This week's Homeland was something of a steep drop in excitement in comparison to the past few episodes, becoming something more contemplative. Brody's (Damian Lewis) allegiances are questioned further now that he appears to be working with the CIA, and the tailor shop makes a reappearance during a CIA-Hezbollah firefight.
Note: Spoilers follow
IS BRODY HEADED FOR A CRISCROSS? (WILL IT MAKE HIM JUMP-JUMP?)
So now that Brody is allegedly working with the CIA, we're seeing a lot of the characters that know him best starting to question his motivations. From a viewer's perspective, this is exactly what should be happening, as it would seem heavily out of left field for him to just up and start working with the CIA without some kind of pre-CIA indications that he's doing so.
Last week we saw him tell Jessica (Morena Baccarin) that things were going back to normal, and that he was back, but at the top of the hour this week, we see that his proclamation could not be further from the truth. Immediately, Brody lies to her about working with Carrie (Claire Danes)which will no doubt come back to bite him in the ass at some pointstarting their new path/new life off on the wrong foot right from the get-go. That Jess doesn't decide to ask more questions is a bit disconcerting. Sometimes, it appears as though she is written inconsistently; I mean, she has the strength to stand up in front of a room full of war heroes and VIPs and give them a rousing and striking speech about what it's like to live with a veteran of the war and the effect that it has on her and her family, but on the other hand, she doesn't have the wherewithal to push Brody for further answers. If she's really that strong, she should display it a bit more often, given that this is her husband and she kicked him out of the house not that long ago.
When it comes to his actual CIA work and his interactions with Carrie, they still crackle with tension and intensity given the strong personalities of the characters. Moreover, now that the CIA knows about Roya (Zuleikha Robinson) the reporter's allegiances, they are able to listen in on one of her conversations. This one takes place with a mystery man, but the CIA loses him when they part, much to Carrie and the rest of the agents' dismay. Brody is then summoned back to Langley, and like a good puppy dog, he obliges his new masters. Carrie orders Brody to meet with Roya, which angers Roya as Brody is never supposed to initiate contact. In spite of this, they still meet and the CIA appears to hear their conversation.
However, a short period of silence commences during their meeting, which Brody passes off as being the result of a bystander being nearby. This is an interesting response taken at face value, but if we think back to season 1, Carrie caught Brody giving signals in code while participating in press conferences and TV appearances. So would it be too much to expect that they were trading codes/signals then? Not likely. I mean, they could have just been sweet nothings, or proclamations of love for Abu Nazir, but we can't be sure.
The most important part of the conversation, however, is the mention of Gettysburg. This sends the task force to the tailor's shop, with Quinn in tow. As they search the shop, Quinn (Rupert Friend) is just about to discover Bassel's hiding place. Then, we cue the disastrous music, some piano keys are struck, and BOOM goes the dynamite as a Hezbollah group storms the building, fire upon the agents and tear the wall down. They soon leave the shop carrying a crate full of toys for the Hezbollah Christmas Drive (note: not a real thing). If not wickedawesome toys, then what is in the crate?
But I have one question: if they needed what's in that crate so much, why did they wait until now to get it? Seriously, they had all that time since Brody retrieved Bassel and there was no real indication that the CIA had eyes on the place, so what gives? Is it just terrible planning? Did they forget to create a Facebook event for the operation? Maybe they should start using Twitter? Either way, it seems rather strange that they would wait until the CIA team was searching the place to show up; apparently, stealth is not part of their game plan.
GRAND THEFT DANA
Much like her father, Dana (Morgan Saylor) starts off the episode lying, harboring the super-cliched secret that Finn Walden (Timothee Chalamet) is a shitty driver. Remember this plot from last week, folks? Oh, it's not going to die yet. So her super-smart and not-so-handsome boyfriend pleads with her to just forget about the accident, which is just superbad and totally badass (note: it's not). To be honest, I'm sure some people might say such things after running someone down, but it's mostly laughable. I mean, seriously, just imagine having that conversation with someone and trying to take it seriously.
Idiot: "So you need to just forget that thing that happened last night, yo."
Other Person: "You mean that we ate at McDonalds again and I was on a diet?"
Idiot: "No, that person I ran over. They might be dead, and there was that sickening thump that probably made you stay awake at night, but just forget about it, huh?
Other Person (also an idiot): Oh yeah, no problem. When I see their frightened face in my dreams, I'll just ignore it. We're cool."
Yeah, it may not go exactly like that, but the suggestion is over-the-top stupid. So Dana (because she's Dana and she's so a rebel) commits the high crime of truancy and swings by the hospital to check on the victim. I gotta say, she'd make one terrible criminal; she must be adopted. She soon learns that the woman is in the ICU and is dying. 'Tis rough being a teenager these days, no? I remember them old folks talking about walking up and downhill to school, but that's nothing compared to vehicular homicide.
Look, I get that this is going to tie in the main plot and somehow affect the whole Brody-Walden political ticket thing, but there had to be another way to set this up. As I said before, it reeks of some afterschool special nonsense. I suppose it's better here than last week, but whatever; at this point, it's kind of like runtime filler and nothing more. Get me back to the high stakes espionage stuffplease?
LIKE DORA, MIKE'S AN EXPLORER
Mr. Mike Faber (Diego Klattenhoff)you are barking up one dangerous tree, my friend. Now convinced that Brody had something to do with our pal Tom Walker's death, he approaches Saul and Estes about it. Needless to say, that pow-wow does not go well, and they tell Faber to back off or risk being shipped to Gitmo (no, they don't really tell them that). Does he listen? Of course not. His investigative nature (maybe he's Dana's real pops? Ooh, drama!) gets the better of him and he searches Brody's garage, he finds an ammo box with a bullet missing. Those bullets match the one used to kill Mr. Walker back in season 1!
He thinks he's figured it all out, so he approaches Jess with his conclusions. She rebukes his theory and reveals that Brody is working with the CIA. Feeling somewhat defeated, he lets off for the time being. I like where this story is going, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. However, I can definitely see Mike's (pretty much) obsession with Jessica leading him down a path that eventually screws him over in a huge way. If he keeps her abreast of all the things he discovers, her loyalty to Brody (that is, if she truly still has some) may win out, and Mike will find himself with a newly ventilated head as well. Nonetheless, keeping it going at a slow pace is wise, as he simply doesn't have the access or resources of the CIA.
Sure, this episode didn't have the OOMPH of the last few, but it was still a fairly good episode of Homeland. We get some minor movement in some of the larger plots, and some of the major players face some uncertain times ahead. However, outside of the involvement of the Hezbollah strike team, we're not much further along than we were last week, and the exciting promise that was teased at with Brody's involvement with the CIA is largely left in stasis by episode's end. For the most part, this was a zero-sum type of game, where we still question Brody's loyalty on the same level as before, in spite of what occurred this week.