'Hostages' Season 1, episode 13: 'Fight of Flight' leaves everyone grounded

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FBI Agent Duncan Carlisle ( Dylan McDermott) cannot catch a break.

Sure, you may have little sympathy for him, given that he's taken a family hostage, and has shot and beaten up people. But he did it all for love, and in Monday's (Dec. 16) episode of "Hostages," he seems to lose even that.

By the end of the episode, his terminally ill wife, Nina ( Francie Swift), has run away, with their little girl in tow. Nina's forthright and canny. She calls Duncan from the train station, which may be the episode's biggest surprise -- she finds a working public phone -- so he will hear the train announcements. Nina knows her husband will follow her there.

Instead she heads to an airport. Just as Nina and Sawyer are boarding the plane, the evil Co. Blair ( Brian White) pulls her off the line.

The colonel is a smooth operator, angling to be president and one of the cabal in on the assassination attempt. Nothing good will come of the colonel taking Carlisle's wife and daughter.

Carlisle, though, continues to prove himself a good guy at his core, and everything he is involved with continues to go wrong. 

He has been pained as innocent people have died in this incredibly involved plot that has gone so awry. Carlisle never intended for a nurse, a Washington, D.C., cop and Morgan's boyfriend to die. All of them were casualties of this assassination scheme, which seems a little more harebrained each week.

The episode starts with Carlisle visiting his wife in the hospital and she snaps at him: "Is Brain Sanders telling the truth? Have you taken his family hostage?"

"I didn't have a choice," he replies. Nina looks at him with the mix of fury and disbelief that such a lame response warrants.

"I made a deal," Carlisle says. "Kill a bad man to save a good woman. Right or wrong, I was willing to live with it."

But Nina is not.

Carlisle was certain that this crazy time was finally nearing an end because the president's surgery is coming up and Dr. Ellen Sanders ( Toni Collette) would kill him on the operating table and they can all go about their lives.

The last he and Ellen had spoken, she had resigned herself to killing the president. Then, she saved a cop killer on the table and realized she could not allow anyone to die while under her care.

Ellen tries to placate Carlisle by promising that she will find a way to get the president's bone marrow, which is why Carlisle is involved in this madness. Nina is the result of the president raping a reporter in 1978. And since Nina is dying of leukemia, Carlisle assumes the president's DNA will save her.

More falls apart in the Carlisle camp as Sandrine ( Sandrine Holt) is in on a counter-plot to blow up her partners, Carlisle, Archer ( Billy Brown) and her lover, Kramer ( Rhys Coiro). In what could be a continuity error because Sandrine planted the bomb in Kramer's pick-up last episode, when Archer discovers the devices, poorly hidden in the Sanders' garage, there are still three.

Kramer is so smitten with Sandrine that he double-crosses his partners when he tips her off that she could be in danger.

Carlisle then tricks Sandrine and Archer when he pretends to kill Ellen's son, Jake ( Mateus Ward). That scene is very confusing, but Carlisle shoots him, and he certainly looks dead, but it was pretend. They drag his body out. Kramer had rented a cabin for Jake, where he can hide out until this is all over.

In case that's not enough double-crossing, Vanessa ( Joanne Kelly), the president's sister-in-law, with whom he had an affair and is an ambassador at large, is also sleeping with Blair and double-crossing him, maneuvering to get herself placed on the ticket as the next vice presidential candidate. The colonel thought he was in line for the VP spot.

Ellen, who is smarter than the others combined, has figured out a plausible -- in this universe -- excuse for her to at least test the president's blood. She meets with first lady ( Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and tells her that while reviewing the president's blood work, she found a genetic tendency toward dementia. Should this information fall into the wrong hands, it could end his presidency. 

Well, so could dying on the operating table.

Security does not allow Ellen to take any of the president's blood, but since the first lady could walk by security without question, she could sneak out some blood and Ellen could do additional tests. It does rased the question of how the specimen gets collected, but Ellen has proven resourceful.

"Hostages" is on break until it returns with a double episode Monday, Jan. 6, for its season finale. No decision has been announced as to the drama's renewal.

Photo/Video credit: CBS