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Salvation- The Plot Against America - Review

Salvation finished out its season with “The Plot Against America” written by the team of Liz Kruger and Craig Shapiro and directed by Stuart Gillard. As of this writing, we still don’t know if the show has been renewed or we’ve been left with the mother of all cliffhangers. My hope, at this point, is that they had a contingency plan in place and would have had an ending that tied things up if they weren’t going to have a second season… so I’ll put off being really annoyed until I learn differently! As it is, I’m still trying to get over being annoyed that Darius (Santiago Cabrera) isn’t piloting Salvation, and they broke up both main couples.

The episode begins with Darius recording a message, which the episode skillfully circles back to at the end. Meanwhile, everything is going badly. The USS Pike is blown up, and there are 3 Russian subs who could have done it. Liam (Charlie Rowe) is going through the hacker’s code, and he and Darius realize that Resist used Tess to blow up the Pike. Darius tasks Liam with finding Resist while he goes to the Pentagon.

Grace (Jennifer Finnigan) holds a press conference and notices that Amanda (Shazi Raja) isn’t there. Sadly, it does look like she died in the fire as Liam finds her phone among the abandoned possessions and the bodies haven’t been identified yet.

At the Pentagon, Harris (Ian Anthony Dale) calls Toporov who denies the Russians blowing up the Pike. Bennett (Sasha Roiz) and Claire (Erica Luttrell) are determined to attack Russia and start a nuclear war. Darius arrives in the nick of time to stop them. Claire makes a last ditch effort to blame Darius, and Grace jumps in to defend him. There’s a really nice ripped from the headline moment as Grace berates them for their “refusal to embrace the scientific facts” and points out it’s put them all in danger. She also breaks it to them that their plan to crash the GT into Samson is both immoral and laughable – and it won’t work.

Bennett gives them 24 hours to prove that Resist was behind the attack. I loved Darius’ face and how clearly proud he was of Grace for stepping up. Grace, Darius, and Harris end up on the elevator together and Harris drops the bomb about President Mackenzie (Tovah Feldshuh) still being alive.

Darius suggests kidnapping Bennett in order to help get Mackenzie re-instated, and naturally, Grace calls Hugh (Mark Moses). Harris tells Claire that Bennett has to prerecord his message to the country and then get to safety before launching the nuclear weapons. I loved Harris wiping his face after he had to kiss Claire to maintain his cover! He manufactures a crisis. Hugh, Grace, and Harris use the tunnels under the White House to get Bennett out with Grant’s (Dean Armstrong) help as head of the Secret Service.

Darius and Liam meanwhile set up a meeting with Resist. When they get there, they find an augmented reality hologram – Darius’ tech! There’s no indication of who the old woman (Joan Gregson) actually is, but she demands that Darius give them Tess’s source code. She admits that they blew up the Pike.

Darius decides to give them what they want. It’s bitter sweet as he boots her up and thanks her before saying goodbye. It also seemed stupid that he wouldn’t put some kind of Trojan horse of his own in the code, but it doesn’t look like he did. Resist does give back control of the Gravity Tractor, but they also blow up one of the Russian subs. Liam and Darius, meanwhile, have to figure out a way to account for the iron core of Sampson – the GT may not be strong enough.

Grace tells President Mackenzie about Amanda and how she gave her life to get the truth out and urges the President – surprisingly! – to stop keeping secrets. The President goes to the Situation room to take back control and reveals that Bennett poisoned her. The Generals all salute her in solidarity. Mackenzie tasks Harris with arresting Bennett and Claire for treason and tasks Grace with writing her speech to the nation.

We follow Grace into the underground parking again, and there’s a really nice fake out as we see Claire hiding behind a pillar and pulling a gun – but it’s on Harris, not Grace! Grace shoots and kills Claire and Hugh shows up to dispose of the body. I had to wonder why they had to cover it up as it was self-defense – and I did like Hugh realizing Grace was upset and assuring her that she had to do it.

It’s hard to believe that Resist actually wants a nuclear holocaust to destroy the world, but that appears to be their end game when they blow up the Russian sub. Darius meets with the others in the Oval Office and tells them that he has proof that Resist blew up the Pike, but no one will believe them. He then clears the Oval Office and tells the President and Harris about the ark. The hanger can sustain life for several years if there’s a nuclear holocaust, and there’s a space for all of them, including Grace, on Salvation.

President Mackenzie addresses the nation and says that Bennett poisoned her but the coup’s been put down. She insists that Russia isn’t the enemy and that the US and Russia need to fight their common enemy: Resist. Meanwhile, we see that Grant has been killed and Bennett rescued. The President’s broadcast is interrupted with news from NORAD that the Russians have launched missiles and they’re headed for Washington!

Harris says the can defend themselves or go on the attack. Mackenzie gets confirmation and the nuclear codes. She sends everyone to the bunker, but sends Harris and Grace to the ark to safeguard humanity.

Jillian (Jacqueline Byers) has been freaking out and insisting that Liam tell Darius about not passing the test. Liam tells her not to let fear paralyze her but to let in energize her. She manages to pull herself together to get everyone down into the Bunker.

Liam goes to tell Darius, but of course, he already knew that he had Huntington’s Disease and wouldn’t pass. It’s odd that he had himself vetted at all. Darius puts Liam in charge and I was a bit surprised that Liam didn’t put up more of a fight. Darius plans to shut the bunker doors manually from Tanz and stay to save the world.

Grace follows Darius outside. She tells him that she wants him and they kiss. It would appear that it’s not to be for them. We finally go back to the pre-recorded message. The warehouse/bunker is air gapped, so they will have no outside contact for 30 days. If Earth is uninhabitable after that, they can leave and go to Mars on the ark. I loved that he gave them the stars and then music – “Fly Me to the Moon” – and of course, it’s Grace who realizes that he wants them to dance – what better way to get to know each other. Grace and Harris pair up as do Liam and Jillian.

Liam suddenly realizes something about magnets and leaves to tell Darius – utterly freaking Jillian out – and abandoning her. As Liam arrives, Darius is playing with some magnets, so has he figured it out for himself? Liam tells him that he knows what to do and it has to do with Samson’s iron core. There’s still hope! And the last shot is of Darius smiling.

As a season finale, this episode is moderately satisfying. As a series finale, it’s maddening! They certainly managed to trim a lot of the cast! So many questions left hanging… Is there going to be a nuclear holocaust – this seems suddenly a lot more relevant than it did a year ago. What about Samson? Can Liam and Darius save the Earth – and does it matter if it’s a scorched husk? Will Grace and Harris now rekindle their romance? Will Jillian find someone else? Is Mason in there?! What is Bennett’s next move? Is he the one behind Resist or is Resist pulling his strings? What are your thoughts on the episode and the season?

        I’d like to see more cohesive plots if there is a second season. I don’t want the teen drama with Liam/Jillian. Let’s let Liam at least play with the adults. Of course, we’re immediately set up for at least two separate storyline: in the warehouse versus outside. What would you like to see in a second season? Let me know in the comments below!

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