‘Hostages’ 1.03 Recap: “You’re Safe… For Now”

The world’s most dysfunctional television family continues to be under siege this week, as ‘Hostages’ rolls out its third episode. While the members of the Sanders family continue to act like self-centered morons most of the time, at least the writers of the show are smart enough not to get bogged down in any one member of the family’s problems for too long.

This week’s episode begins, quite literally, with a bang, as a mysterious sniper takes a shot at Duncan. He immediately deduces that the President is looking for a new doctor to operate on him, and knows that Chief of Staff Creasy ordered the hit. Duncan realizes that if he’s going to stay alive, he’s needs to find a way to make sure that Ellen is still the one performing surgery on the President.

Early in the episode, Ellen overhears a conversation on the phone between Duncan and his daughter, Sawyer. She’s also able to learn that his daughter will be part of an art fair at her grade school, and gets her husband Brian to find out the info so she can attend. Later on, Ellen will meet Duncan’s daughter, learn that Duncan’s wife is in the hospital (although we still don’t know why), and discover that Duncan is actually an FBI agent.

Those who’ve watched ‘Hostages’ from the beginning already know that each member of the Sanders family has his or her own little subplot. The daughter is pregnant, the son owes money to a pot dealer, and the father is having an affair. All of these problems get some screen time in the latest episode, starting with daughter Morgan, who confronts her boyfriend at school and reveals her pregnancy to him. The boyfriend makes his way over to the Sanders home, where he hopes to run into Brian, but sees Duncan instead, whom he mistakes for Brian (you’d think he’d have an idea what Mr. Sanders looks like, wouldn’t you?). Duncan pretends to be Brian and tells him to stay away from Morgan.

The pot dealer that Jake owes money to finally shows up at school, and he gives Jake a nasty beating in full view of two of Duncan’s people. One of them – whom we learn goes by the name Kramer (that should be easy enough to remember) – wants to help Jake out, but the other one – Maria, who seems to know nothing about Duncan and is just doing this for the money – locks the doors of the vehicle so that Kramer can’t get out and help. However, Kramer eventually goes out on his own to track down the dealer, give him a good beating of his own, and pays him the money that Jake owes. Little does he know that Maria has been watching him.

Duncan finds Chief of Staff Creasy and holds him at gunpoint in his car, telling him that he knows that Creasy ordered the hit on him. Creasy denies it. Duncan also tells Creasy that he better call off his dogs or Duncan will kill his wife, whom he’s snapped a few photos of with his camera. Creasy eventually makes a phone call to someone to convince them that Ellen will still be operating on the President and their plan can still proceed. So, the big reveal here is that Creasy is working for someone pretty powerful, which makes Duncan appear to be even more of a pawn in the assassination plot than viewers would have guessed at the outset of this series.

Ellen is scheduled to have a meeting with the President and the First Lady (guest star Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), when Duncan tells her that the President is about to fire her as his surgeon. He says that the only way to assure that doesn’t happen is to convince the First Lady that Ellen needs to perform the operation. Ellen tells the President that he’s making a huge mistake, and she’s the one who has already saved his life by catching the fact that he was given blood thinner. The First Lady seems to give her silent approval, and it looks like Ellen will stay on as the President’s surgeon.

This week’s episode concludes with Brian telling Ellen that he wants to take the family and escape from Duncan. Oh, and he also tells her that he’s been having a tawdry affair at work. Doesn’t seem like the best time to drop that bit of information, does it?

‘Hostages’ continues to be big, fast and (mostly) dumb – but as I’ve said in previous weeks, it’s far from boring. It also continues to be a ratings loser for CBS, so the question of whether this series can make it through its 15-episode run is even more suspenseful than much of what transpires on the show itself.

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