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?
But the major question going forward is whether Brody is being honest about not tipping off Roya, and if he is, whether she has figured it out anyway. I am inclined to believe that he is being honest, as the show usually lets us know when he is up to no good. But I wouldn't be surprised if Roya has figured that Carrie and Co. are using him anyway, and will use Brody as a pawn to bait the CIA.
Greg: I think after being stonewalled by both the CIA and Jess, Mike's last line is to confront Brody himself. I can't imagine that ending well for Major Faber.
I'm surprised you think that Brody is being honest with Carrie, because I don't trust him at all. I think he is going to do exactly what he did last season: prey on Carrie's mental state, and ultimately double-time the CIA, whether it be through his political clout or his terrorist network. Brody ultimately is acting to protect his family, the last (and maybe only) true allegiance he has in his life. Roya may know more than the show lets on, but Brody threw her a huge bone on the Gettysburg tip.
Speaking of the Gettysburg scene, the whole thing bothered me. Where are Hezbollah agents getting SWAT team armor? No one in Gettysburg hears this immense gun battle going on? The FBI and CIA spent hours in a sensitive site exploitation scenario and never discovered a false wall? I might be nitpicking, but the whole thing seemed a little far fetched.
Tierney: I agree with your concerns about the Gettysburg attack, and will add to it: Why didn't the attackers make sure that everyone was dead, especially Quinn, the lead CIA agent? But I have come to give Homeland the benefit of the doubt when it comes to game-changing moments like that (like the bag that held Brody's confession tape, or Brody's SOS text to Nazir). I was more bothered by the plausibility of the hospital scene. I think the writers could have figured out a convincing way to show Dana's concern for the woman Finn ran over that didn't involve her waltzing into an ICU without any identifying information and running into the woman's daughter.
I think Brody is being honest with Carrie about his knowledge of the raid, not because I trust his motives (I don't), but because Roya appears to like to keep Brody in the dark as much as she possibly can. By the sketchiness of the whole Gettysburg situation — both that Brody got his vest from the tailor, and that Brody was ordered to escort him to a safe house — you would think Nazir was running a bare bones operation in the United States. However the slew of SWAT posers that descended on Quinn and the gang suggests a larger network is involved. Or maybe the mystery man was just a gun for hire.
At the pace this season is moving I expect we will know more about his and Brody's involvement very soon.
Greg: In the meantime, I am going wonder why they threw in a shout out to The Wreck of the Hesperus. That couldn't have been a mistake, right? That's what they call foreshadowing, right? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!
Tierney: I think it means Brody is a slob and Jessica was an English major, but what do I know? Until next week.
Come back next week as Greg and Tierney continue their Homeland discussion.