After a whirlwind of episodes that took away our collective breath, “Q & A” was powerfully quiet. Not to say there were no heart-pounding moments, rather, the exhilaration came through the skillful way Carrie Mathison cornered her mouse.
Following Carrie’s confrontation and the subsequent rendition-like Brody takedown, the key players end up in the handy-dandy CIA makeshift prison/interrogation room, complete with table cuffs. Surprisingly, or perhaps more because they know they need her, Estes, Saul and Quinn don’t stay angry at Carrie more than a few moments. Everyone begrudgingly allows the slim possibility of Carrie’s assertion that Brody made her—I’m not sure whether she really believes it herself, or it’s just an excuse for her losing control. We understand Quinn’s reluctance to let Carrie conduct Brody’s interview; is he the only one that doesn’t know the Senator will never confess to him, or is he just setting up sympathiser Carrie all along? Thrown into a hotbed of magnificent actors, Rupert Friend has quickly made his own place. Quinn leads Brody through a parade of lies before hitting “Play” on the recovered suicide video, then walks out, leaving Brody to stew. Damian Lewis again does the face morph, as Brody’s emotions transform him from nervous to angry, then defiant to deflated.
Did anyone see Quinn’s next move coming—when Brody takes the position that he made the suicide video but never actually wore a vest bomb (pretty smart)? Perhaps because we’ve been preconditioned, when the agent feigns losing control and stabs Brody, I was completely taken aback. But I don’t feel too badly, since it seemed to take a moment for Saul to catch on; “So that was all theater.” Quinn: “Every good cop needs a bad cop.” And finally, we get what we came for. Whether or not Carrie completely lost it when she confessed her knowledge and feelings to Brody, now she plays him like a well-loved instrument. She gently removes his cuffs, caresses him and softly…expertly plucks his every string until he cannot help himself. Brody responds just as he was conditioned to by Nazir. Lewis’ face crumbles and as Carrie speaks to Brody, he transforms back to that bearded, dazed POW we saw at “Homeland’s” outset. Watching Brody fall apart, Carrie baring her soul, their eyes both filling with tears and then Brody dropping to the floor in the fetal position (just as we’ve seen Carrie do), it’s impossible not to see the bond between these two broken souls.
In between the interrogation scenes, we’re treated to sporadic scenes of a mostly clueless, suddenly dejected Jessica running around trying to find the husband she just kicked out. It’s a little strange that right after they’ve separated, her anger has so quickly dissipated and she goes on a mission to find him—it seems conveniently written just so someone will be suspicious over Brody’s disappearance. (Better her than Roya, I suppose.) But even more disappointing is the direction writers are taking Dana. There’s nothing wrong with a little teenage crushing on the Vice President’s son, but this business with the hit and run has veered too far into Kim Bauer territory. The only justification would be if Dana eventually needs to play a little blackmail game with Finn to help her dad.
As expected, Brody has no choice but to work for the CIA. It’s a useful truth for Brody to offer when he returns home to Jessica—who stretches credulity by taking back her husband so quickly. But as we’ve observed, “Homeland” is a show that needs to rubber band the truth a bit so that when we get off the coaster, we want to run right back to get in line and ride again.
Cindy Davis is currently in line for a stormy ride she hopes is not too bumpy.