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Posts Tagged ‘Dana’

One of the central questions of last season asked who Sgt. Brody really was – that is, was he a terrorist? In complicated Homeland fashion, by the end of the season, it seemed like we’d reached an answer on that front. Brody was, in fact, a terrorist, despite the fact that he chose at the last minute not to detonate his vest. He killed Tom Walker to prove to Nazir that he was still in, and that was that. Now though, halfway through season 2, it’s becoming clear that there is nothing straightforward about Sgt. Brody. Is he a double agent or a triple agent? Is he working with the CIA because he repents or because he has no other choice? What does he really believe? What does he really want for himself, his family, his country?

We don’t know, and, in this episode, Brody seems not to know either. He’s flailing, confronted with one crisis after another. Every time he tries to do the right thing, someone comes in and overrules him. He can no longer trust his instincts, and as a result, he’s losing himself. In his discussion with Rex in the stables, Brody keeps insisting he’s not the guy who Rex thinks he is. He’s not a hero, he didn’t endure, and he hasn’t managed to keep himself. As he tells Carrie latter in the clearing, Rex is the guy Brody could have been, but now it’s too late. So if Brody isn’t a hero, or a leader, or maybe even a terrorist, then who is he?

By the end of the episode, things are more screwed up in the Homeland universe than ever before. Brody’s still stonewalled by Roya, told that something is coming quickly, but not given any details. He’s also stonewalled by the CIA, who want him to stay close but don’t give him any clear missions. If there’s one word that you could use to identify Brody, perhaps it’s “follower.” Brody operates best with clear orders, and now that he has orders coming from both directions, he’s not sure who to follow. On the way to the weekend fundraiser at a super-rich Walden supporter’s house, Jessica confronts him with Mike’s theory that Brody was the one that killed Tom Walker. His response continues his theme of half-truths from last week, as he tells her that he did “have a part in his death.” He frames it as part of a larger CIA operation, and uses the passive voice to shift the blame from himself to some kind of force beyond his control. Whether Jessica believed him, or whether it was just because the limo stopped, she drops it and puts on her politician’s wife face.

Dana, meanwhile, isn’t as good of an actress as her mother, and becomes increasingly frantic in her insistence that she and Finn confess to what they did. Finn keeps pushing her off and, for a moment, I wondered whether he wasn’t going to kill her too. Instead though, Dana blurts it out to her mom and Mrs. Walden – “we killed someone.” The way that she said it was morbidly hilarious and almost seemed to be a nod to the ridiculousness of this whole plotline. Predictably, the mothers act differently, with Jessica talking about lawyers and police and Mrs. Walden talking about covering it up with the help of the Secret Service. Finn, it seems, is just a product of his surroundings – he knew what would happen if they told (nothing), and so he knew there was no point in telling. Dana insists that her parents are different and, at the end, it seems like they just might be. Brody comes and tells her that he’s taking her to the police station right now, and Dana seems relieved to have been right about them.

Of course, Dana has no way of knowing about everything her father is going through. She doesn’t know about his stolen moment in the clearing with Carrie, about how he doesn’t know whether his feelings for her are real or just a result of some expert CIA manipulation. Their kiss makes him at once happy and suspicious. Is he happy with her because they have a connection on some deeper, un-manipulatable level, or is it just CIA bullshit? His reaction to it is absolutely heartbreaking. Brody has been broken down so many times that he can’t even trust himself to know his own innermost feelings. If he can’t trust his feelings, how is he supposed to know whether his decisions are right or wrong?

While the Brody clan was on their weekend in the country, Saul takes a trip to a maximum security prison to see Aileen, who has been wasting away in a windowless cell ever since she provided the sketch of Tom Walker. Saul brings her up to an interrogation room with windows and a beautiful view and starts to rebuild the relationship with her, promising her to get her a windowed cell in exchange for identifying the man that Roya met with and who led the attack in Gettysburg. Just like in last season’s The Weekend, Saul’s scenes with Aileen are moving, thanks in large part to Mandy Patinkin’s amazingly subtle performance. I could watch him quietly talk to people all day. Unfortunately, Saul doesn’t have that luxury, and he keeps pressing Aileen with the urgency of the situation. As they’re waiting for the executive order to confirm Aileen’s move, Saul brings out wine, bread, and cheese – a token of kindness that would turn out to be a last meal. After borrowing Saul’s reading glasses to confirm the veracity of the order, Aileen gives Saul a name, and he rushes out, leaving everything in the room and telling the guard to keep her in there until he returns. The name that she gave turns out to be the name of an old DJ friend from Saudi Arabia, and too late Saul realizes what’s happened. He rushes in, but she’s stabbed herself with the broken glass from his reading glasses. When she told him she couldn’t go back into that room, she meant it. Back at the control room, Saul laments that he let himself get emotionally involved. While Carrie’s emotions might help her in the field, Saul’s sympathies towards Aileen compromised him and his kindnesses led to her death. When Saul moved Aileen’s picture from the almost-bare bulletin board of living people to the overcrowded one of dead people, it was clear that, although Abu Nazir hadn’t yet committed his attack, he had already left a wake of destruction in his path. Brody is one of the dwindling people left alive, and with every day that goes by, his importance in the operation only grows. Every other avenue has failed, and Brody is their only remaining chance at stopping the attack on America.

So, when Estes calls Carrie and tells her that Brody was on his way to the police station to turn his daughter in for the hit and run, it’s clear why that can’t be allowed to happen. If the police start looking into things, Abu Nazir’s people will stop talking to Brody. If they stop talking to Brody, the CIA loses all possible hope of being able to stop the attack. They might be getting only cryptic snippets from Roya right now, but it’s all they have to go on. Carrie’s waiting for them when Brody and Dana arrive at the station, and she tells Brody in unequivocal terms that if he walks into that police station, his deal with them is off. Dana, naturally, freaks out and runs off, although I’m not clear why she didn’t just run into the police station and confess herself if it was that important to her. Anyway, I’m just glad that this storyline has finally connected with the main goings-on, and that everything is out in the open. I expect more teen angst in the coming episodes, but at least the secret is out.

A couple final things – I wasn’t sure what to make of Quinn and Virgil’s brother’s little exchange, where Quinn called him “the mute” and Max said pointedly “I’m not a mute.” Was that the only time he’s spoken? Was that just a funny little aside, or will it come to have more meaning later? All I can say is he’d better not be the mole. That wouldn’t make any sense, especially since Galvez is apparently not dead. Between that fact being brought up several times, and Roya’s assertion that they “lost someone” so Brody will have to take on more of a role, brings me back to suspecting that he is the mole after all. I mean, why else would he survive the attack? He seems to be in serious condition (a coma maybe?) and Quinn says that he’s “still dying,” but I foresee a hospital bedside conversation in the near future. Hopefully he’s more honest on his deathbed than Aileen was on hers.

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Disclaimer: I both watched last night’s episode and am writing this review through a cold medicine haze. So, if things don’t make sense or if I start talking about Brody’s meeting with Nucky Thompson, please feel free to ignore me or correct me in the comments section.

Just as last episode was really all about the interrogation, this week’s episode was all about what happened in the tailor’s shop in Gettysburg. After watching Roya meet up with a mysterious man to have a discussion rendered un-hearable by means of waterfall, Carrie convinces Quinn that they need to bring Brody in to see if he can identify the man. He can’t of course, but he does tell them that the Gettysburg tailor is dead (he “fell” while trying to escape from Brody who was taking him to the safehouse – Brody can’t quite shake the lying habit yet. It’s worth noting that it was Quinn, not Carrie, who managed to get this information from Brody. Carrie might have unmatchable hunches, but Quinn’s skills aren’t too shabby either. In any case, this new information means that they can stop surveilling the tailor’s and go inside and actually start looking for stuff while Brody is sent to talk to Roya and try to extract more information.

In Gettysburg, Quinn, Galvez, a bunch of nameless CIA agents, and Carver from The Wire (here named Chapman, I think) start digging through the paperwork, looking for something that might hint at what Abu Nazir has planned. As soon as I saw Carver on the screen, I knew some shit was about to go down and that he would be involved somehow. After Roya tells Brody that she knows that the CIA are at the tailor’s and that they’re going to find something big (or something like that? See above cold medicine disclaimer), Carrie calls and warns Quinn. He barely has time to call for FBI backup and notice a glaringly obviously re-patched wall hiding a hollow compartment before a bunch of men in black masks burst in with machine guns and take everyone out (I assume this is the same group of goons who shot poor Faisel in the motel last season). One of them conveniently removes his mask to reveal that he’s the same man Roya met with earlier, and they cut a hole in the wall and remove a giant case of . . . something (a bomb? A nuclear warhead? Something else entirely?) At the very end, Quinn moves, showing that he was only playing dead, although those wounds look pretty severe. Galvez tried to play the hero and seems to have gotten himself actually killed in the process, which I guess puts to rest the idea that he might have been the CIA mole all along. In a way, that’s kind of a relief because I didn’t want him to be the mole, but it’s kind of sad that he had to die to prove that. Also significant is who wasn’t shown as dead – namely, Carver from The Wire. He had to have been in on it somehow because why would you hire an actor that most of the Homeland audience would recognize if you were just going to kill him off unceremoniously in the same episode? It’s like when Landry from Friday Night Lights showed up on Breaking Bad. You knew he was going to play a bigger role eventually.

In the aftermath, Carrie goes to Brody’s office and demands to know whether he knew about the hit. He claims to not have known and Carrie seems to believe him, collapsing into tears in his arms. I’m willing to buy that Brody didn’t know anything since Roya seems to keep him on a very short leash, but I’m still not convinced that he would have done anything to stop it even if he had known about it. He chafes at being followed by the CIA as he drops Dana off at school even though he can’t have been surprised at his newfound lack of privacy and he resents being forced to talk to Roya. He might be playing along with the CIA demands for now, but he’s clearly not happy about it. Meanwhile, I don’t know how much longer the CIA can let Roya walk around free, when she clearly passed along the information that led to 7 agents being killed. I predict that she’ll end up chained to the floor being interrogated by Carrie/Saul sooner than later.

While all of this shit was going down, there were two side stories – Mike the conspiracy theorist and Dana the guilt-ridden hit-and-runner. Mike’s story is actually becoming less annoying, as he’s becoming more integrated with the larger plot. This week, he and Lauder talk to a homicide detective about Tom Walker’s death and find out that the investigation was taken over by the CIA. Mike tells Lauder he’ll try to find something out from his CIA buddy (why didn’t he go to him in the first place?), but when he gets to Langley, he’s met instead by Saul and Estes, who tell him, in so many words, to get his nose the fuck out of CIA business. They tell him it’s a matter of national security and that he needs to know his place. Of course, Mike keeps investigating and finds Brody’s gun (a 9mm – which is everyone’s standard issue) in the garage and tells Jessica that he thinks Brody killed Tom Walker. She doesn’t believe him (or does she just not care? Again, I’m pleading cold medicine here). What I don’t get is why Mike is so good at piecing the entire conspiracy theory together, but when the director of the CIA tells him that Brody’s actions affected national security and when Jessica tells him that Brody’s been working for the CIA, he can’t piece together that maybe Brody was working for the CIA and killed Tom Walker at their behest. I mean, it’s not at all what happened, but it would make sense in Mike’s head, wouldn’t it? Anyway, I do like that if he keeps digging, the risk is not that he’ll expose Brody to the authorities (since they already know), but that he’ll expose the CIA operation to try and stop the much bigger and important Attack on America. Mike’s poking around suddenly has much higher stakes for the overall trajectory of the show.

The Dana story on the other hand still feels a bit disjointed. She goes to the hospital and somehow finds the room of the woman they hit with the car. The woman’s daughter tells Dana that she’s going downhill fast and when Dana sees Finn the next day at school, she tells him that she died. Finn continues to act like a douchebag and yells at Dana for being stupid and tells her that he’d rather die than have anyone find out what they did. I’m just still unclear about how this whole thing is going to fit within the larger narrative. I mean, yes, Dana’s guilt over the death of this woman is sharply contrasted with her father’s lack of guilt over the people that he’s killed (most recently, the tailor), but there has to be more to it than that. Perhaps she will let it slip to her dad and he’ll have something to hold over the VP’s head. Most likely, though, it will be something completely out of left field that makes perfect sense and leaves me once again in awe of the writers. I just wish they’d hurry up and get there already. I like the actress who plays Dana and I don’t want to keep wishing her scenes would be over faster so that we can get back to the real storylines.

Next week: The fallout from the shooting and we (maybe?) find out what was in the tailor’s hidden case.

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