After defying audience expectations with the sudden bluntness of Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) turning what appeared to be a standard surveillance detail on suspected terrorist (and current congressman) Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) into an exceptionally bold recovery of the identity she’d lost as a result of her past failures with the man, Homeland confidently continues to charge headlong down an uncertain path.
Last week, ‘New Car Smell’ acted as a sort of subtle do-over for Carrie and Brody, a chance for the two beguiling combatants to once more come face to face with one another and see whose lies could best trump the other’s. Season 1 proved Brody had public favor on his side – he was, after all, a war hero who’d just spent nearly a decade as a POW and was now riding his popularity to a position of authority in the United States government. So round two begins and Carrie wastes no time throwing a haymaker no one – not even Saul (Mandy Patinkin) or the Indian-food loving Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), with all their eyes on Brody’s hotel room – could really believe was coming. “You’re a disgrace to your nation, Sergeant Nicholas Brody. You’re a traitor and a terrorist and now it’s time you pay for that.” And with that, Carrie Mathison changed the game.
We can debate just what it was that Carrie saw in Brody’s face that made her head up to room 416. Did he really make her, or was she still riding the wave of adrenaline that came from finally getting to say, “I was right,” while Saul nodded along? Either way, Carrie’s left to pace around between the unfinished rooms that would have been the Brody detail’s HQ for the foreseeable future while Saul and Quinn explain to Estes why the guy they were following for all of a day is now shackled to a table in a makeshift interrogation room. Frankly, the situation’s a mess. How long can Brody be held before Nazir puts two and two together and moves forward with another operative in his intended strike against America? And, in addition to worrying about Nazir, Carrie, Quinn and Saul have to deal with the tenacity of Jessica (Morena Baccarin), just like Brody does.
With the clock ticking, Peter “Bad Cop” Quinn initiates his interrogation technique that hinges on the rather broad authority ironically granted to him by Brody’s new peers. Brody is first denied council, then given the opportunity to stew in silence after watching his own taped confession, and finally, after reaching some sort of impasse, Quinn hands things off to Carrie by driving a knife through Brody’s hand. “That was theater, wasn’t it?” Saul later asks Quinn. “Every good cop needs a bad cop,” is his response, which, in typical CIA manner is not really the answer to the question that had been asked.
Back inside the room, Carrie turns off all the cameras in the room, increasing the feeling of intimacy between the two. She works a little slower, appealing to Brody by first showing her vulnerability, and just how damaged she was as a result of their first encounter. This was not some simple situation where her target outwitted an agent; this was something deeper that could only be reconciled by the truth. And so, Carrie proceeds to give Brody all of it in the hope that he’ll reciprocate. After so much lying had gone on between the two of them, it’s odd to think just how well they actually know one another – and to finally hear them say it is a relief, just like Carrie tells Brody it would be.
So, like Nazir, Carrie slowly pulls Brody apart, but rather than putting him back together, she gives him a chance to see what it is he’s become. Of course it’s just a flip, Carrie’s only real hope is to turn Brody into a double agent, and release him back into the wild to uncover more details of Nazir’s plot. Without the flip, the CIA is just left with a broken embarrassment for the government and the Marines, and Carrie’s back out in the cold for having blown the whole assignment because she once again saw something no one else did. As Brody lies on the interrogation room floor, Carrie breaks down his options, humiliation for him and his family, in addition to a prison sentence, or work for the CIA in exchange for immunity. Brody remains incredulous, refusing to believe the CIA has that level of authority. Carrie simply says, “You’d better hope we do.
Meanwhile, as Brody is making a deal for his future and relieving himself of the burden created from his lies, Jessica is attempting to mend her family like all mother do: with food. It’s pizza night at the Brody household, despite the conspicuous lack of the only guy people actually call “Brody.” Earlier, she’d brought a peace offering of chicken noodle soup to her husband’s abandoned hotel room, after word got out (at Estes request) that Brody was down with the flu. Coming up empty handed, Jessica’s doubt continued to grow, until Brody returned home with a bandaged hand and an excuse involving a bender that was reminiscent of one back in school. But Jessica’s not buying it, so, in keeping with the events of the episode, Brody gives her enough of the truth to earn a temporary pass.
At the same time, Dana (Morgan Saylor) walks in on the Brody family reunion after coming home early from a disastrous date with Finn Walden (Timotheé Chalamet). At Morgan’s request to have some “fun,” Finn pulls an Axel Foley on his Secret Service detail, only to end the joyride by sending some poor pedestrian careening over the top of his BMW. Finn begs Dana’s silence; insisting help for the injured pedestrian is on the way. Reluctantly, Dana gets back into the car with Finn and the two pull away. All in all, as first dates go, it turns out to be a pretty eventful one.
Like ‘Q&A,’ it was wild, reckless and left Homeland on an ominous and decidedly uncertain note.
Homeland continues next Sunday with ‘A Gettysburg Address’ @10pm on Showtime. Check out a preview of the episode below: