This episode was significantly darker than any of the previous ones. And that’s including the one where the woman jumped off the balcony in order to smash her head open. Instead of awkward sex, this episode centered on torture, or “enhanced questioning techniques.” And unfortunately, this was because Laurel had been taken in by the FBI for being a person of interest in alleged terrorist attacks (the head explosions). Of course, this was just a scheme organized by Red Wheatus and FBI Agent Anthony- the one she so gloriously punched that one time. As this episode demonstrated, she should have punched him harder.
Luckily Laurel has a lot of people on her side. Gustav and Rochelle figure out Laurel is missing and alert Gareth who alerts Luke who puts two and two together and realizes Laurel is the suspect in the enhanced questioning techniques he was asked to sign off on. Luke then calls a vote on the definition of torture, to try and force the FBI to release Laurel before they can hurt her.
The scariest part, though, was that the main antagonists of this episode, the FBI director and the interrogator, were not infected with bugs. As Anthony told Laurel, he didn’t have to infect any of them to get them to follow orders. This made the interrogator, who was positively cheery the entire time, seem even more terrifying. His ability to then act like nothing had happened after Luke won the vote for Laurel is extremely disturbing. BrainDead, despite being a show about politics, rarely ever makes as strong of a statement as it did this episode.
Given the serious topic, there weren’t a lot of laughs in this episode. The only truly funny part occurred at the end once Rochelle and Gustav figured out how to speak the bugs’ language, and make them do very odd things. This also served as the solution to get Luke to win the vote. Conveniently, one of the commands Rochelle and Gustav could make the bugs do, was raise their hands. Of course, they also made the bug people walk into walls and generally look like idiots. But hey, good for them.
There actually was some under the radar new information on the bugs. For one, we learned that Red Wheatus has a queen space bug living in his ear. For another, we learned that putting newly infected people under extreme physical stress can force their heads to explode. And lastly, given Red’s awkward grabbing at his intern’s head, we learned that the bugs can apparently identify people whose craniums are not suitable for habitation.
The episode ended with a heavy-handed cliffhanger that didn’t quite hit the mark. Laurel and Luke’s father apparently activated Gustav’s bug detecting machine. This would have been more effective had this been done to a character we care about, but Laurel’s father has had very little to do with the plot so far and has no meaningful relationships. Now this could either mean that their father is infected, or it could be attempting to mislead us. We’ll have to wait till the next episode to find out.