'Homeland' Season 2, Episode 4: 'New Car Smell' Recap

Claire Danes and Damian Lewis in Homeland New Car Smell

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

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

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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