BrainDead “The Path to War Part Two…” Review (Season 1 Episode 10)

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On the latest episode of “BrainDead,” Luke enlisted Laurel’s help in putting together a short video intended to help put a stop to the would-be war with the Syrians, while Red and Ella worked together yet again to double-down on starting said war, in the aptly-titled “The Path to War Part Two: The Impact of Propaganda on Congressional War Votes.”

As Luke brought in professional documentarian Ben Valderrama (Michael Zegen, “Boardwalk Empire”) to oversee the anti-war commercial, so did Red and Ella bring back in, respectively, Jules (Natalie Gold, “The Leftovers”) and Noah (Michael Esper, “The Family”) to oversee the next step in starting said war as the heads of the “No Wayers” and the “One Wayers,” as well as being the most extremist constituents the two had in their arsenal.

Sitting down Jules and Noah, Red and Ella beckoned to what they most had in common- a desire to tear down what wasn’t working about the government and build it back up again- and to use that to work together towards a common goal, just as they themselves had. Though skeptical at first, it wasn’t long before the two were on board with the suggestion and started making waves as a means to achieving their shared ends.

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Interrupting a Congressional hearing on the potential war with Syria, they made their way into the proceedings, loudly protesting things on both ends, as chaos reigned supreme in court, as always. Of course, Laurel recognized Noah from his prior visit to her office, and warned Luke about his extremist views and how he could potentially make trouble for him.

It wasn’t long before she was trying to use that very quality to their own advantage, as she brought Noah in to talk to Ben, perhaps to use in his video, though Ben was determined to pin everything on the whole 1% thing. We also discovered that Ben and Laurel once had a thing together that apparently didn’t end well, making for the two to get a little argumentative themselves, even when Laurel was clearly in the right.

As Luke tries to talk some sense into fellow Senator Diane Vaynerchuk (veteran actress Brooke Adams, of both 1978’s version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and 1991’s “The Unborn,” neither of which can be a coincidence in her hiring here), who is in the process of talking to Jules, his wife Germaine (Lily Cowles) comes in to quiz Laurel about whether Luke is keeping it in his pants as of late, which of course, he isn’t.

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Laurel tries her best to defend him, pointing out that, at the very least, it seems to be over with Scarlett (Paige Patterson), despite her continued employment, which she says has more to do with containing a potential scandal than keeping his former flame close. However, when she asks Laurel about Luke’s whereabouts the night before, it’s clear that Luke is up to his old tricks again, putting Laurel in an awkward position.

Even worse, Laurel suspects that Germaine’s baby might be infected, if not Germaine herself, judging by the reaction that her baby seems to be having to Trump. It seems that whenever her baby hears Trump speak, it goes into a sort of rage inside her- apparently, even babies have an adverse reaction to Trump! Of course, that could just be a coincidence, but Laurel nonetheless insists on having Germaine thoroughly checked out by her doctor, just in case.

Thankfully, the baby seems okay at first glance, but Laurel isn’t entirely convinced, and has Dr. Daudier (Nikki M. James) look into it further on her behalf. Laurel then confronts Luke about his incessant philandering, which he doesn’t really deny after a point, and tells him she won’t lie on his behalf to Germaine again, saying that he really needs to get it together and close up shop on any extraneous affairs he might be having, what with the birth of his child imminent.

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Meanwhile, Ben interviews both the daft Noah, who he intentionally goads into attacking him on film, and Gareth, much to Laurel’s shock, who she had no idea would be there. Likewise, Ben antagonizes Gareth as well, and though he’s reasonably cool-headed in comparison to Noah, he’s still clearly caught off-guard by some of Ben’s questions, notably his role in the whole One-Wayers thing, which Ben also gets on-camera.

Luke tries to break things off with, respectively, Margie (Justine Lupe, “Younger”) and Jamie (Chasten Harmon, “Paterson”), but ends up hooking up with both, in spite of himself! Too bad he doesn’t have the bugs to blame for his particular aberrant behavior.

Laurel goes to Gareth to apologize for Ben blindsiding him, as he had no idea what he was in for and largely did it on Laurel’s behalf. Gareth says it was actually pretty smart on Ben’s end, and that he’s starting to understand what she meant about their personal individual worldviews getting in the way of anything permanent between the two, as it was always going to be an issue. Indeed, he wonders if they can even be friends and still do their jobs, in light of these issues.

Laurel goes back to the hospital to check in on Germaine, where the doctor insists all is well, and, if anything, it’s Laurel that’s the problem, as all of her objections and worrying was starting to affect Germaine as well, which wasn’t good for the baby, either. But then Laurel overhears the doctor’s ringtone, which is, naturally, The Cars, and all bets are off.

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Luke’s dad, Dean (Zach Grenier) comes in to talk to him about the possibility that it might be time for him to get on board the war train himself, as it was looking less and less like he was going to be able to do anything to stop it and Dean wanted him on the “right side” of things when everything went down, pointing out that it could be a good thing, in terms of any future designs Luke might have in terms of running for President one day.

Laurel takes a look at the rough cut of Ben’s commercial, which is naturally fixated on the 1%, despite Laurel’s advice to focus on political extremists, and notices it paints Gareth in a really bad light, making full use of the footage of him from the “gotcha” interview earlier. She’s skeptical, but agrees to show it to a few others to get a second opinion.

Germaine’s water breaks ahead of schedule, and Laurel rushes to the hospital, but Luke is nowhere to be found. Dr. Daudier insists that the baby is fine, but Laurel remains dubious- with good reason, as we later find out. Could it be that Dr. D. has been compromised as well, in the time we haven’t seen her? And where is Gustav?

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Luke finally arrives, insisting to Germaine that “things will be different now,” but Laurel calls his bluff when he claims to have been at a war resolution meeting, as she knows he wasn’t. But Luke has seen the video now, and likewise calls her out for focusing on the wrong things, which she insists wasn’t her doings, but Ben’s, and aims to do something about it, but warns Luke to get it together, as he is a father now.

After telling Ben that she’s involved with “something” when he expresses interest in her again, she gets ahold of his current version of the short film and re-edits it from the ground up, this time focusing on the extremism of politics at the moment and the “infection” of Congress by “radicals” looking to bring it down and cause chaos and destruction and, yes, war.

She also edits in a new voice-over narrative, along with some of the footage that she and Dr. D. and Gustav got on the fly of Red and Ella making nasty comments about their constituents and plotting the war with Syria. Then she leaks the video, which almost immediately goes viral, much to Luke’s overwhelming approval, as that was what he was hoping for.

The Path to War Part Two: The Impact of Propaganda on Congressional War Votes

Luke takes Scarlett aside and tells her she needs to find another job, in light of what went down between them. She isn’t happy, and not-so-subtly hints that she might have a talk with his wife about them, even though that relationship actually has long-since been over.

But clearly Luke is at least trying to take Laurel’s advice into consideration by avoiding temptation by removing it from his life. Unfortunately for him, he may have just made things worse by starting with the infected Scarlett, who might well be responsible for what happens with his wife later on- that is, if she (or the baby) wasn’t already infected.

Sure enough, in light of the leaked video going viral, Red and Ella are publicly humiliated and the bill to wage war with Syria is handily defeated in Congress, much to both of their chagrin. Ben naturally gets all the credit for the video, going on a self-congratulatory media tour, in which he, of course, continues to miss Laurel’s point about the extremists and instead focus on the 1% yet again.

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Gareth calls Laurel to congratulate her, knowing full well that she was behind the video, and pointing out that she easily could have exposed and buried him in it, as she and Ben had the video footage to do just that. Instead, she opted to downplay his involvement, and while he’s thankful, he’s not sure if he would have done the same if he’d been in her shoes.

Luke comes home early for a change to be with his wife, insisting that things will be different from now on, but she’s clearly dubious, somewhat spurring his advances, which, to be fair, are a little premature, given that the woman just had a baby, for God’s sake. Maybe Luke would be better off infected!

Either way, we end with the reveal that both mother and child seem to be, as Germaine puts on the Cars via the baby mobile and leaves the room after comforting the child. (Not sure how readily available a Cars-themed baby mobile would be, but okay.)

This was a bit of a transitory episode that was clearly meant to put a stop to the infected people’s plans to start a war and set the stage for whatever comes next. As we don’t know what that is yet, it’s hard to say what the endgame will be, but it’s obvious things are about to come to a head, as there are only a few episodes left at this point.

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It does seem like things are intensifying and that more and more key people are getting infected in Laurel’s inner circle, including Germaine and her newborn child and possibly even Dr. Daudier and Gustav, who has been MIA for much too long. We know the bugs were onto the later two, so it would make perfect sense if they were infected, though one would think both of them would have put up enough of a fight as to potentially end up dead of one of those notorious CHI’s.

Of course, it would have sucked to have killed off two of the most engaging characters, so I can see why they went another way with it. Besides, it’s entirely possible the bugs are starting to figure out ways around the whole CHI thing, as we’ve seen others manage to get around it already, such as Laurel’s friend Stacie, who recognized it when Laurel tried to pull a fast one and get the bugs out of her. Ditto her father.

It will be interesting to see what happens next, what with the whole war-with-Syria thing defeated in Congress. I’m also wondering what the whole “bug baby” gambit is about as well. We didn’t get much from the preview for next week, beyond it looking like Gareth would finally get a first-hand look at what was going on, which will perhaps lead to a reconciliation with Laurel as they band together to fight a mutual enemy- ironically not unlike Red and Ella and Noah and Jules.

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What did you think of the latest episode of “BrainDead”? Are you also looking forward to the final run of episodes? What do you think the bugs’ next move will be? Will Laurel and company be able to bring them down? Is it too late for Dr. D and possibly Gustav? Where is Gustav, for that matter, and what has he been up to all this time? Will Luke be able to keep it in his pants moving forward? (I’m going to go with a big “no” on that one!) Sound off on this and more down below and see you next week!