If a tree falls in a forest, but doesn’t take any other trees down with it, does it really fall? Up until now, Brody’s status as a terrorist was somewhat iffy. An attempted terrorist? Sure, but when it counted, he didn’t pull the trigger. A murderer? Yes, but Tom and the tailor that he killed were both terrorists. Arguments perhaps could have been made that Brody hadn’t yet truly done anything to endanger the U.S. or its interests.
But with the events of this week’s episode, Brody has now definitively fallen. He has killed the vice-president of the United States in fairly cold blood. He has achieved his mission to revenge Issa’s death. What does this mean for the show? And for Brody’s future?
It’s anyone’s guess, and folly, to try to predict the course of this show, which takes left turns every chance it gets and when you least expect it. Look at the way this episode opens. Nazir’s strike team has been captured. The president himself (that unseen cipher!) has called the director of the CIA (another ghost!) personally to commend the agency on a job well done. Brody gets to go home to his family. But then wham! boom! Carrie’s car gets brutally crashed into and she’s kidnapped by Nazir (!), who calls Brody to inform him of Plan B.
Apparently, VP Walden has a pacemaker (a fact that you might think would’ve been mentioned earlier, but this show is too good to split hairs on, IMO) and Nazir needs Brody to get him the serial number from a device in Walden’s office, so that he can have it hacked into to kill the VP. Nazir threatens to kill Carrie if he doesn’t deliver the number, and Brody loses his shit. For the first time, maybe ever, I think Damian Lewis actually oversells it. He’s all crazy contorted faces and popped-out eyes, which is usually Danes’s territory. But the extremity of his reaction does confirm and clarify one thing: Brody clearly does care about Carrie far more than he usually lets on. He’s frantic to save her, and Nazir correctly predicts that he will save her. Brody goes into the VP’s office, finds the device and the number and somehow manages to talk Nazir into not killing Carrie but letting her go by swearing on Issa’s immortal soul that he will give Nazir the number.
Like I said, I don’t like to split hairs and nitpick a show that’s this fantastic in so many ways, but tonight’s episode has an awful lot of convenient contrivances. Brody is free to just waltz around Walden’s place? He spends an awful lot of time in Walden’s office with no one coming in. And why would he stay to watch the man die anyway? Sick curiosity, I suspect, at first, and then only later, once Walden reads him the riot act for dropping out of the VP race, does he decide to twist the knife (so to speak) and tell Walden he disagrees with everything the man says and does. As Walden pleads for him to call the doctor, Brody denies him and pushes a phone out of his reach, saying “You still don’t get it do you? I’m killing you.” And he waits until Walden dies before he goes out and calls for a doctor.
It’s actually a bit hard to imagine that the next two episodes won’t be 120 minutes of Brody facing down police investigation for not calling for help sooner, for having his fingerprints all over the VP’s neck and face, never mind his pacemaker monitoring device should they check that sucker out. But honestly, I am pretty much okay with this show’s plot contortions rivaling a Cirque du Soleil aerialist every week if they keep giving me Carrie, Brody, and Saul feeling all the feels.
Some interesting threads are left dangling for next week. Upon Carrie’s release from the warehouse (while all this is going down), she flags down a trucker, takes his cell phone, and calls Saul to give him the location of the warehouse…she heard exactly what Nazir asked Brody to do…and she can be reasonably confident that he was going to do it, since he got her released. Yet, Carrie didn’t mention a word to Saul that the VP was in danger. An attempt to protect Brody (and his immunity deal), no doubt….but one that makes Carrie an accomplice in this terrorist act, yes? It’s a curious choice for Carrie, who has proven to be a patriot at every turn thus far, her devotion to U.S. security even trumping her obsession with Brody to some degree. It’s a curious lapse, and one that indicates perhaps Carrie has truly fallen to the dark side as well.
In addition, Saul confronts both Dar Adul and David Estes about Peter Quinn. He knows there’s something fishy going on that a black ops killer has been placed in charge of this intelligence operation, though he hasn’t quite connected the dots on whom Quinn is there to kill. As Adul tells him, Saul is a bit too sensitive for this job…and that sensitivity, that willingness to believe in the goodness of others (as we saw with Aileen) gives Saul an enormous blind spot. As the team heads out to pick up Carrie and catch Nazir at the warehouse, Saul is detained ominously by some double-talking CIA suits who insist his presence is needed by a mysterious “they” who want to ask him some questions. I am seriously a bit frightened for Saul.
But it wasn’t all grim intensity this episode, there were some lighter moments too, the welcome albeit brief reveal that Danny Galvez is still among the living despite all odds, Virgil looking incredibly unimpressed at the back of Estes’s briefing, Morena Baccarin getting to really smile for the first time in a long time as she admits to Mike that she doesn’t feel guilty for sleeping with him and indulging in some outmaking. There was also a long centerpiece scene that wasn’t light at all, but bleak (if slightly melodramatic), between Dana and Finn as they discuss how their lives have been forever changed by the manslaughter. (Both of those kids need to be in therapy, stat.) This show excels at the one-on-one conversation, and it’s shown to even better effect this episode when Carrie and Nazir actually face off, debating and illustrating why they both have such commitment to their “causes,” willing to die for them even, yet have such wildly opposing philosophies.
But the heart of the episode, and as always the heart of the show, is with Carrie and Brody. Every week the developments on Homeland are designed to make you wonder not just what will happen, but what will happen to these doomed and broken kindred spirits specifically. Carrie’s dream of a future in which Brody will become a hero, exonerated for all his past misdeeds for helping catch Nazir, seems more unlikely than ever. And yet, unlikely happenings—for better and worse—are this show’s stock in trade. With two episodes to go, I’m just gonna sit back and enjoy the ride, even—or maybe especially—if it is all left turns.
Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and Internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.