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Back to Work: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Congress and How It Gets Things Done (and Often Doesn't) Recap

Anthony looks at Laurel and he has trouble hearing her. She notices his deafness and repeats herself, and Anthony says that he has tinnitus and it's worse in the morning. He goes to use the restroom and Laurel notices that Anthony changed the sheets. Anthony calls from the bathroom, saying that he's a bit anal, and he threw the sheets in the washer. He comes back out and they kiss, and Anthony says that he'll call later.

Later, Laurel meets with Gustav and Rochelle, and tells them that she suspects the bugs have taken Anthony over. Gustav immediately believes it, but Rochelle wonders why Laurel wasn't infected. Laurel prefers to talk about the CDC, and Rochelle warns that her contact Wu is running into political interference. He needs someone to apply pressure to his boss at the CDC. Laurel doesn't want to talk to Luke about the invasion, and Rochelle tells her to claim it's a disease like Lyme and Zika. Before he goes, Gustav gives Laurel some sedatives and brass knuckles to give to Anthony so that they can give him a CAT scan and make sure that he's clean.

As Laurel leaves, she runs into Luke in the hallway. He wonders if she was sleeping with Gustav, explaining that he tried to call Laurel after the shutdown vote to thank her for her help, Luke points out that she always finds something wrong with a guy and drops them, and he goes to talk to his staff. Laurel wonders if it's all in her head and calls Anthony, and he suggests that they get dinner. She has to go to a party for the government reopening and invites Anthony as her guest, and Anthony agrees.

Luke and the staff applaud the government reopening as Laurel comes in. Afterward, Luke and Laurel meet with some veteran constituents. Luke introduces them to Laurel and invites them to talk with him. They talk about how they were enrolled in clinical drug trials that were halted during the shutdown, and they need Congress to restore NIH funding. One of them, a wheelchair-bound Lance Corporal Brett Middleton, admits that he has liver cancer and not much time. Afterward, Luke says that he's going to meet with Veterans Affairs, and nobody votes against veterans so it should be handled by the end of the day. Laurel asks her brother to apply some political pressure to the CDC. Luke warns that the FDA isn't complaining so there must not be anything wrong and heads off to his meeting.

When Luke arrives at the meeting, he asks Amarant to fast-track the restoration of veteran funds. Amarant warns that it isn't on the agenda but agrees to bring it up. When Amarant moves to vote to rename the kiosk in honor of a Capital policeman, Ed Sharie, Red objects saying it sounds like "Sharia law" and says that they should name it after Reagan. Ella complains about Red's obstructionism and wants to name something after a woman. She and Red go back forth and the other Senators join in. Luke storms out and complains that they can't get anything done, at the same time that FDA Commissioner Finn Babin comes out of a CDC meeting and complains that the CDC is blaming the FDA about the head explosions caused by the blood pressure medicine. Luke visits Laurel and asks what is going on about the supposed strokes.

That night at the party, Luke tells Laurel that he's been chatting with Anthony. Anthony is talking with Red, and Laurel comes over. As they argue, Laurel sees Gareth making some drinks and goes over. She tells him that Anthony was a whistleblower, not a waterboarder. Gustav and Rochelle are there, and Laurel says that Luke has given them ten minutes to explain what's happening. They meet with him in the hallway and show him the CAT scans. They explain about the symptoms, and Rochelle admits that her father died because of the "disease." Luke says that he talked to her father and was impressed, and tells Laurel that once he's done with Veterans Affair, he will talk with Babin. However, first he needs them to talk to a congressional advisor, Dr. Joanne Alaimo. She's an entomologist and he wants her input before he makes a decision. Before Luke goes, he offers his condolences to Rochelle. Laurel assures Gustav and Rochelle that Luke will do what he said.

Laurel finds Anthony and discovers that he's drinking a celery smoothie that Gareth made. As they go, Gareth watches them. They go to Anthony's apartment so he can make them dinner, and Laurel asks if they're okay. She points out that he seems a little standoffish, and Anthony says that he doesn't want to rush things... and then collapses. As Laurel calls 911, Gustav knocks at the door. He says that he put 12 sedatives in Anthony's power drink, and puts bacon on Anthony's face to draw out the bugs.

There's knock at the door, and a woman yells, asking Anthony if "she" is in there. Laurel's phone rings and the woman hears it, and she and Gustav quickly duck out the back. Gustav figures that things worked out okay, just as Laurel receives a call that Brett is in the hospital. She and Luke go there and are informed that he will recover if he gets the meds. Luke says that it will work out and sees a photo of Brett's baby daughter Lilly. He asks for a copy of the photo and tells Laurel that it could help.

The next day, Gustav and Rochelle meet with Joanne. She looks at the CAT scans and the time-lapse video that Gustav took. She says that it's not a screwworm or anything she's ever seen before, and they plot out on a map the various sighting. Joanne says that they need to track infestation clusters and goes to get some pins.

Luke meets with Red and asks why he's delaying the clinical trial vote. He shows him Lilly's photo and explains that she's the daughter of an Iraqi war veteran who will die without the clinical trials. Red knows that Luke had some photos taken with him, and tells Luke to talk with Ella. He claims that Luke is planning for the Presidency in 2020 and that no one likes children. Outside, Luke punches at the air in frustration. Joanne calls and says that laurel and the others are on to something, and it won't embarrass him. she agrees to send him something to validate, and then tells Gustav and Rochelle that they have to figure out how they reproduce and communicate. She says that they should go to the clusters at the Mall and near the Capitol.

Anthony and Laurel meet near the Capitol and Anthony apologizes for passing out. He says that he has a drinking problem, and he drank with her at the bar because he was happy. Anthony woke up with bacon in his ears and figures that he hit rock bottom, and tells Laurel that he's going back to AA. Laurel asks about the woman, Jennifer, and Anthony says that he was in a relationship with her when he met Laurel. He ended it with Jennifer, and asks if he can take Laurel out that night. Laurel says that they should just stay friends and see how it goes, just as Gustav comes out monitoring pheromones. Laurel goes over and Gustav says that he's looking for the cluster, not her.

Gustav notices a man near Anthony with a hearing aid clutching at the device as it emits a high-pitched screech, and goes back to Joanne. He suggests the bugs are communicating through high-frequency noises not audible to humans. Gustav describes what he saw, and Joanne admits that it's possible. When Gustav says that he has an app that detects high-frequency noises and he's going to the Mall, Joanne insists on going with him.

Luke meets with a woman, Polly Savident, who he worked with in the DA's office before he became Senator. She's now with the CDC, and they discuss the supposed strokes. Luke says that it's about insect bugs. Later, they have sex and continue discussing the bugs. Afterward, she asks for the MRI Luke has, just as he receives a call. It's his wife, and Luke says that he's just finishing up a few things. Once he hangs up, Polly jokingly suggests that he punish her.

At the Mall, Gustav and Joanne scan for frequency spikes. Joanne figures that it's too dark and they'll come back in the morning... unaware that some bugs have crawled in her backpack before she picks it up.

The next day, Luke talks to Amarant and tells him what Red is up to. People stare at him and some of them make little antenna-finger gestures on their head. Dean arrives and tells Luke to stop talking about bugs. He knows about Luke talking to the CDC, and warns him that ridicule could kill his career. Luke realizes that Polly leaked what Luke was saying, but Dean tells him not to talk to her. He wonders why Luke is worrying about bugs, and suggests that it's just as good if the Republicans let Brett die.

Disgusted, Luke and Laurel go to see Brett and takes Red with him. He introduces Red to Brett, and Red has his photo taken with Brett. Luke and Laurel meet outside, and Luke says that he's letting Red take the credit to break the deadlock. He then asks Laurel to never mention bugs to him again. Joanne called him earlier that morning and said that they're all crazy.

Rochelle and Gustav go to see Joanne and ask her why they told Luke she was crazy. She says that things changed, and Gustav peers in her ear. He realizes that he's deaf in one ear, and Joanne insists that she got a good sleep.

Laurel is at home working on her video when Anthony arrives with pizza, flowers, and a girl-flick movie. He's making direct amends to the people he's hurt as part of the 12-step program. As they watch the video and eat pizza, Laurel asks if they're just friends. Anthony assures her that they are and goes to heat up her pizza, just as her phone rings. When she goes to answer it, Luke takes her hand and hugs her... and then grabs her and squeezes as bugs crawl out of the flowers. Laurel grabs Gustav's brass knuckles and hits Anthony repeatedly, and tells him to get out. He insists that he just wanted to be her friend and gets out, and she tosses his things out in the hallway. Laurel then goes to the sink and cleans Anthony's blood off of her hands... while the flowers sit nearby.

The next day, Red gives a press statement with Brett and Lilly to announce that they're announcing the restoration of the Veterans program. Luke and Dean watch and Dean complains that Luke just handed Brett the win. He wonders if Laurel is responsible, and warns Luke that it's a small move that he's going to regret. They walk out past Gareth, who calls Laurel. She answers and he thinks that Luke is pretty good for letting Red take the credit for the clinical trials. Gareth then apologizes for being a jerk about Anthony, and Laurel assures him that he isn't.

Gustav knocks at Laurel's door, and she tells Gareth that she'll call him back. Laurel opens the door, hugs Gustav, and thanks him for the brass knuckles. He comes in and shows her mosquito netting, coasters, and tape. Gustav sees the flowers and Laurel explains that Anthony left them. He shows her how to use the coasts and tape to seal off her ears and then leaves. Laurel nervously puts up the netting but doesn't put on the coasters. Once she dozes off, the bugs crawl out of the flowers.

Gustav goes back to the Mall and scans for the bugs. He picks up a signal and realizes that the cherry blossoms are the same as the flowers in Laurel's apartment.

The bugs crawl up the netting toward Laurel.

Gustav calls Laurel and gets her voice mail, and tells her to get the flowers out.

The bugs crawl under the netting and into Laurel's ear... and she suddenly jerks awake.

Written by Gadfly on Jul 25, 2016

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