The final two episodes of BrainDead were aired back-to-back to bring this season one finale to a satisfactory end. After all was said and done, the two hour finish delivered the punch line that the King’s had in mind all along.
What was the punchline? Well, according to the creators of the series; Michelle and Robert King, it is this: “Anyone one with half a brain can work in politics.”
Boom. Boom. (Or microphone drop, if that image works for the viewer.)
With this punchline the entire first season turns into a televised version of “Little Bunny FooFoo.” Albeit a lot funnier and with a degree of cleverness that the joke never achieves.
All the characters in this Capital Hill horror comedy or “horromedy” (We know it is not a word, but it seems to fit nicely.) were funny in all the right places. There was also enough pathos inserted to keep the series from falling into outright farce.
The ticking clock, or calendar, with its emphasis on 38 days was not about anything else but the cherry blossoms. A lot went on over the last two hours of BrainDead in its season one conclusion.
Luke found out that the CIA were lying and reacted accordingly. Laurel almost gave up the fight but changed her mind at the last minute. Gareth proposed to the senator’s sister and later confessed that he loved her. (A little bit backwards but it was cute nonetheless.)
Healy stages a “sit-down,” aping the real-life democratic sit-down over gun control earlier this year. He then outsmarts Red’s budget with a little help.
Gareth, after seeing Red’s queen last week helps Laurel out. This teaming up works but it is not without a few hiccups.
Red is still pretty messed up after his queen is injured and his tearful and confused spiel at the budget vote was hysterically funny. Due to his apparent weakness Ella goes in for the kill, only to have it backfire.
It turns out that all Senator Wheatus needed was Ella’s brains to fix his health issues. A rejuvenated Red goes on the attack to get his budget passed.
Later, Red tries to kill Luke but fails.
Gustav and Rochelle go undercover to kill the cherry blossoms in the first greenhouse and almost get caught.
Luke’s sit-down goes on Periscope and cannot be shut down. The CIA “Director Director” and Red blackmail Healy into stopping everything and voting.
Gustav turns out to have been an officer with the NSA all along, much to Rochelle’s irritation, and even the FBI have to step away from that. Laurel drives the bugs out of her father’s brain with shame.
Later, she attempts to do the same with Red and almost succeeds. Senator Wheatus tries to shoot Healy but Gareth arrives in the nick of time to save her. The three struggle to control the gun and Red is shot in the buttocks.
The queen bails and tries to escape the room. The newest intern comes in and inadvertently kills the alien bug. The remaining alien horde screech in pain and dismay. They all swarm to their dead queen and huge group of politicians are now bug free.
Singing narrator Jonathan Coulton croons that apparently having half a brain is not an issue for senators. He also informs us that Gareth and Laurel have moved in together and that Luke now works on Wall Street.
The last episode, number 12 “The End of All We Hold Dear: What Happens When Democracies Fail: A Brief Synopsis” has Coulter and Johnny Ray Gill’s character break the fourth wall. It is amusing and a nice touch. Although Gustav only breaks the wall by acknowledging the guitar playing Coulter.
Just before the end credits roll for the last time in season one (or forever if the show is not brought back) a new queen is seen on the cherry blossoms that line the road. The new alien bug leader is a different hue, suggesting that the invasion force have evolved.
Overall the season finale was a good wrap up of everything that transpired. It managed to get in at least one political in-joke, or observation; that most people would not know their senator if they met him or her.
There was a fair amount of comedy but the scene about the ninth birthday party camera was a tear jerker.
BrainDead may well be a “one-off” (for a number of reasons) but it was a brilliant little summer filler, even if the network had no faith in the show.
Pina, Winstead, Tveit, Shalhoub and James all just killed it. This cast shared a brilliant chemistry and took the viewer on an amusing journey through a “space invasion” series disguised as comedy horror.
With a punchline that seems alarmingly close to the truth, the series may not be allowed to return…
- 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
- Zach Grenier – Dean Healey
- Jan Maxwell – Ella Pollack