Homeland Recap: Between Rock Bottom and a Hard Place

Carrie finds redemption after nearly losing it all, while Brody may have gone over the edge

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All season long, Greg Otto and Tierney Sneed will be recapping Showtime's Homeland, and discuss what they're hoping to see in the rest of the season.

(Ed. Note: Spoilers ahead. Do not read if you want to let the story unfold for yourself.)

Tierney: First of all, let me just say, thank God — thank God — Carrie paid attention to that part in D.A.R.E. when they taught you that vomiting is the way to get pills out of your system. Not that she could have died—the show can't go on without her. I just wonder: What thought made her realize that she wanted to keep living? Hopefully, the revelation that she was right about Brody will be enough to stave off any more suicide attempts.

I found this whole episode to be really, really sad. I kept going back and forth on who had it worse: Brody or Carrie. Brody's double identities of sleeper cell terrorist and war hero congressman, which he has worked hard to keep separate, really collided in this episode. He may have lost his family, and definitely some his moral high ground (in his eyes, anyway) by killing Bassel the tailor, who, albeit not an innocent bystander, was by no means Brody's declared enemy.

[Homeland Recap: Brody's SMS SOS]

Meanwhile, Carrie's entire mental state is crumbling on her. By the end of the episode Brody is definitely more screwed, but I would say Carrie's situation (up until the point Saul showed up) was more tragic, aside from the obvious fact that she is not a terrorist. Brody is the source of his own problems, as well as a great deal of Carrie's.

This show is so great at making you empathize with characters you're not supposed feel for, namely Brody. Greg, did you feel at least a little bad for the guy, or am I a sicko for even suggesting it?

Greg: I went in the opposite direction with Brody on this episode. He dug his own figurative grave in the process of digging an actual grave. He could have told Roya off, not lied to his wife, not skipped a veteran's benefit, and, you know, not killed a guy. He controlled his own situation as it spiraled out of control. Despite his nefarious deeds, I have had some empathy for Brody in the past. But it's waning.

Carrie, on the other hand, has had the deck stacked against her from the beginning, and it's brutal to watch the CIA ultimately crap on her for a job well done. Yes, Carrie controlled her decision to down a month's worth of pills and chase it with a bottle of wine, but, c'mon, we are all aware of her mental state. She deserves all the empathy in the world.

Speaking of empathy: In another life. I can see Saul Berenson as the lead in an airport spy novel titled The Spy With a Heart of Gold. It's hard not to love him, which makes me believe he's destined to die before the season ends.

[Homeland Recap: Returning From a Higher Calling]

Tierney: All right, I feel like a sicko. Brody is a bad, bad guy. I agree, he has walked — no, bolted — past the point of no return, empathy-wise, and no amount of precious father-daughter moments with Dana or Issa flashbacks can fix that. You have to wonder how Jessica is going to come out of this. Would Brody kill her, like he did the tailor, if she got in the way? I've wavered in my affinity toward her. Sometimes I feel bad for her, sometimes I think she is too wrapped up in her social ambitions. But I found her speech at the fundraiser really touching and honorable; it came from an honest place.

Back to Saul: He is the best, and I am really happy that he went to Carrie first with the tape and that he was clever enough to outsmart the Hezbollah airport agents. About the airport scene: It's not like it was a huge revelation, but is that the first time Saul's Judaism has been an issue, at least so explicitly? Homeland has been really great in its exploration of Islam, especially the role it plays in Brody's life. I would love to find out more about the role Judaism plays in Saul's.

I think it's safe to say that we can look forward to a big moment when Carrie's and Brody's paths cross again. In addition to being a Nazir agent (and Carrie has proved her commitment to taking out Nazir), and nearly perpetrating a horrific act of terrorism, Brody has taken away so much from her on a personal level: her job, her sanity. With so many emotions wrapped up in him—remember, she admitted that she loved this guy—will she be able to keep her cool moving forward?