Homeland "A Gettysburg Address" Review: Uneasily Back to Where We Started
Sometimes lost among Homeland's lovey-dovey interrogations and tailor impalings and attempted suicides and hit-and-run car accidents is an investigation that's trying to save the world, or at the very least, America. Now that we've caught Brody in his no-good lies and slapped a "good guy" sticker on his forehead by bringing him over to our side, we can concentrate on stopping Abu Nazir from opening up some real estate in the U.S. as payback for the death of his kid, Israel's strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, and the ending of Lost (or The Sopranos or The Killing or Seinfeld, take your pick). Right? Nooooooooooope.
"A Gettysburg Address" followed Brody's first day on the job at the CIA, but instead of making things getting simpler for us now that his great mystery has been revealed to the agency and everyone is supposedly on the same page, everything's getting even more complicated. And I don't really use the word I'm about to use out that often because a) I'm not British and 2) I'm miserly with my praise, but the way Homeland has made us question everything all over again is kind of brilliant.
We're beautifully backtracking to the same feeling of uneasiness we experienced in the first half of Season 1. Once again, the crux of the show is "What the fudge is going on in Brody's mind?" This time Brody is stuck between the CIA and Nazir, and while we're certain he's at least helping the CIA to some degree, we have no idea what he's doing for Nazir's side. I look at the scene when Brody met with Roya and the two of them suspiciously stayed silent for almost a full minute, Brody holding his back to the camera so we couldn't see his face or get a clue what he might be signaling to Roya. Carrie seemed particularly interested in that exchange as well. I'm not saying he definitely tipped Roya off to something, but I'm trying to find a reason that detail made it into the episode, because Homeland is so keen on staying as lean as can be. (While I'm being totally paranoid, there was also a shot of Roya staring down toward Brody's hand at one point; could he have possibly written something on his bandage or shown her a note?) And if you think about his motivations, shutting out Nazir completely seems like a baaaaad idea. Turning on the CIA comes with a pain-free lethal injection death penalty. Turning on Nazir? That ends with his family's heads on sticks. And that's if Nazir is feeling generous! That's more than enough reason to think Brody is playing both sides.
And that's exactly what this show wants us to think. Could Brody have tipped Roya off to the feds' presence at Gettysburg at some point? Or was it just a moment of silence between the two while some random dude accidentally snooped on their clandestine secrets? Damn you, Homeland! But this is when Homeland is at its best.
There was more Season 1 recall with Carrie, specifically her me-against-the-world situation. Only this time, the situation is flipped. In Season 1, Carrie was "the crazy one" for thinking a golden boy plucked from the clutches of evil after serving his country had somehow become a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda. Now, Carrie seems to be the only one who trusts Brody, while everyone else looks at him with a sideways glance. Jess, Mike, Quinn, Saul, Lauder, and Estes all have their doubts about him, and many of them have no problem telling Carrie the exact opposite of what they told her last season.
And because Homeland has been so good at defying our expectations, there's no real way to predict how things will go. We're used to Carrie being right, but how interesting will it be if it turns out she's wrong? What if Brody is duping the CIA and her actions cost lives? What if she's right and Brody is mistakenly accused of helping the other side when he's being loyal to his country? Amazingly, Homeland hasn't backed itself into a corner, it's backed itself into the middle of the room, and every direction the Brody-Carrie story can go in is full of potential.
But the Brody-Carrie story isn't the only thing going on here. The Dana and Finn story is headed exactly where you might expect a teens-in-a-hit-and-run story to go: Dana found out the victim died and was a great person who just wanted to provide for her family and not get run over by some hotshot high-school sophomore. If there's one story this season that's waving a red flag, it's this one. But this is Homeland, so there's reason to believe there's more in store with this thread than we think.
We've been spoiled with two fantastic white-knuckle episodes in a row over the last two weeks, but don't sleep on the slower-paced "A Gettysburg Address"! This episode did some important dirty work behind the scenes to rattle our comfort levels and raise our suspicions.
– Semi-spoiler for those who didn't see the "Next on Homeland" scenes: It looks like Quinn made it out of the tailor-shop massacre.
– I don't want to theorize on what the Al Qaeda strike force pulled out of the wall of the tailor's shop, but if I had to guess, I'd probably say it goes "boom."
– One theory I'd like to see become reality (first suggested to me by @CarmineAlvaro and also seen around the internet) is an eye-for-an-eye revenge by Nazir on Veep Walden. Walden kills Issa, Nazir kills Finn. Of course, it wouldn't be a single assassination attempt on Finn, but probably a hit on the school, which would also put Dana in danger. That would clearly be a huge step for the series, so I'm not holding my breath.
– Jess seems to barely believe the "Brody's working for the CIA" story, but I don't know if it's because the idea seems so far-fetched or because she can smell Carrie on his clothes.
– It's been said before, but everyone who works for the CIA is totally bonkers.
– Mike's investigation into Brody is progressing slowly, and while it isn't quite interesting yet, it's building another nice layer of tension.
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