Wow! After Sunday's excellent "The Weekend," Homeland cannot be blamed for dragging things out. Episode 7 gave us the confrontation we thought wouldn't happen until the season finale, and a twist that only some guy out there who predicted every fathomable permutation got right. All that, and there's still lingering doubt about everyone involved.
"The Weekend" was ostensibly about two couples getting to know each other better—Brody and Carrie, and Saul and Aileen. But really the episode was about what the series has always been about: trust, in all its blossoming wonder and crumbling disappointment. Saul was able to build trust with Aileen, leading to the super-sized double-patty McTwist with cheese at the end, and Carrie, with one slip of the tongue, saw the trust (and love?) she had earned from Brody explode in her face. The two relationships were opposite trajectories that only crossed at the very end of the episode before rocketing away from each other.
Of course, this is Homeland, a show that we've learned not to trust, no matter how obvious things may seem (and admit it, you get a certain joy from not trusting the show). What we did learn was that Thomas Walker, Brody's bunk buddy back in Iraq, is not dead—despite the memorial service and Brody's flashbacks and admission of killing him—and that he's the prisoner of war who was turned. I'd assumed a major twist was in the cards and pegged everyone as the potential terrorist. Heck, I even thought Dana might take off her jacket and reveal a dynamite vest at some point. But never did I think Walker was alive and terrorizing. You beat me, Homeland.
So does this mean Brody is completely innocent? Is he just a victim of bad intelligence and paranoid finger-pointing? Of course not. Wouldn't Aileen, if she were in deep with Abu Nazir, be trained to divert attention from the real threat? If the CIA's best weapon is surveillance, putting the organization on the wrong trail with bad intelligence would be the best move the bad guys could make. But that's anticipating super-triple-dog-dare double-crosses, and if we're going to do that, we may as well just keep watching through the end of the finale or wait for the recap.
But Homeland isn't just about who is planning to blow up whom. Brody and Carrie's relationship is one of the most fascinating things on television right now, and it's only enhanced by the fact that we're not entirely sure who is the cat and who is the canary. But even if you remove the uncertainty from the equation, we have two completely effed-up people who are effed-up for entirely different reasons, drawn to each other for entirely different reasons. It's simultaneously romantic and creepy. Both are living double lives—one in which they're adversaries and one in which they're sneaking around like teenagers in love. It's fascinating stuff, and I'll be damned if I don't want to see them walk off into the sunset together somehow, even though it seems near impossible.
And things just got more difficult during that fascinating scene at the end of the episode, with Brody sitting across the table from Carrie in a no-holds-barred interrogation. Carrie instantly made the transition from a girl with a crush to an intense CIA agent and drilled him with question after question. And she didn't just ask light, "What's your favorite color?" queries, we're talking full-on accusations of treason. But Carrie! Things were going so well! Looks like your future holds another Valentine's Day of wearing a slinky black dress and preying on other singles at the local bar.
Homeland has been excellent all season long, but now it's at a point where we have to ask ourselves where it will go next now that the big confrontation between CIA-agent Carrie and accused-POW Brody has taken place and the mystery is seemingly been solved. However, if Homeland has taught us anything in its first seven episodes, it's that something new is just around the corner, ready to blow our minds. And even if the next twist never comes, we can still root for the bizarre romance between two fantastic characters who have no business being together.
– Carrie looks like a fun girl to go out drinking with, doesn't she? A good time is guaranteed! You may end up in jail or bleeding in a gutter, but you'll have a story to tell the next day. And maybe even a psycho girlfriend, too.
– This show loves to end its episodes with people crying, doesn't it? How is Carrie's sister going to react when Carrie calls her for a ride home from the cabin?
– Rebellious teen Dana continues to be a great character, legitimately grilling her mother about how she behaved while Brody was missing. But she sucks at drinking games and drinking in general.
– Over-analysis of the week: Did you notice that Carrie likes clear (or white) liquor and Brody likes BROWN liquor? If that's not proof that Brody is a terrorist, then I don't know what is!
– Brody was able to make love like a man! Way to go, dude! But seriously, how is it that not being a five-pump chump came off as sweet, and a sign that these two should maybe settle down together?
– Fantastic acting all around, especially from Damian Lewis and Claire Danes. They're working great together. In addition to the scene at the end, their drunken arrival at the cabin and their sober walk-and-talk the next day were great. These two are convincing.