Homeland Episodes 9-12

Oh, Isa.

Oh ,Brody.  

This was a tough, tough four episodes to watch.  Only 12 episodes to tell this story – and I completely understand why they went the way they did. Learning about Brody’s plans any earlier would have made us more and more sure that he was going to remain one of the “good guys”, or made us more convinced that Carrie was going to be ineffectual. Timing-wise, it was right to play out as it did.

I don’t know what I wanted at the end of Homeland’s first season. I don’t think I’m naïve enough to have thought that Carrie would have been vindicated. God, there is nothing worse than being simultaneously completely right and more than a little nuts, is there? Carrie’s unglued in such a major way that every move feels fraught with danger – and I kind of think being “bipolar” is the tip of the iceberg. Carrie is fundamentally flawed – not just “unhinged”, but determined to hurt herself, to throw away all usual forms of checks and balances because they get in the way of the truth.  

The moment when she’s chasing after Dana, it was the only moment where I thought they pulled a punch on us, because Carrie, in that situation, might actually have tackled the younger girl. Maybe she would have gotten hurt – split a lip or broken a tooth on the sidewalk outside the house – and Carrie would have been utterly horrified but still not convinced that she should stop her pursuit.

How do you feel about people like Carrie? Most want her to shut up long before she’s made her point. Long before she gets to where she’s going, she’s a hindrance.   I’m willing to bet that’s who she’s been since she was a six-years-old – and I’m betting nobody at home told her to calm down, that’s not necessary – which is kind of awesome. How else would she have gotten to be Carrie Matheson?

So then why does this woman who loves truth above all things and is bound and determined to protect her country, why did she fall for Brody? What about him makes her knees weak? Is it the intelligence? The ability to compartmentalize his troubling family and his delight in her in equal measure? The fact that, when it all comes down to it, he can beat a polygraph like nobody’s business?  

There’s so much we still don’t know. In fact, without a chart, you could lose track.   The question is, are you still paying attention? Do you want Carrie to beat Brody – or to fall back into bed with him? Can’t you see a world where they spend all their time trying to prove to the other that their perspective on protection and terrorism is close-minded?

And what of that perspective, by the way? Do we believe that Brody is honorable – or thinks he is – in his mission?  “Kill ideas, not men” -- is that a believable perspective from Abu Nazir? I’m not sure I buy it, just as I’m not sure I buy that Brody – who couldn’t leave his kids behind when Dana begged him to come home – could kill Tom with one move when he’d been so confused about Tom’s death-or-not-death just a few days earlier. I know he couldn’t afford to waver, but I guess we’ll wait for any feelings he has about it to surface in season 2.

I do, however, buy the motivation of Isa as Brody’s central reasoning.  I don’t think it’s rational, but I do buy it. He’s in isolation, and then after a period of time – it’s not clear how long Brody was imprisoned before this happened, although I’m starting to get fuzzy on the degree of haircuts he’s had – he is given this little boy to teach and they learn to trust and love each other and then there’s a terrible accident.  

I’m not saying it’s not a plot straight out of a Disney movie, I’m just saying that probably when you are a captive prisoner, your emotions function about on the level of a Disney movie.

But that was a long time ago. I don’t know what Brody uses to keep Isa sharp in his memory, particularly when Dana and Chris are right there to make him feel new emotions every day (although, let’s be honest, Chris is kind of a robot  where actually loving his dad is concerned. Not everyone can come to your karate match even if they don’t have plans to blow themselves up, okay kid?)

Obviously I loved it. So much so that we will recap Season 2 starting next Monday.  I know Danes is persona non grata on this blog but man, I need an exception for Carrie, because she beats in my blood in a way I never expected and can’t quite understand.

Attached - Claire Danes and Damian Lewis with their Emmys on Sunday night.