How To Run A Country
Designated Survivor: 60 Days has been quite the dramatic ride up until this point. Sticking closely to the same rigid structure as the original American series , the latest politically charged episode sees the true extent of Oh’s powers as Park deliberates over whether to run for presidency or not.
We begin with Acting President Park waking up, but told by doctors that he needs to stay in hospital for another week at least. While he’s bed-bound, Secretary Jeong tells Park about Cha potentially being the one colluding with the bombers. With the NIS believing that Na is locked up in the prosecution office, Officer Kang intercepts the transport and takes her to Park who tasks her with continuing the investigation into Oh.
Meanwhile Oh himself snubs the Blue House and holds a meeting about National Security without them. Unfortunately, Cha has bigger problems to deal with as he’s called into a meeting with Na who questions him about the file. It turns out Cha didn’t have access to the file either – it was actually Secretary Han Ju-Seung who gave the official order to revoke clearance. This takes Cha out of the spotlight and causes the mystery to open once more over who’s really behind the operation.
While the group deliberate over whose behind the bombings, Oh goes ahead with a risky military operation, spitting in the face of the previous establishment that worked hard to build relations with environmentalists over delaying expansion plans for a military base. Cha confronts Oh about the operation but he’s met with a cold, icy reception and sternly reminded who’s in charge.
Mayor Kang figures out that Oh is creating his own brand, attempting to coerce people with his charisma while deceiving everyone behind the scenes. As a way of fighting against this, Kang and Yun decide to team up together to fight him in the upcoming Presidential Elections. It’s a bold move too and one that may well see their united love for Korea swing the polls back in their favour.
Alone, Yun threatens Oh but he bites back, telling her there’s no way she’ll be able to compete while news from Gasan Island reaches the mainland; the original protestors have decided to stand down after being given a substantial amount of compensation. Yun subsequently then stands down from her threats but warns Secretary Cha to be careful – Oh is far more dangerous than he may realize.
Back at the office, Na and the others search through the data files to try and find back-ups to what may have been destroyed. However, Oh shows up with a military commander and a translator, showing the true extent of damage he’s done, unbeknownst to him that Na and the others are hiding downstairs, watching everything unfold before them.
Finally putting the pieces together, Na heads off and speaks to Park, informing him that this act will cause war to erupt across the Korean Peninsula and the peace treaty will never come to fruition. With Cha’s future political career called into question thanks to a slip-up with Ms. Woo, Cha decides to hand in his resignation. Back at the hospital, with Cha’s earlier words of encouragement ringing in his ears, Park returns to Presidential duties and faces the media, holding a press conference while Oh himself watches on, eyeing his every move from afar.
He tells the reporters that Cha was not involved in the attack on the National Assembly building and lashes out at them all, telling the media that Cha handed his letter of resignation in because he feared the journalists would react unfavorably for the sake of a sensationalist headline. Catching him off guard, Ms. Woo then asks him if he’s running for presidency. A long pause ensues before he declares to the room that he will, infact, run for presidency, much to the quiet joy of those in Blue House. Game on Oh Young-Seok, game on.
As we fast approach the Presidential Elections, one thing that’s really stood out to me during the 12 episodes so far is the characterisation for Park. It seems surreal that 6 weeks ago we had a timid, shy Minister for Environmental Affairs afraid to even look opposition in the eye. Now we have a wise, patient man who has been to hell and back to protect his own country. It makes him such an easy character to empathise with and because of that, Oh’s stark differences to Park’s warmth make him easy to loathe.
There’s a cold, calculated measure to Oh’s actions too that make him a real danger and as the most recent episode shows, he will do anything to cling to that top rung of power. Big question marks still hang over who’s working with him within the Blue House but if I’d wager a guess, it’s going to be someone no-one will expect. Secretary Han and Cha feel like red herrings, hiding who’s really pulling the strings hre. Quite who that is though, remains to be seen.
With a good pacing and a clear direction for the rest of the series to follow, Designated Survivor: 60 Days delivers another good episode here, one that sees Park declare his intent to run for presidency and finally draw the battle lines for the fight ahead.