I’m seriously growing to love the musical recaps BrainDead runs at the start of every episode. And look: CBS has even posted them here! With lyrics!
The alien bugs have been busy. It has become clear that their infection causes the host to become more extreme in whatever allegiance they may personally hold. Moderates become fanatics. All the middling hues of grey suddenly become absolutely black or white. People who might’ve had friendly debates are now coming to blows (or, in the case of the opening scene to Episode 4, an intentional car crash).
It’s a busy night at the bar when we rejoin our heroes. Laurel is having drinks with Agent Onofrio to discuss the C.H.I. (Catastrophic Head Injury) phenomenon. Is it a terrorist group? Could it be screw-worms? Gareth enters with Republican TV personality Misty Alise (Megan Hilty, Smash). Â His goal is to put a bug in her ear (not literally) about the One-Wayers, the grassroots group that Wheatus has had him create. Misty, no dummy despite her name, wonders if they’re just “astroturfing”. (Side note: Astroturfing isÂ the attempt to create an impression of widespread grassroots support for a policy, individual, or product, where little such support exists) Gareth insists the One-Wayers are the real deal.
Laurel and Gareth meet up when getting drinks, neither impressed with the other’s choice of companion for the evening. Laurel doesn’t disguise her disdain for Misty. Gareth says that Onofrio is mercenary (hard for viewers to buy since he’s been nothing short of adorable and helpful so far). Laurel doesn’t bother to correct his assumption that she’s on a date. Gareth takes Misty home with him and seals their deal. Then watches a video of Laurel crowd-sourcing her documentary funding. Then goes back to bed with Misty. Urgh.
Enter Gustave with his alien-bug-infested cat, Zeke. He manages to get Onofrio called into work and away from Laurel and then insists Zeke needs a CAT scan. Yeah, a CAT scan on his cat. Rochelle isn’t amused by the pun of the situation but they do discover that Zeke is missing half his brain and has a hole in one ear drum. Gustave summarizes what they need to be looking for: infected people are deaf in one ear and off-balance.
An attempt to compromise with the Republicans is made to Ella’s chagrin but it doesn’t matter since Wheatus insists that he has hundreds of emails from One-Wayers insisting he “hold the line”. A meeting of Luke, Ella, Red, and a big-wig political contributor devolves into a pencil-breaking, pencil-throwing, screaming match.
Gareth and Laurel spend much of this episode dealing with infected constituents and voters. Laurel is confronted by Noah Feffer (Michael Esper, Shades of Blue) multiple times (once wielding a knife), ranting about the cutting off of funding to the National Endowment of the Arts.
Meanwhile, Gareth meets with a group of infected Republicans who want a wall built to keep the liberals out and convinces them to become the IRL One-Wayers. They get going right away – buying a domain name, writing a manifesto, and posting links to instructional info on bomb manufacturing and bullet alteration. Hoo, boy. (I kind of wish this is actually as far-fetched as it ought to be.)
In a moment of clarity, Gareth voices his concerns about his boss’ new extremist and intractable policies and points Laurel (and therefore Luke) in the direction of the Republican party leader, Andre Amarant (Wayne Duvall, Fargo), who makes a deal with Luke to end the government shut down. Playing to the letter of the Senate rulebook, they collaborate on a scheme to fast-track (and we’re talking LIGHT SPEED) a sequestration bill to re-open government while Wheatus and Ella are tied up on Misty’s show battling each other.
Our Scooby gang brings in Dr. Dexter Wu (Marcus Ho, Person of Interest) from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to examine the bug-filled CAT scans. Rochelle attempts to restrain Gustave’s natural contributions to the discussion, afraid he’ll freak the Dr. Wu out but it turns out that the two men are rather kindred spirits about cochliomyia hominivorax. It’s a really endearing moment, bonding over a “really disgusting bugs”.
Needing an infected human for the CDC, Laurel and Rochelle pay Abby a visit. Abby’s infection is still in full rampage as demonstrated by her strident statement (directed at Rochelle) that “All lives matter, not just black lives”. Awkward pause, much? Under guise of checking for a new infection, Rochelle offers to perform a quick, non-invasive examination. Abby politely kicks them out.
While Gareth is snooping into Agent Onofrio, Laurel and Rochelle confer with the actual guy, thinking he could use F.B.I. authority to take Abby into custody for the C.H.I. investigation. He follows through with the plan, having done some research into screw-worms on Laurel’s suggestion, only to have Abby intentionally take a header off her balcony, a totally different – and yet still alien-bug caused – sort of Catastrophic Head Injury.
In a final quiet scene, Laurel and Rochelle discuss Abby’s death and its potential implications regarding the bugs. Onofrio arrives, Rochelle leaves, and he and Laurel clear the air on some intel Gareth insisted Laurel read about Anthony’s time in the army. Things get romantic and, with the exception of Laurel suspecting he may be infected, the episode ends with a rather idyllic morning-after.
BrainDead airs Monday nights at 10/9c on CBS.
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