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BrainDead recap: Wake Up Grassroots: The Nine Virtues of Participatory Democracy, and How We Can Keep America Great by Encouraging an Informed Electorate

A cat gets a CAT scan as Luke tries to shut down the government shutdown

Posted on

Michael Parmelee/CBS


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Tony Shalhoub, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Danny Pino, Aaron Tveit
Comedy, Drama, Horror

We are four episodes into BrainDead, and here is a list of everything this show has made me scared of (so far):

  • Ants
  • Bugs of any kind
  • Political extremism
  • Cherry blossoms
  • My cat
  • Meteors
  • Men eating candy bars
  • Ric Ocasek
  • Sleeping with the windows open

Seriously, why does everyone on this show sleep with their windows open? Is the weather in D.C. really that pleasant? And why does no one have window screens? I sleep with my windows closed and locked, with the air conditioning on full blast. No bugs are coming in my room while I sleep, thank you very much!

Tragically, the population of D.C. doesn’t do the same. Much of this episode follows Noah and Jules, two neighbors who start out with a distant but pleasant relationship and end up trying to kill each other with their cars after bugs eat their brains. Overnight, these seemingly normal humans start taking to the comments section with veracity, almost breaking the exclamation-point and caps-lock keys. Noah’s a knife-wielding, NPR-championing liberal, and Jules is a gun-toting, Trump-worshipping conservative. We’ve seen what the bugs can do to politicians — just look at Red Wheatus and Ella Pollack — but it’s even more horrifying to see what they can do to ordinary people.

But before we can dive into the saga of Noah and Jules, we have to face the two big unanswered questions from last week’s episode: 1) the lingering sexual tension between Laurel and Gareth, and 2) what happened to Zeke’s cat. Laurel and Gareth are in the denial stage of their relationship, even after last episode’s steamy kiss, and they have a very awkward run-in at a bar when they’re both on dates with other people. Laurel is there with Anthony Onofrio, the FBI agent who’s been investigating the head explosions, and Gareth is there trying to feed a story to Misty Alise, the bleach-blonde conservative newscaster.

Gareth had the brilliant idea to bolster support for Wheatus with a fake grassroots conservative campaign. By getting Misty to talk about it on national television, he’s hoping said grassroots campaign (called “The One Way-ers”) will actually get off the ground. But his plan is quickly derailed by the sight of Laurel with Anthony, so he does the mature thing: He compares Anthony to an Eastern European woman who sells her body for 10 cents before leaving to sleep with Misty. He then sits alone and shirtless in his apartment, watching Laurel’s Kickstarter to fund her documentary. Smart choices, Gareth.

Laurel’s evening is further ruined by the sudden appearance of Gustav with a cat carrier. That’s right, this week’s musical recap kicked off the episode with all I’ve been thinking about for the past two weeks: “My god, you monsters, not the cat!” It turns out the cat’s name is Zeke, and he seems to be okay after his alien encounter — until Laurel and Gustav take him to the hospital to see if Rochelle can run some tests.

Side note: I really want to know how they got that cat in a CAT scan machine. I come from a family of veterinarians, and they’ve all come home with puncture wounds in their arms from trying to X-ray angry cats. I have a hard time believing it was in any way easy for Rochelle to get Zeke in that machine.

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Anyway, the cat’s CAT scan proves surprisingly helpful, and Laurel, Rochelle, and Gustav are finally getting some answers as to how these brain-eating bugs work. We now know the bugs climb inside people’s heads and eat away a large portion of the brain, which is then expelled (or, to be honest, excreted) out of the ear. In other words, the bugs don’t eat away the entire brain, which explains why people are still able to walk and talk after being infected. (Alright, it doesn’t REALLY explain it, but hey, this is a show about alien bugs eating people’s brains and affecting their political affiliations.)

Also, since the ants burrow in through the ear, it creates an imbalance of fluid and causes deafness in the ear. So, our bug-fighting trio now knows how to figure out who’s been infected: Look for people who are partially deaf, have trouble balancing, love The Cars, and drink a lot of green smoothies. It ain’t much, but it’s a start.

NEXT: Abby takes a leap of faith