BrainDead “The Path to War, Part One…” Review (Season 1 Episode 8)

The Path to War Part One: The Gathering Political Storm

On the latest episode of “BrainDead,” the gang managed to capture someone who was infected to ask them a few questions, while Laurel tried to figure out whether her father was among the infected or not- or possibly just seriously ill- as Luke, Red and Ella faced off in front of Congress yet again, this time over the cause of the CHI’s, which Red maintained was the work of terrorists, in “The Path to War, Part One: The Gathering Political Storm,” which is officially this show’s shortest episode title to date- but naturally, it’s a “Part One,” so who knows how bad “Part Two” will be!

This episode was a bit of a stopgap one, which allowed the show to take somewhat of a breather, in order to assess things and point the way forward, more or less. As such, not a whole lot happened, but it was entertaining enough, I suppose. What’s say we hit the high points and leave it at that, all things considered?

Laurel, after a tip off from Gustav and Dr. Daudier, went to investigate her father for bug infection, only to come away unsatisfied one way or another. As a follow-up, she went back to his place and raided his bathroom cabinet for potential clues, only to make the shocking discovery that he might be sick, specifically with Parkinson’s Disease.

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A visit to his ongoing mistress of 15 years seemed to confirm this, as did a talk with Luke, who said it was bad and that he likely only had about six months to a year to live. However, his mistress also said that the two weren’t having sex and Laurel noted that her father was juicing as well as exercising, so it was a bit of a mixed message.

Once she caught him “practicing” the symptoms of the disease, though, she knew he was faking for sure and called him out on it. Her father finally admits to being infected, but claims it’s a good thing, as it got rid of his disease and he was actually healthier than he’d been in ages as a result, albeit with a significant chunk of his brain missing.

Her father admits that the bugs are taking over the area and that it’s inevitable and can’t be stopped, but that they don’t want to kill them off, simply live alongside them in a sort of mutual harmony. Laurel tells him she knows a way to fight them, having done so herself, but he balks, saying that, to do so would be a death sentence, as his disease would likely come back. He tries to hug her, probably in an attempt to infect her, but she leaves, upset and feeling at a loss as to how to proceed.

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Meanwhile, Dr. D. is followed home by an infected person, who then tries to assault her with a knife. Lucky for her, she has a leg of lamb (!) handy, which she uses to pummel him into unconsciousness. Why someone would keep an unwrapped leg of lamb in their fridge freezer is another question altogether- least of all a doctor who should know better- but I digress.

She calls Gustav over and they duct tape the person in question to a pole and talk to him, astonished that he claims to be the victim here, despite the fact that he broke in her apartment and tried to kill Dr. D. He demands to be let go, but Gustav refuses unless he answers some questions.

Finally, Gustav has the bright idea to get the man drunk, hoping it will loosen his tongue, which it does. The man confirms that the bugs are from space, and that they are making everyone fight on purpose to distract them from what’s really going on, which is a full-on hostile takeover. But, the man admits, humans are just as likely to overtake the bugs and come out on top as the bugs are, having not quite gained a foothold on our planet as of yet.

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So, taken with Laurel’s information, it would seem that the bugs simply like being here, and inhabiting humans, and don’t so much mean us harm as they want to live alongside us- or rather, inside us, as it were. They’re only causing trouble in order to distract people, as they know the battle can still be won, if enough people come together to combat them, which is also why they’ve been trying to infect anyone who gets suspicious.

Unfortunately, for them, it’s a slow process, and it’s getting tricky trying to cover their tracks, as something seems to thwart them at every turn. Witness, for instance, tonight’s main debacle, as Red once again tries to put forth the notion that the CHI’s are caused by terrorists, seemingly hiring people to pose as such to dupe Congress into buying it, in order to take the heat off of the bugs.

The intention seems to be to start a war in Syria, aka the place where the false witnesses that testify that they were involved in making the compound that causes the head explosions claim to be from. In doing so, the bugs hope to divert the attention of Congress as to the real source of all these problems as of late, insofar as the CHI’s are concerned.

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Unfortunately for Red, the CIA gets wind of it and immediately debunks the witnesses and the “rumors” alike by claiming there’s no truth to that end, whatsoever. Furthermore, the person who tells them this says that they can’t speak publicly about it to anyone, and simply need to drop the case altogether.

Naturally, neither Red nor Ella- who is up in arms about the situation because the nonexistent compound is allegedly being tested on animals- take this lying down, and go to the press and heavily infer it’s a cover-up by the CIA because they know what’s really going on and refuse to go public with it. Luke, who remains uninfected, continues to be mystified by all of this, as does Gareth.

On the bright side, Laurel reconnects with Gareth and downplays the whole bug thing and this time, the two hook up in a normal way, minus all the insanity and sausages and loud music and the like, much to his relief, no doubt. We also get one of the weirdest sex scenes…well, since that last one with Laurel and Gareth, when we see Red and Ella take the bugs out of their heads so that the bugs themselves can copulate, rather than the bodies they’re occupying, while said hosts trade political slogans all the while, like “Feel the Bern” and “Trump forever.”

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I guess that the bugs aren’t anti-sex after all, just anti-human sex! Whatever the case, once the bugs have done their business- while looking in a mirror, no less- they fly back to their host bodies and get back to political business. Given the party-lines crossing, it would almost be romantic in a James Carville/Mary Matalin sort-of-way if it weren’t so icky. We’ll just have to look to Laurel and Gareth for the real deal instead- or the less gross one, that is.

Beyond that, Laurel told her mother her father was cheating, in hopes of saving her from the bugs’ clutches, and it would seem that the bugs got wise to Gustav and Dr. D’s antics and have changed to “another frequency” to elude his machine. They also seem smart enough to change up certain things about their behavior that were giving them away or at least hide it better, but not smart enough to realize that their means to an end were at odds with one another and were, as they say, “doomed to fail.”

Indeed, to that end, Luke is considering leaking the CIA’s message, in order to avoid an all-out war with Syria, lest Red and Ella- and by extension, the bugs- stir up enough trouble to cause one. The only other thing of real note was the fact that Dr. D. followed their captive after they let him go to see where he’d go to a locked room in the Congress building that was protected by a numerical code- the mysterious Room 54. What’s going on there is anyone’s guess, but from the looks of the previews, we’ll find out soon enough.

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So, all in all, like I said, this was largely a transitional episode. Not a bad one, mind you, but it didn’t really move the plot forward in any significant way, beyond giving us a vague idea of what the bugs are up to, and that they don’t mind sex- just not human sex. That’s about it, really. That said, the infomercial at the beginning was priceless, as were the exaggerated pictures of animals with big eyes, and I also appreciated the “Bicycle Thief” reference.

What did you think of the latest episode of “BrainDead”? What do you make of the bugs’ plans? Will they work? Or will Laurel and company take them down before they take over completely? Is the reason they’re dubious they will be able to take over the planet because of their relatively small numbers thus far, or do they simply recognize their limitations? Or are they just plain stupid, like a lot of the people they take over? Sound off down below and let me know what you think!