"Homeland" — "New Car Smell": Get Smart
Let’s start out by addressing the elephant in the room; Virgil and Max are back! I didn’t realize how much they were missed until the boys reunited with Carrie, and the trio slipped right back into their amusing repartee. That said, the two may be among the worst undercover surveillance guys ever seen snapping photos and lurking near a bar entrance.
Estes’ reaction to the Brody video was just as satisfying as Saul’s, and as the two men discuss setting up a covert operation that will lead them to Nazir, incredulity and regret wash over David Harewood’s face. But Estes rightfully still feels a need to put his own man in charge; an analyst named Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), who from the moment they meet, irritates and challenges Carrie.
Brody is falling apart at the seams, panicked and unable to handle Jessica’s challenge to his empty apology, he packs and leaves. He can barely deal with Dana’s revelation that his car smells like smoke; choosing a cover-up scent at the car wash practically overwhelms him, and he projects his paranoia onto the cab driver who transports him to the CIA building. So it’s no surprise when Brody runs into Carrie outside, Quinn’s plan works to perfect effect. Thankfully, we only have to suffer through a quick few moments with Roya, who increasingly seems more important than the self-described Nazir ally we met in “The Smile.”
Drunk Lauder—not unlike Carrie—is a dog with a bone, and his ramblings are even more significant than Mike realizes. We’ll come back to that. It’s not immediately evident how the blossoming relationship between Dana and Finn will be put into play; with these writers, it’s no coincidence.
Though Carrie has momentarily regained her confidence, her moods—and stability—are all over the place. While she and Quinn are monitoring Brody at the Ashford Hotel bar, Quinn gets in a timely comment about his reliability. Because as soon as Carrie heads out to meet Brody, we know things are unlikely to go according to plan. The two slip right back into a comfortable, yet uneasy rapport; Brody and Carrie sit on bar stools beside each other like unstable chemical compounds that will explode if they get too close. When she becomes convinced that Brody is onto her, we know that no matter what Saul and Quinn say, Carrie will go her own way. But neither her co-workers nor we would have predicted what happens when Carrie heads up to Brody’s room; the shock on his face mirrors our own. Carrie loses it and hurls everything she knows about Brody at him, Saul drops his head into his hands, and we all hold our breath as Brody’s mask drops and he angrily steps toward Carrie. Their exhilarating and slightly terrifying exchange leaves us wondering just who is more out of control.
So where do we go from here? Presumably, Brody will have to cut a deal to work with the CIA, and turn double agent—there’s a very short window of time to make that decision and get him back on the street. It was great to see Danes and Lewis bouncing off each other again, so hopefully this development will give them more scenes together. Can Brody handle more pressure? How much trouble is Carrie in now, or will the team decide her move is to their advantage? Will Lauder and Mike get too close to some version of the truth, and get in the way? Will Brody’s prediction of ending with a bullet in his head come true? (Seems inevitable.) Whatever we think will happen, “Homeland” will undoubtedly throw us for a loop.
Cindy Davis thinks Max should be renamed Skippy.