TV Review: BrainDead (1×02) “Playing Politics: Living Life in the Shadow of the Budget Showdown – A Critique”


Welcome back to my reviews and recaps of “BrainDead.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.

“Do you think anyone in this town were ever idealistic?”

Heads are exploding at an alarming rate.

Credit where credit is due. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a “previously on” done in singalong form and that, more than anything in last weeks premiere gives the audience a good idea of just what they’re getting into with this series. Despite having a better grasp on the shows tone, I can’t say I end the episode with any real clue of what the hell is going on.

Laurel is trying to get on with her life after a mans head exploded right in front of her but can’t help to feel the creeping mounting of dread and paranoia while her brother, Luke, tries to pick up the pieces of his party from the last episode. Both are scrambling in different ways as Laurel demonstrates a keen understanding of politics despite claiming to have no interest in them, including knowing how to screw over Gareth after he did the same to her. Beyond the political, the science fiction elements continue to ramp up as more and more characters (guest ones of course) fall victim to the braid eating aliens that are inhabiting their brains. The government remains on shutdown as the pests infect their brains, corresponding with party members growing increasingly vigilante in their beliefs.

BrainDead continues to be a show that survives solely on its tone alone, and it’s a lot of fun to watch if you try to not focus entirely on the storyline itself. Adopting a David Tennant era Doctor Who vibe with slightly hokey special effects and screwball antics, BrainDead is at it’s best when it’s highlighting the dark comedy they love to embrace. A scene where Laurel must talk about witnessing a man’s head exploding is actually used for humor by the smash cuts to the scene and the sound effects. The show has a keen understanding on how to take something  inherently dark and make it into something also hilarious.

What makes this episode a step up from the last (beyond Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is the rest of the public very slowly learning the truth about these parasites as well as the few lone government officials. A man watches his best friends head explode so of course he’s going to be curious and dig into it. Similarly, the man Laurel watched die last week left behind a daughter and she isn’t letting it go as mysterious causes.

I’m still not sure if this a show I couldn’t totally become obsessed with (or even a show I could fully want to pay attention to for the entirety of an episode) but it’s unlike many of the series currently on air and sometimes, that’s enough.


She is a 23 year old in Boston MA. She is hugely passionate about film, television and writing. Along with theyoungfolks, she also is a contributor over at . You can contact her on Twitter (@AllysonAJ) or via email:
  • Marj Gersten

    May like this a lot more than you do, but for the same very invention among the derivative junk out there. That it’s messy, too many themes, it’s also fun, and I do like the repartee as natural conversation. Like some of the Laurel and Gareth back and forth. That has to be one of the funnier non-sex scenes with Luke and Scarlett. The cast is excellent, and happy Tony is back. I’m considerably older and worked the issues for decades, and I can tell you this version of DC is spot on. Unfortunately. It’s not West Wing nor The American President, but both sides behaving badly.