BrainDead “Six Points…” Review (Season 1 Episode 11)

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On the last episode before the two-hour, back-to-back episodes finale, “BrainDead” set up everything that basically needed to be set up, by getting rid of the few remaining barriers standing between Point A and Point B, in “Six Points on the New Congressional Budget: The False Dichotomy of Austerity vs. Expansionary Policies.”

I liked how, when the show began with its customary Jonathan Coulton “previously on…” song wrap-up, even he was like, at this point: forget it! I’m doing a song about “Gunsmoke” instead! Lol. Nice way to acknowledge how convoluted and insane the show has gotten without losing one’s sense of humor, but also, how besides the point it all is.

This show is, first and foremost, entertainment, just like “Gunsmoke” was back in the day, and by winking to the viewers that they know it, too, they did themselves a favor, as things have gotten a bit crazy at this point. The fact that they simply tossed off an explanation of what the bugs are really up to as if it were an afterthought later on just goes to show that it really doesn’t matter that much, and that people probably shouldn’t take all of this so seriously.

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As indicated by the very title, this is a show where you can check your brain at the door, much like many of the characters have. The idea isn’t to make pointed, cutting satire of a specific group, or even politics, save in the broad strokes that it’s all kind of crazy. Both Democrats and Republicans have their faults, as do all people in general. “BrainDead” is just showing what might happen if those who have the craziest thoughts were actually the ones in charge- and maybe there was a reason for that. (Hello there, Donald Trump!)

Sure, the main conceit of it being brain-infesting bugs is ludicrous, but then, so is a lot of what we’re seeing in terms of what’s going on in politics for real these days. Indeed, I imagine when the creators first came up with this idea, which was some time ago, even they couldn’t have predicted just how crazy things were going to get, to the point that they have to exaggerate things to such a degree so as to be over-the-top and ridiculous just for things to seem nuttier than they already are.

It’s pretty bad when you have to resort to brain-eating bugs to explain why people are acting the way they are, but it is what it is. As it stands, I’ve been enjoying the show, and if I don’t look too closely at the science or logic of it all, it’s because that sort of is beside the point, really. It isn’t about that, it’s about the fact that brain bugs are a better explanation for why things are so crazy in the world today than the reality of the situation: they just are. That’s kind of the joke, you know?

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In this episode, the show got into the insane ways that people get bills- or more specifically, budgets- passed, by hiding what they really want inside copious amount of legalese so dense, it takes a team of people to go through it to figure out what it all means. Or in this case, they even had to bring in a specialist, Cole Stockwell (Patrick Breen, appropriately enough, from “Men in Black” and “Galaxy Quest”) to pinpoint what Red was up to with his latest maneuver.

As it turned out, Red wanted to earmark $300 million for a “construction project,” to take place in 80 small towns across the US. Laurel realized the towns on the list were all from Red’s list of places he wanted to build “internment camps,” likely as a means for the bugs to possess a host of people from the ground up all over the US, but do so in a way that started small and built up over time before people realized what was really happening.

The problem was, they knew that Laurel and her team were actively trying to stop them and needed to take care of them somehow, so what to do. (Laurel didn’t exactly do herself any favors by tipping her hand yet again that she knew about the Farm Bill to Red- honestly, for someone so smart, she can be really dumb.) What they came up was smart, but we didn’t find out until the very end of the show.

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In the meantime, Luke was being vetted by the CIA to be their new director. On the one hand, this was great news, on the other, it meant his life would be put under the microscope, and that wasn’t. In no time, they found out about his copious affairs, both from Scarlett and his own wife!

In addition, they also uncovered Laurel’s seemingly-insane bug theories, for which she was questioned by the FBI, which Agent Onofrio in turn also vouched for. In no time Luke did some damage control, insisting that he had new priorities in light of his newborn child, and that he had broken off all of the affairs he was having and was now focusing on his family.

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In turn, Laurel laughed off the bug “conspiracy theories,” until Gustav (yay! He’s back!) came in, blowing it. But then she insisted that it was meant as a metaphor for the craziness of politics, showing them her viral video, in which she compared political extremism to an infection and saying it was much the same thing, only it had been misinterpreted.

This seemed to do the trick, as Luke was called in for his confirmation soon after. When he got there, he met Bob Isenstadt (Dakin Matthews, “Desperate Housewives”), the self-described “Director’s director,” whose job it was to steer newbie directors in the right, um, direction. I think. Then he dropped the bomb: he told Luke that the bugs were real and that they were from space and were trying to turn everyone against each other to distract them from their real plan- to take over the world.

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The problem was, that Laurel and her team were onto them and every time they tried to put a stop to things, they ended up getting in the way of the CIA, who were also trying to do the same. Indeed, earlier in the episode, Laurel, Gustav and Dr. Daudier all snuck into Red’s office after being given a heads-up by Gareth that the air conditioning in the building shut off at 10:30 pm, and that the building got hot enough to be conducive to bugs laying eggs.

Gareth knew this because he’d done some research on the bugs after seeing Red both talking to one and it going into his ear after laying some eggs on a cherry blossom. As such, he felt he was going insane and buying into Laurel’s conspiracy theories, but couldn’t explain what he’d saw, so he did the research online, which is how he figured out the fact that the bugs only come out at night when it’s a certain temperature.

Armed with this knowledge, the three sneak in and are almost able to destroy the Queen by hitting it with a rolled-up magazine (!), but are stopped by Red’s latest intern, Gary (Spencer House, “Madam Secretary”). The idea was that, if they destroyed the Queen, they’d destroy the rest of the “hive,” but it’s only a theory. Regardless, they didn’t, and the bug was able to get back to the safety of Red’s head. Maybe Gustav’s initial idea that they might have to kill Red wasn’t wrong.

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Whatever the case, Bob claims that the CIA has a plan in action to stop the bug threat, but they need Luke and Laurel to stand down to execute that. He tells Luke to pass it along, also essentially telling him he’s the front runner and likely will get the job, and Luke agrees to put a stop to his sister in exchange. The problem: it’s all a big lie, concocted by Red and Bob to get Laurel to back off, as she is close to blowing the whole deal with the bugs.

Will she? Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t count on it. She might do so in the short-term, but no way is Gustav going to stay still for long. Even if Laurel backs down, no way is he going to. Regardless, we’ll have to wait until next week’s season finale to find out once and for all what happens.

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This was a fun episode, if a bit transitional by nature and by necessity. I liked the joke about Congress making potential proposed bills so complicated on purpose because they knew no one could possibly read them all- or want to or understand it if they did- and thus, they could sneak anything past people in the process. It reminded me of a “South Park,” in which the iTunes’ “terms and conditions” agreement was used to smuggle in some similar nefarious stuff.

Best line, from Red, to Laurel, after he offered to give her $2 million to walk away and finish her documentary: “Why don’t you take your Tupperware of monkey brains and think about whether you want to make documentaries? And yes, that’s the first time I’ve ever used that sentence.” He then asks her to leave the brains! (This gave me a pseudo-“Godfather” flashback- “Take the gun, leave the cannoli.”)

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All in all, a decent enough episode. Can’t wait to see how this all turns out! Join me next week for the big finale of “BrainDead”- see you then, and be sure to make your crazy predictions as to what you think will happen down below!