Homeland Season 2 Episode 3 recap

Herewith my ignorance on sleeper agents – are they not trained for certain situations like these? Is there really no further qualification for being the man on the inside beyond “He appears to be affable to the people we’re trying to infiltrate?”

Some suspension of disbelief where Brody is concerned is not only necessary but probably a good thing. We don’t need to worry about the machinations or coincidences that allow him to rise to political prominence because they’re feasible, even if they’re not necessarily likely, and they get us into interestingly sticky situations.

But I’m willing to forgive more of Brody’s fumblings around the glittery people, because not only is he trying to lie to them, he’s out of his element to begin with – these people are often all talk and no action, and that’s Brody’s exact opposite M.O., so I get it. What I have trouble with is that the man who was counted on to undertake a massive terrorist movement – who had the wherewithal to hold it together and warn Abu Nazir of an imminent threat – loses his MIND when faced with an unwilling passenger and a flat tire.

Seriously? We know Brody can lie under pressure – one might argue that it was his whole training, even before his capture. But either the training to be a sleeper agent doesn’t take into account that he might be under certain pressure to create a feasible lie for his wife, something that perhaps others don’t have to contend with, or Brody is so torn in his loyalties that he can’t construct even the simplest of fictions to get Jess off his back. Nor can he see the forest for the trees (SORRY, but what are you gonna do when that phrase suggests itself?), since it’s true that taking the tailor to a small-town hospital might raise eyebrows, but the terrorist operative – including Brody’s contact and her super hair – would be able to cover it up before the sleepy-town doctors were able to sound an alarm. Isn’t that true, based on what we’ve seen?

This is where it gets difficult, because if we start thinking about why certain decisions were made, we have to wonder why six inches of pipe was perpendicular to the ground in an otherwise generically wooded area. Why Brody couldn’t just say “Oh no, Jess, there’s another guy in trouble” and get off the phone. Why snapping the tailor’s neck was the least panicky thing he did that day.   

I guess I just don’t totally understand where Brody’s fluctuations are coming from, since he only wants to sleep with Jessica when she suggests it, is being visually chastised by his daughter all the time, and appears not to notice that his son has gone missing (okay fine, snicker, but I don’t exactly miss the kid; not the greatest actor). What’s holding him back from completing his duties? Can it be as simple as life back at home being…comfortable?

I know there was a movement on Twitter talking about how great this episode was for Jessica, and while I maintain that Morena Baccarin is doing a great job, I just can’t have any feelings for Jess – grace and poise seem so played out for her.

None of those trappings, of course, for our girl Carrie Matheson, who has never been poised in her life and who could care less about that. Isn’t it so amazing that to Carrie, the biggest punch in the face of all isn’t that she’s not asked to her briefing, nor that she’s not being reinstated at the CIA (which you know she hoped for, just a little bit) but that that she’s been called in for a pat on the back, a phrase she spits so scornfully and with such horror you know she’s never stood for one no matter what stage of honor or disgrace she was in?

This is the irony, the bitter irony that is beaten into our minds throughout the entire episode -- being right is not enough. You can spend all your time working hard,  trying to do more, find more. You can redeem yourself. You can even prove others wrong about you, those who thought you couldn’t handle it, but it still isn’t enough.   Once tarnished, you’re always tarnished. I found it really interesting that her reaction to a bad day was initially to go out to get some action, as though that was a balm for her wounded pride. Carrie doesn’t strike me as one who goes in much for the cuddling, so what’s that about?

No, it’s about her worth as an agent. I could be wrong, but isn’t that why Carrie – who at least gets this moment, on her own couch, to savour that she was right, that had she gone through with all the pills she swallowed, she would have missed this moment of revelation by mere seconds –  is about to be used as bait in the next episode? Shouldn’t she be securely inside the CIA? Or, to ask a more cynical question, how useful is a young attractive agent in the CIA? Do they hire agents of every particular type, in order to deploy them in whatever situation seems most appropriate? It seems prudent to point out here that Carrie’s adorable awkward colleague is improbably called Danny, which I’m not sure I knew before.

If I may end on a moment of nerdism: I’ve noticed a lot of cynicism and eye-rolling where the jazz motif is involved on the show. But I’ve always really liked it because the thing about jazz is it’s all about patterns, over and over again, one thing changed in each repetition, and then back again. It’s exactly how Carrie’s brain works – able to systematically file through the same information searching for one variable every time. I kind of think it’s clever, even if there’s a sentiment that says jazz is to be sneered at…but maybe the show can rehabilitate its image problem?

Also, does this week not reinforce that maybe Saul’s greatest weapon is crazy Carrie Matheson? Because you know he realizes she knows things he could never have taught her. I shouldn’t make myself vulnerable, but how I love those two together.

Photos courtesy Showtime