Homeland Season 2 Episode 2 recap

I am writing this after a long weekend with family and turkey and contentment. I feel good – anything but cynical. So, though I sometimes have to check myself, I feel like I can ask with impunity …

How great is Carrie for Saul’s career?

Think about what we’ve seen of him. He’s her mentor, yes. But he’s not like her.   Where she flies around on instinct, he is cautious in the extreme. He checks his instincts, or maybe he’s actually overridden them now that he’s been working so long. Everything, for Saul, is measured. Debated. Weighed.

But Carrie doesn’t operate like that, and I can’t help wondering how good that’s been for Saul all these years. After all, she’s almost never wrong. We’ve never seen her be wrong. Sometimes, yes, she gets the wrong information, but her gut’s always in the right place, you know? Then, after she’s proven time and again that her instincts are good and her contacts are solid, Saul gets to make the call that they will have a mission, will in fact go forward with whatever Carrie knew was the right thing to do – and he gets the credit. It kind of sheds new light on why he’s not comfortable having her places. But I’m not suggesting it’s because he thinks she’ll show him up or anything like that – of anyone we’ve ever seen on television, I think Saul would be the most gracious in the face of a win for a protégé (and, we know, comforting in the face of her losses).

But he’s not like her. Maybe he never was. Saul gets the mission finished and sits, happily, waiting in a Land Rover (though we know that series leads have a tendency to make it through bad situations all right,  that scene was genuinely harrowing – I was really worried about how close Saul’s face was to the window). Carrie is the one who flees – who risks more and more to  find just that one extra thing – even if she doesn’t know what it’s going to turn out to be. Even if she finds it by pure accident.

And her latest pure accident has turned up the best possible thing for her -  sort of.   Saul now knows that Brody is exactly who Carrie always thought he was. It behooves him not to tell her – at least not everything, not yet – but  don’t suspect she’ll be sitting on her sister’s couch in the weak afternoon light for long. Thank God.   Not just for us, but because poor Carrie is a straight-up junkie. The more hits of adrenaline and success she gets, the more she craves. Especially now that she was right. Her source was right. Abu Nazir did, in fact, show up where he was supposed to. That’s got to be a booster for Carrie, who was really starting to wonder about her abilities …

…and she doesn’t even know about Brody.

I go back and forth on him all the time, of course. As you would. Sometimes I think he’s doing a magnificent job at being all the different Brodies to all the people he needs to, and sometimes I think he’s so seethrough it’s shocking. For example, I’m not sure how many more drinks he’s going to be getting with the boys from the old crew. It’s going to be too hard to be the Brody he’s supposed to be  - the one with connections and a real memory of the old days and a love for all those brothers. I like that we’re not supposed to think Brody is all that good on his feet either – when he gets too backed into a corner, his method of fixing it is to make a joke and hope everyone looks the other way. It’s a method, but not one that’s going to hold up for him long-term. I love how irritated the informant this year is making him, as much for her unflappable cool as anything else. I love that the ballsiest thing Brody has done – informing Abu Nazir in full view of all the other high-ups he was in the room with – is the thing that rendered him almost completely incapacitated.

And I love how nervous he is that his daughter is going to be the one to find him out.

Before we talk about Dana,  I have to give a shout-out to Morena Baccarin. She is in what is arguably the most thankless role here, playing the almost-vapid Jessica, who is only holding back from being a full-on trophy wife by her husband’s feelings and the fact that they live, once again, in the most depressing house known to man. But she still seems sympathetic at times, and she makes merely being the clueless wife seem like there’s something to it, beyond just being clueless, though I feel less sure about that when she’s parenting, at which point I just want to hand her a Judy Blume book. Either way, she’s entirely watchable which is no small feat given what she has to do and say.

But Dana we’re supposed to watch and understand exactly how she could turn into …who? Into Carrie? Or into a self-destructive brat, the beginnings of which we saw last year? What is going to become of her fatal combination – intelligence, mistrust of the status quo,  Dad who isn’t what he seems? I like Dana’s perspective on everything, but I still don’t want her to be the one who blows any whistles. I don’t think this show would do that anyway, but they’ve had Dana come close to busting Brody more than once. She knows something is up – which means she’ll know, eventually (maybe?) what it’s like to be Carrie. To feel that something was wrong – and that meant you were right. I just don’t know who it’s going to make her. Not yet.

Carrie, though, could probably tell me. Who do you think she was at sixteen?