Title (S01, E11): Six Points on the New Congressional Budget: The False Dichotomy of Austerity vs. Expansionary Policies
Director: Brooke Kennedy
Written by: created by Michelle King, Robert King, written by Jacquelyn Reinhold, Jonathan Tolins
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
A surprising revelation for Gareth, who can’t believe his eyes. The battle of wits continues between team bugs and team humans, and it looks like the bugs win another round.
The thing that stands out most this time around is the labyrinth of lies and deceit that are taken for granted in the day-to-day activities of the people in this show. Appearances are everything in their reality and sometimes the truth has to take a back seat.
I feel I haven’t said enough about the quality of the performance by Tony Shalhoub in this series. As one of the central characters to the series narrative, he is outstanding in his ability to be disquietingly, disturbingly creepy and so effectively believable in his role. His characature of Red Wheatus is memorably masterful, and disturbing to a degree that’s genuinely remarkable. He’s developed the character a lot since the series began, including something he does with his voice, that makes my skin crawl every time I hear it. The result is a villain that is dastardly, deceitful, and despicable. His darkly comical villainous, and evil portrait of a politician is an amazing one that almost steals the show.
Here’s a recap, laced with some comments (*warning, spoilers follow*)
The story this time around centers mostly around the bipartisan budget, which is both disturbingly and amusingly drawn up in secret by Red and Ella Pollack, who, as we know, are secretly in cahoots despite representing the interests of allegedly opposing parties. It purports to be bipartisan, but we know its secretly designed to promote the agenda of the bugs
When the budget is released with only 48 hours to decide whether to vote in favor of or against it, it sets a deadline for Luke to find out what’s hidden in it. Luke raises a call to arms and assigns his entire staff to find out what’s concealed in its massive volume of content. Leaving him little time to expose whatever Red and Ella are trying to sneak through in it, before it gets passed.
A strange and very eccentric man, Cole Stockwell (Patrick Breen) shows up in Laurel’s office who says he used to write these budgets and can translate them into comprehensible english, so it easier to spot what’s going on. He’s an amusing character, who thinks the budget this time around is a work of art in its ability to utilize confusing language.
Once again its Gareth who figures out what’s going on. The Farm budget has more corrections than other part of the massive volume of confusing malarkey than any other part of it, and it turns out the budget for Red’s secret internment camps are hidden in that part of the bill.
There is another subplot having to do with Luke Healey being chosen as a candidate for head of the CIA by his party’s campaign committee. Its apparently a prestigious appointment and Luke wants it bad. A lot of the episode is taken up by the two party representatives, Nicholas Pohl (Tim Guinee), and
Dan Klein (Robert Ray Manning Jr.), vetting Luke for the position, and digging into his past, which is not working in his favor, because of all of his affairs.
They interview his wife and Scarlett, and what they say is not flattering, but somehow Luke survives all of this and remains the top choice for the position.
Meanwhile in a big bug revelation Gareth catches Red talking with the queen bug and sees her laying eggs in cherry blossoms, and then re-enter his head. Gareth was about to resign because he felt Red didn’t trust him because of all the odd behavior and secrecy, but changes his mind after what he’s seen.
It seems somehow Gareth and Laurel are an item again, despite being angry at him it seems she finds him irresistible, and just can’t stay away.
Gareth doesn’t want to believe what he’s seen but tells Laurel about it, and that results in a big meeting of team humans. Gustav, Rochelle, and even Dr. Dexter Wu (Marcus Ho) are there, and they decide they need to find a way to draw the queen out of Red’s head so they can get it and stop the bugs by capturing her. Gustav buys some monkey brains to tempt her.
Gareth’s performance is amusing, he doesn’t want to admit that what he’s seen is real, because admitting that would mean he’s crazy, and his facial expressions and repeated rolling of his eyes whenever he is forced to reaffirm what he saw and told the others is very humorous, as he struggles with what his brain just can’t accept is real while he’s taking part in this conversation.
He makes another contribution later when he realizes the bugs need the heat to do their egg hatching thing and that when the air conditioning goes off at night is the best time to try to catch the queen.
That night when Red returns to his office, the queen is restless and wants to lay more eggs, and Red looks for more Charry Blossoms to provide her withe preferred place to do it, but the new intern Gary (Spencer House) threw them out because they were getting old. Red freaks until he finds some in another room, and is in such hurry after he gets them, he doesn’t notice Laurel is there sitting behind his desk as he starts talking to the queen bug, as she exits his head.
Laurel surprises him, and when he tells her to get out, she opens the door of his office and lets in Gustav and Rochelle, and the three of them try to get the queen.
The bug escapes under a sofa, but soon emerges and is spotted climbing a wall. Rochelle and Laurel have rolled up magazines and are going crazy swatting at it, causing some stuff to go crashing to the floor. Gustav is holding Red on the floor and trying to cover his ears so the queen can’t escape back into Red’s head. Rochelle comes close to getting it and actually swats it, but doesn’t kill it.
All the noise of crashing stuff and Red’s attempts to yell for help is finally heard by Gary who walks in on this crazy, chaotic scene, interrupting things just long enough for Red to rescue the queen and tuck her safely back in his ear. he threatens to call the police if they don’t leave. Good idea by team humans, but they fail in their mission, and it doesn’t work.
Meanwhile Luke has apparently passed the vetting process, and has an appointment for a security briefing as part of the process to get the position of CIA director. He meets with a man, Bob Isenstadt (famous longtime character actor Dakin Matthews) who describes himself as the directors director who passes the torch whenever a new appointee gets the job.
He makes Luke promise he can never say anything about what he’s about to tell him, and proceeds to tell Luke all about the meteor and the bugs and how the CIA has been aware of them and has a plan to deal with them. In short he tells Luke everything Laurel and her friends already know or suspect.
In fact, he says, they were about to get the ring leaders the previous evening but that Laurel and her friends prevented their plan from being carried out. he tells Luke he and Laurel must stand down in their attempts to take any action regarding the bugs. I was suspicious immediately as soon as he started, but Luke apparently swallowed the entire pile of BS whole.
After Luke leaves, Red makes an appearance and asks if it worked and Isenstadt says he thinks it did. Score another one for the bugs. They outflanked team human again, and once more it looks like they are just too smart to be caught or captured, and exposed to the public.
Only two episodes left, and things are sure to get even crazier going into the season finale. This was a good episode, but admittedly lower key in terms of charm and laughs this time around. I fully expect the next two episodes to be insane. Still no word regarding if this series will have another season or if this is a one time thing. Happy viewing.