‘Homeland’ Season 2, Episode 4: ‘New Car Smell’ Recap

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Claire Danes and Damian Lewis in Homeland New Car Smell Homeland Season 2, Episode 4: New Car Smell Recap

Even though she was ignored and basically dismissed by her former boss after being shot at in Beirut while doing him a solid, Homeland has gone out of its way to make sure things have begun to look up for Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes). She managed to get the CIA a glimpse at Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban), and then inadvertently found proof to support her theory that the ol’ redheaded POW, Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), is actually a sleeper agent for Nazir. As far as restituion goes, that’s a pretty good start.

All in all, whizzing bullets, in-your-face rejections by David Estes (David Harewood) and aborted suicide attempts aside, it’s been a banner month for Ms. Mathison. After a credulity-straining episode last week with ‘State of Independence‘ that saw Brody taxiing around a tailor he’d eventually leave in a shallow grave, things have gotten decidedly worse. As if all of the nit picking his actions have received from viewers of the show wasn’t bad enough, Brody’s finally managed to aggravate Lauder (Marc Menchaca) enough that an unsolicited and inebriated pop-in at the Brody household became a necessary mid-day excursion. And while having a closer-than-he-realizes conspiracy nut pass out on your couch can sometimes be just the distraction a crumbling marriage needs, it didn’t exactly help Brody out in the impressing-the-wife department.

But in the future ex-wife of a politician/terrorist manner in which she’s recently proven herself quite adept, Jessica (Morena Baccarin) managed to turn a negative into something of a positive by getting Mike (Diego Klattenhoff) to stop by the house, and tell Brody she thinks it’s best he find a hotel to shack up in for the evening. So, without knowing it, Jessica aided in the arrest of a man suspected of being a terrorist. Brody, meanwhile, has more immediate concerns to think of, like the fact that Dana (Morgan Saylor) noticed her dad’s car smells like the dead tailor’s tobacco, and that Roya (Zuleikha Robinson) is using her press badge to gain access to the congressman with the same flair that gets her dinners out with Estes. But instead of sending Brody on another wild chase, Roya’s there to listen to his concerns, which now includes the apparent professional resurrection of the one person who had sniffed out his loyalty to Nazir from the beginning.

David Harewood and Mandy Patinkin Homeland New Car Smell Homeland Season 2, Episode 4: New Car Smell Recap

The two have a chat and catch up on old times, briefly separated by slats of cryptography – a delightfully unsubtle nod to their unique relationship. Carrie keeps it together, firmly planting the hook in Brody, but giving him enough line to run for a bit.  And he runs straight to Roya, who pooh-pooh’s the notion that Carrie or the CIA is on to him, telling Brody it almost certainly has to do with the near-miss on Nazir, and not the fact that he’s a terrorist operative gunning for a spot in the White House. At any rate, Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), the seemingly well-connected analyst Estes brought in after Saul (Mandy Patinkin) brought around the Brody confession, thinks Carrie did a bang-up job and the two discuss the merits of Indian food versus Greek cuisine. Turns out, despite a hankerin’ for curry, Quinn will settle for some olives in a pinch.

Sitting alone in a hotel bar, Brody takes a few shots of liquid courage and then makes that supremely uncomfortable call to the woman whose life he nearly destroyed. Having had eyes on him the whole time, Carrie takes the call with Peter (we’ll just call him Peter, since Showtime clearly has a thing for the name Quinn) nodding his approval while she agrees to bury the hatchet. Again, Danes masterfully conveys her emotions to the audience, even while blowing her cover with Brody – or so Carrie believes. Brody brings up the electroshock treatment, and Carrie’s face drops long enough for him to see past the facade.

Not being one to stick around the confines of the reservation, Carrie decides it’s time to pounce and heads up to Brody’s room under the false pretence of a night cap and a “So I heard your wife kicked you out” rekindling of their relationship. Suspicious, Brody lets her in while Quinn gets the details on Carrie’s unpredictable side from Saul. To his credit, though, Quinn knows when a detail has officially gone south and immediately calls for back up to come in and nab Brody. It’s a good thing, too, because as soon as Carrie lets on the real reason she’s there, Brody’s demeanor changes from befuddled congressman who’s out of his depth to a man who knows his way around disposing of a body.

Claire Danes and Rupert Friend in Homeland New Car Smell Homeland Season 2, Episode 4: New Car Smell Recap

It’s tough to say what did the most damage to Carrie, psychologically speaking: the whole being wrong thing, or the fact that she’d fallen for a guy she was pretty sure was also planning to blow up the vice president and everyone else he could cram into a bunker. Considering she got to utter the phrase, “I was right,” last week, and still couldn’t hold back a flood of emotion as the object of her obsession was dragged out of a hotel room with a hood over his face, chances are there’s just something about that Brody guy that messes with her head. Then again, sometimes it just feels really good to be right.

The setbacks have been huge, but the emotional payoff has been equally tremendous for both Carrie and the audience. This is the kind of impossible situation that drives narratives forward, and the kind that makes it so difficult to wait for what comes next.

Homeland continues next Sunday with ‘Q&A’ @10pm on Showtime. Check out a preview of the episode below:

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  1. Once again I have to say Bravo to the Homeland writers.
    1st when Saul found Brody’s confession and then last light when they started surveillance I thought we reached the point when the season would settle down and for a bunch of episodes and those revelations would be the main narrative for most of the season.
    Nope, I was wrong.
    I’m surprised and thrilled that they have blown the whole thing up and now after only 4 episodes we are at what was considered to be the most crucial part of the entire series, not just a any given season.
    I can’t wait to see what’s coming next…
    I also want to talk about Carrie again and Daines portrayal. I’m hard pressed to think of a character on TV I’m more invested in. I’m so afraid she will fall apart again that I was yelling at the screen last night when she went up to Brody’s room and my heart broke when we watched her try to hold it together. So I’ll also say Bravo to Daines who is turning in the best performance of her career and IMO the best on TV right now.

    • I agree Kevin. Was not expecting these turn of events in only episode 4. Wow. Daines is great and it’s nice to see Homeland getting the praise it deserves. It’s by far my favorite show on TV.

      • Guess you have never watched 24. Its ripping (/off) story lines directly. I hope it’s not going to be another 24 rip off (season 3) with Brody like Jack’s cover as traitor to infiltrate Mexican drug lords (knowing Damien Lewis has signed on for 5 years he has to turn out good in the end). Unoriginal. I’m yet to be truly surprised. Claire Danes’s pout crying/nervous wreck is annoyingly a one trick pony with making you sympathise. Add in Damien Lewis’s stupid screwed sideways mouth whenever he talks nowadays. I don’t care much for these characters though.

      • “This is the kind of impossible situation that drives narratives forward, and the kind that makes it so difficult to wait for what comes next.”

        Yes, this is the kind of series I’ve been waiting for. When Saul encouraged absolute secrecy, I began to suspect the “TVShow” technique of drawing this out for at least the rest of the season. Even in a series I’m crazy about, Breaking Bad, fans can pretty accurately predict the rhythmn of the show & steel themselves for at least the first half of a season unwinding glacially plotwise (Skyler researching a car wash; her sister shoplifting at open houses). For me, that bog indicates a shallowness of imagination, that the writers can think of only 1 or 2 exciting things to happen per season.

        So I was enthralled with last night’s episode–even watched it twice.

    • I agree with the yelling at the TV. I also found myself yelling “RUN, RUN” when she was being chased in the marketplace a week ago!

      and I was drinking milk at the time, so it went everywhere!!

      LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show and find myself just living for Sunday nights :)

  2. What a great episode!!! Can’t wait for next week!!

  3. I agree as well. This show is amazing! Still can’t believe its only the 4th episode. I wasn’t expecting them to take him down at the end of the show. Keep it up Homeland!

  4. The interaction between Brody and Carrie is masterful. It was a good episode but I’m not sure where else it will go now that Brody is caught. The appeal to the show was always how they kept the audience guessing on whether Brody was a good guy or bad guy. Now that he’s caught, how much story is there to tell? Also, I’m a bit lost as to where the Dana/Finn storyline is going. Seemed a little of a time suck…just my opinion.

    • Brody can just say it was a forced confession. All he was talking about to Carrie was their relationship at the end.

  5. [It’s tough to say what did the most damage to Carrie, psychologically speaking: the whole being wrong thing, or the fact that she’d fallen for a guy she was pretty sure was also planning to blow up the vice president and everyone else he could cram into a bunker.]

    As I recall, Carrie is not the only major character who has endured psychological damage. So has Brody. He had to endure eight years of captivity and abuse at the hands of Nazir and other terrorists. Now, it’s the CIA’s turn to abuse and exploit him. If I were him, I would simply kill myself at the first opportunity.

    And where in the hell are they going with this? Why expose Brody so soon? I keep asking this question, but people keep avoiding an answer and instead, moan about how Carrie’s rants are finally being vindicated. Who cares? SHOWTIME might as well end the series now.

    • Most new chess players are too unconfident to play the aggressive game, to bring their Queen out before the closing battles and put their opponents on the run. The writers of Homeland are clearly not like new chess players.

      So why uncover Brody so quickly? Unfortunately, with Carrie short circuiting the surveillance plan, she may have deprived the govt of the evidence it needs to convict Brody of anything. Brody hasn’t killed anybody (that they know about) and they have no physical evidence that he actually wore a vest in that bunker. The tailor is disposed of. In a sense, they are back to square one, depending on the intuition of a certifiable unbalanced person to make a case.

      And we haven’t seen the entire tape. It’s not clear that Brody confessed to blowing up a bunker. But he didn’t blow it up. Can they convict someone for changing his mind & coming to his senses?

      We know the govt should immediately descend on Brody’s residence to search it for proof. He’ll be data-mined–phone, computer records. But someone’s going to protect him because there is a mole in the operation, someone, as Saul said, is probably brown or black, Mideastern or African. Perhaps Estes can not yet be cleared as a suspect….

      • “Mortality is inevitable. But yours will forever be tied to mine.” – Tom Kane (BOSS). Exposing the King with the use of the Queen is the risk Homeland are taking in the end. Its the use of the King that will decide the future fate of the game now on – will a pawn, castle, (trojan)horse.. be sacrificed to defend the King’s position?

        • Or is Brody a pawn that has reached the other end of the board – allowing the player to bring back another ‘dead’ piece into play?

          • When a pawn reaches the opposite end of the board it can be promoted to anything but a king and be placed where it started. Sounds familiar?

            • Well, shucks. I don’t know what play to make next. If Brody’s a pawn, he didn’t make it all the way to the other side of the board. He was captured first. Perhaps, however, another pawn will make it and keep the game going. And I do believe there is another threatening pawn on this board–a mole pawn.

              The Queen is unstable. An effective Queen is a disciplined Queen.

  6. Yes… I was ready for long ball too… so the Brody takedown was surprising… although the Carrie breakdown was not (one of these days, it’s gonna get her killed).

    • I believe there was a part where Virgil (Carrie’s security guy) mentioned that they wired Brody’s hotel room.