[All photos courtesy CBS.]
Season 1, Episode 13: “The End of All We Hold Dear: What Happens When Democracies Fail: A Brief Synopsis”
Written by Jacquelyn Reingold & Jonathan Tolins
Directed by Robert King
So here we are the end of BrainDead Season One. The big question is will we get a season two? The answer right now looks hazy.
Act 1: We begin with Jonathan Coulton, our worthwhile singing recapper, recapping the previous episode…and then getting shooed off by Gustav (Johnny Ray Gill)!
Laurel (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) lays out her plan about the hothouses Red (Tony Shaloub) is having constructed. The cherry blossoms will die in 30 days; the bugs are racing to stave off the blossom death so they can continue to breed and spread. Gustav, Rochelle (Nikki M. James), and Laurel decide to stop the bugs from completing their mission.
Laurel asks Gareth (Aaron Tviet) to get her the full plans for the hothouses.
Red tries to split Gareth and Laurel apart by bringing Gareth’s parents to meet Laurel. It doesn’t work.
Meanwhile, the sit-in is dying. Luke (Danny Pino) asks a Capitol Police officer to arrest him, creating some much-needed drama. This causes the senators to return to the room.
While looking for the plans, Gareth finds Red’s security badge for the construction site.
Red asks Luke to negotiate an end to the sit-in in private.
Act 2: Bob Isenstadt (Dakin Matthews) visits Luke. He tells him that he leaked and that Bob has a witness. Laurel thinks that witness is their dad, Dean (Zach Grenier). She visits Dad who is, of course, listening to “You Might Think…” by The Cars. Dad admits he turned Luke in. While they argue, one of the bugs pops out of Dean’s ear.
Gustav, Rochelle, and Laurel discuss Dean and Laurel’s argument and that shame was the emotion that caused the bug to run out.
Gareth gives the gang Red’s security badge and we get a nice montage of them putting a plan together.
Rochelle and Gustav go to the site with Red’s badge, hoping to spread salt so the trees won’t bloom, but have to run out after almost getting discovered by Onofrio (Charlie Semine).
Luke clues Laurel in on a tape that just might give Dean enough shame. She plays the tape. It’s of him missing her birthday to go out with his mistress instead.
Dad collapses and the bugs stream out.
Red talks to Luke. When Luke’s back is turned, Red considers shooting him but Luke leaves before Red has the chance.
Act 3: Red asks Gareth if anyone has been in his office. Gareth manages to get the badge back to Red’s pocket.
Rochelle and Gustav come up with a new plan: they need to get the trees to shed their blossoms before the hot houses are completed.
Gareth and Laurel have sex and discuss how to make Red feel shame. They discover that Red used to have a girlfriend named Lana.
Rochelle and Gustav execute their plan…or they would have if not for a local cop, who calls out the FBI. The FBI sends out Agent Onofrio.
Act 4: Isenstadt and Red talk to Luke, telling him that they have his sex tape. This prompts Luke to end the sit-in.
Gustav and Rochelle are questioned by Onofrio…until Gustav reveals that he works for the National Security Agency!
The full budget gets out of committee to the full Senate.
Luke and Cole (Patrick Breen) find a way to stop Red’s farm bill by passing a motorcycle helmet bill that supersedes it.
Laurel and Red have a final talk.
Act 5: Laurel brings up Lana, his first love. Lana was an illegal immigrant. He turned her in. Laurel tells him that Lana’s dead now. Red pulls the gun on Laurel and Gareth, a struggle ensues and it goes off. Red is shot in the butt. This causes the Queen bug to leave Red; it almost escapes…except it gets stepped on by Gary The Intern (Spencer House). The bugs screech and leave their hosts and race to Red’s office. Laurel and Gareth are trapped!
Meanwhile, in the park, Gustav and Rochelle spread their fertilizer on the trees and watch all the blossoms fall off.
Back in Red’s office, the bugs form a pile on the floor… and die, while Laurel and Gareth share a kiss.
We then get a musical montage with Jonathan Coulton to wrap up loose ends and season one of BrainDead!
Analysis: Our lead, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, has signed on to do a character in the third season of Fargo. This still doesn’t mean we won’t get a season two as she could still come back and do BrainDead. This is a summer series, after all. What might really matter are the ratings, which are good enough for a Sunday but really not good enough for any other day of the week. At its highest, the show had 4.59 million viewers, at the lowest, 1.75 million. It’s rebounded over the last four episodes to between 2 and 2.3 million viewers. The show’s Twitter feed has been trying to drum up support for a season two with the hashtag #RenewBrainDead.
This was a good episode; lots of things getting tied up. The invasion being stopped by Gary The Intern stepping on the queen was great.
This episode also featured Johnathan Coulton at the beginning and end, a great use of one of my favorite singer-songwriters. Using Jonathan to tie up some loose ends was a great idea. Maybe more shows should end their seasons this way.
We also got some truth about Gustav…or should we say Agent Triplett?! No wonder he was so paranoid; he knows what the NSA does. This probably put him in the correct mindset to notice the odd behavior caused by the bug invasion.
One of the big questions is how is Red not in prison when he is a mass murderer? In the last episode, he killed a Senator. Why does no one care that she went missing?
Wonder what made Luke finally quit Congress?
So how would I rate this season of BrainDead? Pretty good. The story kept me entertained, although it would have worked better with fewer episodes, ten at the most. The 13-episode commitment ended up causing them to drag the story out. Sure, you got more detail into the lives of the characters but you could easily loose a handful of episodes and have a more coherent story.
BrainDead airs Sunday at 10/9 Central on CBS. It can also be found on Amazon Prime Instant Video. For more information, visit the official website.
Read all our previous BrainDead recaps here.