Homeland Season 3 Episode 4 recap

They got me. In fact, a little Twitter scrolling before I watched the episode tipped me off to the twist, and I still didn’t see it coming in precisely the way that it did.

Before we get serious here, can we just shout out to my Virgil? Back for just a small scene but boy did he make it count. Not only did he look delightful but managed to tip Carrie off to what was really going on. Not bad at all for 3 minutes work, my love.

Speaking of love, though, I had enough of Dana “Endless Love” Brody last week, and that was before they were involved in Mickey Mouse car trading. Seriously, Brandon Walsh could have been more slick with those moves. I know it seems callous to laugh at the adventures of teenagers, but as I said before, this is not the show we signed up to see. The show is assuring us that there are valid, important things to learn in the ongoing romance of Dana Brody as she struggles with not turning into her father, but are we seeing them? Or is this just another teen angst storyline thrown in to give Morena Baccarin something to whine about? The woman is gorgeous and we even got the return of Good Guy Mike, but man is this boring, and does Jessica ever seem like she’s complaining about her kid all the time.

Furthermore, Leo doesn’t seem like he’s threatening, no matter what we learn third-hand about his sordid past and evaded homicide charges. (Also, is there a legal term for something like fratricide, or is that just a colloquialism?)

But why worry about it, other than that it took up 30% of the episode? Carrie’s story moved like a well-oiled snake, consistently compelling and confusing – and that’s what you pay the price of admission for. I thought the slow going in the mental hospital was a bit tedious but the latter half of the episode more than makes up for it, with Carrie winding everyone around to her way of things through sheer force of charm and determination – think of how everyone in the hospital was rooting for her! – and still finding herself down on her luck.  

This is why the show can keep going even when it makes major missteps, though.   Carrie has been authentically sold to us as a resourceful character who can keep things changing and keep improvising to keep herself safe and her interests protected. When she’s weathering the proposal from Leland (who, by the way, probably shouldn’t be listened to due to his use of “nucular”, as if that would ever happen) she manages to be authentically upset and outraged. Given what we know now – that she was working via a pre-arranged deal with Saul – can you believe how much you believed her? The crumpled face, the practical demands? She’s basically your dream girl, if capability is the number one desirable trait. There’s Something About Carrie.

So now she and Saul are back on the same side (though not without a little hurt on her behalf – hurt that, I imagine, will grow stronger once she realizes he has a new protégé) and she’s got to rebuild her life from scratch. For me, the most intriguing part of the episode was Carrie’s formerly doting dad talking about how he couldn’t talk to her, he wasn’t at home. Was that some sort of code too? If not, who casually goes for chess and lemonade on someone’s porch while wondering if your daughter’s ever getting out of the mental hospital? I’m oversimplifying, but I couldn’t help but wonder if we were supposed to see something in that, too.

Finally, I have to ask.  Even with Dana taking up valuable screen space, is the show better when Brody isn’t on it? I have to say I didn’t mind his endless trips to the tailor last year, but I have no desire to see him and Carrie check and double-check themselves six times as they fall into bed together.  

So is this the way forward? Are Carrie and Saul the heart of the show, and is there enough here to bring us back to Langley as the center of it all? I can hope, right? 

Attached – Claire Danes running in New York this weekend.