[All photos courtesy CBS]
Season 1, episode 8: “The Path to War Part One: The Gathering Political Storm”
Written by Peter Parnell
Directed by Brooke Kennedy
Read all our previous BrainDead recaps here.
Act 1: We pick up exactly where we ended last week. Luke (Danny Pino) and Laurel (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and their dad, Dean (Zach Genier) are having a moment. Gustav (Johnny Ray Gill) tries to test Dean, but the system just stops working. Dad’s okay … or is he?
Red, reviewing security footage from last week’s disastrous committee meeting, sees Gustav and Rochelle (Nikki M. James) and pins the terrorist sympathizer card on them.
Gareth (Aaron Tveit) goes to Laurel and they discuss Gustav and Rochelle warning them about Red’s suspicions. Gustav thinks Dean switched frequencies and that about five percent of Capital Hill is infested and that dad is, too.
In Committee, Red deposes a man who says that Syria has a head exploding weapon.
Laurel visits dad: she tries to test his hearing, but is unconvinced.
Meanwhile, Rochelle is being followed. She’s attacked but manages to club the intruder unconscious with a turkey leg.
Act 2: Back in Committee, Senator Pollack (Jan Maxwell) grills Achmed (from Act 1) about blaming America. She gives him exactly what she wants to hear. Red grills him about the weapon, but Luke is unconvinced — he wants more information.
Laurel looks in Dad’s medicine cabinet, finding lots of pills.
Gustav and Rochelle start to interrogate their captive. They try various methods with little success.
Luke and Laurel talk about dad: he has Stage 3 Parkinson’s with six months to live. This is the reason dad wanted her so close recently.
Laurel decides to get more information about dad and Rochelle’s captive, so she visits her father’s lover, Terri, the tour guide. She confirms the Parkinson’s diagnosis. Asked if her dad has been a little odd lately, she confirms that he can’t have sex anymore.
She goes to dad and confronts him about being infested. “We should talk,” he replies.
Act 3: Dad and Laurel talk. Yes, he’s infested, but he’s still Dean Healy. He no longer has Parkinson’s. He tells her that this takeover is inevitable. He confirms that the bugs are from space. She tries to talk to the side of him that is still her dad and asks him to fight it. He says, “I am your dad.” Her reply? “No, you’re not.”
Gusatv and Rochelle decide to get their captive drunk on whiskey to loosen his tongue. Gareth watches as Red coaches a Syrian doctor on what to say to the committee.
Gareth and Laurel sit on a bench having a sandwich and talk. He tells her to tell her brother that the doctor will be lying. They sleep together and we learn more about his parents and she tells him about hers. This makes her think about her mom … wait a minute! She rushes to her dad, is he going to infest mom, too? Yes. So she decides the only way to save mom is to get her out of the house. She tells her mother about dad’s affair with Terri and gets her mother out of the house.
Act 4: In Committee, the Syrian doctor is grilled about the effects of the weapons he claims to have seen. Luke calls the doctor out for lying. The Committee chairman calls for a break and Luke, Red, and Ella are debriefed by the CIA that no such weapons exist, but they can’t reveal this information to the public.
Gustav and Rochelle finally get their captive, Kevin, drunk. He reveals that the bugs want to call home … and that their are two different sides.
Red and Ella meet in his office in private. He lets his queen out and she lets her mail out, the two bugs circle each other and then mate before returning to their hosts.
Act 5: Red has an interview with Misty (Megan Hilty). She wants to know what the CIA revealed to him. He can’t say, but he implies that it was stunning. Ella also stops by and backs Red up!
Gustav is forced to let Kevin go. He returns to Capital Hill with Rochelle tailing him. She follows him to a room in the basement.
Meanwhile, Luke and Laurel discuss weather Luke should leak the info the CIA gave him in order to stop a march to an unnecessary war. Dean interjects and says no. Laurel counters and tells him yes.
“Are you going to fight me the whole way?” Dean asks. “What do you think?” she replies.
Analysis: Well we got a lot in this episode. A King bug, a Queen bug, a march to war, and a secret hive of activity in the basement of congress.
We also got Dean Healy, Luke and Laurel’s dad, with a diagnosis of stage 3 Parkinson’s with six months to live. Here’s the thing folks: there is no such thing as terminal Parkinson’s. You just live with it until you die from something else. It also has more then three stages. How do I know? My mother had Parkinson’s. She lived with it for nearly 30 years. It is debilitating, it is stressful (on both patient and family), it is many things, but not fatal. Peter Parnell and the writing staff of BrainDead did Parkinson’s sufferers a disservice categorizing this disease as such. For more information on Parkinson’s disease, please see the National Parkinson Foundation.
There was plenty good that happened in this episode as well. The bugs are working on a plan to distract everyone from their takeover by starting a war for Syria and Luke as to make a decision as to make. Keep silent and let the U.S. be dragged into another worthless war, or leak the info he received in order to prevent it. Don’t leak and possibly kill thousands of soldiers, or do leak and possibly end his Senate career. Not any easy row to hoe. Maybe he should seek the advice of the Vulcans: “The needs of the many outweighs the needs of the one.”
The funniest moments of the episode belong to Johnny Ray Gill. Again, he portrays Gustav as both brilliant and slightly mad. He is the shield that keeps this show from being too serious at times. He is the all around All-Star of BrainDead.
Next episode, we try to find out what the bugs are doing in the basement.
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.