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BrainDead Episode 3: More Answers Lead to More Questions

 

There are three main things I took away from this week’s episode:

  1. People’s heads are exploding because the space bugs have flatulence problems.
  2. Gustav continues to be the best character.
  3. Literally Luke’s only redeeming factor is his relationship with Laurel. He has no other good qualities.

The show continues to pick up as the characters find their roles. This episode was helped out immensely by Gustav’s perfectly reasonable paranoia providing comic relief. And by perfectly reasonable, I mean that I too would duct tape red solo cups over my ears if there were space ants out and about possessing people. And may I just say, his cat doesn’t deserve to be possessed. For narrative purposes, Gustav already seems to know a ridiculous amount about the space bugs and how they work- specifically how they control people’s brains. This is a big leap, but I love the character so much that I’ll accept it.

While this episode answered several questions, like what the bugs are, it opened up several more. For example, if the bugs are a subspecies of an Earth species, why were they in a meteor? Did they get mutated in space? More importantly for Laurel’s friend Stacie, can people come back from this possession and how? Half of their brains get squeezed out through their ears.

The relationship between Laurel and Gareth is becoming closer and more strained at the same time. Gareth seems to be somewhat inspired by Senator Wheatus’ new extremism and takes it upon himself to take Luke Healy down. At the same time, he seems to regret what it does to Laurel and is trying to get closer to her. The romantic drama did not really add to this episode, and it should probably take a back seat to the main plot and other characters in the coming season.

Overall the show’s becoming really enjoyable to watch. The characters are now established and the cast is strong.  The show balances comedy with suspense and encourages viewers to continue watching to find out what the space bugs will end up doing and whether Laurel and team can stop them. Most importantly, in a time of heated political extremism, the show allows a brief break from reality where we can pretend that all of the crazy politicians are really just possessed by space bugs.

Despite the positives, the show does need to work on getting the audience invested in what happens to the characters. Aside from bug possession, which hasn’t happened to any major characters, all of the bad things that happen seem to be reversible or forgettable. In addition, most of the characters, while enjoyable to watch, don’t inspire much sympathy. In some cases, that’s definitely intentional. The politician characters are designed to be extreme stereotypes, and real politicians don’t inspire sympathy either.

However, for the hero archetypes-Laurel, Gareth, Gustav, and Rochelle- the show needs to establish an emotional connection with the audience. And, as much as the showrunners would like it, that emotional connection will not be based off of Laurel’s Melanesian Choir Documentary.

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