Regardless of whether it’s a hit TV show or one – like this – that’s on its last legs, I really can’t stand it when the writers change the basic premise of a series. Unfortunately, with only a few episodes remaining, that’s exactly what happens in this week’s episode of ‘Hostages’, and I’m rather bummed about it.
Episode 13 begins with Duncan in his wife’s hospital room, where Nina confronts him about the assassination attempt that he’s been plotting on the President. Duncan remains mum about his reasons as to why he doesn’t have a problem killing Kincaid (it seems to be so that Nina can have a more emotional scene with her brother later in the show), but Nina’s had enough. She’s leaving the hospital whether Duncan likes it or not.
Nina plans to tell the police about what’s going on, but instead of going straight to the cops (or calling them from the hospital), she makes the mistake of going to Burton’s first. Burton basically gives her the same talk Duncan did. When Duncan arrives at the house, he locks his wife in an upstairs bedroom – fulfilling the fantasy of every married guy out there with a nagging wife. Seriously though, the actress hired to play Nina has never had any chemistry with Dylan McDermott, to the point that she makes viewers wonder why Duncan would want to save this woman at all.
When Kramer comes over to the house to talk to Nina, she soon realizes that he’s in on the plot as well. He explains to her that if the President finds out she’s still alive, not only will he kill her, but he’ll kill her daughter too. This finally seems to convince Nina to remain silent… for now.
At the Sanders’ house, Ellen and Brian confront Duncan, and Ellen reveals to him that she’s changed her mind about killing President Kincaid. Duncan isn’t happy about it, but they tell him that it’s the only way they’ll continue to cooperate. Ellen has a plan to remove the President’s bone marrow without having to kill him. Actually, she doesn’t really have a plan yet – but don’t worry, she’ll figure things out by episode’s end.
Sandrine meets with her contact Logan, who wants her to blow up Duncan and the others by planting explosive charges under their vehicles. However, Sandrine suspects that the others might be onto her when she notices Kramer checking her cell phone. (It doesn’t help that Kramer tells her that if she’s in trouble, it’s not too late to get out of it.) She manages to remove the charges and hide them in the basement before Duncan and Archer can find them, but she makes the mistake of unknowingly knocking a box to the floor, which Archer sees later and leads him to discover the hidden explosives.
In D.C., Col. Blair meets with the Vice President to discuss what Blair believes will be an offer to join the VP as his running mate. (President Kincaid is in his final term.) Instead, the VP reveals that he has chosen Vanessa, and Blair realizes that he’s been double-crossed by his own lover. Crossing paths with her later in the episode, Blair tells Vanessa that the game is not over yet (though I assume that they won’t be sleeping together anytime soon).
Duncan’s team and the family hold a big meeting in the Sanders home, where Duncan yells at the Sanders and threatens to kill the children. Jake grabs an object to strike Duncan with, and Duncan shoots him. However, before you take a swig in this week’s “Duncan Kills an Innocent” drinking game, it’s all revealed to be a ruse to fool both Sandrine and Archer (the latter of whom Duncan doesn’t trust with the truth either). Kramer takes Jake (who’s very much alive) to a safe house he has rented and gives him a new ID and other necessary paperwork so that the Sanders can disappear when the operation is over. Later in the episode, both Brian and Morgan meet with a man who also gives them new IDs.
Ellen figures out how to get the President’s bone marrow during the operation. She meets with the First Lady and tells her that there’s evidence that the President has symptoms of early-onset dementia. Since she assumes that the First Lady would like to keep this fact hidden from the press, Ellen asks her if she’d be willing to smuggle a blood sample out of the operating room.
Nina gets her daughter Sawyer to let her out of the locked bedroom, and the two leave the house in the hopes of getting the first flight out of town. Duncan finds out that she’s missing and calls an old friend at the FBI to track her down. However, Col. Blair and his men get to Nina first as the episode comes to an end. For those wondering why CBS didn’t show previews of next week’s episode over the end credits, ‘Hostages’ won’t return until January 6th, when the last two episodes will be shown back-to-back.
Now, back to my original objection about the change in the premise to this series. For a dozen episodes, the driving force of ‘Hostages’ has been Duncan’s plan to assassinate the President. Yet now he seems more than willing to let him live, even though he’s had numerous conversations about how the men behind the plot will hunt down and kill his team if they don’t kill the President. The writers seem to have a happily ever after storyline planned for these characters, and I’m sure the fact that Duncan has already been responsible for several innocent deaths won’t even be addressed in the finale. Then again, I suppose it’s not too late for something horrible to result in some of these people meeting a tragic end. Let’s just hope that whatever happens, CBS doesn’t get cute and leave us with a never-to-be-resolved cliffhanger.