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"Homeland"--"Beirut is Back": Face/Off

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | October 8, 2012 | Comments ()


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After last week's episode left us on the edge of our seats, "Beruit is Back" sneaked up from behind and promptly pushed us off. I'm not exaggerating when I say that at the end of this hour, my mouth dropped open, then I screeched. But let's back up a bit; before we get to that particular heart-pounding moment, there were others.

Instead of returning directly to rendezvous with Saul, Carrie goes to a mosque where her contact Fatima Ali attends Friday prayers. The women meet outside, find a safe spot to speak, and in exchange for reward and transport to the United States, Fatima gives details of an upcoming meeting between her Hezbollah commander husband and Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban). Carrie gets back to Saul, and relates the information via Skype to Estes and Special Ops leader Scott, who are concerned the purported meeting is a setup for ambush. Later, Carrie overhears a phone call between Saul and Estes; as they discuss her credibility and reliability, she begins to hyperventilate and heads to the roof for some air. When Saul comes to find her, Carrie emotionally confesses it still fucks her up that she could have been so sure, and yet so wrong about Brody. But she also believes in herself--the Carrie who recruited Fatima--and that seems to be enough for Saul, who tells Estes they're going through with the mission to kill or capture Nazir.

Back in the states, Brody and Jessica attend a lavish party hosted by a weapons manufacturing company. Vice President Walden confidentially tells Brody that Israel's strikes against Iran were only partially effective--they need a bigger bomb (which the host company makes), but the President is blocking the export license. Walden wants Brody to meet with and help convince the Secretary of Defense of the urgency to "protect the country." Meanwhile, Jessica is approached by Walden's wife to host a fundraiser for wounded veterans, but when Brody hears, he suggests that if Jessica really wants to help veterans, she'd "take out everyone in this room." Jessica doesn't look nearly alarmed enough; she's an ostrich.

As the mission to capture or kill goes forward, Carrie and Saul listen in, while Estes and Scott direct the operation and high level government officials/the Joint Chiefs of Staff watch via satellite. Vice President Walden heads into the situation room; he grabs Brody--who has no idea what's going on. Everyone watches and listens as vehicles enter the meeting location zone, soldiers clear it, and Abu Nazir arrives. In the seconds before Nazir emerges Brody discovers who they're waiting for and slips out his phone. He texts a warning to his former captor, who narrowly escapes being shot. As implausible as the unseen texting was--and I'm still marveling that he didn't just allow Nazir to be killed--Damian Lewis sold the moment with his shaking leg, hand, and terrified facial expression.

Saul and Carrie quickly leave their location, pick up Fatima, and Carrie unpredictably runs up to Fatima's apartment to find information, as a group of men outside the building begin to attack the vehicle. Saul orders the driver to wait as long as possible, but things quickly escalate--they are forced to drive away. The group of men go after Carrie and once again, she manages to outwit them, clunking one over the head with a brick and escaping with a canvas bag full of whatever papers and computer discs she could grab.

A shaken Brody meets up with Mike and a group of his former Marines, who are convinced the official Tom Walker story is false--Walker was too good a shot to have missed the Vice President. In a statement that seems more about himself, Brody tells a vocal Lauder that Walker stopped being a Marine the day he turned traitor. Before going home, Brody has another meet with Roya--who conveys Nazir's thanks--and he angrily tells her again, he is not their guy.

In the hour's most glorious moment, after Saul's assistant is unable to find any important information in the documents Carrie retrieved from Fatima's home, Saul tells him to get some sleep and begins to put everything back in the canvas bag. Feeling something inside the bag's material, Saul rips it open to find a memory card, pops it into his computer and BAM, there is Brody's videotaped speech--the one that would have played had his bomb vest been successfully detonated.

Those last moments of Saul's face as he watched Brody's video is one of the reasons "Homeland" is so good. We try to read what his expression means; is he just in shock about Brody? Does Saul already know something about the plot? How much will he tell Carrie. And oh, Carrie...how our hearts just soared for you.


Cindy Davis is hyperventilating until the next episode.


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • cdramy

    yeah, agree with Mariazinha. sorry but, how is this a review? this feels more like a setup for a comment chat room to happen below but.. i'd love some actual commentary from the person writing the article!

  • Pamela

    I'm just happy for once we get a plot line like this in the second episode instead of at the end of the season where we have to wait months to get any sort of resolution. I can't wait for next weeks episode!

  • Mariazinha

    Love the shows, wish the recaps were different... Like the ones for breaking bad, for example.
    I watched the show. I know what happened. Give more commentary on it, and less descriptions of what we've already seen! ;)

  • Masterpiece

    Terrific episode of the best damn show on TV!!! Carrie is such a badass!

  • Artemis

    I do like this show, but I think I want to like it more than I actually do like it. The acting is outstanding, but some of the plot just doesn't work for me. This week, it was the idea that Brody a) without any advance notice would be allowed into the room where the Joint Chiefs were monitoring an assassination attempt on the most wanted terrorist in the world, b) would have been allowed to bring his phone into the room with him, and c) would then be able to TEXT THE TERRORIST in front of a dozen high-ranking military officials without anyone noticing. I can suspend disbelief for TV shows, but this was a bridge too far for me.
    I had similar concerns last season with the Issa reveal. Okay, so Brody has been tortured and now has a kind of Stockholm syndrome with Nazir and he likes the kid and is angry when he dies. But then he goes home and sees his own kids and his wife... and apparently still likes the cute little Iraqi kid so much more than them that he decides to ruin their lives by becoming a suicide bomber? Does. Not. Compute. He's not a stupid guy, he knows that Nazir has also killed lots of innocent people (probably including kids). Maybe with more back story they could have gotten me there, but it feels like the show has decided that it gave us enough of Brody's motivation and now it's about watching him struggle with how much he loves his family and how far he's willing to go. And yet I'm still waiting to see why it is that he's having any struggle at all.

  • ghunda

    Having worked at the Pentagon before, what made that situation so exciting for me was knowing that he wouldn't have his phone on him and Lewis delivered it with his facial acting. But shit, as soon as he took his phone out, all the excitement just farted out of me. Even during the next second or so right after texting Nazir, his tension is gone, as is mine. It wasn't until the following scene where he was shaking his leg, which made it seemed forced to me. Agree on willingness to suspend disbelief but this one was a stretch that would have broken a much lesser show.

  • Melissa D

    The phone thing really bothered me. I used to work in a secure military establishment, and we weren't even allowed to bring our phones in the building. In an environment like that, the security would have been way more tight than where I worked, and I know that phone would have been off and turned in. I understand that it moves the plot forward, but MAN it just grated for me!

  • bellaluna30

    Yeah, I get what you're saying. It seems to me that a lot of Brody's problems would be eliminated with the elimination of Nazir. (Of course, that would also end the show.) And I can only assume that others in Nazir's inner circle (like the "reporter") are aware and have proof of Brody's activities.

    The lack of protocol and security is grating, though.

  • PuraPuma

    I texted this to my friend while we were both at home while watching. There's no way a cell phone would be allowed in there - I don't care who you are. And in the Pentagon there are many areas where alarms would go off (silently of course) if a cell phone is on in an area where it shouldn't be. That was the plot point that I did not like because it was unrealistic. The rest of it... I like.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    These are my feelings exactly. It's a show that has just cast all the right people to make me mostly overlook what would otherwise be blatantly absurd storylines. Brody's motives really don't make any sense, but Damian Lewis sells his reactions so well I just sort of buy into it anyway. In most ways, he acts like you'd expect a guy with these motives to act, you just don't understand on any rational level why he has these motives.

  • dizzylucy

    The whole episode was great, but those last few minutes? Fantastic. Can't wait to see how this plays out now that Saul knows Carrie was right.

  • Blake

    Fantastic Carrie episode! But it was another terrible episode for Brody. I also don't understand why he would alert Nazir (other than the missing confession).
    Plus the highly unlikely scenario of the sending of the text message, without anyone noticing and his terrible overreaction (facial expressions and shaking).

    I'm surprised it was so quickly put in the hands of CIA. It will be interesting to see what Saul does. He knows Carrie was right and Brody was turned, but the attack never happened. He also knows about the drone strike and was ready to go to the press with the story.

    I had to watch "Marine One" right after to see Brody's entire confession.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I don't really see it as an "overreaction", though. Or, I guess it is, but I don't think anyone in the room sees it. Brody's, what, not even or just barely a year out of his captivity? That right there pretty much gets everyone in the room to ignore his reactions. And then on his level, Nazir's got him over a barrel with that taped confession, he killed his friend, he is apparently deeply and irrationally conflicted about what it is he wants/is willing to do to "honor" Issa/prevent innocent deaths and all of a sudden he's thrust into the position of having to decide whether he should let Nazir live or die. It's a hell of a situation and I can buy that he'd be visibly very shaken, and I can also buy that mostly no one else would be bothered by it.

    Brody's got a terrible poker face, but they've been pretty consistent about that fact. He doesn't lie well unless you give him time to prepare or until you push him hard enough to get defensive. Put him into any seriously emotionally fraught situation and he barely keeps it together. As you'd expect, really.

  • alannaofdoom

    "I'm surprised it was so quickly put in the hands of CIA." I read an interview with the showrunners (cannot remember where, sadly) in which they talked about "hitting fast-forward" on plot points rather than dragging them out - like Carrie meeting Brody, what, at the end of the third episode I think? And "The Weekend," of course. I love that they do this - it adds so much momentum to the show. You think you know how a story will play out and then suddenly you're dropped into the middle of an entirely different story. Well done.

  • I've yet to catch up on Homeland, but Damian Lewis has THE most natural smug face in entertainment.

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