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: For the most part, I really liked this week's episode. It came full circle from the beginning of Homeland, with Carrie fulfilling her longtime goal of getting Nazir. But also in smaller ways, like the scene when she washed herself off in the sink, as she did in the first episode of the series. And Brody showing up at Carrie's doorstep this time around — for better or worse — seemed to play out exactly as she had hoped it would a season ago, when he showed up at her doorstop only to rat her out.
I also liked that we got crazy Carrie — googly-eyed, shaky Carrie, who, knowingly or not, essentially collaborates with a terrorist — and Jack Bauer-Carrie, getting her No Easy Day moment with Abu Nazir. And I held my breath for that entire cat and mouse chase in the tunnels: that was good television.
But, I still don't know if I am digesting Brody's storyline. He is framing the pacemaker operation as a Walden-or-Carrie situation (invoking the vomit-inducing line, "It was either you or Walden, Carrie. It wasn't even close."), but in the moment, he was pretty enthusiastic about killing the VP, and his reaction to Nazir's death seemed pretty "Team Abu" to me. But, I'm even more thrown off by his desire to finally come clean to Jess. What's his end game here?
Greg: I don't know that there is still an end game for Brody to complete. His own enemy (Walden) and the bigger enemy (Nazir) are both dead. I think the most telling scene for Brody was in the car with Jess, it which he admits that there was nothing anyone — even himself — could do to ease his return to normal life. They both realize Brody has been broken for longer than either one of them accounted for, so everyone needs to find a different path and move on. But there is no way the CIA is going to let Brody run off into Carrie's arms without consequence.
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The Carrie I enjoyed seeing was the "defiant-but-oh-so-wrong" Carrie, moving to capture a co-worker based on a ridiculous hunch involving his religious beliefs (The weekly "wildly implausible" segment of the show) and trying to crack Roya during their interrogation session. Season 1 Carrie would have been a complete wreck after Roya went beserk, but being buoyed by her "sixth sense" about Nazir, she trusted her instincts, and once again, protected the homeland. If nothing else, Carrie has proven that, for all of her baggage, she will always be the best asset the CIA has in stopping terrorists.
I just wish the show would stick to being a spy show instead of crossing into daytime soap territory. All great spy stories have some level of sexual intrigue, but its primarily used as a means of deception to allow characters to gain an upper hand. Carrie and Brody seem to genuinely love each other, which is great, if this were a Lifetime movie. But the relationship (and the show) thrived when it tiptoed around a layer of deceit. Everything is now out in the open, the "good guys" have won, and now we must endure what is setting up to be a season finale that will be a mix of 24 and Bonnie & Clyde. I'm not as excited as I was a season ago, when we were all left hanging on the switch of a trigger.
Tierney: Roya's smack down of Carrie — "I've never been that stupid, you idiot whore!" — was pretty epic. She was definitely a little cocky rolling into that interrogation, thinking she could turn Roya the same way she did Brody. It was a good lesson for Carrie to learn: Not everyone is the emotional mess she and Brody are.
Even though Nazir is dead, I still have a lot of questions about his narrative. Nazir has been the object of Carrie's obsession for so long that I don't see them just letting go of his story line just yet. Was the Walden heart attack plan a cover for a bigger operation, in the way that Walker's sniper attack was an impetus for Brody's suicide vest in Season 1? Does he have agents that will be implementing something larger (perhaps in season 3)? I don't buy that Brody told the whole truth about his barn meeting with Nazir (we know he lied about them praying together). Remember, Nazir said that if all went to plan they would never see each other again. Though I doubt Nazir dying was part of that plan, it does make me think there is a longer game here, one put in place in case Nazir didn't make it out alive — he seemed pretty confident with Carrie that his jihad would continue for years after his death. Though, who will hold Brody accountable, now that Nazir, and his foil, (Walden) are gone?
In terms of the romance stuff, I would be far more open to it if there was something more going on under the mushy, star-crossed, 'Spy Who Loved Me' story. If I'm right, and there is something more going on with Brody's devotion to Carrie — if he realizes that, personal feelings aside, manipulation is his best plan for survival — then I think the show has plenty of ammo to carry into the third season. If it really is just devolving into a Nicholas Sparks novel, then I think Homeland will burn out pretty quickly.
Greg: Both of those plot lines, which would help the third season move along, seem way too plausible for the insanity we've been fed throughout Season 2. However, something has to come out of left field (other than an attempt on Brody's life, which is clearly coming) to keep the ball rolling, otherwise everything seems to be falling into place in a neat and tidy order. That's not how this show has ever worked. Every action, every consequence, every character has a grey area, and when those grey areas mesh, we get something that looks like Carrie's rainbow flow chart from Season 1. Something completely unpredictable is on the horizon for next week, but I can't begin to guess what that will be based on how we got to where we are right now. I'll play along, if only being entertained by Saul's gruff and agitated state. He's had some great moments as we come to a close on the season.
Tierney: It was not lost on me the irony of Estes yelling at Saul, "You continually undermine me," when a few episodes ago, Estes was depending on Saul to make the tough decisions in Beirut. By playing politics at the cost of national security, Estes has undermined himself. He can try and blackmail Saul all he would like, but I think the revelation of the drone cover-up and the plot to kill Brody will make up a big part of Season 3.
Speaking of said plot, was it just me or did Quinn seem a little hesitant to move forward with the assassination plan the second time around? I would love to see the season end with Quinn abandoning his job as Estes' angsty lap dog, and going rogue, Mathison-style.
Greg: Even as we are led to believe that Quinn is a rogue mercenary, I think he understands the gravity of what Brody's death would mean inside and outside the CIA. The weight of a U.S. congressman suddenly dying isn't going to be something that Estes and the CIA can gloss over, and that's not even taking into consideration that Brody would have died within days of the man who held him in captivity for eight years. Also, I don't think Carrie would handle that well. Do you think the Internet could handle the scene where Claire Danes discovers a dead Brody? It would live on an infamy.
Tierney: Her chin would just crumble. Literally, just like fall apart.
Brody's death would also mean shutting down the storylines of about half the characters. We will also have to say goodbye to Dana's teenage hissy fits and Chris's…Wait, there is nothing about Chris Brody that we will miss. Nevertheless, I don't see that happening anytime soon. I hate to break it to you, Greg, but I think we are heading towards more snuggle-fests by the cabin fire.
Greg: I hope Carrie stocked up on some Yorkshire Gold in the meantime.