BrainDead “Wake Up Grassroots…” Review (Season 1 Episode 4)

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Another week, another unwieldy “BrainDead” episode title! Okay, here goes. This week’s episode was entitled: “Wake Up Grassroots: The Nine Virtues of Participatory Democracy, and How We Can Keep America Great by Encouraging an Informed Electorate.” Good God, people. I would almost rather type out the “previously on…” song at the beginning of the episode, lol.

Regardless, this was a fun episode that didn’t further the plot along that much, but did lead to some amusing moments- and at least one surprisingly unexpected one. We began with two back-to-back and side-to-side attacks, as next-door-neighbors Noah (Michael Esper, “The Family”) and Jules (Natalie Gold, “The Leftovers”) were both possessed by the brain-sucking buggers, with Noah a Democrat and Jules a Republican.

Needless to say, both were reduced to caricatures of their former selves, and one might argue, of radical leftists and right-wingers. After getting into intentional fender-benders with one another, Noah proceeded to go down to Laurel’s neck of the woods to complain about Democrats in such a frenzy that she had to have him forcibly removed by security.

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Meanwhile, Jules ended up fronting the heretofore fictional “One-Wayers,” which Gareth finally got up-and-running after planting info about them in the news and via gossip in the DC area. Much to Gareth’s horror, the grassroots organization wasted no time in going full-borne crazy, making the “Tea Party” look like a bunch of wussy moderates, suggesting linking bomb-making how-to sites to their official website!

Fortunately, in a clever run-around move, Luke managed to get a few fellow Senators onboard a plan to meet privately while the heads of their respective parties, Red and Ella were doing a TV gig. While only three strong, they managed to sneak a bill past that got the government up and running again, despite Scarlett getting wind of it- the proceedings were televised- and trying to warn Ella (and, by extension, Red) to get there in time to stop it.

Needless to say, Red and Ella weren’t thrilled by these developments, so count on the “One-Wayers” to step up their game even more next week, and for the brain buggies to go after Luke even harder. As it stands, they made a big move to get Laurel, or so it would seem, when they infected love interest Agent Anthony Onofrio. Or could he just have a stopped-up ear?

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As Laurel and her motley crew deduced, it would seem that the infected have lost hearing in their left ear, which is the point of entry for the brain bugs. This, in turn, throws their balance off, often leading the infected to run into door jambs and the like by accident. So, armed with potential signs that someone is infected, the group now knows what to look for.

Fortunately for Laurel, who slept with Onofrio after Gareth did the same with reporter Misty Alise (Broadway regular Megan Hilty, “Smash”), she ended up sleeping on the couch after getting word of what her brother did that day in Congress and going to check it out online, along with the various freaked-out reactions to it.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but the bugs could have certainly made their way from Onofrio to Laurel on the couch- it’s not as if it were that far- so I suspect this might be a fake-out, so I’m hesitant to say for sure that Onofrio’s infected. Besides, aside from the ear thing, he didn’t seem to be acting as doofy as the others, which is the real dead giveaway.

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Beyond that, Gustav had Dr. Daudier give his cat Zeke a, yes, CAT scan, to see if he was infected, as Gustav suspected. As it turns out, half of Zeke’s brain was gone, so he was right to suspect it, but there’s no longer any bugs present (or at least, any visible on the CAT scan), so there’s still no definitive proof.

Laurel does figure out, with the new info about the ears and subsequent imbalance at her disposal, who is likely infected and who isn’t, by watching people closely. Among them are the aforementioned Noah, Red, and likely Ella and Scarlett.

Gustav found a new recruit from the CDC, Dr. Dexter Wu (Marcus Ho, “2 Days in New York”), who actually bought into and liked the whole “screwworm” theory as the explanation behind the recent head explosions and agreed to help him, Laurel and Dr. Daudier look into it. But they need a human example to confirm it.

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Laurel thinks of Abby, and tries to get her to come in willingly, but she isn’t having it, so Laurel has Onofrio go to her and try it in a more official capacity. Unfortunately, Abby freaks out even more about his being there, thinking she’s being railroaded.

I thought for sure that she would do what she did with Stacie and lock Onofrio up and infect him, but instead, she pulled a Tommen Baratheon and took a dive off her balcony, bashing her brains out on the concrete below and getting rid of the “evidence” in the process. I suppose it’s possible Onofrio could have been infected anyway at some point, but I’m still a bit dubious.

A jealous Gareth tried to make it look like Onofrio was among those who water-boarded captives in his work with the FBI, but Onofrio later dispels this myth by saying that he was a mere whistleblower in Iraq, not a torturer, despite the rumors.

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Gareth makes up for this slight somewhat later on by contributing $750 and some change- what an oddly specific number- to Laurel’s “Go Fund Me”-type account to finish her documentary, though he does so AFTER sleeping with Misty, I might add. Guilty conscious much?

Laurel meets up with the Bug Squad and tells them about what happened with Abby and they wonder if maybe there’s some sort of coordinated effort amongst the infected. If so, to what end? I think we’ve all been wondering the same thing for some time now, so good on the show for finally addressing it. (Though, to be fair, the Bug Squad didn’t know how widespread things were until this week.)

That was about it for this week, but definitely a move in the right direction, I think. I like that the show wasn’t afraid to mix things up by keeping you guessing as to who is infected and who isn’t. (Though I wouldn’t have minded some crazy cat antics, along the lines of this, lol.) I also thought the whole “moderate rebellion” thing was clever and a good way to ramp up the action and make the bug contingent feel threatened enough to step up their game.

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Lest we forget, the show is only running for thirteen episodes, so things will need to get worse before they get better. Now, with Luke firmly in their crosshairs, it will interesting to see where things go from here and what the bugs are really up to. As in, what exactly is their agenda? Why are they infecting both Republicans and Democrats? To what end? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but hopefully, there’s a method to this madness.

What did you think of the latest episode of “BrainDead”? What do you think will happen next? Is Onofrio infected, or was that just a fake-out? Will Laurel end her relationship with Onofrio? Will she go back to Gareth, despite his fling with Misty? Are either of them infected? Will the Bug Squad successfully capture Stacie before she can hurt herself? Sound off on this and more down below and see you next week for more madness!