Synopsis Tak confronts George about financial misdealings while KJ feels Cole's absence as she struggles to write a speech for Samuels. Jordan makes a political commercial.
Local references: Sun Prairie Corn Festival, an "I ? Ian's" sticker, I Love Trouble, the 1994 Julia Roberts/Nick Nolte film shot in Madison. This week's Ancora cup is just made of paper.
Local landmarks: "Welcome to Madison" sign, Brennan's on University Avenue, Yellow Jersey, Peace Park, and the Banzo food cart.
Locals seen on screen: Ann Imig, blogger and humorist; Francisco Torres; Madison West High drama performer Henry Fuguitt; Craig Johnson, improv performer, and veteran of Madison theater productions and Chad Vader; recent Madison-based actor Corrina Crade; and, playwright and actor Sam White.
Memorable character: Lindsey Cutter. It's Lindsey's birthday, so we'll give her this episode. Plus, the object of Ben's crush remains very real in this episode, as Ben attempts to impress her by dropping bizarre items from her Amazon wish list into conversation. Problem is, the list was faked by another campaign volunteer as a prank on Ben, so his references to wanting to get high and listen to reggae leave Lindsey cold.
Quote of the episode: "Covert shit, I'm in." - Jordan T. Mosley.
Review: It's three weeks until the election. Political dirty tricks are not terribly dirty here yet, but the potential is there. "George is getting creative with the money," complains campaign manager Tak Davis (Jay Hayden). Meanwhile, the campaign's opponents are pressing for them to release financial statements.
Tak gets creative too, sending Ben Werner (Ben Samuel) and Lindsey Cutter (Lindsey Payne) back in their Makers' t-shirts that they picked up at the straw poll so they can collect signatures to get Makers on the ballot, with the intention of trashing the sheets when they are done -- shades of rumored infelicities experienced during the collection of signatures for the real-life Walker recall.
But a Makers staffer (Ann Imig) collects Ben and Lindsey's signature sheets before they can dump them ("I had some reports that the Samuels campaign was taking down names and then throwing them away"). "I can't believe they would do that," says Lindsey. "Oh, they support a godless lesbian, what do you expect?" replies the Makers staffer. The pair is reduced to jumping up and down crazily with their clipboards outside of the University Avenue Brennan's in an attempt to scare potential signers off, with Lindsey at one point shouting "Do you...hate lesbians?" at a vehicle.
Meanwhile, candidate stepson Jordan T. Mosley (Jordan T. Maxwell) films a campaign commercial for Samuels, which features the words ABORTION IMMIGRATION and EDUCATION in large letters with the voiceover "No issue is unimportant."
The Majority Forward dinner takes place, with KJ (Teri Reeves) finally letting the candidate have the disastrously boring speech she's laboriously scripted. "It needed more 18th century quotes," Tak tells her afterwards.
The episode ends with Samuels herself making a call to get Cole back on the team, but there are neither conclusions nor cliffhangers at the end of this mostly prank-inflected half-hour.
Battleground, the first original scripted series from Hulu, was shot in Madison by Hollywood filmmaker and former Madisonian JD Walsh. New episodes premiere on Tuesdays through May 8. The dramedy follows young staffers running a Wisconsin politician's underdog campaign for U.S. Senate.
Did you watch the episode? Spot more Madison references or people? Share your thoughts in the comments.