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Recap: BRAINDEAD takes some “Talking Points” but “Can the Top Rebel?”


[All photos courtesy CBS]

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Season 1, episode 12: “Talking Points Toward a Wholistic View of Activism in Government: Can the Top Rebel?”
Written by Larry Kaplow
Directed by Felix Alcala

We’re nearing the end now, here in our penultimate episode. Ratings wise, they’ve been holding steady. Let’s hope they get a season two.


Act 1: Laurel (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Luke (Danny Pino) talk about his CIA briefing. He wants her to stop interfering.

Gustav (Johnny Ray Gill) & Rochelle (Nikki M. James) want Laurel to make a second attempt on Red (Tony Shaloub) by taking Red up on his offer to fund her documentary.

Red’s Queen is dying, so Ella (Jan Maxwell) tells him that she’s taking over the plan.

Laurel receives word that the funding may have come up for her documentary after all. She’s suspicious, so she asks her friend Jake to stall.

Laurel tells Gustav and Rochelle that she gives up on trying to fight the bugs; this causes Gustav to quit as well. Finding out that the funding seems legitimate, she takes the offer.

Time to make the big decision.
Time to make the big decision.

Act 2: While discussing why Luke is trying to stop the budget, Laurel tells Gareth (Arron Tveit) that she’s leaving to go back to her documentary in a week.

Red’s getting worse. He wants Gareth to help him keep it together by feeding him things to say at the committee meeting.

Laurel tries to submit her resignation to Luke, but Luke wants her to stay until the budget battle is done.

In Committee, Ella tries to get Red thrown off the committee because he’s obviously ill. Seeing that Gareth is helping Red, Ella hires one of her No-Wayers to “deal” with Gareth.

Cole (Patrick Breen), the budget whisperer, finds a weird provision in the budget to buy glass for the internment camps, so they go take a look. Instead of camps, the bugs are building hothouses to grow cherry blossoms to breed in.

After telling Luke about it, Gareth drops by, drunk, and asks Laurel to marry her, he then leaves.


Act 3: Luke has another meeting with Bob Isenstadt (Dakin Matthews) of the CIA, he tells him about the hothouses. Bob tells him to leave it alone. Luke then feeds Bob a piece of misleading information, Bob tells him he already knows about that.

Luke tells Laurel that the CIA is lying. Luke goes to call their Dad, Dean (Zach Grenier) but Laurel tells him the truth about their father.

Luke tells the Committee that he wants the farm bill carved out of the budget and voted on separately. Red objects, but the committee will vote on carving it out.

Gareth is attacked by Ella’s No-Wayer with a large knife but defends himself with a pizza box. He’s injured but not killed.

Is this a dagger I see before me?

Act 4: Laurel sees Gareth in the hospital, and he says that his proposal was a drunk joke. She asks him to run away with her to the Solomon Islands, but he refuses.

Luke is visited by Bob again. He wants Luke to stop interfering with the farm bill. He tells Bob off.

A vote is held and fails; the budget must be voted on as a whole…but before they vote, Luke stages a sit-in until the farm bill is carved out.

Red is looking even sicker. Ella visits him in his office with a gun. She wants the queen to come out, they fight and Red kills Ella and her King Bug.

The gangs all here.
The gangs all here.

Act 5: Luke’s sit-in continues. Red is back to full strength. Red says wants to have a closed session. Laurel sees how Luke’s words are resonating with the rest of the staff…but then the Republicans cut the feed.  But Laurel has a solution: she has Luke use his cell phone to broadcast the sit-in to Periscope.

Laurel then goes to Gustav and Rochelle and tells them she has a plan. She knows how to stop the bugs.


We begin the episode with Luke being asked to stop interfering with the CIA investigation. Don’t the bugs know that telling someone NOT to do something is a sure fire way to get them to do it?

We also see Red in a sorry state in this episode. His Queen is dying and he looks it. Tony Shaloub really acted the crap out of this episode. He’s dying AND funny at the same time. Bravo Tony, let’s hope you get an Emmy nod for this one.

We also get an out for our heroine, Laurel. She could take the two million, go to the islands and do her documentary…of course if she did, she might come back to the bugs having totally taken over the United States and working on the rest of the world.  Yeah, I could see why she might want to wait until the bug situation is over.

We see the bug club dissolve over this. Of course, considering that their plans haven’t worked out so far, maybe that was a good idea…for a moment.

Borrowed from the headlines, we get a good old-fashioned sit-in in the committee room, echoing the sit-in that happened June 22, 2016 on the floor of the house. It even borrows heavily from it with the participants having to use the internet to get their message out.  Of course, on the show they do manage more of an impact…until Luke is blackmailed into stopping. If only Luke had left his pants on in the past.

We also see Gareth attacked with a knife and saved by the pizza he was carrying.  I assume it was thick crust, otherwise that knife might have done more damage.

So…Red has now killed at least 3 people, in the senate office building…two at least with a gun…is he just good at covering it up or are the cops just not interested in the missing people? Ella is killed and no one seems to care for the rest of the episode.

Next episode: The End?

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.



Thomas Townley

Thomas spends hours playing games, reading books and comic books and watching genre tv. You should too.

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