Homeland Recap: Brody's SMS SOS

Brody's blackberry won him the battle, but his tape could lose him the war

Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson and Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison appear in Homeland (season 2, episode 2).
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Greg: Estes is a snake, but to borrow a turn of phrase, that's a "known unknown." Estes and Carrie have a history, and there was a point last season where Estes hinted that she played him to the point where he can only see his kids on the weekends. That's a history that hasn't been deeply explored. As much as I believe that whole thing was just a "friends with benefits" thing (by benefits, I mean career benefits), I'm not sure we will ever get an answer.

On the other side of the show, the noose is starting to tighten around Brody's neck. All of his Marine buddies from "Uncle Mike" to the drunken, Lt. Dan-esque conspiracy theorists read him the riot act about the holes in Tom Walker's sniper alibi. They know something's up. The bar scene provided us with one of the best looks into Brody's psyche about this entire ordeal. When Brody says "Tom Walker stopped being a Marine the day he turned," he pauses, closes his eyes, and drops his head, almost in a realization that he could have placed his own name in that declaration. Brody ultimately helps Nazir in the episode, but his comfort with his "mission" is clearly not at the same level as it was a season ago. I think Brody is starting to realize that he may still be a prisoner of war despite his physical freedom.

Tierney: Brody struggled a bunch of times in this episode. There were a lot of moments where Congressman Brody and Nazir-ally Brody come into conflict (I am not saying "terrorist Brody," because I don't think he believes he is a terrorist), and it visibly shows. Specifically, the cocktail party where Vice President Walden reveals only four of the five Iranian nuclear sites were hit, it gives Brody pause — literally. He is clearly uncomfortable associating with the government officials behind the kinds of attacks that killed Issa. A cold-blooded terrorist could play a double agent much more smoothly, but Brody continually, though subtly, falters in the role. He even explicitly verbalizes his internal conflict at the end of the scene when Jessica asks about throwing a veterans fundraiser: "You know the people hosting this party? They make bombs. You really want to help veterans, you take out everyone in this room."

What a chilling statement, considering that was essentially his plan in the Season 1 finale. I keep waiting for these moments—the pauses, when he challenges his government colleagues (think back to last week when he is shocked Estes doesn't know the number of drones in service), and outbursts like that—to throw up a red flag to those around him that something is up with this guy. But Jessica and everyone else would rather project what they want to see in "Congressman Brody." As you mentioned, it's his Marine buddies who really "tighten the noose" by pressing him on Walker. In classic Homeland-style irony, they don't know how right they are that Brody knows the circumstance's of Walker's fate.

Greg: So now we are left to wonder who confronts Brody first? Saul? Carrie? Mike? Jessica? Dana? I've been racking my brain on the direction this season is going to take, and if it's going to result in a stunted story arc. A senior member of the CIA now knows the truth about Brody. Is there any possible way for him to wriggle out of this, and string it out over the course of 10 episodes? If he's caught, where does the show go from there?

Tierney: I mean, who does Saul call first — his boss, Estes, or Carrie, the person who deserves to know first that she was right all along (especially after her melt-down of self-doubt on the roof top)?

Maybe the bigger question is where does Carrie go from here? I imagine if/when Brody is exposed, she will have to carry the show into its next major arc, unless it ends when Brody's arc does. I really like the detail that she went rogue to meet her asset, Fatima. It's a decision she shrugs off to Saul, but I think is actually really telling of her character. One, this is her being a good spy: She knew Fatima would not have divulged that secret Nazir meeting to her with Saul or anyone else hanging around. Two, deliberately or subconsciously, she knew she needed to make herself indispensable to the mission and the CIA as a whole: She is not going let herself be Estes's pawn.