BrainDead takes a shockingly unpleasant turn

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There were several key moments on the last episode of BrainDead as the series races to its finale (originally thought to be 13 episodes, but now it seems to be just 10), giving the bug-controlled politicians even more power. In one of the episode’s more disturbing scenes, a large queen bug crawled out of Red Wheatus’ ear! He instructed his new intern to bring him the bouquet of cherry blossoms from the outer office, then turn with his back to Wheatus so he couldn’t witness what was happening … the queen was laying eggs in one of the flowers. When she was done and back in Wheatus’ head, the intern was instructed to take the flowers home. We just know where this is headed.

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Poor Mike the intern, unwitting used as a tool to further Red’s agenda that terrorists are causing the CHIs (head explosions). Instructed to meet at the gym in the next morning, Mike is forced to work out while Wheatus meets with the FBI director. Under extreme exertion of the workout, poor Mike begins to experience severe pain in his cranium and … BOOM! All over Red and the director. It was a gruesome scene, but a bit hilarious as well. I don’t know how the actors managed to keep a straight face, but there was definitely no second take. But why did Red orchestrate all of this? Why, so he could keep his promise of watching Laurel.

In fact, using the incident and some trumped up charges, Wheatus convinced the FBI — with a little help from Laurel’s bug-infected former flame Anthony — that she was a threat to national security (of course the only threat she poses is to the insects’ plans to take over the world). While the previous episode really leaned heavily on the humor (sex, booze, chocolate and salami), this episode went to a really unpleasant place as Laurel was forcibly escorted from her office by a man named Mr. Cornish, a specialist in extracting information from a detainee.

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If the bug and CHI scenes weren’t disturbing enough, the episode really went dark as we discover Laurel isn’t just going to be questioned, she’d going to be tortured. And not just any old torture … but waterboarded. Except as the title of the episode, “The Power of Euphemism,” alludes, they’re not going to call it waterboarding. (Only because the new method isn’t technically classified as torture because it doesn’t simulate drowning, just a gasping for air. Nice.)

But the process can’t be carried out because the FBI needs the approval of two members of the security committee to sign off on the procedure, and guess who they are? Yes, Red Wheatus (who invokes the name Jack Bauer to an incredulous Luke) and her brother. Luke is very reticent about signing anything until he gets more information about the detainee. All Top Secret, which makes it even harder for him to agree to. But Red somehow convinces Luke the nation’s security is at stake and he finally agrees to sign his sister’s torture order without knowing it’s his sister.

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But she may be saved by, of all people, Gustav. Both he and Rochelle Daudier were supposed to meet with Laurel at various times that day, and fearing that she has gone missing, they reach out to Gareth, Gareth brings this information to Luke and all the pieces come together. Luke and Gareth have to pull together a committee to stop the waterboarding, or as it’s being called “controlled immersion,” but one of Luke’s key votes suddenly vanishes.

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Meanwhile, Gustav discovers (thanks to Rochelle) that the frequency the bugs communicate with can be used against them. By playing back certain portions of a recording, Gustav can control the infected hosts. Thanks to this discovery, Gustav is able to bring the committee to complete chaos by making the infected members (and chillingly, it’s a lot more than we expected) keep raising their hands for both Yea and Nay votes. Even Wheatus himself, who seemed to be immune (perhaps due to being the host to the queen) finally breaks and keeps raising both of his hands. Even worse, Gustav can make the infected run into walls. With things taking this unexpected turn, Mr. Cornish has to release Laurel before any questioning takes place. He even admires her stamina and strength in standing up to him. But as the episode ends, there is one more very disturbing moment … Gustav’s frequency app picks up more strange signals coming from Luke and Laurel’s father. Not good.

While this was more of a downer of an episode (although still with some funny moments), it begs us to ask the question: why hasn’t Laurel simply shown the CAT scans and video evidence of bugs in brain matter to her brother instead of constantly going around him? She did finally try to tell Gareth, and it took some convincing from Gustav and Rochelle to get him to see something odd was happening (especially when he witnessed Red’s actions at the committee), but avoiding bringing any of this concrete information directly to her brother seems like just a creaky plot device. While I am enjoying the show very much, this one little detail bugs me (no pun intended).

What did you think of this week’s episode of BrainDead? Tell us in the comments below!

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