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"Homeland"--"In Memoriam": I Think I May Have Figured Out Season 3

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | December 10, 2012 | Comments ()


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In an amusing aside, Showtime made a last minute change to the episode title; apparently "The Motherfucker with a Turban" was a little too much.

So, apparently there is no mole. Good on you, "Homeland." The writers had a little fun with our, and Carrie's assumption that someone inside the CIA or the FBI had to be helping Abu Nazir--turns out he is just one squirrely "motherfucker."

This was a tense, if not entirely satisfying episode. Sometimes when Claire Danes has a particularly harrowing hour, the audience is left feeling nearly as frazzled, suspicious and emotional as she is. While Carrie paced her way in and around the FBI agents and their equipment, looking for that traitor, we were right there with her--was it one of the faceless people we didn't know? Was it Quinn; was it that sneaky bastard, Galvez? In between the successful moments, there were missteps aplenty. Quinn might be sympathetic to Carrie's fragility after her ordeal, but would he really accept her escape non-explanation that she got lucky? Carrie is intuitive and smart, but why is she consistently the only person who takes the extra step, or makes connections? How can the FBI team comb that building multiple times and find nothing, but Carrie can walk through and immediately hone in on a secret hiding place? Does being bi-polar also heighten one's sense of smell, so only she could sniff him out? As Quinn noted, the agents work in groups of two; wouldn't the agent with Carrie have had a partner? She stood back as he cleared the room, so it made no sense that he didn't have someone to provide him cover--Carrie has no weapon. All that aside, it was a great emotional moment when Carrie set eyes on Nazir's dead body. She had chased him from foreign countries to her homeland, had him in her sights, and lost him several times. She had looked into Nazir's eyes as he explained his plans to exterminate Americans, and been an intimate victim to his violence. To finally see him dead with her own eyes was deservedly emotional for both the audience and Carrie.

Brody's reaction to the news was less relatable. Though his tears could have been a mixture of relief and his distorted sense of loyalty, Jessica's incredulous expression, watching her husband show more emotion about his dead captor than his own family, said it all. (The more I think about that moment of Brody at Carrie's doorstep, the less I believe his statement: "It was you or Walden--it wasn't even close." Something on his face just didn't read right.)

Saul knew exactly what Estes was up to, but it still seemed to surprise him when Estes said he wanted Saul out. Even as he angrily accused Saul of constantly undermining him, Estes is underestimating him--Saul won't just lie down, and Estes is rarely in control. He tasks Quinn with interviewing Roya, but Carrie waltzes in ahead of Quinn...and finds out she's not in control either. Roya let Carrie play her emotional cards, then handily slapped down the agent, both mentally and physically. It's interesting to note how gentle Quinn has become with Carrie, in the past, he's been so cavalier in his attitude--even cruel with his comments--about her mental health.

The hour's final moments were tentative and tense. Knowing Quinn was out there somewhere, on a mission to kill, while Jessica and Brody sat in a car--unprotected--it was hard not to imagine at any moment, a bullet might interrupt the couple acknowledging their marriage was finally over. In a great scene between Lewis and Baccarin, Jessica waxes nostalgic over who she and Brody have been, and both actors convey resolute acceptance of what they now feel. Still no shot rang out as Quinn watched Brody arrive at Carrie's house; in fact, he seemed almost conflicted (or maybe just disappointed in Carrie). And that's how things are left--uncertain and conflicted. Is Brody really in love with Carrie; is she with him? Are they still playing games? It is extremely difficult to believe Carrie would have feelings for this man who, several episodes back, was poised to physically harm her, who aided in the murder of the Vice President of the United States, and who quite possibly would have carried out a more destructive terrorist act. Regardless of the speech she gave Brody in that hotel room, does Carrie really believe they can have a life together? Should we still wonder about what happened when Nazir had Brody in custody and they prayed together? Does he have feelings for her, or is he using Carrie...to get out of the country? Did Nazir task Brody with carrying on in his stead after his death?

Notes: So here's my theory: Last week I said that Brody had to die, but maybe he doesn't. What if Season 3 begins with Brody having escaped the country (with Carrie's misguided help), now the de facto head of Nazir's organization? That would be a whole new ball of wax and keep the cast largely intact.

Has his ego led Estes to seeing himself following Walden's career path? Ego leads to mistakes, and if Saul can take him down, Saul could succeed Estes as Director next season. It would give him the leverage to reinstate Carrie, she and Quinn could team up to go after Brody and jump into bed together.

Next week, Saul sums up our feelings about Carrie: "You're the smartest and the dumbest fucking person I've ever known."


Cindy Davis, (Twitter) is full of crazy theories.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Frank Berrodin

    I'm leaving this show if this happens:

    "What if Season 3 begins with Brody having escaped the country (with Carrie’s misguided help), now the de facto head of Nazir’s organization? That would be a whole new ball of wax and keep the cast largely intact."

  • Blake

    Thanks for the recap Cindy.

    Notes on next weeks teaser:

    "The White Sheet" is obviously Nazir (they buried Bin Laden at sea so I would assume they will do the same with Nazir).

    I also now feel that killing Brody is not option (he could flee but even that is unlikely despite the teasers implications).

    Homeland Death Pool for the Finale:

    My money is on Estes (and Quinn*) taking a long dirt nap.

    *Quinn might live if he is the one pulling the trigger on Estes (he is after Dar Adul's man).

  • RilesSD

    I too was waiting for Quinn's bullet to take out Brody while he was in the car, so maybe it's better it didn't happen. I love that the show doesn't go for the expected.

    I wouldn't mind Saul being the mole, which would add a new complicated dynamic.

    You know what though, we still haven't seen Seth Gilliam since the tailor shop shooting. They never showed him get shot, so I have to assume he's out there somewhere.

  • Artemis

    I enjoyed this episode while watching it, and the minute it ended got more and more disappointed with it. I think the acting on this show is so good (with the exception of Lewis for a big chunk of this season -- I know he's capable of moments like hearing the news about Nazir's death, so it's a shame he spent half the season running around panting wildly and bugging his eyes out of his head) that in the moment it can distract from the problems with the story.

    I've said it before in regard to Homeland, but I don't think that TV shows need to be "realistic" to be good. They do, however, need to be plausible. If you think that the number one terrorist mastermind in the world is hiding somewhere in an abandoned factory in Virginia, do you send some guys to look in the tunnels for a while and then give up when he doesn't pop out waving a white flag? Or do you bring in some dogs and some infrared devices, and look through the building's blueprints for any areas that might lend themselves to being a good hideout? When you encounter the former CIA agent who was kidnapped by that terrorist, got banged up pretty good, hasn't slept in 36 hours, and won't tell you how she escaped, do you send her home alone or do you spend several hours debriefing her about the terrorist who is still at large and who she was the last to see and who has a history of turning U.S. citizens to his side? And maybe let her nap somewhere at headquarters, or at least call a cab so she doesn't drive off the road on her way home?

    And more than just silly plot devices, I think that Season 2 fundamentally got off track by making the show about a screwed up romance instead of trying to catch terrorists. I bought Carrie and Brody in a cabin for one night, being broken together. I don't buy either of them being deeply in love with the other. And more importantly, I don't really care if they are. I liked the Season 1 version of that relationship, when it existed to drive the main terrorism plot in interesting directions. In Season 2, more often than not the terrorism stories have seemed to exist to service the romance. I think that was a really, really poor strategic choice on the writers' part. What does the audience care more about: the fact that a U.S. Congressman murdered the VP, or the fact that Brody loves Carrie? And yet, the show chose a hilariously implausible method by which Brody could assist with the murder of Walden that I can understand only if I assume that decided to sacrifice plausibility so that the murder would fit into a rescue scenario that would not have been out of place in a romance novel. In Season 1, despite her feelings for him Carrie rightfully turns on Brody as soon as she realizes he is in fact working for Nazir. At the start of Season 2, she enjoys her vindication when she recovers proof he is a terrorist, and then radiates triumph while having him arrested by the CIA in his hotel room. And then, a few episodes later, she finds out he murdered the VP on Nazir's orders and instead of turning him in, happily lets him into her home to shack up for a while. Yeah, he did it to save her -- but although Carrie has always shown a willingness to die for her country (like five minutes earlier, when she ran back into a factory -- twice -- without a weapon in an attempt to catch a terrorist she knew had a gun), I guess "hey honey, I assassinated the number 2 guy in the U.S. government for you" is a killer pick-up line.

    If Brody doesn't die next week, I'm going to be pissed. His arc has dragged on way past the point of being interesting, and I want nothing so much as to see Carrie and Saul get back to their jobs next season without Carrie getting distracted by drawing hearts around Brody's name on her Trapper Keeper.

  • I agree with your criticisms, and I've thought all along that Brody *should* die this season. But regardless of what we think, the show has already scored another season, and the only choices are to completely reboot, or to Carrie on (so sorry, I couldn't help myself) somehow. As unbelievable as the romance has been, if Carrie really has these feelings--and she is messed up enough to think she does--and if Brody has been exploiting them to his own ends, I'd find it a decent twist. I'd also love to see Brody completely dark; to find that what we perceived to be his inner struggle hasn't existed for a long time.

  • Anita

    I personally think a reboot would be fascinating - more fascinating than dragging the "Brody-Carrie-masochistic-love-fest" storyline out any further. Brody has to die.

  • I don't know--I could take one more season involving Brody, with that being the end of its run. I don't really think this show has a 24-ish future of new terrorists every couple of years. Give it three seasons with the same players, then shut it down.

  • Artemis

    I can see that twist being fun in the abstract, but given what we've seen of Brody the past few episodes I think it would be a cop-out on the show's part. Last week, when Nazir Skyped Brody to threaten Carrie and demand he go get the pacemaker info, Brody hung out alone in the hallway of the apartment building freaking out for a minute after the call, then ran around looking so frantic that I'm surprised they let him into the VP's residence. There would be no need for him to keep up that act once he was off the phone with Nazir and Carrie couldn't hear him anymore.

  • He could still be freaked out at the way events were unfolding, but point taken.

  • prairiegirl

    Thanks for outlining so nicely what I was thinking about most of this episode. I was really hoping that when Brody was sitting in the car after Jessica left the camera was going to focus in on the light in the distance outside the car and we'd see Quinn with his sniper gun trained on him, followed by a shot. Wishful thinking. . .

    I also love how Carrie just waltzed right in to interrogate Roya without anyone saying anything. Wouldn't there have been orders from Estes or Quinn about who was allowed access to the room? And specifically, "Don't let Carrie in"?

    Also, I would totally like to see Saul and Estes get into a fist fight. I really just want to see someone punch Estes in the face and I think Saul is the best one to do it.

  • Artemis

    The Roya thing is completely true, but I'm willing to forgive that because I loved the scene so much. Carrie has been right so much this season that it was nice to watch her think she'd reeled Roya in with her empathy-interrogation tactic, only to have it thrown back in her face because Roya is a far smarter and more committed bad guy than Brody. Most people trying to commit terrorist acts on U.S. soil are probably not just looking for someone to love them. They're angry, and they think they're right, and they're willing to die for it. It's going to take more than Claire Danes' quivering chin to get a non-Brody terrorist to flip.

  • Wōđanaz Óðinn

    "Figured out" =/= "Pulled out of my ass"

  • I came back tonight to say, how you like me now?

  • Wōđanaz Óðinn

    Haven't seen it yet, but from the glee in that post it sounds like I should be picking out the hat I am to eat whilst delivering my concession speech.

    Also, admirable restraint on your part considering what a snarky comment that was. Check and match :(

  • I thank you, kindly.

  • pockets full of stone

    Seconding that.

    I'm tired of some people--well, mostly Dustin--constantly whining about "Homeland" without any sense-making reason. And I'm quite amused by some people--well, mostly Cindy--compulsively having to figure out what's happening next, especially after being so wrong about whatever they predicted every single time, time after time. Other than that, I enjoyed the recap (no, really!) and I'm enjoying this season like a motherfucker (sans turban.)

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