BrainDead: Season 1, Episode 6 Bug People (Review)

BrainDead Logo screenshot

BrainDead is floundering as a new series. CBS have given their program  a vote of no confidence  by moving it to Sundays.  It could well be that the real life horror show that is American politics at the moment have left viewers with a foul taste in their mouths.  Comparing fact to fiction is not so amusing or clever when looking at the candidates on offer in the US.

It is difficult to get past the politicians on the show, like Shalhoub’s Wheatus and Jan Maxwell‘s Ella Pollack.  These two aggressive politicos are the new norm on the show. Their real life counterparts are both running for president and it is disturbing not funny. Nice guy Luke Healy is not realistic compared to real occupants of Washington.  

 His character feels like a “Mr. Smith” type of fictional politician rather than the real deal. Although he does share more with John F. Kennedy than Jefferson Smith  in that he cannot remain faithful to his pregnant wife.

Leaving aside the problem of  the show being affected by the real  world of politics,  the plot is marching forward with all the precision of the ant aliens on the show. Laurel, Gustav and Rochelle are busily collecting evidence and cautiously approach Luke.

On top of the cat scan, the trio have a list of symptoms that include  difficulty hearing, a loss of balance, lack of sexual interaction  and increased aggression.  It is the hearing loss that Laurel notices when Anthony changes.

Anthony gets infected and later tries to forcibly infect Laurel.  Gustav, who annoyed Laurel by calling Anthony “bug man” and his fellow infected population “bug people,”  gave Healy some brass knuckles and she uses them to defend herself.

Triplett and Dr. Alaimo (Margo Martindale) track down cluster points and she becomes infected later. Once again the transformation is very The Faculty  as the doctor changes into an “improved” version of herself. 

The subplot this week deals with a veteran who is dying of liver cancer; Lance Corporal Brett Middleton (Brandon J. Dirden).  The man has a small child and Luke takes on the vet’s cause. After being deadlocked by his arguing colleagues, Healy allows Republican senator Red Wheatus take the credit for saving the man’s life. 

The highlight of this episode of BrainDead was the brass knuckle fight in Laurel’s kitchen.  Anthony, who shows up with pineapple pizza and and a copy of Love Actually,  grabs Healy and tries to hold her still  so the  ants can infect her.

As Hugh Grant dances to The Pointer Sisters song  “Jump” (For My Love) on the film.the soundtrack  swells and Laurel’s fight with Anthony is accompanied by the music.  Laurel’s FBI guy can take a punch and despite being smacked in the face a number of times Anthony refuses to leave  immediately.

BrainDead ends on a cliff hanger. Gustav, who discovers that the cherry blossoms are how the ant aliens travel, gives Laurel mosquito netting and some ear protectors.  Laurel goes to bed and puts the netting up over her bed. She decides not to use the ear protectors.

Gustav calls Laurel to tell her about the ants. She cannot hear the phone and the ants move up to and under the mosquito netting. At least two of the alien creatures  crawl in Laurel’s ear. She sits up suddenly, eyes wide and Laurel clearly knows that something has happened.

This last bit could be a dream since no ants can be seen anywhere else on Laurel when she wakes up.  If it is not  a dream this may add an interesting twist to the plot.  While Laurel being infected could be  a nightmare or dream, it raises the question of whether BrainDead will use this as an Invaders From Mars plot device. for the whole series.

With CBS shuffling BrainDead about it seems certain that we may never learn where the series was meant to go. Although if Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character gets taken over by the ants no one will want to watch anyway.

BrainDead now airs Sundays on CBS. Tune in, while you still can, and watch this clever little comedy horror series. Although for real horror, without the black humor, watch the political conventions on television and feel free to shudder.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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