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Sunday, March 1, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 25.0° F  A Few Clouds
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Battleground, Episode 3 recap: Hold the Whipped Cream
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Chris "Tak" Davis (Jay Hayden)
Chris "Tak" Davis (Jay Hayden)
Credit:Hulu

Synopsis: The Samuels campaign has until the end of the day to raise enough money to continue in the race. Jordan prepares for his stand-up comedy debut.

Local references: WKOW, Rocky Rococo, Dane County Farmers' Market, an Ancora Coffee "Traveling Tumbler," Electric Earth Café.

Local landmarks: John Nolen Drive, Bascom Hall, State Street, Capitol Square, Triangle Market, Electric Earth Cafe.

Locals seen onscreen: Filmmaker Eddie Kunz of Likely Productions as a campaign volunteer; Molly Kunz, a UW-Madison student, Tommy Award winner, and lead character in The Wise Kids, who plays campaign receptionist Cassidy; Spencer Stluka; and, Madison-based playwright and actor Sam White.

Memorable character: Campaign manager Tak Davis. This character becomes more fully rounded here as the audience sees his casual deceptions in the arena of politics as well as in his personal life. The question is, does brushing his family aside in favor of his job induce more guilt than his missteps at his job cause him chagrin? Oh Tak. You can woo anyone. With those eyes? C'mon. It's up to you to make it up to your wife before she tells that divorce attorney to go ahead.

Review: News is, candidate Deirdre Samuels (Meighan Gerachis) is up a couple of points in the polls from last week, but still trails incumbent Makers, 44-32. The big problem in this episode is again ostensibly money. The Samuels campaign is apparently going to have to stop lounging around its remarkably spacious multi-room headquarters and actually spend some time drumming up some contributions.

But not before Tak (Jay Hayden) figures out a way to prevent Samuels and her husband (Sam White) from holding a press conference to discuss the big question from last week's ep, Who Is Claire Villareal? Rumor has it that Samuels and Villareal had a thing at some point in the past. And guess what? Media has completely lost interest in this story! Of course they have! The only folks apparently still interested in talking about the candidate's supposed lesbian relationship are... the candidate and her husband?

Okay... and by the way, why is Samuels, who otherwise seems like a decent sort, married to such a prize doofus? Also, does anyone else think that Meighan Gerachis, the actress who plays Samuels, bears more than a slight resemblance to Anna Deavere Smith? Like she could get a job as a stunt double for Anna Deavere Smith, if Smith ever had any roles that required her to have a stunt double?

Tak further uninterests the media by having the campaign's most competent volunteer, Lindsey Cutter (Lindsey Payne), disseminate the info that the presser is going to be about energy use, held in a cornfield, and that it will be cold...very cold. Obviously, the media outlets all RSVP that they will not be attending. Wait... media RSVP to press conferences? Whoops!

And also not before Tak blows a prearranged meeting with his wife and two daughters, who've traveled to Madison to go with him to the farmers' market. Tak begs off -- too busy, but he'll go with them to a nearby park, where Mr. And Mrs. Tak are mostly amicable and Tak convinces the missus to stay overnight at a local hotel so they can have some alone time.

Meanwhile, K.J. (Teri Reeves) -- who's itching to find a new job, BTW, which causes friction with Tak -- produces an attack ad, and candidate Samuels' oafish stepson, Jordan (Jordan T. Maxwell), preps for his standup comedy debut at, where else, the Electric Earth Café. This is the spot where the Samuels campaign does everything -- my prediction is that when the time comes for a victory or concession speech, it'll take place at Electric Earth. Dollars to doughnuts, people.

Now that the press conference is now officially a non-issue, the campaign remembers it needs to raise funds. Everybody actually springs into action, along with a stirring get-to-it pseudo-patriotic soundtrack, hitting the phone banks in something called a flash drive that nets the coffers $11,000 in two hours. Just think what this group could achieve if they behaved like this the other six hours of just a standard eight hour workday.

Instead, they work 20 hours a day and... never get to see their families. Speaking to which, guess who forgot his rendezvous with the soon-to-be-ex Mrs. Tak Davis at a Madison hotel? Mmhmm. Mrs. Tak (Kelly O'Sullivan) shows up in tears as Tak is leaving the comedy show (mercifully, Jordan's comedy set is actually funny, rounding out a so-far too-flat character). I would ask how the soon-to-be-ex Mrs. Tak knows where to find the delinquent Mr. Tak, but obviously all roads lead to Electric Earth. But how did she know to go to the one on Allen Street, not the one on West Wash!!??!!?? And where are the kids? In the car, or back at the hotel?

Watch Episode 3 online.


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.

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