Tierney: So what did you think? I felt like this episode was very different in tone and pace than the previous ones this season — less suspense and crazy plot turns, more character development and intimate moments. It also amazes me how Carrie was able turn Brody from a "monster" to a "good man" (her words), in the literal sense turning him into a double agent, and in a more thematic sense in how I am suddenly liking Brody again. And I was surprised how cognizant and articulate she was about what the two have in common. When she said, "No one survives intact," I thought of your point last week that they were both broken people. The fact that she was able to use that to crack Brody open (with the help of sleep deprivation and a knife to the hand) was really impressive, and touching. She could speak from the heart and be a good spy at the same time.
Danielle: "Speak from the heart," to say the least. For me, the interrogation drove home just how much Carrie cares about getting Brody to crack, because she was so (embarrassingly) frank with him. She had no qualms about going on about all of her squishy feelings for Brody, even while Saul and Peter were listening in. Regarding our old-Carrie/new-Carrie conversation we had last week, I think we can call the Carrie during the interrogation a hybrid of the two: she manipulated Brody into giving her what she wanted, but it required her first telling him that she wanted him to leave his wife. Awkward...
(Also, I think we need to give some major props to Damian Lewis for the way he just withered after being shown his own suicide video. He essentially went from playing one character — indignant, entitled Congressman — to another — a man losing everything — in the span of 30 seconds.)
I'm intrigued about how the Dana-Finn plot line is starting to take shape. High-school-sensitive-dreamboat Finn is showing his true colors. It's hard for him to be a love interest now that he has, you know, hit a woman with his car and left her to die, against the urging of his girlfriend, no less. I wonder if now somehow Finn and Dana will massively complicate life for their fathers. It seems right now like it has to play out in one of two ways: either Dana lords it over Finn to get something she wants (less likely, in my opinion) or she tells someone and he retaliates in an awful way (more likely).
Or am I missing something big here? And on an unrelated note, is it really kosher for a CIA agent to put a hole in someone's hand, all in the name of "bad cop"? Why is Peter not in trouble for this?
Tierney: When Peter stabbed Brody's hand, my first thought was, "Whoa...are all spies crazy?" He shrugged it off as playing bad cop, but I don't know if I completely buy him. I think he is being set up as a parallel to Carrie — his temper is like her own emotional extremes. Both can be played up as artifice used to get what they want as spies, but that doesn't mean the real feelings aren't there too. Just as Saul asked Peter if his outburst was temper or theater, I asked myself during Carrie's interrogation whether she was playing Brody to break him or woo him. You are right — old Carrie and new Carrie have converged, and she was doing both. In this episode, it worked to her advantage. However, I see the fusion of what she is doing as a spy and what she really feels becoming a problem again, as it was in season 1. This appears to be a major theme of the show, and I wouldn't be surprised if Peter and his temper were introduced to explore it.
As to Finn — he would have totally been my type when I was 16, so it pains me to see him revealed to be an actual jerk, rather than smart alecky rich boy with a soft core. But if there's anything this episode taught us, it's that even a terrorist/murderer like Brody can be redeemed. I can see the incident being used as leverage if and when Walden discovers that Brody is working for the CIA. That would require Dana being responsible and telling her parents about the accident — which is not something teenagers are apt to do. Then again, the whole message of this episode was the power of honesty, so maybe it will come out when Dana and her father inevitably make up after last week's fall out.