‘Homeland’ Season 2, Episode 3: ‘State of Independence’ Recap

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Mandy Patinkin Homeland State of Independence Homeland Season 2, Episode 3: State of Independence Recap

Residual tension and expectations remain high after last week’s Homeland, an episode that took Carrie (Claire Danes) to the Middle East and saw her put her life on the line for little more than a pat on the back. In the midst of essentially handing the CIA Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban) – which served as a sort of vindication – Carrie also inadvertently landed physical evidence that Brody (Damian Lewis) is the sleeper agent she suspected him of being.

“I was right,” Carrie proclaims at the episode’s end. You would be hard-pressed to find three words that mean more to a single character than those do to Carrie Mathison. After all the pain, humiliation and self-doubt, the victory couldn’t have come at a better time.

But as ‘State of Independence’ starts out, it’s almost no victory at all. Leaving Beirut, Saul (Mandy Patinkin) is intercepted at the airport by a Hezbollah agent, who rifles through his briefcase and manages to procure the memory card that supposedly contains Brody’s taped confession. It’s an infuriating moment where Saul is forced to stand idly by, in enemy territory, as Carrie’s absolution slips through his fingers. After a terse lecture and demand he never return to Lebanon, Saul reveals to the audience the level of his game and how the confiscated memory card was a fake meant to throw such a search and seizure off the real prize.

Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin Homeland State of Independence Homeland Season 2, Episode 3: State of Independence Recap

While Saul is in the air, Carrie is eager to participate in the debriefing of her mission in Beirut. She’s up all night writing a report, and spends much of the following day checking her cell phone, but it soon becomes clear David Estes (David Harewood) and the CIA still see her as a liability. At one point after confronting Estes, he asks her if she’d come to believe reinstatement was imminent, and while it looked much harsher in the preview for the episode, it’s still a blow Carrie’s not emotionally ready to take. She’s been wired since her return from Beirut, and the disappointment is too much for her fragile state of mind to accept.

Carrie’s been circling the drain since the end of last season, and though she’d found some reason to hang on, the roller-coaster ride of the past few days sends her spiraling into a dark depression that’s made all the more resonant given what Saul is in possession of. Carrie methodically undertakes the process of killing herself, and does so with such a matter-of-fact demeanor that it’s clear the thought of suicide was never too far from her mind. It’s the pit of despair for the character, but the ultimate low she reaches manages to make Saul’s appearance at her home all the more exciting and uplifting. It also manages to make the tape more of a significant tool in the development of the characters than a simple plot device to put Brody in the crosshairs of the CIA once more.

It’s troublesome how fulfilling the Carrie thread is, when the very same episode manages to be so lopsided and feature a Brody story that becomes (inadvertently?) hilarious while trying too hard to force the character into a villainous role.

Damian Lewis Homeland State of Independence Homeland Season 2, Episode 3: State of Independence Recap

For whatever reason, tailors and spies go hand in hand. And in ‘State of Independence’ Brody is tasked by Abu Nazir to deliver one to a safe house on the same night he’s scheduled to make a speech at the fundraiser hosted by Jessica (Morena Baccarin) and Mrs. Walden (Talia Balsam). It’s a contrived little plot device that never really manages to arrive at that place of suspense it was clearly aiming for. Waffling between his obligation to Jessica, and his need to appease Abu Nazir – although warning him a bullet had his name on it apparently wasn’t enough – Brody’s story intends to take his paranoia and that of the tailor and set them against one another to great confusion in order to create conflict.

Beyond the issue of why a public figure like Brody would be sent to pick up and transport an individual who will soon be on the CIA watch list – if he’s not there already – the storyline frustratingly devolves into a series of increasingly funny mishaps, which includes a convenient flat tire, Brody MacGyvering a jack and the tailor galloping along a railroad track in the middle of the afternoon. Following the bizarre sequence, Brody tracks the man into the forest where he’s attacked and in the ensuing pursuit, ends up impaling the panicky tailor moments before he realizes his only choice is to kill the guy, bury him in a really shallow grave and then clean off in a car wash under bright fluorescent lights.

Damian Lewis in Homeland State of Independence Homeland Season 2, Episode 3: State of Independence Recap

All of this happens while Jessica is giving a rousing speech at her fundraiser, and then being taken home by her former flame, Mike (Diego Klattenhoff). Brody catches them preparing to go into the house, and his suspicion is met by Jessica’s doubt that her husband was where he said he was all day. There’s nothing wrong with creating a some additional drama in the Brody household, and this is a good way to keep Mike relevant, but it all comes at the wrong time following the rather comical journey of Brody’s day.

Thankfully, despite some of the rather silly circumstances in much of the episode, the ‘State of Independence’ ends on Carrie’s realization that, mental illness or not, she had Brody pegged all along.

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Homeland continues next Sunday with ‘New Car Smell’ @10pm on Showtime. You can check out a preview of the episode below:

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  1. I feel the story line of Nazir using Brody like an errand boy is not that good,and if it would be chess the man is playing here,he would not use his best figure on the board for such tasks. Hope this stops soon,doesn’t fit the otherwise very smart show !

  2. Although I didn’t care for Brody being used as an errand boy by his handlers, I’m more worried about him being exposed to the CIA.

    I’m sorry, but it’s too soon. It’s too soon. How are they going to go from here? Is Season 2 the last for “HOMELAND”? Will the CIA spend the rest of the series’ run investigating him? Are they going to turn him as their own double agent? It’s too soon. In a way, it reminds me of the Don and Betty Draper marriage from “MAD MEN”. The marriage ended in Season 3. To this day, I feel that Weiner broke them up too soon. And I feel the same about Brody’s exposure to the CIA.

    • Brody could easily say it was a forced confession and get away with it. Making the tape worthless. Therefore regaining his cover.

      • I never thought of the forced confession thing. That could draw it out some, but I also feel that this is happening too soon.

        And I know the show’s creators have already talked about season 3, so he is going to get out of this somehow. But he is always going to be under the CIA’s watch. Anyway, I am excited to see where they go with this.

  3. That clip on YouTube is a game-over moment for any politico, much less one running for a Vice Presidential seat. I love the grit and awe this series provides. That Carrie was “right all along” makes the ride a lot of fun. I do wonder where they’ll taken it next which is the point of the program. I’ll take this quality for much fewer seasons over unbelievable dreck anytime.

  4. What made the Brody storyline in this episode so hard to swallow for me was the fact that they gave a lot of it away in the teaser. We knew Brody was going to end up in the woods and possibly killing someone so the only question was who? Then 10 minutes into the episode he got the phone call and all the drama was over.
    But Saul showing Carrie the tape made it all better for me. They way she said “I was right” made me so happy for her and it broke my heart at the same time.

  5. Great comments, Kevin. This is another shining example of the advantages of NOT watching any of the trailers for upcoming episodes. I get that it’s a hook for upcoming episodes, but if you make the writing inside an episode great, then you don’t have to tease anything at all. This season of DEXTER is a sample of the same thing. I also love your comment about how Carrie has and delivers her revelation. I can only imagine the tearing heart, not only of her experience, but of the destruction and hope (but wow, how do you DO it) for her skill set as an agent. She was right. Her intuitions, her suspicions, her want to FIND THE TRUTH and save lives – it was all real. BRILLIANT writing and acting once again. Hip-hip for HOMELAND.

  6. I agree that the whole Brody as Safe House Delivery Boy was contrived but the writers did try to explain that Brody was the only person he has seen and the only one he would trust (although I’m sure there had to have been others he communicated with considering his position as the stateside Project Suicide Vest maker).

    It’s easy enough for Jessica to verify Brody’s lies… so it’s even harder to believe Nazir would risk Brody’s cover for that menial duty.

    It looks like Saul wants to play long ball by letting Brody dangle (and using Carrie as bait) but I would think as soon as he found out about him, he would try to find out where he was during the Nazir op and instantly put tracking on his cell phones and location… but yes, I understand this is a series so we have to suspend some belief.

  7. I seem to end each episode with the same line, “How are they going to top that?” and they do. The show is amazing.

    Even though Brody’s story in this episode is a bit…stretched…I think they succeed on one thing (at least), that Brody cannot handle it all. I think we see so many times in show after show that characters become to hollywoodized meaning that they are almost superhuman in their abilities. If this was any other show, Brody would have grabbed the guy, fixed the tire, chased him down, killed him, cleaned up and arrived at the fundraiser pressed and clean with a big smile on his face. But this show is realistic in the sense that no one, not even Brody, can handle all that is being thrown at him. He is slowly, but surely unraveling. I really like that they took it that route.

    And I do not say it enough, but Saul is the absolute man! This show would be seriously lacking if not for him. He is a character with conviction and integrity, best shown in the first season when Carrie tried to fix her issue by coming on to him and he stopped her in her tracks. He is a refreshing character.

    • Mandy Patinkin is honestly one of the most underrated actors ever. I honestly didn’t view his “errand boy” storyline as contrived as some did here, mainly because even if there were other people to do such a thing, i didn’t view it as such a lowly thing, this would cripple their attempts at any sort of attack, and expose nearly everything about their efforts if this guy was caught, not like he was sent to pick up some groceries, ya know?

      I feel like the dire consequences of this guy not being picked up, as i mentioned above, and how they also mentioned they had no one else that this guy would trust, and also my own thought that Nazir is going to send the guy he trusts most,especially after his most recent life saving example, all worked fine, i didn’t find any part of this story funny, i actually found it a little dull at times though, expected more suspense, and Jessica at the fundraiser was executed perfectly, you felt awkward and anxious when she stepped up to the podium, which is exactly as she did.

      Regardless of the difference of opinion about the brody sequence, and thread, i think everyone else, including the author of this post, hit on the head, that despite all that, the scene with Carrie and Saul made up for everything earlier in the episode because some incredible acting on both their parts. Also made all the suspense, and waiting up to that point worth it.

  8. Jessica’s revelation to Mike about Brody’s affair with a CIA agent named Carrie will be an interesting twist in the plot.

    • ep 3
      mike is not good friend. he tough yh brody is f****** Cia so do jess.

    • @ Cosmo24
      That’s a great point and something I forgot about before you mentioned it.
      For some reason I assumed Mike already knew about Carrie but judging bye his reaction it was a surprise.
      The plot thickens. ;)

  9. how many ep does season 2 have?
    is too soon i think soul might be somthing else, this season.

    homeland viva

    i am in uk and we dont have somthing to look forward to,
    all our good series end only one to two season with 3 to 5 ep.

    • 12 episodes.

  10. First of all, we learn that Saul is still in Lebanon. Why didn’t he leave on the helicopter with Carrie and the Lebanese woman? I thought the final scene of episode 2 (where Saul discovers the video card) was taking place in Cyprus. Turns out he stayed in Lebanon, with the bag Carrie found. Why? And how about this. If the bag is still in Lebanon with Saul, how does Estes know about what’s in it during episode 3 before Saul has arrived in D.C.? How does Estes have the material (minus the video) in D.C. and is able to tell Carrie that there is some “actionable intelligence”? Did Saul send it in the mail?

  11. Hi Alan, I will try and answer your questions the best I can:

    Why didn’t he leave on the helicopter with Carrie and the Lebanese woman? I thought the final scene of episode 2 (where Saul discovers the video card) was taking place in Cyprus. Turns out he stayed in Lebanon, with the bag Carrie found. Why?

    From what I remember, I think Saul was in Lebanon for a reason other than the Nazir connection. He didn’t go to Lebanon for that reason; he was just there when the Nazir connection was made. Saul not leaving with Carrie makes sense to me because the focus wasn’t on Saul getting out of the city, he was never made. It was Carrie who they followed and identified so Saul was safe. They just wanted bi-polar Carrie and the informant out of the country as soon as possible.

    I never assumed that Saul was in Cyprus, but even if he was, the last thing Carrie new was that she left Saul in Lebanon.

    If the bag is still in Lebanon with Saul, how does Estes know about what’s in it during episode 3 before Saul has arrived in D.C.? How does Estes have the material (minus the video) in D.C. and is able to tell Carrie that there is some “actionable intelligence”? Did Saul send it in the mail?

    In that final scene before Saul comes back to the states, Saul is sitting across from the security guy. He asks him if he found anything in the documents, but it was nothing he could make any sense of. Saul says to send it to Langley to see what they find. They must have sent the papers and Langley, with considerable more resources, identified relevant information.

    • The “actionable intelligence” might be evidence of the email that leads to the bombmaker in Gettysburg that Roya mentioned.

      I get that Nazir probably trusts Brody more because he did save him which is why he might have used him to move the bombmaker… but at the same time, Brody is very recognizable (even more so as a congressman and possible VP candidate) and if anyone sees him in Gettysburg, that’s going to jeopardize his position.

      Also… when the bombmaker was making noise, instead of killing him, why not just hang up on Jessica? He’s already not going to make it and he can always say something went wrong with his phone (nice wireless coverage in the woods by the way).

    • Luke,

      Yes. You’re right. Now I remember that the security guy took the material and left the bag. Then Saul gets up, examines the bag, and finds the v-card. I still don’t understand why, given that there’s a helicopter leaving Lebanon, the all important bag would be left with Saul. I guess that a) they don’t fully trust Carrie with important material, and b) Saul assumes his diplomatic status will get him through any security at the airport. Obviously, the material traveled some other way, and Saul kept the v-card on his person. Interesting little details, but I still think the kinks in the writers’ scripts are starting to show. Big Nerd points out an obvious one. Why doesn’t Brody just hang up on Jess rather than letting her hear him moan? The plot thread I’m starting to like is the troublesome vet who thinks there’s something fishy about Brody. He may end up dead in an episode or two (ostensibly from alchohol consumption).

      • Well, I’m not sure the motive, but Saul appears to have a pretty high rank in the CIA so he could and should be trusted with information. They don’t trust Carrie, but more importantly Carrie is no longer with the CIA so they wouldn’t give her any type of information. The other thing is that Saul was putting the papers back into the bag which is why he felt the card in the flap of the bag. He was probably getting ready to ship it all out (papers, bag, and all), but when he felt the card took it out. Who knows, the bag and papers were probably sent to Langley.

        Why doesn’t Brody just hang up on Jess rather than letting her hear him moan?

        I’m not sure, I think this can be interpreted in different ways. For one thing, why does he keep answering the phone? But one thing we know about Brody is that he doesn’t put off or postpone things. He deals with the situation in the moment, no matter what it is. He gives a yes or no in the moment when confronted by whatever the issue is. He’s a soldier first and a congressman second, which to me explains why each time he is confronted by something he immediately deals with it. I mean, seriously, you think he couldn’t have gone to get that guy AFTER the speech? I don’t know, this is all speculation. It’s fun, but all speculation.

        The plot thread I’m starting to like is the troublesome vet who thinks there’s something fishy about Brody. He may end up dead in an episode or two (ostensibly from alcohol consumption).
        Mike and the drunk are going to get somewhere with all of this. Can’t wait to find out what is going to happen.

  12. I’m selling the thought that Saul doesn’t get the video back to Langley, notwithstanding the misleading preview. If Estes got to see it, it would make the storeline silly if Brody wasn’t immediately brought down. How to get a crazy person back into the CIA is the real trick for the writers, not to mention how to make Saul the mole!

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