation turns to a former military contractor, Browning Reed. 

As it turns out, the company's former CEO, an alt-right figurehead, is involved in the attack. Unfortunately, before Hannah can find any concrete evidence on him, she is kidnapped. And this brings us back to the J. Edgar Hoover Building. While, of course, some exciting events happened in between, Hannah eventually wakes up in the the parking garage of the FBI headquarters with a bomb about to go off.

The Designated Survivor season finale

Ben Mark Holzberg/ABC

In Designated Survivor's season finale, Agent Wells will try and prevent yet another attack on American soil. Meanwhile, Kirkman will attempt to put an end to the conspiracy all together. 

Things may get complicated, though, as Jay Whitaker, the U.S. Homeland Security adviser, has been revealed to be the traitor within the White House. Unfortunately, while the audience knows this, Kirkman and his administration do not.

For more, here is the official synopsis for the finale, titled "Brace for Impact": 

In the nail-biting season finale, Hannah Wells must stop the conspiracy from carrying out a final attack while President Kirkman authorizes a nationwide manhunt for the mastermind behind it all.

To hold you over, here is the promo for Designated Survivor's season finale.

The Designated Survivor season one finale airs Wednesday, May 17 at 10 p.m. Eastern on ABC. 

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