Title (S01, E07): The Power of Euphemism: How Torture Became a Matter of Debate in American Politics
Director: Fred Toye
Written by: Michelle King, Robert King (created by) Laura Marks (written by)
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Tveit, Nikki M James, Johnny Ray Gill, Danny Pino, Tony Shalhoub, Charlie Shamin, Jan Maxwell, Zach Grenier, Megan Hiltz, Beth Malone and more
Executive producers: Ridley Scott, Michelle King, Robert King, David W Zucker, Liz Glotzer
Episode length: 42 min
Communication is key when Laurel, once again, becomes the target of an extraordinary rendition by the FBI and the CIA.
I watched another great episode of this very amusing series tonight (Sunday), now in its seventh installment. This time around, instead of focusing on one or the other of its main elements – the bugs and/or politics, it served up a story that involved, pretty much, equal portions of both.
Beyond the intrinsic humor involved it also included elements of suspense, and some good old fashioned mystery type stuff as Gustav, and Rochelle did some admirable detective work as part of its marrative’s makeup. Gareth, and Laurel’s brother Luke, both played a major role this time around too in this great and engaging story.
(*warning, spoilers follow*)
The episode began right where last week left off, with Laurel and Gareth in a bar, with her confessing she that she thinks she might going nuts because she thinks bugs are infesting people’s brans and making them stupid.
As if to prove her point she spots two people in the bar watching them intently, and sure enough, when she confronts them, one is listening to ‘You Might Think’ by the Cars.
Meanwhile, Red Wheatus is stirring up trouble about the exploding heads thing and starting rumors that its terrorists. He calls FBI Director Louis Marchant (Jeremy Shamos) in an effort to get him involved. While he’s talking on the phone a larger-than-normal bug, with wings, exits his ear and begins exploring his desk.
It doesn’t seem interested in his food, and Red calls in his intern, Mike (Brandon Flynn) and has him bring in some cherry blossoms that are in the outer offices. Mike spots the huge bug and goes to swat it, but Red stops him, and after he leaves, the bug which is obviously a queen of the alien species lays dozens of eggs in one of the blossoms. Red calls Mike back, tells him to take the flowers home with him, and invites him to join him at the senate gym the next morning.
Its obvious what Red is up to, but not why, and the next morning at the gym when FBI director Marchant is present, he pushes Mike to exercise harder until the unfortunate intern’s head explodes.
This is exactly what Red wanted, an excuse to to make a big deal about it, and launch his new plan to manipulate the press and make headlines about this new terrorists plot thing in the news. He sacrificed poor Mike for his tawdry scheme. Its also ironic that Red is home for the queen bug, being such a drama queen himself.
Next, when Laurel gets a visitor at her offices, a J.K. Cornish (guest star, and long time great character actor Kurt Fuller), it turns out he’s not another constituent, but a man who we later learn tortures terrorist suspects for the government. When Laurel attempts to escape after he informs her he’s taking her in for questioning, he tazes her and makes her vanish from the world.
On another front we join Gustav, who is wandering around Washington, testing out his signal sensing gear, for signs of bug activity, and he learns he can detect when someone’s infested, and when they are silently communicating with others of their kind.
The signals eventually lead him to the senate offices and that’s when he discovers Laurel is missing, and when he is joined by Rochelle, they are on the case to find out what’s happened to her
Once she finds out what’s in store for her, Laurel keeps her wits about her and following the letter for the law, she reminds he captors they need the permission of the the heads of the intelligence committee before hey can actually apply any techniques on her that go beyond normal interrogation procedures.
Anthony is there, gloating little at the prospect of getting the last laugh. He still looks battered and bruised from the beating Laurel gave him when he assaulted her. He lies about the incident as a way of neutralizing anything Laurel might say against him in advance, and actually dares her to tell about the bugs he’s infested with because it will only make her look crazy.
This forces the heads of the FBI and CIA to go through the proper protocols before they can proceed, which means getting the signatures of Red Wheatus, and ironically, the signature of Laurel’s own brother Luke, before they can begin applying any extraordinary means of interrogation. They manage to get Luke to sign without revealing who the subject of their interrogation is.
Rochelle and Gustav are still trying to find out where Laurel is, and when they find out someone is attempting to unencrypt her phone, they alert Gareth to the situation, who in turn alerts Luke,who uses his wits to find out she’s being held by the CIA.
Once he finds out she is indeed in their clutches once again, he calls for a special convening of the intelligence committee to take a vote on whether its okay for the FBI to go ahead with their enhanced interrogation techniques.
Gustav demonstrates his ability to use his gear to detect when the bug people are communicating, and Rochelle takes it a further by urging him to play back recording of the bug signals to see what effect they have on the bug people, After refine their methods little they find out they manipulate them in some surprising and amusing ways. Gustav is impressed and admits Rochelle is smarter that he realized
They visit the site of the committee meeting and reduce it to chaos by using the bug signals on the infested members present and causing them to begin walking into walls and involuntarily raising their arms whenever a vote is called for, and thus defeat Red’s attempts to railroad approval through.
Laurel is released, and her previous potential torturer actually offers her a ride back to her office. At the end of the episode Gustav is still fooling around with his gear, when he discovers that there may be someone else there who is also under the bugs sway they did not suspect before. Laurel and Luke’s dad, Dean Healy (Zach Grenier)
This show just keeps getting better with each episode, and is very amusing, but also very creepy. Its creepy not just regarding the bug stuff, but in its portrayal of our government and how it works.
Long time character actor, Kurt Fuller was especially effective in his creepiness as the face of the the torture our government has engaged in, in the past, and that is probably still going on today, that no one talks about any more.
This is a great show, not just on the level of being good and entertaining science fiction, but as a reflection of what we are doing to ourselves as human beings, and although it gets a lot of laughs regarding the corruption and insanity that takes place in the halls of government, the reality it is based on is no laughing matter, and this program is good reminder of that, This show, while being a great satire of our dysfunctional government, is also a serious portrayal of just how fucked up it really is
One is left with the impression that, although this episode had a relatively happy ending, there is no happy ending in store for us that are going through this in real life, where what occurs on a daily basis is barely held in check by the few diminishing voices of reason that are left to be heard.