BrainDead: Goring Oxes – Screwworms (Review)


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BrainDead continues to entertain while poking fun at the lunacy that is politics (regardless of which country one lives in) with an outside quotient of ant aliens taking over the minds of all the denizens in Washington.  (BrainDead focuses on the politicians.) In episode 3, “Goring Oxes” (which should really be oxen…just saying) “How You Can Survive the War on Government Through Five Easy Steps” sees the screwworm theory, by Gustav, the romance heats up between Laurel and Gareth and the aliens infect a democrat;  Senator Pollack.

It is interesting to note that these  little brain eaters are not perfect in their taking over process, nor are they very kind to their hosts.  The CHI incidents  that the FBI are investigating  are caused by the bugs (according to Gustav anyway) emitting too much methane. The pressure firstly pushes out the victim’s brain through his or her ears and then causes the head to explode.

(Not combust. Spontaneous combustion, which is how the FBI are classifying  the head exploding events,  is all about bursting suddenly into flame. Combustion equals fire, not an explosion. To really drive this point home:  The victim’s heads are blowing up not erupting into  flame spontaneously. Someone should have checked their dictionary. Even Wikipedia gets this one right. Unless, of course, the King’s are suggesting that the agent has been infected…)

The storyline still follows the subterfuge, back stabbing and political wheeling and dealing that constitutes day-to-day activities in the capital. (See what we did there?)  Laurel is still pursuing Gareth, and vice versa, Luke’s affair with Scarlett Pierce is leaked (by the infected Scarlett   going to Pollard;  who has also become aggressive now that she is infected) and the fight goes on.

Red Wheatus’  Chief of Staff has his  head explode (almost on national television but the eight second delay saves the world from seeing it) and Gareth is promoted.  Luke and his father arrange for Laurel to leak some damaging PR on Pollack who retaliates with the affair information.

Scarlett tries to infect Luke and spells out her hostility towards Laurel.  Gustav approaches Senator Healy’s sister to divulge his screwworm theory. (Dr. Bob Bobb…Seriously funny moment in the waiting room with his nom de guerre. ) Laurel meets with her infected friend Stacie. She forces her old pal to remember things other than political rhetoric and Stacie beings leaking red goo from her ear. Laurel Googles screwworm  and contacts Gustav.

He shows Laurel and Rochelle Daudier (Dr. Daudier’s daughter) the parasites in the cat scans of the infected brains. The two women doubt  that the shadowy image is a mandible so Gustav sets out to catch one of the alien parasites.

One of the episode’s funnier scenes has Gustav taping red plastic beer cups over his  ears, placing a plethora of bait traps on his floor and playing “You Might Think” by The Cars as a lure.

Thinking he has captured one, he takes a bait box to Rochelle and his specimen  turns out to be a cockroach. Gustav has been outsmarted. Undeterred, he returns to his apartment and tries to capture an alien  ant. Unfortunately it looks like his cat may have been the recipient of one or more ant parasites.

While many critics are still riding on the political satire train (and may never get off) really this is more about the ants and is a huge nod to science fiction “possession” tales. Puppet Masters, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and so on.

Yes, BrainDead is set in Washington DC and it features politicians acting like, well, politicians. There is the rub.  As evidenced during the Obama years, the two major parties have been at each other’s throats constantly. Extreme right, extreme left and moderates all in an uproar as each side fight tooth and nail for control.

The government shut down did happen in real life. Although in the show an amazing amount of folks are still population that building. As noted at the start of this latest offering from the Kings, politics has gone a little cray-cray this year and not just in America.  Witness the madness across the pond where the Brits had their own version of Trump; Boris Johnson,  lie the country into turmoil…

BrainDead is clever, funny and picking up pace. It airs Mondays on CBS and is worth a look. IMDb shows the popularity going down which is a bit mystifying until one looks at the overall political situation (Brexit again). Perhaps setting the show in the world of politics is a tad painful considering the world markets and the current climate of upheaval.

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Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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