Designated Survivor: 60 Days – Season 1 Finale Recap & Review


The End?

After 15 episodes of political scheming, terrorist plotting and pressure, Designated Survivor: 60 Days bows out with a somewhat anticlimactic finale. With the final reveal of whose working with the bombers inside the Blue House, most of the finale here polishes up the assembled pieces, moving things toward a finale that closes out most of the big plot points whilst leaving a faint glimmer of hope alive for a possible second season.

The episode begins with the approval ratings coming in for President Park, which is currently sat at 11%. 11% higher than the other candidates and currently soaring toward victory. This prompts the Blue House officials to congratulate one another for a job well done.

Meanwhile the VIP offers to give up the person responsible for completing the bombing through him. In exchange though, he wants a presidential pardon. With the fate of the presidential candidacy at stake, Park consults Assemblywoman Yun and Mayor Kang over what to do next. However, before they can decide, back in the interview room Kim has heart problems and is rushed to hospital. While in the ambulance, the guard and driver reveal themselves to be working for Kim and bring him back to life after revealing they were responsible for his initial heart issues. However, Na and Han-Mo catch wind of what’s happening and corner him on the rooftop. Just before they arrest him though, a sniper from somewhere nearby shoots him dead, silencing him and revealing once and for all that someone inside the Blue House is in collusion with the bombers.

As new evidence comes to light, Na rushes to tell Park the news, prompting Mr Kang to show him a series of calls the morning of the bombing – one of which to the Deputy of the Security Team. That person happens to be Secretary Han. As Park confronts him about the bombing, asking just why he did what he did, we cut back in time to see his side of things and what led him to escort President Yang in to the building knowing a bomber was prominent.

With everything laid out on the line, Park makes his choice. He tells Han he doesn’t want to be remembered as a puppet and steps out and tells the media he’s not running for Presidency. He goes on to tell them the reason why is because someone inside the office is responsible for the bombing and he holds himself personally accountable for this. Using Cha’s own words, he tells the crowd that the Republic Of Korea must be one they all take pride in. After the meeting, Mr Kang arrives and tasks him with taking Han away with the NIS.



From here, we jump forward for the final 30 days of the Acting President’s term – exactly as predicted – with a montage segment that sees Park preparing for the elections, casting his vote and awaiting anxiously with the rest over who the next president will be. Park thanks each person individually as he leaves the Blue House, jumping forward in time to see Park out on family vacation.

While Park enjoys spending some quality time with his family, Cha catches up with Kim while he’s out gaining signatures for the Discrimination Act, where they rally together for their new chosen candidate. Meanwhile, Park returns to school to teach about pollutants and the environment again. In the middle of a lecture, Cha arrives along with the Blue House staff and asks him about the environmental issues before getting down to brass tax. They want him to run for the next Presidential election. As they deliberate over his answer, he smiles at the camera as we leave the episode hanging on a bit of a cliffhanger despite resolving most of the plot points.

Designated Survivor: 60 Days comes to a bit of an anticlimactic end here. If I’m honest, the show hit its peak several episodes ago and since then it’s felt like a warm-down stretch to the finish line. That’s not to say the show has suffered for it, quite the opposite infact, allowing breathing room for the final plot points to resolve themselves, but the unnecessary open ending and final pieces to the puzzle do little to match the earlier intensity in the season.

On the whole, this Korean drama has done well and has certainly been an enjoyable watch over the weeks. The predicted time jumps were handled surprisingly well, with the countdown timers at the bottom of the screen reinforcing Park’s time at the office coming to a close. In doing so, most of the big plot points are wrapped up in a relatively compelling manner.

While it doesn’t quite match the intensity and excitement seen in its American counterpart, especially given the story borrows large chunks of the original’s plot line, there’s enough here to make for a thoroughly enjoyable series nonetheless. It’s not the best ending but it’s certainly better than some of the more ambiguous endings we’ve received this year (looking at you Memories Of The Alhambra). As we bow out the show, Designated Survivor: 60 Days has been an entertaining, exciting, politically charged thriller and well worth the investment of time to watch. If only more political leaders were like Acting President Park.

 

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