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.
Tierney: Wow — this episode had everything that I love about Homeland: action, revelations, irony, ambiguity. And I think at this point in the season it's fair to say that the Homeland formula is to shock the hell out of you some time in the post-40 minute mark. Before we talk about the big twist, I first want to bring up the parallels I see in the Brody-Carrie and Finn-Dana storylines. At some point, I am sure they will intersect. But until the they do, it's worth noting what the two separate narratives have in common.
One is the power of empathy. Carrie's empathy has always been her greatest strength as a spy, from the relationships she builds with assets (remember the terrorist's wife in Beirut) to how she sees the larger strategic moves she makes (the decision to use Brody as a double agent). However, sometimes she is blinded by this. Dana is also a beacon of compassion, as we see her dealing with Finn's hit-and-run. She didn't that quality from her father; Brody is as self-serving and self centered as they come. Finn is a close second.
The other is the role of deception. Brody told a medium-sized lie to Jessica about working with Carrie, and he may be telling a giant-sized lie about whether he had anything to do with what happened at the Gettysburg tailor shop. In the hospital scene, Dana shows herself to be a terrible liar when she meets the woman's daughter (though she may have been lying when she told Finn the woman had died, despite convincingly telling him so). For having an occupation predicated on deception, Carrie appears to me to be unexpectedly honest, when she can be, around people she trusts, like when she tells Saul how she is dealing with people not trusting her judgement. Again, I see Finn following the Brody model in this respect.
Greg: It's funny you categorize these roles separately, because in Carrie's case, I see the empathy being the main reason why Carrie is such a good spy. Her feelings for Brody may be 100 percent genuine, but she's clearly using her ability to play on everyone's emotions (including her own) in order to serve her job. Deception is what makes a good spy, empathy is just the vehicle that allows Carrie to deceive.
This episode shows how dangerous that can be for Carrie. She's obviously been riding a hot streak with the revelation that she was right about Brody, along with his subsequent confession, but her deception-cum-empathy was shoved back in her face when Brody turned a cold shoulder to her in his car, and when Brody (seemingly, for now) showed no inclination of knowing about the bloodbath in Pennsylvania. Now, Carrie's empathy may have brought on a Benghazi-level disaster for the CIA, which will surely buy Claire Danes another handful of scenes where she uses every muscle in her face to cry.
And I have to disagree with the parallels between Carrie-Brody and Dana-Finn.
While I'm sure the two storylines will eventually cross, Finn is just a scared kid who, as a product of his upbringing, only sees the massive political fallout from his accident. Dana just wants him to do the right thing.
With Carrie and Brody, both want to reach their own far-reaching goal, no matter if they venture into the gray areas of what is right or wrong.
Tierney: Maybe I was overreaching with my Finn-Brody/Dana-Carrie parallels. We'll see how far Finn will go to not get caught. I am glad you brought up the scene in the congressional garage when Brody swatted away Carrie's display of physical affection. Ironically, this episode ended with him embracing her as she melted down about the Gettysburg attack. Carrie knows Brody's weaknesses, but does she realize he knows hers?
Which brings me to another ironic moment in this episode. Mike went to the CIA to see someone who would give him "a nod" about the CIA's involvement in Walker's death. At the end of the encounter, he was the one instructed to nod. Now that he has put it together about Brody, and has had his theory shot down by Jessica (though I doubt she will be able to shake it off completely), where does he go next?