Homeland Season 2 Episode 5 recap

Most important things first: let’s talk Chris. Did they replace that actor? Or just allow him time off to grow up and let his voice change? Because that is a very, very different kid from the one we were mocking just a few episodes ago, you know?  Ain’t puberty grand? Also, why do we need Chris again?

I spend very little time wondering about Chris overall, though, and much more contemplating Dana, because she’s more interesting and smarter and I wonder how much of what she’s doing now will shape who she is. Dana didn’t expect herself to be the kind of person who was ever involved in a hit-and-run. She also didn’t expect to be the kind of spoiled rich kid who flees the scene of a crime committed via sheer dickishness. It’s funny how fast life changes.

Do these things define you? Do they become who you are? When you walk in the door and your parents ask “what’s wrong” – and then don’t follow up even though you are clearly on the verge of tears – are these the things that form who you are?   Dana is too much of a moral centre to let this go on for too long (though the show gives her an out by pointing out the hit-and-run victim seems to get help right away) but will she linger long enough to define what kind of person she is? Will she be caught, rather than confess? Is it a long slide down a ramp of moral relativism?

All of these questions, of course, could have different answers if it looked as though her reality was about to change. But Dana won’t know, for the moment, just how much her father changed “over there”. She won’t know how similar they are – how much he panics when doing the right thing seems impossible and then, right after it’s been abandoned, the choice he should have made instead. How easy it is to feel like the person you’re with is the only person who understands you – who could understand you – and then, in an instant, they are the worst person you could ever be yoked to. These are things Dana and Brody understand, both of them, though they won’t discuss it, where Jessica will never understand how things could go wrong if you do what’s right. She tells Dana it was the “right” thing to do to break up with Xander – and she’s right, sure. It’s just that right and wrong become irrelevant so quickly.

Brody knows. That’s why he had his story established as soon as he knew he needed one. “I wasn’t wearing a vest” is the only thing he has to cling to, and it’s the only thing that’s not provable. He repeats it over and over because if he tries hard enough, he can will himself to believe it’s true – that he wasn’t actually ever going to do it. That he didn’t become the kind of person who would do this. That he didn’t kill Bessel (that was a surprise spelling, no?) out of inconvenience more than anything else. That he’ll still be able to make it out of this all right.

It isn’t true, of course. Brody is a known threat now, and one who really didn’t last long under questioning. I don’t think he’s stupid or naïve, by the way, he just really wanted to confess to Carrie because…she’s Carrie. She makes him feel like he’s the only one in the world. There is a part of him who knows he’s supposed to lie and deny to the literal death, no matter what threat (and how did you like that stab move?), but the other part of him just wants to trust her, as he has trusted nobody in so long.  

And he loves her for that.

They truly are the most star-crossed of lovers…aren’t they? 

When I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time imagining scenarios in which I would be the hero. For some reason these mostly concentrated themselves around holdups in grocery stores (yeah, I don’t know) where I thought that it would be my childlike-yet-sophisticated negotiation styles that would get everyone in the situation out safely, though I figured, reasonably, that they would have to finish their groceries some other time.

It had no basis in reality of course. But when I think about Carrie Mathison growing up, I imagine she had similar fantasies. And then made them into realities. She is a savior of many, not just because she’s figuring out how to foil terrorist plots before they happen but because she has the ability, somehow, to empathize – something not necessarily common in the CIA, I suspect (and hey – is Carrie back on staff yet?  Because at this point she’s basically running the operation single-handedly).

So where did Carrie learn about love? Let’s figure she’s the same age as Claire Danes – that puts her at 33. She’s been doing this for years, and while trips to the bar are one thing, I don’t get the impression that there is a real love in her past. Do you? I mean, a college love affair, maybe. But Carrie’s life shows no signs of having been entwined with someone else’s, not in a real way. So…is Brody her first love? I know she was involved with David Estes – that seems to be a level of familiarity and understanding – but not necessarily love?

I get yelled at in my house for talking to the TV, all “Oh, now they’re going to do this”, because it’s so obvious. Not only have I stopped trying to figure out what Homeland is going to do next, I’ve decided to stop trying to decide whether Carrie’s in her right mind, or which sides of what she’s saying are true. As far as I’m concerned, they all are. She does feel bad for Brody and want to protect him and hurts for him, and she does, too, value her job above all else and understand what she can accomplish by using her manipulation skills. Both are true at any given time, which, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, is why she’s so brilliant. Carrie can exist on both those planes – the one who is only solely focused on Abu Nazir and his eventual capture and the one who is feeling for the first time like she is exactly what someone else needs, and how heady that can be. It seems impossible to balance, which, going forward in a show in which literally every single bet is off, seems like the best possible way to go.