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Episode 10: Burden of Truth
CBS  ·  50 minutes  ·  Original Broadcast: November 25, 2013

Directed by: Phil Abraham  |  Written by: Joshua Allen

Official synopsis: After a member of the President’s staff is murdered, Ellen urges Duncan to back out of the assassination plot, while other members of the President’s staff take matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, after scouring medical records, Ellen finds someone who might be a viable bone marrow donor for Duncan’s wife, Nina.

Episode Recap
Please note that recaps feature spoilers on the individual episode.
This recap was written by Tanya Pai for The Washingtonian, November 26, 2013

When did Brian become the only sane character on the show? This week he quite reasonably points out to his wife and daughter that they have been drinking some serious Kool-Aid of Krazy, but to no avail. Also Carlisle’s mysterious motivation for killing the President is-spoiler alert-literally just that he’s trying to save his wife’s life. Not that that’s a small thing, but I have a really hard time believing that someone in law enforcement would embroil himself in a conspiracy that involves killing several people, including the President of the United States, just because he wants to keep his family intact. To the recap.

Previously on Hostages: A bunch of people died. Ellen found out Carlisle’s wife is the President’s secret illegitimate daughter. Carlisle forgot to shave. This week: Hostages gives us a lesson in how NOT to use rape as a plotline on TV. Where Scandal’s scene was horrifying and brutal to watch, it was also given emotional heft and importance and wasn’t thrown in as shorthand for “This character who lacks any previous development is a bad guy-really, we swear.” So basically POTUS raped Anne Carlisle’s mother back when he was a young senator and she was a young journalist, then tasked his adviser, Burton, to kill her to cover it up. Burton couldn’t go through with it, so he smuggled her out of the country where she “died in childbirth,” and he raised the child as his own. When Anne got sick, he told Carlisle the deal, and Carlisle paired with POTUS’s enemies to concoct the plan. But Ellen, deep in the throes of Stockholm Syndrome, is convinced she can help him find a way to save his wife and get out of the situation. She looks at Anne’s medical records and finds a partial match donor, then tracks down her address with Duncan’s help. Of course the woman is Anne’s long-assumed-dead mother. She had no other children so she can’t help with the whole bone marrow thing. Guess they’re still going to have to kill the President!

To that end, Carlisle is freaking out that both Hoffman and Quentin are dead. He meets with the Secret Service guy who just last week I was so proud of figuring out is named Bill Jones but is now apparently named Luke (just one name, Madonna-style). Luke tells him the five-minute window he needs to harvest POTUS’s bone marrow after he dies is getting harder to guarantee, and then calls Colonel Blair, allowing Kramer to tap his phone. Blair and Vanessa do a bunch of making out and also decide to make a new plan to kill the President. So Luke hires a sniper to do it, and Carlisle thinks he is the target so he plans to kill the sniper before the sniper can kill him. Still with me? Seriously? Okay, so Carlisle goes to the sniper’s house and figures out the sniper flew to New York, because that’s where the President is going to be-so he and Burton decide they need to go there and kill him.

It’s kind of amazing that in a show about assassinating the President of the United States, a plot about teenage pregnancy is the most interesting one, but there you have it. Morgan finds Boyd’s phone in the bathroom and takes it to Sandrine, and together they listen to the increasingly worried messages his father has been leaving him. Then the dad shows up at the house and says he wants to talk to Morgan, then apologizes for his son breaking up with her and peacing to work on a fishing boat for three months. Morgan’s like, “He knocked me up too, but it’s fine!” and after he leaves, Brian/Jimmy Cooper asks her what the hell she’s doing. She tells him she and Sandrine covered Boyd’s death so he wouldn’t go to the police, and says, “Besides they didn’t mean to kill Boyd. It just happened.” BJC, amazingly, yells, “These people are holding us hostage!” because he’s the only person still reading the scripts, and when he tries to talk to Ellen about it she’s like, I don’t know what you’re so upset about. Later Kramer comes into Morgan’s room and gives her a box that he found in Boyd’s pocket containing, of course, an engagement ring. Morgan looks at it thoughtfully, then asks Kramer where he buried Boyd. “Don’t think about that, just keep the ring,” he says. If the writers are going to explore the creepy effects of the Stockholm Syndrome that’s taken hold of the characters, it might turn into a halfway interesting show-but since the idea instead seems to be to create six new, nonsensical storylines each episode I have very low hopes.

Guest Cast: Joanne Kelly (Vanessa Moore), Maureen Mueller (Kate), Jim True-Frost (Logan), Larry Pine (Burton Delaney), Brian White (Colonel Thomas Blair), Frank Deal (John Norton), Richard Hughes (Man, Kate’s Husband), Bret Lada (Young Kincaid), Alex Manette (Ted Jankowski), Michael Winther (Carson), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Mary Kincaid), Nicholas J. Coleman (Young Burton), Patrick Cummings (Robert Harper)