Michael Moore destroys a budding relationship as Red snacks on brain food

By Devan Coggan
August 22, 2016 at 02:06 AM EDT
Michael Parmelee/CBS
S1 E9
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Hey, remember two episodes ago, when Gareth and Laurel hooked up for the first time because Laurel was trying to get the brain-eating bugs out of her ears, so she ate chocolate and salami while climbing on top of him? At the time, I declared it one of the weirdest sex scenes I’d ever seen on television. And then remember last episode, when the giant bugs crawled out of Red and Ella’s ears and proceeded to have sex on the table while Red and Ella glared angrily at each other? That was also a contender for the weirdest sex scene on television.

Well, now we have a new challenger: Gareth’s graphic nightmares of Laurel making love to Michael Moore at the Sundance Film Festival.

That’s right. D.C.’s cutest couple has been driven apart by the director of Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11. And it’s all Red’s fault. See, Red still has it out for the Healys, so he hires his “favorite African-American person,” a former Capitol police officer who now works as a freelance private eye. He tasks her with looking into Luke and Laurel: shady connections, possible scandals, and, of course, sexual history. It’s up to Gareth to go through it all and see if they can find something to torpedo Luke and Laurel’s careers. Because if there’s any way to destroy a brand-new relationship, it’s a private investigator handing you an annotated file completely detailing your partner’s previous sexual history.

As for Laurel, she’s keeping an eye on the mysterious room in the basement: SRB-54. When Gustav, Rochelle, and Laurel let the bug-infested Kevin go last week, he headed straight to SRB-54 — and he hasn’t left since. Even more mysteriously, Laurel catches a glimpse of one of the so-called Syrian scientists who testified at the war committee in last week’s episode. Whatever’s going on in SRB-54, it has something to do with the bugs and with Red’s thirst for war. The door is guarded by a very grumpy and very secretive staffer named Don Pickle, and he’s not letting Laurel or Luke in. Even when Gareth goes to check it out, he gets rebuffed, and Red tells him it would be in his best interests to steer clear.

So, Gareth gets smart and does the one thing guaranteed to piss people off: He turns off the Wi-Fi in the basement. The grumpy Don Pickle comes upstairs and asks Gareth to turn it back on, so Gareth finally finds his way inside. There, he catches a glimpse of a foreboding countdown clock counting down until Sept. 12 and a bunch of construction blueprints. Which isn’t ominous at all.

Meanwhile, Luke is still dealing with the fallout of Red and Ella’s calls for war — and he’s hit a new snag. After the CIA briefed Luke, Red, Ella, and the committee chair and told them no, Syria is not blowing people’s heads up, the CIA swore them to secrecy. Ella and Red went around that by giving a blustery press conference (and therefore bolstering the nation’s appetite for war), saying they couldn’t reveal what the CIA told them, but they were “shocked” by what they heard. Well now, someone has leaked the ACTUAL contents of the CIA briefing to Claudia Monarch (fake Rachel Maddow), who’s informed the world. And the evidence suggests Luke was the one doing the leaking.

At the same time, Ashley the private investigator comes back with allll the dirt on Laurel, and Gareth is profoundly uncomfortable. According to Ashley, Laurel has had a total of 24 sexual partners, a number that freaks out Gareth a little bit — not to mention the rumor that Laurel slept with her poli-sci professor in college, got pregnant, and had an abortion. He confronts her about it, and she tells him the only part that’s true is the bit about her sleeping with her professor. There was no pregnancy. He’s relieved (slightly), and they eventually patch things up, only for Ashley to return with another bombshell: Laurel apparently slept with Michael Moore, back when she was a young documentary filmmaker.

This, Gareth can’t believe, and he then launches into a gag-inducing daydream — literally, he gags — of Laurel and Michael Moore hooking up. It is the real Michael Moore, and he is wearing his trademark baseball cap and everything. It’s both hilarious and horrifying. To the extremely conservative Gareth, it’s mostly horrifying.

So naturally, Gareth asks Laurel about it. (“Have you SEEN Fahrenheit 9/11?” he asks her.) And to his surprise, she doesn’t deny it. They fight, and he leaves. Not the best way to handle things, Gareth, but to be fair, those were some pretty vivid and graphic daydreams.

NEXT: Red snacks on some brain food

A special prosecutor named Lawrence Boch has been assigned to investigate the congressional leak, putting lots of pressure on Luke (and, in turn, Laurel). Both of them swear they didn’t leak it to Claudia Monarch, but they both know they could get in trouble if Boch finds out Luke told Laurel. So, Luke comes to Boch with a little bit of information: the plans Gareth found down in SRB-54. Specifically, they’re blueprints. For internment camps. For Syrian refugees. Red isn’t playing around.

Horrified, Boch confronts Red about them, and Red owns up to it. Yes, he says, he is building Syrian refugee camps. And he’s proud of it. Boch threatens to leak the plans to the press, and Red just throws his head back and laughs. He argues that the public will not only not care, but they’ll be thrilled. The people want internment camps and the safety they provide. Which might be the most horrifying part of BrainDead yet: When you put aside all the brain-eating aliens and the exploding heads, this is a show about political extremism. And the anti-Syrian refugee narrative is all too relevant in the current political climate.

Boch and Red’s argument escalates, and Boch ends up yelling, “If this a war, and I’m your enemy, why not just take out a gun and shoot me right now?” So Red does exactly that, grabbing a gun from his desk and shooting Boch in the head…?!?

As if that wasn’t CRAZY ENOUGH, Red then sends the terrified intern Jed to get a drop cloth and a dolly to help him dispose of the body. (As far as internships go, “body disposal” is a helpful skill to be able to add to your resume, I guess.) While he’s waiting for Jed to get back, Red takes a closer look at the brains now splattered on his office wall. He proceeds to EAT THE BRAINS OFF THE WALL, before SCRAPING THE REST OF THEM INTO SOME TUPPERWARE TO SAVE FOR LATER. For good measure, he scrawls “Don’t eat, belongs to Red” on a sticky note and stuffs the brains in his fridge.

As for the Laurel-Michael Moore saga, Ashley comes back and says her initial intelligence was wrong: It wasn’t Laurel who slept with Michael Moore. Relieved, Gareth goes to apologize to Laurel (bringing a gift-wrapped Moore DVD with him), but Laurel’s still disappointed by how he reacted. (He did kind of slut-shame her, even if he was freaked out about the whole Michael Moore thing.) She tells him maybe they’re just too different, and maybe it’s time for them to take a break. (NOOOOOOO!) He reluctantly agrees (NOOOOOOOO!!), and they part ways, after one last longing look at each other. (NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!)

Also, it’s eventually revealed that neither Luke nor Laurel was the leak, and it was actually the committee chair. But honestly, I’m still thinking about Red eating Boch’s brains. I probably will be for a while.

Odds and ends

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

Grossest moment: Just when I thought the show about brain-eating bugs had no more tricks up its sleeve, we get an episode where a senator murders a prosecutor and then licks his brains off the wall, making sure to save some for later. BrainDead, never change.  

Best lines:

  • Red: “Ashley! My favorite African-American person!”
  • Gareth: “There are certain names to a Republican… What would the equivalent be? If I slept with Ann Coulter, I guess.”
  • Boch: “You know that for a fact?”

    Red: “You know that not for a fact?”

  • Red: “People want internment camps. They want the Syrians held captive. We did it with the Japanese. That turned out well!”
  • Instead of opening with a “Previously on BrainDead” musical recap, we get a “Previously in my life.” Poor Jonathan Coulton! In the musical recap, he sings: “I woke up late and had a smoothie like I always do. I watched an episode and wrote a recap song for you. Some space bugs crawled inside my ears and made my head explode and now I’m dead.” R.I.P., Jonathan. Here’s hoping your current heedlessness doesn’t affect your ability to write catchy recap songs.  
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