The Brain Breathes Out is a pair of films each exploring the pandemic experience from opposite sides of a relationship and opposite ends of the Lockdown. The first speaker is haunted by past trauma, apocalyptic visions and the fate of the vulnerable while the second speaker has a forward looking optimism albeit choked by the concerns of the “new normal” and a desperate need to matter in the time to come. Both are reacting to the unique circumstances of the pandemic. One considers the national triumph in crisis myth through the lens of his own traumatic stress. The other stumbles sharply into the notion of the essential and non-essential and applies meaning in the context of a ruling party traditionally hostile to the needs of the disadvantaged. Is there something sinister in championing the new acceptable, “essential” face of the proletariat? And what then for the others? Without appeals to conspiracy theories what should the non-essential fear? The past attitude to those regarded as spare, useless, unproductive, and unprofitable should inform the fears of the unemployed, the disabled, the mentally ill and the infirm.