Try 30 days of free premium.

The Insanity Principle: How Extremism in Politics is Threatening Democracy in the 21st Century Recap

In the year 2016 there was a growing sense that people were losing their minds... and no one knew why... until now.

Strange objects drop out of the sky cross the world.

Meanwhile, Laurel Healy is on the phone in what used to be her room, wondering how she'll come up with the money. Once she's done, Laurel goes down to the party and her brother Senator Luke Healy sees her. He calls over his wife Germaine, and an aide interrupts to say that he has a budget call from the Smithsonian to deal with. Luke insists on having Laurel with him and takes her out to the kitchen to make mojitos. As she works, Luke tells his sister that their father is consulting for the Armed Services and is using her room. Laurel claims that things are working out fine in LA but finally admits that her loan fell through after her last documentary was less than successful. However, she refuses to let Luke help her, insisting that she can control her own life.

As they chat, Luke continues talking with Dr. Daudier at the Smithsonian. Daudier insists that his joint project is important and they're working with the Russian Institute to recover a meteor. He hopes that Luke can get him an additional $40 million, and Luke says that he can get him $5 million. Daudier then talks with Dr. Lagunov on the other line, and says that they have a bit of a problem. Lagunov says that they're about to bring the meteor up, and Daudier asks if he can do it cheaper. The Russian scientist reluctantly looks at his already low-budget workers.

Off the shore, two divers approach the meteor and see fish in formation, looking back at them.

Up in Laurel's room, her father Dean tells her that she should come home. Laurel insists that she is home in LA, but Dean explains that they're on the verge of a government shutdown and there's an opening in Dean's office. She insists that she hates politics and DC, but Dean offers to pay off her student loans if she helps. Laurel says that she'll do it for $200,000 and will do the job for six months if Dean finances half. She figures that Dean wants someone in Luke's office to keep him informed. He tries to negotiate her to a year but Laurel refuses to negotiate, and Dean agrees.

The next day, Laurel goes to Dean's office and finds Dean's assistants on the phone. The Republicans are threatening to shut down the government according to CRS anchor Claudia Monarch. Dean's aide Scarlett Pierce collects Laurel and says that she'll be on her own with eight constituents. Laurel will investigate their complaints and try to satisfy them, and Scarlett leads her to the conference room where she'll be trying to keep them happy. Laurel introduces her to the eight constituents and admits that it's her first day, and they just stare at her.

Laurel starts talking with the constituents, and they all have annoying problems. One man wants to give Luke a chocolate dog, and wonders why Laurel is trying to keep him away from Luke. When she tries to resolve them, she ends up on hold. Luke comes in and says that he's glad she's there, and notices the chocolate dog. He takes the phone from Laurel and cheerfully uses his power as a Senator to get things moving.

Finally, Laurel meets with the last constituents, Brenna Burke. She says that her husband Randall isn't her husband: he's stopped drinking and works as an engineer on a container ship, the Alba. Brenna has found a video that the crew made for insurance purposes, and it shows Randall investigating a container they heard a noise inside of. When he opens the door, he discovers that the container is seemingly empty. Randall goes in with the crewman holding the camera and finds a crate with a hole in it. There's some kind of big rock inside, and something squeaks behind the crate. The two men investigate and something leaps at them. Breanna insists that something happened to Randall and she needs Laurel's help to find out what.

A man, Gareth Ritter, barges in and asks to talk to Laurel. She says that she's with someone and Gareth leaves. Breanna says that she came there first because the office signed off on the crate.

On the news, Claudia continues to report about the upcoming fiscal Armageddon. Laurel comes out and finds Gareth watching the news. She goes into the next office and asks Scarlett why they signed off on a crate from Russia. As Scarlett wonders what she means, Laurel sees Gareth giving his card to Breanna. She meets with Gareth, who admits that he's there under false pretenses and he's actually a Legislative Director for Senator Raymond "Red" Wheatus, the Republican Senator from Maryland. Gareth is there to offer a secret deal on Red's behalf. Red is willing to vote with the Democrats if they'll earmark him $48 for autism studies. When Laurel hesitates, Gareth gives her his card and says Luke has 90 minutes to agree. If anybody finds out about it then the deal goes way. Gareth warns that 100,000 jobs depends on Luke taking the deal and advises Laurel to run.

Laurel runs for the capital and gets Luke's voice mail, but is interrupted when Dean calls to see how her day is going. She says that she has to call him back, hangs up, and runs into the Capitol. Laurel runs into Senator Spitz, who says that Luke went to dinner, and he sends her to restaurant where Luke went. The maître d' says that Luke already left with a red-headed woman.

Next, Laurel goes to Scarlett's home and yells that she knows Luke is in there. Luke is in bed with Scarlett. Once he lets Laurel in, she tells him the deal and he calls the Democrat Senators. Luke figures that they'd be better off if the Republicans shoot themselves in the foot, and Laurel points out that it's a 100,000 people out of work. He ushers her out to where Scarlett is in the hallway, and Scarlett says that it isn't serious with Luke. Luke comes out and tells Laurel that they're going to refuse Red's office. Laurel starts punching him for cheating on Germaine, pointing out that Germaine is eight months pregnant. She finally stops long enough for him to go upstairs and change. Laurel then calls Gareth and tells him that Luke isn't taking the deal. Gareth says that all of the people out of work are on her and hangs up.

At the Smithsonian, Daudier is examining the meteor when a guard comes in and tells them that they have to leave because of the budget shutdown. Once they leave and shut off the lights, millions of small bugs break out of the meteor and crawl out the window.

The next day, Laurel arrives at Luke's office and discovers that the building--and the streets--are mostly abandoned. She finally locates Luke telling his staff that the Republican shutdown is forcing him to furlough all but two of them: Laurel and his chief of staff. The workers glare at Laurel as they leave, and Laurel tells Luke that he's just keeping her on because she's his sister. Luke tells her that if she feels guilty then she should work twice as hard.

Soon, Laurel is at the Alba investigating Breanna's claim. On the bridge, "You Might Think" is playing in the background. The captain, Gary Young, says that everyone changes when they're at sea. He doesn't ask which crew member that she's talking about, and Laurel points out that's unusual. She then talks to a crewman and asks to see the cargo manifest, and realizes that the crewman is the one who took the video. The first mate, Chuck Sanders, says that he has no idea what Laurel is talking about. Chuck says that he gave it out to a man named Gareth earlier that morning.

Laurel goes to Red's office and doesn't see anyone there. She finally locates Red dozing on his couch, and wonders if Laurel is his masseuse. When Laurel says that she isn't, he goes back to sleep. She finds Gareth, who points out that he sent home 20 staffers in tears. Laurel tries to talk to Luke about Breanna as he walks out, and she threatens to claim he's a Democrat unless he deals with her. They go outside and Gareth says that the Alba had scientific research material that had been signed off on by Luke's office. Gareth talked to Chuck and he said the same thing that Gary did. Laurel points out that it's word for word and wonders why they agreed on a story. Gareth figures that she's paranoid but says that Red is still interested in a deal. He tells Laurel to convince Luke to take the deal.

Later, Luke and Laurel meet at a bar and Laurel suggests that her brother trust Red. Luke says that he cares less about autism but Gareth has a sister who is autistic. He says that he broke his affair with Scarlett, and that it has nothing to do with Dean having an affair with his secretary. Laurel points out that she left home when she found out, and Luke says that he'll consider the deal if Gareth isn't freelancing. She then asks him about the papers for Daudier and his Russian expenditures. As Luke looks at the papers, Laurel points out that lots of people are staring at them, but Luke says that it's standard for politicians in DC. Once he leaves, Laurel calls Breanna to update her on her investigation. Randall comes down and asks who his wife is talking to, and Brenna says that it's a friend from class. She quickly ends the call, and Randall says that they need to do something about the Republicans.

Later, Randall gets into bed with a nervous Breanna and says that he hasn't been himself recently. He says that he's been angry about the world and kisses Breanna, and then grabs her. Bugs swarm in through the window and crawl onto the bed, and Randall gags Breanna and tells her not to struggle. He assures her that she'll be herself, but a better part of herself, as the bugs crawl onto her head.

The next day, Laurel meets with Gareth and asks if he's freelancing. She figures that he's making up an offer to get money for his sister. Gareth admits that he's deal-making and says that all laurel has to do is convince her brother to deal. Disgusted, Laurel goes back to Luke but says that Gareth isn't freelancing. She asks if Luke wants to make a deal, and he says that he'll think about it. Angry, Laurel goes to her office and calls Dean, and tells him that Luke has a chance to make a deal but he's hesitating. She wants her father to convince Luke to take the deal, and Dean says that she may not like politics but she's good at it.

Luke comes in and tells Laurel that she did a good job. Breanna and Randall are in the next room, and have been telling Luke what a good job Laurel did. Breanna says that she was paranoid and now everything is great. Randall says the same thing that Gary and Chuck said, and Laurel recites it along with him. The Burkes want to give Luke $2,600 for his re-election campaign, and Randall insists that they want to do anything they can to stop the Republicans from ruining the country. Laurel talks to Breanna and wonders if she's being abused, but Brenna says that she's happy and tells Laurel not to question happiness. Once the couple leaves, Laurel tells Luke that they came there to stop her investigation. Luke doesn't believe it, and is called away to take a call from Dean.

Soon Luke meets with Gareth and Red at a restaurant. The two Senators are soon drinking and chatting like old buddies. Meanwhile, Gareth and Laurel watch and Gareth chats with her about her next documentary. It's about Melanesian choirs, and Gareth is surprised to learn that Laurel is an idealist. They start arguing liberals vs. conservatives. Meanwhile, Red and Luke commiserate together about ethics rules.

As she and Gareth argue, Laurel hears "You Might Think" playing and wonders why she keeps hearing it. Meanwhile, a waiter stares at her. Laurel tells Gareth that something weird is going on but he figures that she's just easily distracted. Luke and Red come over and say that they'll hold a joint press conference the next day. Once Red and Gareth leave, Luke congratulates Laurel on saving the DC economy. Dr. Daudier calls Laurel about her inquiry that she thinks someone was infected by the meteor.

At home, a drunken Red opens his bedroom window and gets ready for bed. He passes out and bugs crawl in through the window, climb up on the bed, and crawl into the unconscious Red's ear. He suddenly jerks up and pounds on his ear, and his brain falls out of one ear onto the pillow. Red pokes at it and it pops, and he falls back unconscious.

The next morning, Red cleans up his sheet and put "You Might think" on his playlist. Liquid oozes out of his ear and he wipes it away. He then goes to his office and tells Gareth that he's feeling great. Red tosses away all of his alcohol and says that he's not making the deal with Luke. He gives Gareth a number to call instead.

Laurel goes to the Smithsonian and asks to see Daudier. The guard says that they're closed and Laurel points out that she works with Luke and he's considering budget cuts in security. He lets her in and closes the door behind Laurel. The lights are off and Laurel sees the crate up ahead. There's no one in the room, and Laurel looks at the crate. Something moves in the next room, and Laurel goes to investigate. She finds Daudier lying on the ground and calls for the guard.

The EMTs arrive and get Daudier into the ambulance. He tells Laurel that they're inside of him and his mind is going. Daudier screams at the EMTs to get them out, and his brain explodes out of his ear.

At Red's office, Gareth tells Red that "he" is coming, and Red says that he'll meet him in Gareth's office. Gareth wonders if Red really wants to do it, and Red says that he's tired of begging for legislative clout. After Gareth brings Spitz in, Red meets with him and offers Spitz several ranking chairs and a $14 million war chest. He says that Republicans and Democrats are just brands, and says that it's time to make history.

Laurel is taking a shower to wash Daudier's blood off of her. Dean calls and tells her the news. When Laurel gets to her office, she discovers that Spitz has crossed the aisle and given a majority to the Republicans. Everyone is packing to move, and Scarlett tells Laurel that Luke is at his new office ow that they're in the minority. At the new office, Laurel apologizes to Luke. He says that it's great and promises to destroy Red and Spitz, and Laurel and Scarlett are going to help him do it. Laurel asks what she can do, and Luke steps out to take a call. The secretary is listening to "You Might Think", and smiles at Laurel.

Written by Gadfly on Jun 14, 2016

Try 30 days of free premium.