Laurel got alien bugs in her ear last week, although she woke up after a couple of the little things crawled in there. This week she calls 9-1-1 and the dispatcher says to a colleague that “we’ve got another of those calls.” Laurel is transferred to a carrot munching dispatcher who lies and says help is on the way. Looks like those ants in Braindead are infecting a lot of folks. Luckily The Partridge Family ‘s “I think I Love You” and dopamine save the day.
The episode, with another ridiculously long worded title (“Notes Toward a Post-Reagan Theory of Party Alliance, Tribalist, and Loyalty: Past as Prologue”), starts with Laurel waking up in pain. Gustav arrives at the same time pounding on her door and yelling that the cherry blossoms have bugs in them.
Immediately after Rochelle turns up things get interesting. Gustav has Laurel recite the presidents until he realized that they are focussing on the wrong side of her brain. The answer to chasing the bugs out will use the other side of her temporal lobe. Booze, dancing, chocolate and music (but not the ear worm song by The Cars.) are now required.
Gareth, who called earlier, turns up concerned about Laurel. Rochelle explains to Gustav that sex will be required to finish chasing the brain eaters out. Laurel begins hesitantly singing “I Think I Love You” to a confused Gareth. Rochelle and Gustav act as backup singers and he then puts the song on his iPod and all three sing along.
Rochelle and Gustav close the bedroom door and retreat. Laurel and Gareth then begin to have sex. Before things reach a peak, the ants depart and she is saved. Gareth is confused.
This was, by far, the best bit of the show – apart from that brilliant singing summary of the show at the beginning. Everything else followed the usual “the bugs are taking over” scenario.
Although to be fair the storyline is different and interesting. Red Wheatus threatening Laurel, “Go back to LA,” and his new voting district looking like a crop circle were both clever.
So too was how Rochelle made the connection to “You Might Think” by The Cars and where the alien ants came from. Apart from using “space music” from the Internet she also proves that Gustav’s theory was right all along.
Just as clever was Red Wheatus’ counterattack on the research being done by Dr. Wu.
When Laurel’s dopamine infusion sent the alien ants scarring out of her head, Gustav caught one. (Great sight gag here. Gustav holds up an upside down cup and a tile literally ripped off of Laurel’s floor.) He and Rochelle give the alien creature to Wu, from the CDC, to study.
Red strikes against the CDC using a zombie prevention pamphlet that the organization put out. During his Q&A of the CDC head, animal testing is mentioned. Ella Pollack (Jan Maxwell) is horrified and then effectively helps to close the CDC down. This move, all part of the hive mind of the aliens, will cease all research full stop.
Before the questioning takes place, Wu’s boss closes down his research on the alien ant. The creature is put in an enormous holding area and is no longer in the secure box that Gustav and Rochelle used.
After learning that the booze, dancing “right brain” technique chases out the parasitic aliens, Laurel tries to save her friend Stacie (Nikiya Mathis). She finds out that once the ants are embedded they have control. Her friend tells Laurel that “Stacie is gone.”
Stacie then tells her old friend that they want “everything.”
Rochelle is out jogging when she makes a connection to The Cars song and “Music of the Spheres.” She shares this information with Laurel, while the ant is busily scrapping its way out of CDC custody.
Gareth, who is understandably feeling odd about the “session” with Laurel, tries to reset the relationship. The two go on a “revised” first date. As they drink their Old Fashions she tells him that she believes “bugs are eating people’s brains and turning them stupid.” Taking sip of his drink, Gareth responds wonderingly, “Huh.”
Leaving aside the real life probability that people have been taking stupid pills (Want proof? Look at the presidential candidates this year…) Braindead has made this all about world domination. After all, these ants will not be satisfied with taking over the USA will they. Stacie did say “everything” did she not?
About the plot, there is one point of complaint. The entire “saving” Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character feels very contrived. As does the whole Gareth agreeing to have sex with Laurel with two complete strangers in the other room.
However, the whole “I Think I Love You” song blaring out does make the entire scene more palatable. (There was a split second where it seemed that this was going to be a rip off of the Scream 2 cafeteria scene but thankfully the writers did not go there.)
Since CBS have moved Braindead to Sundays it seems the popularity of the show is going up. Perhaps this shifting about has been a good thing for the network and the series.
Braindead may now live to see the end of its first season if CBS does not have another crisis of faith and move it again.
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead – Laurel Healy
- Danny Pino – Luke Healy
- Tony Shalhoub – Red Wheatus
- Aaron Tveit – Gareth Ritter
- Johnny Ray Gill – Gustav Triplett
- Paige Patterson – Scarlett Pierce
- Nikki M. James – Rochelle Daudier
- Charlie Semine – Anthony Onofrio
Guest starring Marcus Ho as Dr. Dexter Wu