Mon
Dec 10 2012 12:00pm

Homeland: Episode 2.11, “In Memoriam”

Claire Danes

The penultimate episode of the season splits its time between the show’s two modes of operation: high-octane action thriller and raw emotional relationship drama. I like both sides of Homeland (despite having to suspend disbelief a lot more when it comes to the action scenes), but pairing them in the same 60 minutes tends to highlight just how strong this show is at the latter, and render the former as somewhat cheap thrills.

We pick up where the last episode left off, as Carrie skulks around the dark empty warehouse where she was imprisoned by Abu Nazir. She sees a figure and follows him, only to stumble out a door and into the harsh glare of the SWAT team’s floodlights and Peter Quinn’s soothing embrace. The rough edges of early season Quinn are all but gone as he handles Carrie with kid gloves now. He does ask how she managed to escape but accepts her vague dismissals of the inquiries. When the SWAT team emerges without having found Nazir, she insists he must have had help escaping, and attention turns to the MIA Danny Galvez, who also happens to be a Muslim. They track him, but it’s a red herring, Galvez left the scene merely to get to the hospital for some busted stitches.

Rupert FriendDejected Carrie heads back to CIA HQ, and while Quinn suggests she go home and nap, instead she sneaks into the interrogation room where Roya Hammad is being held. Carrie tries her sympathetic listener schtick, assuring Roya that she must be a good person whom Nazir dragged into this. At first Roya plays along, asking Carrie if she’s ever had someone who takes over her life and gets her to do things that aren’t really “her.” Carrie nods emphatically, her trademark quivering lip already starting to dance, when Roya fakes her out and screams that she hasn’t and Carrie’s an idiot whore, and a whole bunch of stuff in Arabic that we can’t understand. Quinn comes in and subdues Roya (no pen through the hand this time), ushers a shaken Carrie out of the room and sends her home once more. (I have to admit, I was disappointed that they did not give Roya any deeper motivation. There’s a fair argument to be made that the show has never been great at, and has really dropped the ball this season especially, on depicting the terrorists with any kind of shades of gray or complicated motives as opposed to a more fanatical hatred.)

On the drive home, Carrie takes her medication for the first time in about 9 episodes (It’s a shame that the show practically completely excised her medical condition and the management of it, after those first few episodes of season 2.) Then she has an epiphany, replaying Roya’s words. She calls Quinn and says the journalist emphatically said Nazir would never run. She thinks he’s still at the warehouse. Quinn, who has lost all resistance and backbone in the face of Carrie’s wooby crying expressions, just asks her what she wants to do. When she says she’s going back there, he says he’ll meet her there in a bit. At the warehouse, the last tactical team is just leaving, and they’re pretty pressed that this random lady (whom somehow they don’t even know/recognize as the CIA agent who was held by Nazir) is putting them back on the clock.

But Carrie’s instincts turn out to be right once more (of course!) and she and one SWAT guy who got separated from the rest heedlessly go into a tiny hidden room without calling for backup first, and discover personal items and a bedroll indicating Nazir’s still there. As you might imagine, he then swoops out of the shadows and slices the throat of the marine, then chases Carrie around for a bit, but ultimately sits down in a prayer-like pose and waits for the tac team to come and get him. As they close in, he reaches for his inside pocket and they shoot him dead (as I’m sure he knew they would.) Abu Nazir is dead. Long live Abu—wait no, that’s not it. But his death is a hollow victory for Carrie, who can’t manage much more than a wan smile for Estes’s even more wan congratulations. 

Estes has been a pretty busy boy this hour, though, after he begrudgingly tells Carrie “good job,” he tells his flunkie Quinn that he still wants him to kill Brody. Quinn notes that it’ll be much riskier now that the world will want a soundbite from Brody about Nazir’s death and Estes just tells him to get ’er done. Then he goes back to the CIA where poor Saul is enduring a polygraph that is pretty much pointless, but does allow for this delightful exchange:

Interviewer: Is your name Saul Berenson?

Saul: Yes.

Interviewer: “Are you sometimes called the Bear?”

Saul: Fucking hope not.

Hee! But anyway, they also ask him a bunch of questions about whether or not he gave Aileen the means to kill herself. Saul fails the polygraph, to no surprise of his own, as he tells Estes, that the fact that they made him do that just means he was right about Estes ordering an illegal hit on the life of a U.S. Congressman. Estes basically tells him to quit his job or he’ll fire him. Poor Saul, and man, Estes has really, slowly become the big Bad here, eh?

And finally, over at the Brody home, emotions are high. Dana—and well, the whole family—ends up literally crying over some spilled milk as she has a pretty righteous tantrum and assures her father that they’d all be much better off without him. And apparently all Jess really needed was a good romp to start getting real about shit too. I jest, but the conversations between her and Brody both at the safehouse and then when they finally get to go home are really the highlight of the episode.  It’s the most honest they’ve ever been with each other as they talk about how they loved each other so much once, but that as much as they tried they couldn’t get that feeling back. Brody assures Jess that no one could’ve made a difference, made him better, because he couldn’t even do that for himself, and he starts to tell her that what Carrie said on the front lawn back in season 1 about him being a terrorist was true. But she stops him, saying once all she wanted to know was the truth, but now she doesn’t care. Jess also says Carrie must know everything about him and accept it, and that he must love her very much. Brody doesn’t answer verbally, but maybe there’s a tiny, nearly imperceptible nod of his head. Maybe.

Damian LewisThe marriage all but over except signing the papers, Brody heads to Carrie’s. She opens the door and assures him Nazir is dead and that he won’t hurt anyone ever again. Brody looks at her warmly and says that  what he did so Nazir would let her go, came down to “you or Walden.” (Which, technically, isn’t quite a sacrifice considering he kinda wanted Walden dead anyway, but it’s a lovely long-awaited shippy moment where Brody actually declares some feelings kinda sorta, so let’s not ruin it by quibbling, eh?) And then Nicholas Brody lovingly cups Carrie Matheson’s face and assures her that it wan’t even close. (Awwwww.) She pulls him into the house, and we pan out to a pained Peter Quinn watching through his sniper scope and debating what he’s gonna do now.

Season Finale next week! Will Quinn pull the trigger? Will Carrie and Brody have wall-banging or tender victory sex? Will Saul find a way to stay in the CIA? Will Estes get his comeuppance? Will Dana freak out over some rancid butter? Hopefully all will be revealed!
 


Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and Internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.

Read all Tara Gelsomino’s posts for Criminal Element.

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6 comments
Saundra Peck
1. sk1336
I cannot get over the fact that Carrie did not tell anyone the truth about how she escaped. And sadly I have come to the conclusion that if Carrie is to stay in the CIA (and have a chance with Quinn...which I never thought I would want)...Brody will have to die. I hope Brody can be a hero one last time... I really do love him, and obviously he saved Carrie twice (if not for him, she never would have treated her disease)...but the "clean slate" cannot be clean if she lies about him. And Saul...he is SO awesome! He will have to take down Estes. Hard. So excited for the finale...but hate that it is already the end. When will they be back?
Deborah Lacy
2. DeborahLacy
I so want to read these updates but I just finshed season one and am way behind. I love this show!
3. Roni
Does anyone else out there think that maybe Brody didn't really turn to the good side at all? That this has always been the long game plan? And that now that Nazir is dead, that Brody will take over? Brody did make sure Walden died, and that's what he was coming home to do in the first place. I always thought it was strange that after 8 years of being with Nazir that Brody would just give it all up in 1-2 days, and change to the good side. I wanted to believe, I want to still, that he had really fallen for Carrie. But I'm not so sure. Maybe this was the plan all along, that if Nazir should die, Brody would take over. Just a thought. I hope I'm wrong. I love Carrie and Brody together!! And I cannot stand Estes!!! I love Saul! :) And I like Quinn. Just hope he doesn't do the wrong thing. And I'm so mixed up with this excellent writing these writers do on Homeland that I'm not sure what's going to happen next!! Can't wait for Sunday!!! So sad it's the last show of the season!!!
Tara Gelsomino
4. Taragel
sk1336, I can't imagine Carrie being with Quinn, just because she's so completely in love (or obsession) with Brody and to jump into another relationship next season...I just can't imagine it. I mean, I do wonder also what the heck will happen to Carrie if they kill Brody next week, emotionally speaking! I worry for her. (And him too!) It's hard to imagine the show will get Damian Lewis go though. He's been phenomenal this season, I just hope they figure something out! Lol.

Deborah, Ooh yes, hope you can catch up soon!

Roni, I've seen that idea floated that this is all an act, one that he cooked up with Nazir...but I think it would be too emotionally false and unbelievable if the show tried to go there. And even though they do love their plot twists, emotionally speaking they are generally pretty straightforward? I dunno. I guess I think, for the same reason I think Saul as the mole would be impossible to buy at this point, it would just seem a bit too much of a cheap GOTCHA!

But...you never really know with this show! I love that we have no idea what will really happen next! The hiatus will feel soooo long!
Veronica Gorton
5. Veronica
Tara, I just wanted to say that I love your column!! You do an excellent job of reviewing this great show! I love Homeland! I added Showtime to our cable package just to get Homeland! Thanks for the wonderful recaps! I'll keep reading. (p.s. I had forgotten my password and user name, so I was the Roni you responded to.) I think you're right about it being a crummy way to get us, if indeed Brody hasn't actually changed to the good side. But I still have to wonder, could he really have changed so much in just a day or two? after being under Nazir's control for 8 years?!? I can't wait to find out! Saul as the mole!!! NO WAY!! and yes I totally agree, the hiatus is going to be unbearable!!
Tara Gelsomino
6. Taragel
Veronica, thank you so much! That's so lovely to hear. My thoughts on Brody (which could, of course, turn out to be totally wrong) is that he was never fully onboard with Nazir's plan anyway? I mean, he's been a pretty shitty terrorist, having basically killed two other people who were also anti-US terrorists, failing to detonate that suicide bomb, and then becoming a double (triple?) agent for the CIA. The one thing he did do that had real positive results for Nazir is tip him off in Beirut at the beginning of the season to CIA presence, which is more of a passivist move than an actual aggressive act.

It's interesting that this show never felt the need for any flashbacks of Brody's life before the war/capture. Because yes, he was held for eight years (some of which were directly in Nazir's home) but...he was an American (and a marine at that!) for much longer than that. I imagine those powerful feelings that caused him to enlist and for his family and country, didn't fully get eradicated in those 8 years either?

And what I think we've been seeing these entire past two seasons is exactly that, a man in the middle, pulled in tons of different directions who never wanted to fully commit to either side. So it's not so much of a "turned good in a day or two" as a "morally gray/could go either way for the past two seasons", to me. Brody had a personal vendetta against Walden who ordered the drone strike for the killing of the boy he loved like (and surely as a substitute for) his own children. I'm not sure he was ever committed to any broader picture of terrorism against the nation and certainly I never viewed him as a "bad guy."

I can't believe there's only one episode left! I hope they bring it back sooner than next fall!
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