The bug-busting team gains a member

By Devan Coggan
September 05, 2016 at 02:19 AM EDT
CBS
S1 E11
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  • TV Show
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The war with Syria has been averted, but the war against the bugs is just beginning.

Luke and Laurel may have successfully stopped Red and Ella from declaring a literal war, but Red still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. His next project? Tinkering with the U.S. budget. Not only has Red drafted a thorough, seemingly perfect budget bill, but it’s also about the size of three phone books stacked on top of each other. How do we know Red has something evil buried in all that budget nonsense? He only provided hard copies, instead of digital PDFs that are easier to search. Like I said, evil.

Luke knows Red is hiding something, so he asks the Senate majority leader to delay the vote, but the Senate head only gives Luke 48 hours. If he can’t find anything questionable, the bill will go to the floor for a vote — and it’ll most likely pass. So, Luke recruits every single staffer in his office, including Laurel, to dig through the enormous budget.

Over in Red’s office, however, ants are marching — literally. After watching Red’s bizarre behavior over the past few weeks and listening to Laurel talk about brain-eating bugs, Gareth finally sees one himself. Specifically, he sees the queen bug crawl into Red’s ear, and he’s super grossed out. (I don’t blame him.) 

Finally, Gareth is starting to put the pieces together and it totally freaks him out. “This is insane,” he tells Laurel. “I don’t like things that are this insane.”

Now that Gareth is a bug believer, he sits down with Laurel, Gustav, Rochelle, and Dexter (the CDC doctor), and the bug-fighting quintet has a little confab about what to do next. They try to fill in Gareth as gently as possible, but the poor guy is at his wit’s end. Dexter, however, posits that if the bugs operate as a hive mind, the best way to stop the invasion is to kill the queen — currently residing in Red’s head.

Gustav immediately gets a wild look in his eye, but Rochelle tells him, exasperated, “We can’t kill a senator, Gustav.” Gustav argues the fate of the human race is at stake, while Gareth looks at him quizzically and asks what he means by the fate of the human race. That’s when Laurel mentions a tiny detail she may have left out: The bugs may or may not be from outer space. That’s too much for poor Gareth to handle, and he walks out. Again, I don’t blame you, Gareth.

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential campaign officials come to Luke with a proposal about the next administration. Specifically, they want him to be director of the CIA, thanks to his work on the Select Intelligence Committee. They don’t explicitly say they work for Hillary Clinton, instead mumbling opaque things like, “The candidate needs names by the end of the week,” but BrainDead has already established that Clinton and Donald Trump are the nominees. So it’s totally Hillary — she wants Luke to be CIA director, and he is psyched.

In order for things to move forward, however, the campaign officials need to vet Luke and make sure he doesn’t have any skeletons hiding in his closet. They approach people like his wife, Germaine — who cheerfully describes all of Luke’s extramarital affairs — and Scarlett, who goes into great detail about their love life and their safe word. Surprisingly, that’s not even the biggest red flag. It isn’t until they uncover the bit about Laurel believing in brain-eating bugs that they start to wonder whether Luke is the right choice after all.

As for Laurel herself, she’s still digging through the massive budget bill, and Luke has recruited a guy named Cole Stockwell to help her out. This guy speaks Washington nonsense like it’s his native language, and he’s the perfect guy to translate Red’s opaque budget bill into common English.

“Why are they hiding it all in gobbledygook?” Laurel asks him.

“Why do they hide Waldo?” Cole replies. “Because he’s fun to find!”

Thankfully, Cole and Laurel don’t have to dig through the entire budget bill. Gareth goes through Red’s laptop and finds Red only made corrections to the farm section, so whatever he’s planning, it’s going to be somewhere in there. It doesn’t take Cole long to find $300 million earmarked for a construction project in random small towns around the country. Those small towns happen to be the same ones named in the internment camp blueprints Gareth previously found in SRB-54. So whatever Red’s planning, it has something to do with those internment camps.

NEXT: Monkey brains and Melanesian choirs

But while Laurel is trying to uncover Red’s nefarious plan to take over the world with alien internment camps (or whatever the heck he’s actually planning), Red invites her to a one-on-one meeting in his office. Gustav, sensing the perfect opportunity to lure the queen bee out of Red’s ear, gives Laurel a Tupperware filled with monkey brains (which is a totally normal thing to be carrying around the Capitol). She takes the Tupperware to her meeting with Red, only to find him listening to her beloved Melanesian choirs. There, he tells her he’ll gladly fund her documentary — $2 million, no questions asked — as long as she leaves Washington and never looks back.

It’s a bit odd that Red would casually murder a special prosecutor in one episode and try to bargain with Laurel in another, but I guess you could chalk that up to Laurel being Luke’s sister: If she goes missing, people are going to notice. Either that, or he can’t just murder her because she’s the main character. No one ever said BrainDead was the most logical show on television.

Regardless, she turns him down, and as she’s walking away, he shouts after her, “Why don’t you take your Tupperware of monkey brains and think about whether you want to make documentaries? And yes, that’s the first time I’ve used that sentence.”

So Gustav’s monkey-brains plot is foiled, but Gareth proves to be a valuable asset to the bug-busting team: He figures out the bugs need a hot temperature to spawn, and the air conditioning in Red’s office shuts off at 10:30. If they want to lure the queen bee out of Red’s noggin, all they have to do is accost Red in his office after 10:30 — which is exactly what Rochelle, Gustav, and Laurel do, wrestling with Red in a madcap attempt to smash the queen bug.

Alas, their efforts are thwarted by the arrival of Gary, the new intern. Interns…always ruining everything.

As for Luke, apparently his extramarital affairs and his sister’s belief in brain-eating space bugs wasn’t enough to stop him from getting the CIA gig. Nothing is official until after the election, of course, but he sits down with a top CIA official for a security briefing. There, the CIA director tells him that yes, these flesh-eating bugs from outer space are totally real. Very, very real. The only catch is the CIA is looking into them (and Red), so they need Luke and Laurel to back off so they can do their job.

Amazed and slightly confused, Luke agrees, but as he walks away, Red shows up and reveals he’s in league with the CIA director! So not only does Red have some master plan involving internment camps, but he’s also got the CIA in his back pocket. With only two episodes left, things aren’t looking good for everyone’s favorite bug-fighting super team. It may be time for us to start preparing for the eventual arrival of our new bug overlords.

Odds and ends

Number of times we hear “You Might Think”: Zero. Boo.

Grossest moment: Probably Gareth’s Google search for flesh-eating bugs. Yuck.

Best lines:

  • Jonathan Coulton was too overwhelmed to write a regular musical recap at the top of the episode, so he recapped Gunsmoke instead.
  • Gareth: “I just thought this was some kind of charming bohemian affectation of yours. You know, you seeing bugs. I didn’t want it to be a charming affectation of mine.”
  • Cole: “Everything is natural. It could have human hair in it and still be natural.”
  • Red: “Why don’t you take your Tupperware of monkey brains and think about whether you want to make documentaries? And yes, that’s the first time I’ve used that sentence.”
  • Luke, learning about the brain-eating space bugs: “This is so bizarre.”

    CIA director: “Yes, it is. But still, this is nothing like Fallujah.” 

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