Homeland: Flirting With the Enemy

Holy moly what was THAT, Carrie Mathison? Homeland's nutso CIA agent took an unusual step in her investigation of Sergeant Nicholas Brody by closing out Sunday's "Semper I" with an ill-advised face-to-face meeting with her target. Carrie's a woman who does not like to sit idle, and when her surveillance warrant expired, it wasn't like she was going to stay home dig through her ghost town of a fridge to whip up something to eat.

So Carrie stalked Brody to a veterans support meeting and "accidentally" bumped into him, leading to one of the most fascinating scenes Homeland has offered so far. Those two lovebirds were flirting with each other. I'm no specialist in CIA techniques, but I don't think that's in the handbook.

Jacking off on your wife isn't exactly a sign of a healthy relationship, so I think it's fair to say that Brody and Jessica aren't about to win any Cutest Couple awards. And Carrie is treating her inquiry into Brody as a co-dependent relationship. It's almost as if it's the only thing that's making her tick. So will the two swap spit and stories of Baghdad over a few whiskey sours at the local dive? It was unthinkable several episodes ago, but now... who knows.

It's a very interesting direction for the show to take, but it's also somehow plausible. Carrie has two methods of getting what she wants: deception (even if it means lying to those who are close to her) and giving "it" up—and by IT I do mean the booty. She's used sexual advances before, at the bar with a stranger and awkwardly toward Saul (who is a stronger man than me and thus refused), so it's not outside the realm of possibility that she'd boink Brody just to get closer to him or to glean information that will lead her to the truth. After all, she's not one of the most fascinating new characters of the season because she's sane. She has an addiction to knowing people, and she knew Brody's morning routine better than he did. Perhaps she would have continued sitting in front of her computer screens if the cameras had stayed up, but with them pulled down, she couldn't resist stalking him in person.

As for Brody, he's still the proverbial enigma wrapped in a mystery conundrum puzzle, with his beliefs and intentions still masked by his inconsistent behavior. Last week he was Father of the Year/freaky masturbator; this week he's jealous husband/Big Buck Hunter champion. He's lost in a world of people who didn't serve in Baghdad and tormented by the notion that his best friend nailed his wife while he was stuck in a cement box.

And in that final scene we saw two masters of deception, either sharing the Homeland's realest moment yet, playing a game of cat-and-mouse, or some combination of the two. It left me completely baffled yet entirely intrigued, and totally accepting of the fact that anything can happen as an outcome of their rendezvous. Except a happy ending. It was a fantastic scene that played to both characters' consistencies (or consistent inconsistencies) and pushed the series over the dreaded fourth-episode hump.

But it isn't just those two who are displaying two faces. Carrie and her supervisor David Estes have a wonderful chat about their past fling over some booze not too long after he ordered Carrie's new partner and President of the Carrie Mathison Fan Club to spy on her in plain sight. A suspect in Carrie's investigation of the money trail is a professor by day and sleeper agent during non-school hours. Jessica is playing the good wife and the horrible wife. Mike is Brody's best friend and worst enemy. I'm waiting to see Saul whip up a mean falafel just so we begin to think he has a bad side.

Homeland has gotten to the point where the main terrorism plot isn't the selling point. Sure we'd like to see the bad guys get caught and another national landmark saved, but what I'm really diggin' on is the question of how the CIA can operate with some many f'd up people working there and how many marriages can be destroyed by a so-called hero.

Notes:
– I just knew that darned deer was going to get it. Brody seemed way too protective of those tulips.

– Mike is having a tough time, but it was never more evident than when he brought Demmi to the party. Talk about a step backward. From Jessica to Demmi? Eww. Or it's the best decoy ever to hide his past with Jessica.

– When Carrie and her partner tailed the professor-by-day target, he was tipped off. By who? And how? Was someone tailing the professor to see if he had any suspicious tails? Or was someone tailing Carrie?

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Homeland is getting better and better. I really think that Brody & Carrie will end up in bed together, but they will both be disappointed. I am truly invested in finding out what happens next.
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I just watched it today, which is probably too late to add anything productive to the discussion, so I'll just respond to the notes today.



-Deer was dead. No questions asked.

-Tough time of it all around, and I think a number of people below have elaborated quite well on it. I think when I get married and then leave for years to be tortured, I'll make a deal with my wife that she tells me all the stuff the minute I get back. Then I can just yell for a week and then get on with it.

-I am REALLY CURIOUS about the *man* (ensemble/super-spy/dorky kid with a spyglass?) who tipped off the professor-by-day. I can't believe that he'd have someone tailing him regularly as that would require resources too great to require having a professor-by-day in on it to begin with (or so I would think, maybe I'm stupid). As for tailing Carrie, who would know that she's the one tailing them? My best guess is that it WAS a tail on Carrie because someone saw her in the alley with her informant's body.



As for the flirting thing, I couldn't have asked for a more awesome direction for the show. This opens up so many doors, and, as you said Tim, this show has moved way beyond the simple "is he or isn't he a terrorist" thing, and it's awesome.
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The most intriguing dynamic to this show for me was: was Carrie acting to get an

"in" with Brody or was she actually flirting with him? After all, she gleamed a smile when he was standing in the rain, but her back was to Brody, possibly reflecting that that is actually how she feels. If when she turned her back, her smile morphed to something monotonic or sinister, then I could attribute her actions as to being "under cover." I believe her "addiction to knowing people," as Tim correctly pointed out, is a form of both altruistic and displacatory defense mechanisms, in which she over-allocates her time to her job (altruism) and adverts her frustrations from her social and professional life (displacement) on to Brody and his life. Her affective state and in turn her behavioral justifications are extremely unstable--I am interested to see what her intentions are under the surface, and whether that will further direct her unprofessional decisions.
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I think love or flirt is not involved here. Since all the surveillance has been pulled off, she needed to keep an eye on him one way or another : she decided to become his friend or maybe his mistress. Though she could fall for him during her "undercover" mission (for all the personal reasons that you stated), I don't think it's the case so far. She's just obsessed about him because she's persuaded that he has been turned.
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this episode was amazing cant wait to watch the next episode.
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mmm - I was sceptical about the main plot, but now I m thinking that it will come out way better, darker and complexer than just terrorist/not-terrorist. What does the vicepresidents chief-advisor want from Brody - and who really is Abu-Nasir ?!
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So was I and luckily whoever created this greatness far exceeded my expectations. I'm at the point now that I've given up on all my theories (they're probably wrong anyway). I'm just along for the ride now.
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Yeah, the fact that politicians are involved changes everything. The main theory at the beginning of the show was that Brody could have been turned and therefore could plan an attack or something. Maybe the goal was from the beginning to use his american hero status to get him in high places and therefore having a class-A mole. That's less direct, long-term and quite hard to prove (it's not like having dynamite sticks in his basement).
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i guess it is still hard to tell who is under "bad guy" category from these episodes.they are throughing alittle new info's in every new episode and i guess we will never know until the end but the last scene for this episode was awesome!

p.s still thinks brody is not a bad guy just hiding he is a muslim but time will tell!
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P. S. Jessica and Mike get a lot of bad vibe. But what have they really done wrong? Brody has been missing for 8 years so it's understandable that at some point you're going to move on. And that it's going to be the attractive friend of your husband who took care of you and helped you in this difficult time is only plausible. And when Brody got home they immediately stopped their relationship. But, again, it's understandable that they can't just flip a switch and turn their feelings off. Jessica has really tried to be a good wife from the start. She endured Brody's nightmares (when he bruised her) the very violent first "sex" (and the strange "sex" afterwards) etc. And she and Mike are aware that they have to come clean at some point. Of course, it would have been best to tell Brody from the start. But who of us would have had the courage to say "welcome back, buddy, and btw I slept with your wife". And now, after weeks or months, they're trapped in the lie. Of course Brody has to get more and more suspicious and it's understandable that he's not as magnanimous as to just look past all this and that he therefore gives them a hard time. (Ironically, this might just drive Jessica and Mike back together again.) They're all in a predicament here. I like these sorts of moral ambiguities, they attest to the quality of the show.
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Well said.
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It's the fact that they're still keeping it from him, it's just like Jessica said they should've told him sooner but now it seems like it's turned into this big lie, not to mention every time he sees them together it looks intimate so for all he knows they could still be involved and the fact that they continue to hide it only makes him more suspicious that something is going on.
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The last scene opened up some tantalizing prospects. Carrie appeared to like to watch Brody in the bathroom during the first scenes of the episode so there might be some real attraction involved. How close will they get on an emotional level? She was extremely lucky to follow him to a meeting of Iraq vets. That allows her to talk about what happened in Iraq in an unsuspicious way. (These kinds of plot twists remind us that we're clearly dealing with fiction here) On the other hand, if Brody is really plotting something it must have raised all alarm bells that one of the agents who debriefed him would "accidentally" bump into him. The last scenes of the episode looked like the start of a high-level cat-and-mouse game complicated by physical (maybe even emotional) attraction.
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I think alarm bells may have gone off, but if Brody is plotting something than he is certainly doing a good job of hiding it, and It then goes to say that he would act nonchalant about it in the face of the possible opposition. There is also a reasonable explanation for her being there; she was in Baghdad after all. She also cleverly said to Brody that she hardly ever goes to the same meeting twice, which would cover her tracks in the case that no one recognized her at the meeting.
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That last moment between Brody and Carrie sure was eerie. I'm excited to see what's to come.
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P.P.S.: Tim tottaly agree with your review. + if you ask me, Brody is just hiding the fact that he converted to Islam. This is already a big problem, try to think: coming home after 8 years as a POW. Coming home as a hero, all eyes on you. Probably running for congress and nobody knows you converted to Islam. Your super best friend was taking care of your wife and you know... Brody good luck
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I have two explanations for Carrie behavior: 1. she's in love with Brody (fact discovered in the evening when all alone, she noticed that the big brother ended) 2. follows the principle, keep your friends close but your enemies even closer. I honestly dont know which to choose. And if in the end, Carrie and Brody will fight together Abu Nazir ? Sooner or later Brody will discover that his best friend was doing something more that just taking care of Jessica (probably he already knows)... best new show so far. P.S. I think the supervisor called the sleeper agent wife.
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Seems quite simple to me. The gal thinks she is the only to stop the bad guy that is Brody. She has no life and is not mentally stable. She is obsessed by catching him. Now that she had to take back the surveillance, she needs to find another way to keep an eye on him. So she decided to get close. Love has nothing to do in that. Maybe it will.
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Carrie truly does have some wires loose. I never bothered with my dreams of joining law enforcement bc I'm a bit batty but this chick gives me hope. As for everything else: They're doing an excellent job with their sub-plots and characters. If I'm still able to enjoy a show when their main selling point isn't the focal point of the episode and all the characters are interesting enough thats the difference between bad, good,and great shows. I love me some Dexter but I think that's one of their problems lately all the sub-plots don't hold any interest half the time. Can't wait to find out how they tipped that sleeper agent off..... there are so many big and little questions I have each episode that either doesn't get answered right away or something else comes up to keep me coming back for more.
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Who called the woman at the cell's house by the airport???

I just knew that darned deer was going to get it. Brody's way of telling Mike to "Keep off the grass!!"
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I'm enjoying this show up to this point. Any thoughts that Carrie may actually be part of the sleeper initiative instead of Brody? I feel like they have not explored or let us in on Carries background enough to understand her instabilities. She is pushing so hard on her persecution of Brody, that it seems she may be deflecting away from her own self. I wonder if Brody and Carrie crossed paths overseas? I'm hooked and will keep watching.
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I think that's just impossible. Why would she fake her interest in him even when she's alone at home ? And if looking brody is a cover story, why being secretive about it ?

Anyway, that would just make another show and not a show about a CIA analyst suspecting a POW to have been turned.
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That could very well be possible. I was thinking about all kinds of theories about everyone and my end conclusion was it had to be more than Brody... otherwise what will season 2 be?
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Brody flirting with Carrie - this man has more faces than a brilliant cut diamond! I actually wasn't convinced this guy was a sleeper agent until this scene. Here is this man that since coming home has been cold and brutal to his own wife (which Carrie knows because she has watched it all night and day as if it were her own personal reality show) and he is flirting with the Mid East Analyst from his debrief, getting cozy over their PTSD and therapy angst. He is charming and gregarious like a switch flipping, trying to make that connection and develop his own perfect little asset plugged directly into the CIA, or so it might appear on its face. And Carrie, Saul tells her to take her investigation in another direction and she decides to set the bus on fire and drive it right into Brody. Watching these two as they attempt to out-spook each other is going to be brilliant, like two runaway trains racing head-on on the same line of track.
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Easily the best new show this season. Boss may be a contender but it still has to flesh out the story.
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Another brilliant episode. This must be hands-down the best new show. Can't wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for us.
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Yes that last scene was golden. It launch the show on a different path. The fact that the formal investigation is going forward since the killing of Carrie's asset is also interesting. Because the fact that Abu Nazir is really planning something backs up Carrie's fears, even though her obsession about Brody is still totally illegitimate. Actually, at that point, I'm inclined to believe that he has nothing to do is that whole scheme but his face at this end of that last scene made me think "wow, he definitely did not like to see a CIA analyst here". So what is he hiding if not just his change of faith ?

Those two main characters were held apart during that first third of the season. Let's see what happens when they are in the face of each other lying and trying to get some details about the other's intentions !

Btw Tim, thanks for having Carrie working for the good agency. Some commentators here (wasn't one of those !) are quite tense when people switch acronyms ;)
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You're right... I'm also relieved that, hopefully, not every second post will remind as anymore that Carrie is working for the CIA. And in this week's episode we heard that she has some contacts in the Bureau. So it's not that far off. (She's doing FBI work right now, anyway.)
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