Homeland: Flirting With the Enemy

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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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