Posts Tagged ‘Showtime’

Homeland - Courtesy Showtime

My first reaction as the lights dimmed on season two: Huh.

Then I realized that this season finale was just a compilation of different types of Holy Shit moments. Let’s break it down:

Holy Shit This is Corny – Carrie and Brody, back together at the infamous cabin from the first season, staring longingly in to each other’s eyes, joking about that time Carrie thought he was a terrorist and he pulled his gun on her and good thing they can all laugh about that now, amirite? And hey, Carrie has a mom! Who walked out on her family! And Brody is the only person she’s ever told! (Now accepting bets on which episode Mrs. Mathison will make an appearance in next season – I’m doubling down on episode 2). And hey, it’s super difficult to be in a relationship with someone with bipolar, but Brody can totally handle it since he’s, you know, the very picture of mental stability. Anyway, it’s not like Carrie is totally delusional. She does realize that dating Brody won’t allow her to continue working for the CIA, which would be a bigger deal if, at this point, there was any reason to believe she would be asked to rejoin the CIA. As far as she knows, she’ll be having to wear an embarrassing yellow visitor’s badge anytime she wants to drop in on Saul. She tells Brody she needs to think about it before making a decision. If only she’d shown the same kind of hesitation when she decided to become complicit in the murder of the Vice President.

Holy Shit Is there a Tim Horton’s on Every Corner in Rural Virginia Too? – Nice to see our northern answer to Starbucks make another brief appearance. No croissants in sight, but hey. Can’t win ’em all I guess.

Holy Shit Quinn Just Pull the Goddamn Trigger Already – Set up in a mirror image cabin across the lake from Carrie and Brody’s Love Cabin, Quinn watched them frolic in the woods for a day, then watched them get down to sexy time, and then chowed down on a delicious can of tuna. In the morning, when Carrie headed out on her Timmy’s run, he somehow sped across the lake, snuck through the woods behind Brody, watched him as he prayed, put his finger on the trigger and . . . nothing. Jesus Quinn, just do it. There’s already been a Jason Bourne. You can’t just stop being a trained assassin because you feel bad about it unless you’re also going to get amnesia and go on a rampage against those who programmed you.

Holy Shit This Is Really Bad Dialogue – Turns out, Quinn upheld a part of that last qualification, showing up super creepily in Estes’ darkened bedroom, gun across his lap, to threaten him in his most Batman-esque voice. Quinn’s job is to kill bad guys and – guess what? He doesn’t think Brody is a bad guy anymore. So suck it, Estes. Not only that though! He thinks killing Brody will also destroy Carrie, and that would be bad since she’s “The best analyst I’ve ever seen.” Uhhh Quinn – aren’t you an ops guy? What exactly makes you qualified to judge analysts? And anyway, if you were watching the same shit that I was this season and deemed Carrie the best, then I’ve got the best oceanfront property in Nebraska to sell you. Sure she was right all the time, but she’s hardly reliable.

Holy Shit Estes is a Pussy – So. After getting threatened by a newly morally-upstanding Quinn, Estes just folds like a cheap hooker who got hit in the stomach by a fat guy with sores on his face (credit: Joey Tribbiani). Why didn’t Estes just say, fair enough Quinn, you won’t kill Brody and you’re going to come into my home and threaten me with hokey superhero movie dialogue? Fine, you’re dead too. I mean, he’s presumably got an arsenal of trained killers on his speed dial, and some of them might actually be better at following orders. But no, instead, Estes calls the whole thing off, releases Saul from his captivity, and even tells him that the damning lie-detector report was in the process of being redacted “as we speak.” So . . . that whole storyline was just a waste of time I guess? No real ramifications? No real point except to make Estes evil, Quinn good, and take Saul out of the action for a few days.

Holy Shit Does Saul Ever Love Peanut Butter – A man after my own heart. Give him some peanut butter, crackers, and an extra carton of milk and he’s good to go.

Holy Shit Saul is the Only Reasonable Person on this Show – His showdown with Carrie in the halls of the CIA was perfect – thanks in large part to Mandy Patinkin. His disbelief at Carrie’s professed love for Brody was exactly what was needed, and I was vigorously nodding along when he told Carrie she was the smartest and dumbest fucking person he’s ever met. Yes Saul! Yes.

Holy Shit You Guys, Walden and Nazir Were the Same – The dual funerals functioned in a couple different ways, but the most blatantly obvious one was to underline the fact that who’s a terrorist and who’s a hero is just a matter of perspective. Nazir gets a respectful but anonymous burial at sea, while Walden gets memorialized in what I’m sure would’ve been a string of services glorifying a career that was essentially built around killing people. The other reason for the simultaneous services was to again show Saul’s sensitive side and make sure there was an iron-clad reason for him to not be at CIA headquarters when shit went down.

Holy Shit, Who Moved Brody’s Truck? – This was, obviously, the turning point of the episode and maybe the show. Brody, apparently miffed at all the glorification of Walden’s drone program, silently motions to Carrie leave the memorial and they have a little lover’s romp through the apparently completely empty CIA complex. Then, just as Carrie tells him that she’s decided to give up her entire life to run off with an avowed (former?) terrorist, Brody looks out the window and notices, holy shit, someone moved my truck. Carrie barely has time to curse before the truck blows everyone at the memorial to smithereens. Was it shocking? Absolutely. Did it provide one of the only legitimately tense moments of the episode when Carrie came to just before Brody and had the presence of mind to grab a gun (that was just sitting loose in a drawer?) and point it at Brody, assuming that he’d played her and that he was behind this whole thing? You betcha. Did it make sense? Well . . . I mean, okay, yes. Technically everything Brody said by way of explanation made sense, even if it was a little awkward and, I don’t know, hitting us over the head with it all. “Don’t you see? He set it up from the beginning! He wanted to get caught! He wanted us to let our guards down!” Thanks for the recap Brody, but we probably could’ve put some of that together ourselves, especially since it didn’t answer the most pertinent question, which is who exactly put the C4 in his truck and moved it into position? The way it just came completely out of nowhere took something away from it for me. I would’ve loved either a shot through the trees watching Brody park (to at least suggest someone watching), or a gloved hand reaching for the trunk, or something. Just something to suggest that something bad was going to happen and give the whole thing a tension leading to the explosion, rather than just going for the shock. I suppose the point is of not doing this was so that we would have fallen in to the same false sense of security as the characters, which I guess I get, but I would’ve just preferred some warning.

Holy Shit Everybody’s Dead – Well, not everyone of course. Our beloved red headed terrorist/congressman/fugitive will naturally live to see another day, but Estes, Mrs. Walden, Finn Walden, and a ton of other nameless CIA agents are all gone. And with that, so is much of the core of this season. It’s like the bomb was a big reset button. Estes proved himself to be a wuss, but the threat of Evil Estes would have always been lurking in the background. Not so much anymore. Now, Saul’s the senior director and they’ll be able to (plausibly) bring Carrie back into the CIA since they’ll be ridiculously short-staffed and need all the help they can get to figure out what the hell happened. I don’t mind this. A lot of what bogged down this season for me involved Estes/the Waldens, so with them out of the picture, there’s a chance the show can get away from the political intrigues and back to straight forward surveillance and intelligence.

Holy Shit, Best Episode of Storage Wars Ever – Carrie, realizing that Brody will be (with reason) suspected of placing the bomb, manages to escape the CIA compound and takes Brody to her storage unit, which, disappointingly is not filled with thousands of valuable newspapers from the day Elvis died. Instead, there’s just a giant case filled with money, guns, and fake IDs. Once again, Jason Bourne would be impressed. Carrie explains that she has a guy (conveniently located along the route between Virginia and Montreal) who is expensive but can make the best fake IDs around. The plan is to go to him, then go up to Montreal, and from there meet up with her friend June who will get them to Newfoundland, where they can board a boat into international waters. There they can . . . I don’t know, broadcast Major League Baseball with implied oral consent instead of expressed written consent (thank you, Simpsons). Anyway, I can get on board with this plan as a short term solution. I’m willing to buy the fact that Carrie has contacts who are able to make this whole thing possible. Plus, Brody definitely can’t stick around and try to clear his name since . . .

Holy Shit, Terrorists are Good at Framing People – This is one part of the episode that I can truly say I loved. I should’ve known that the terrorists would’ve made copies of Brody’s suicide video, but I didn’t. Releasing it after using his car to blow everyone up was a stroke of genius. Well played, terrorists. Now not even Brody’s own family can deny his culpability. While it displayed questionable mothering instincts for Jessica to force her kids to watch their dad’s own suicide message, it was worth it to see them all realize, a year too late, exactly what Brody was capable of. It’s even more narratively gut-wrenching considering that he didnt’ actually do anything this time! (Or did he? I’ll get to that). Plus, Dana had just gotten Brody to essentially admit that he had been planning on blowing up the VP that fateful night, but that he’d changed his mind and wasn’t like that anymore. So she thought she knew exactly what she was talking about when she insisted to the investigators that her dad couldn’t have done this and then . . . that damn video. Poor Dana. For a moment, I thought she was going to go into the garage and take out Brody’s gun and just end it all there. I mean, could you blame her? She kills someone, has it covered up, realizes that the world is supremely fucked up, realizes that you can never really know anyone, and then her dad, who she thinks she knows, is a terrorist and killed 200+ people right after telling her he wouldn’t. I mean, Jesus. That’s a lot to deal with, and I don’t know if she even knows at this point that Finn is also dead. I predict a lot more angst from Dana next season and this will probably be what pulls Brody back in from whatever fishing boat he’s hiding on.

Holy Shit, Carrie Made a Good Decision! – Together in the woods just south of the Canadian border, Carrie and Brody were at a crossroads. As Brody helpfully pointed out, the woods are always symbolic for these two. In this case, though, instead of bringing them together, it frames their goodbyes as Carrie realizes she can’t give up her life at the CIA. There’s a heartfelt-but-maybe-a-little-too-over-the-top goodbye scene, as Brody and Carrie tearfully promise each other that this isn’t goodbye and that one day, somehow they’ll be together. Okay, so they’re both still delusional, but as Brody disappeared into the woods and Carrie sped home towards her rightful place at Saul’s side, it felt like maybe the writers were on the right path. This entire season has seemed like the writers were just contriving situations to place Brody and Carrie together, to remind everyone that they both love each other so much, and it has felt at times very forced. The greatness of their relationship last season was rooted in its unexpectedness and in its inherently fucked-up nature. Last season, when they were together, they both knew it was doomed. This season, they spent most of their time together talking about how they could actually make this thing work long-term and it just felt too cheesy and unrealistic. So, for me, creating distance between them in season 3 can only bring good things. I’m not naive enough to expect Brody’s absence from the show will last more than, say, half an episode, but as long as he and Carrie aren’t in the same room, I think that some of the narrative tension that was there in season 1 will come back.

Holy Shit, Saul Totally Knows, Right? – The look that Saul gave Carrie at the end said so much. Mandy Patinkin is a master at showing subtle emotions, and to me, when he finally turned and saw Carrie standing there, there was both relief and anger written on his face. Of course he’s happy she’s alive, but at that moment, he had to realize that there was a good chance Brody was too and that she had helped him escape. Where else would she have been for a day? I’m really looking forward to see how this plays out. With Saul effectively in charge, it’ll be a different dynamic than last season when they had Estes to blame when bureaucratic red tape that held up their investigations of Brody. Saul’s also always been the one who was able to break through Carrie’s bullshit and call her out when she needed it. I’m hoping he’ll continue to be able to do that.

Holy Shit, What’s Going to Happen Now? – Well there you go. Season 2 in the books. It was uneven bordering on the absurd, but in the end I think I liked it. I do want to know what happens next. I want to know if Brody had anything to do with the bomb in his truck (my gut says no, but they’ve left the door open just enough that he might have). I want to know who’s the terrorist now. I want to watch Carrie and Saul and Virgil and Max watch people through hidden cameras and long-range lenses. I just have to change the way I watch it all unfold. After the first season, I watched this show expecting it to be like Breaking Bad or The Wire when really, it’s probably more on the level of Sons of Anarchy. It’s not in the upper echelons of TV like I thought it was, but it’s still heads and shoulders above most of the crap out there. While Breaking Bad and The Wire were masters of creating complex characters and slowly building up to outrageous situations so that they somehow still felt grounded in reality, Homeland is more like SOA in that it’s ultimately a soap opera in which a lot of shit goes down every week (seriously, think about the amount of shit that went down this season in either show. It’s crazy the amount of plot they run through). They’re both exciting, they’re fun to watch, and fun to think about. I thought Homeland was going to be more, but really, that’s my own fault for wanting it to be something it didn’t want to be and maybe never was. So, with that, I’m going into next season with excitement. I can’t wait to see how they’re going to bring Brody back after the first episode, I can’t wait to see if it ever comes out that he was involved in Walden’s death, I can’t wait for the inevitable Quinn-Carrie hookup, and ultimately I can’t wait to see what crazy shit the writers will throw at us. 


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Homeland - Courtesy Showtime

Formerly (and more awesomely) known as “The Motherfucker with the Turban.”

Perhaps it’s fitting that this episode changed its name from something shocking (at potentially offensive?) to something a little more standard. The first half picked up right where last week left off, to the point where I was internally writing a eulogy for the Homeland that once was. And then, Abu Nazir died, and things started clicking into place again. It’s just that it’s getting increasingly difficult to put aside the ridiculous stuff and appreciate the acting and the emotional scenes on their own merits.

The beginning of the episode was another 24-ish romp as Carrie withheld significant information from Quinn (that Brody/Nazir are the ones who caused Walden’s pacemaker to malfunction), lied unconvincingly about how, exactly, she managed to escape from Abu Nazir (she got lucky, I guess?), and quickly jumped to the conclusion that Galvez must be the mole who helped Nazir escape since he, you know, just got out of the hospital and everything. This particular leap would be fine for just Carrie and her sleep-deprived brain to make, but they lost me a bit when Quinn leapt off the proverbial cliff with her, concluding that it “made sense” and leading an FBI chase of Galvez who, it turns out, was just going back to the hospital because he’d popped his stitches (or is that just what he wants us to think?!?!).

The one bright spot of the first half was Carrie’s botched interrogation with Roya. Nevermind how absurd it is that Carrie got into the room with her in the first place (she’d gone to wash her face while Estes explicitly told Quinn not to let her in the room, and then, when Quinn got back, Carrie was already in the room). That’s some ninja interrogation shit right there. Anyway, what I liked about it was that, while it seemed at first that we were in for another demonstration of Carrie’s expert interrogation skills, Roya quickly turns the tables on her. She tells Carrie what she wants to hear, feeding her some bullshit about what it’s like to be around someone who you know is bad for you, and who makes you do bad things, but you just can’t help yourself. A single tear falls down Carrie’s battered face, and Roya pounces. She grabs Carrie’s bruised wrists, and spits insults at her in Arabic. It was a powerful moment and would have been made all the more powerful if only there hadn’t been so many leaps necessary to get Carrie in the room in the first place.

Anyway, after Carrie’s failure, Quinn insists that she go home and rest, but for some reason sees it fit for her to drive herself home (in what was presumably a CIA-issued vehicle). However, the drive leads Carrie to realize that when Roya told her that Nazir wouldn’t run, she meant it literally – he had to still be at the abandoned mill (sidenote: I’m pretty sure Nancy Drew and the Abandoned Mill was a book I read in elementary school. Just something to think about for next season, Homeland writers. Maybe move away from the young adult mystery genre). She naturally heads back there against Quinn’s advice, and finds everybody packing up to go. There’s only one tactical team left and, probably just to shut her up already, they agree to go back in for one more sweep. Naturally, again, Carrie is left alone with only one guy (after an explicit conversation earlier in the episode where it was discussed that they always go in pairs), quickly finds a hidden room, and waits in the hallway while the lone operative goes in, finds where Nazir was hiding, and promptly gets his throat cut. The show then shifts from 24 to pure horror movie, as Carrie runs away screaming “HE’S HERE.” She manages to fight Nazir off not once, but twice, before the tactical team can swoop in and shoot him as he kneels on the floor in front of them and reaches into his pocket to pull out what I’m sure will end up being a cell phone.

The parallels between Nazir and bin Laden are fairly obviously drawn, but I especially liked the distinction between the popular reaction to bin Laden’s death (jubilant cheering, U-S-A chants) and Carrie’s quiet realization that she’d succeeded in taking down the person she’d devoted the last 10 years of her life to catching. There was no trace of jubilation on her face, but rather a mixture of satisfaction, relief, exhaustion, and a strange sense of sadness and pity. Abu Nazir was probably the person she knew the best in the world, and now he was lying bloodied on a gurney in front of her, looking like just any other person, not an evil terrorist mastermind.

As I mentioned above, after Nazir’s death, things changed. When Brody is told, his reaction is just as compelling as Carrie’s was. He breaks down weeping before attempting to pass it off as tears of relief to his family. It’s clear though, that Nazir’s death hits him hard. Before, he was lost because he was trying to follow the rules of too many people. Now, he’s killed Walden and Nazir is dead – the only person he has left to answer to is Carrie. Since the terrorist threat is apparently neutralized, the unhappy Brody family is allowed to go home (much to Chris’ chagrin).

What they don’t know, however, is that Brody’s life is in fact in more imminent danger after Nazir’s death. Saul’s detainment last week was for a lie detector test that Estes will use to blackmail him later, if necessary. I loved the return of the lie detector operator from last season, and equally loved that the actual administrator of the test was a stone-faced Estes henchman. I loved that the questions were framed in such a way as to trap Saul with partial truths (did he technically give Aileen the weapon she used to kill herself? Well yes, but there’s far more to that story, obviously). Saul correctly identifies the motivations behind this line of questioning, telling the operator that the only reason he’s being investigated is because he knows about the plot for the CIA to assassinate a U.S. congressman. This is, of course, left out of the official report. While I will eternally love Mandy Patinkin, this plot seems a little heavy-handed in terms of Estes’ rapid shift from authority figure harshing the main characters’ collective spy buzzes, to actual evil guy involved in blackmail, murder, and all sorts of shady dealings. Last season, Estes controlled Saul by revealing truths to him about the nature of intelligence and the war on terror, this time, he controls him by blackmail? It just seemed like a bit of a leap.

In any case, Estes tells Quinn that the plan is still very much on, and that he needs to kill Brody sooner than later so that they can just blame it on blowback from Nazir’s death (it’s best not to think too hard about exactly how this would work – would they really pretend that there’s another congressman-terrorist on the loose in DC? Exactly how incompetent is the CIA anyway?) Anyway, the spectre of Quinn’s gunshot hung over the final scenes, adding heart-pounding tension especially to Jessica and Brody’s breakup conversation in the car. While their decision to finally divorce was a long time coming, the way it got wrapped up into a neat little bow felt a bit forced. I mean, one day they’re yelling at each other, jealous of each other’s affairs, and the next day, they’re having a quiet conversation about how it can never work between them? I suppose it was set up by Jessica’s assertion at the beginning of the episode that “everything has changed” after Walden’s death. In any case, I thought the fact that Brody went right up to the point of telling Jessica everything before she stopped him by saying she doesn’t want to know was true to character. No matter how much Jessica proclaimed herself to want the truth, she couldn’t handle even the glimpses of the true Brody that she saw. Her realization that the only person he’s ever told the truth to was Carrie and that “you must really love her” was both cheesy and effective.

When a bullet didn’t explode through Brody’s head the minute Jessica exited the vehicle, it was clear that Brody would be going to Carrie’s. I hoped beyond hope that when the doorbell rang it would be Saul or Quinn telling her that Brody had died (because this would have been unexpected) but instead it was Brody, feeding Carrie lines worthy of my guilty pleasure, Days of our Lives. He did what he did to Walden because, if the choice was Walden’s life or Carrie’s, it wasn’t even close? Carrie naturally swallows it up, which I can hopefully attribute to her not having slept for 2 days. Was she really just able to ignore the fact that the whole reason Brody was a terrorist in the first place was because he wanted to kill Walden? Anyway, she tenderly kisses his hand and brings him inside while Quinn watches through the scope.

There’s only one episode left and a hell of a lot to get through. I’m hoping that, in the end, Carrie will realize that Brody is a terrorist and her happily-ever-after fantasies are both unrealistic and pathetic. I hope she’ll be the one to kill him, but no matter who does it, I want him dead. I don’t see how Brody can live and have this series continue to exist under any semblance of plausibility. As it is, I don’t really know how they can continue. Saul is out, Carrie is out (even though she single-handedly took down the world’s number 1 terrorist, I can’t picture control-freak Estes keeping loose-cannon Carrie around and not Saul), the whole Brody clan is out, Nazir is dead, Walden is dead – the whole series is begging for a reboot. Personally, I hope that Carrie, Saul, Virgil, and Max get together and form an elite private investigators’ unit and, through their surveillance of cheating spouses and insurance fraudsters, stumble upon a terrorist plot that’s even bigger than Nazir’s ever was. I just can’t imagine how they’re going to wrap it up next episode though.

In the end, that’s really the difference between this season and last season. Last season, the unpredictability was this show’s greatest asset, and even when it seemed like they’d painted themselves into a corner, they always managed to find their way out, even if it meant jumping through the window. I always trusted that the twists they would take us on would feel earned and would contribute to taking this show to greater heights. This season, when the show has its back against the wall, it fights its way out with explosions when exposition would do, and it takes us on wild goose chases rather than the simple path from A to B. After last week, I don’t trust it to do itself justice anymore, and that’s a real shame. I hope they can redeem themselves next year and the only way they can do that is by killing Brody and starting fresh in season 3.

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Homeland - Courtesy Showtime

Well, fuck you, Homeland. You suckered me in last season with a daring and innovative take on the spy/surveillance drama by mixing in a forbidden love affair and a realistic take on the consequences of mental illness. You gave me twists that I both didn’t see coming and yet fit entirely within the realm of plausibility. You gave me an anti-hero in Nicholas Brody, the maybe-terrorist who didn’t reveal exactly what he was thinking until the very end and even still remained clearly at war with himself over his own decisions. You gave me all that, you made me look forward to Homeland more than any other show since Breaking Bad, and then, you basically undermine it all with an episode like this one. 

This whole season, Homeland has been toeing the line between plausibility and implausibility and I’ve been forgiving it. I didn’t really mind when Brody texted Nazir from inside the Pentagon, or when he chased after the tailor and killed him in the woods and then rinsed the blood off of himself in a carwash, or when there was a terrorist attack on the CIA agents in Gettysburg in broad daylight. I also could buy that Nazir would get Brody to break into Estes’ office (Even though he apparently has a mole in the CIA that tells him everything) and even that Nazir would be able to sneak into the States by shaving his beard. I sure as hell wouldn’t have recognized Osama Bin Laden without the beard. I could even accept Brody being whisked away by Roya into a helicopter that the CIA were watching but still couldn’t figure out where it went. All of that, I was willing to put aside because everything else was so strong. But this episode, they finally went a step too far for me. To borrow a phrase from Joey Tribbiani, they went so far past the line, the line is a dot to them.

Let’s try to puzzle it out, shall we? Okay – Abu Nazir was apparently the one driving the SUV that t-boned Carrie. Why would he put himself in harm’s way like that? The only explanation could be that he is now completely on his own, since Roya and the TV crew were captured last episode. But for a terrorist mastermind as careful as Nazir is supposed to be, would he really let all of his crew on American soil be in the same place at the same time, ready for capture? But whatever, let’s say that he does. Would he then really show up at a gas station when he has to know that the entire CIA is still out looking for him? And alright, fine, maybe he felt it was a risk worth taking in part of his plot to . . . capture Carrie? And then once he captures Carrie, he calls her on his GOVERNMENT ISSUED BLACKBERRY and without first checking to see if he’s alone or, you know, with the entire CIA, Nazir pops his face up on the screen, points a gun at Carrie, and tells Brody that he needs him to do something for him. Forget the inherent implausibility of Skype working that smoothly on a Blackberry (I’m apparently willing to overlook all manner of cell phone-related sins), are we really to believe that the CIA would just quit monitoring Brody’s phone? At the end of last episode, they were desperately seeking Nazir, and now they’re gloating over the arrest of his minions and Carrie is talking to Brody about resigning from Congress as if he’s actually going to be able to just walk away? But, okay, FINE. No one thinks that it’s possible that Nazir might try to reach out to the one person he still has a connection with in America. Fine. The CIA has done stupid things before. But then Brody goes into another empty CIA apartment, shouts Nazir’s name about a billion times, then rushes out and says he needs to go to the VP’s house immediately, and no one bats an eye. And then he gets there, is more jittery than Carrie ever was in the midst of her mental breakdown, and is allowed to just wander around the house. The whole idea that a pacemaker’s serial number can somehow be used by a random terrorist hacker to induce a heart attack is pretty Bond villian-ish, but again, I’m willing to overlook that (see how generous I am?). I don’t even really take issue with the idea that Brody was able to find it (and a magnifying glass) and read it in the nick of time. No, what I have an issue with is that killing Walden to make it look like an accident would ever be Nazir’s Plan B. We’ve been told over and over and over again that Nazir strikes for maximum emotional impact. This has zero emotional impact on a wider scale. The general public will not be shaken to its core when it finds out that Walden is dead, because they will never know that it was anything other than natural causes (save, of course, the requisite conspiracy theorists who will be promptly ignored). Still, this was almost saved by the scene where Walden comes in to talk to Brody and Brody stares him down, waiting for him to have a heart attack. The moment where Walden reaches for the phone to call a doctor and Brody pushes him away could’ve been very powerful. Indeed, Brody lets down his guard in Walden’s final moments, telling him that he is, in fact, actually killing him. What should have been a moment of emotional punch was undercut for me by two things: 1) Why weren’t there any Secret Service agents standing outside the door? and 2) I spent most of the scene flashing back to a much better death-by-inaction scene in Breaking Bad, where Walter White stood by and watched as Jesse’s girlfriend choked to death on her own vomit while in a drug induced haze. Think, for a moment, how much more powerful it would’ve been if Brody had just happened to be around Walden when he has a heart attack and then seizes that moment to finally get revenge for Issa’s death. If that had happened, instead of it being the result of some behind-the-scenes string pulling by Nazir and a nameless hacker, it would have been the result of Brody’s own emotional truth. As it stands now, we don’t know if Brody let Walden die because he truly wants to help Nazir, or because he just wants to save Carrie’s life.

Oh, that’s the other thing – this whole plot by Nazir hinged on the fact that Nazir thinks that he’ll be able to manipulate Carrie and Brody’s “love” for each other. The worst part is, he seems to have been right. Brody risks everything to ensure that Carrie was able to run away, and, when Carrie finally gets a cell phone and calls the CIA to tell him where Nazir is, she conveniently leaves out the detail that the Vice President is likely being murdered by pacemaker hacking at this very moment. The only reason I can think of to omit this information is to protect Brody. And if Carrie’s love for Brody is going to go to the extent that she forget all about stopping terrorist attacks that has been her life’s calling then . . . I really don’t know what to think anymore. Is Carrie really deluded enough to believe that she and Brody will just be able to run off into the sunset together? Why does she even want to run off into the sunset with a terrorist? What happened to the Carrie of earlier this season, who fairly spat at Brody when he was captured in the hotel room after she tried to seduce him? Who venomously told him that he was both a traitor and a terrorist, and now he was going to have to pay for that? Now she’s just willing to overlook everything to live some kind of domestic fantasy? Last season, Carrie’s erratic behaviour could be partially explained by the fact that she was quickly spiralling downward into a state of mania. This season – what? Carrie’s lovesick? Is that her mental illness? I hope I’m wrong and there’s some other explanation given for her behaviour.

Meanwhile, Saul’s continued inquiries into the real identity of Peter Quinn lead him to have a delightfully understated conversation with Dar Adal in a waffle shop, followed by an overt confrontation with Estes in the hallway of the CIA, and finally by being prevented from leaving CIA headquarters to capture Abu Nazir. Instead, he’s dragged downstairs to some kind of interrogation. Oh also, Galvez is back. Remember Galvez? Last seen shot up in the tailor shop in Gettysburg and apparently not expected to make it? Well, now he has his arm in a sling but he’s back and ready to take out Nazir! Or, perhaps, live up to his mole-y ways. In any case, it seems more and more clear (and the previews all but confirm) that the series is moving closer towards revealing who the “leak” in the CIA is and I’d like to just go on record as saying that if Saul turns out to be the mole, not only will I never watch again, but you will see the kind of impotent rage not aimed towards a TV show since the season one finale of The Killing threw in a twist that both undermined a character they’d spent a season establishing and didn’t even answer the fucking question of who killed Rosie Larsen. If Galvez turns out to be the mole, I’ll be annoyed at his clumsy re-introduction but at least they won’t have destroyed one of the remaining sympathetic characters on the show. My only question is – if Nazir still has a mole in the CIA, why didn’t this mole just, oh I don’t know, call Carrie and tell him to meet him somewhere so that Nazir could abduct her from there. Or talk to Brody and tell him about the pacemaker plot, or any other number of things that could’ve been accomplished much easier if Nazir actually had someone in the CIA.

Anyway. I think the reason this has gotten me so riled up is because I thought this show was something else. I thought it was an intelligent, subtle, character-driven drama that just happened to have bouts of heart-pounding action and suspense. Now, it’s morphed into an action movie that is more focused on shock value than character development and that makes me sad. Maybe the final two episodes of the season can find a way to redeem themselves. I really hope so, because I really don’t like feeling duped.

P.S. Memo to Jessica and Brody: Neither of you gets to play the jealous spouse card. Jessica, you banged Brody’s best friend the first chance you got, and with your children in the next room no less. If that wasn’t enough, the next morning, you had a little post-coital gloat-and-makeout session in the middle of your echo-y safehouse again with your children in the next room. And Brody, you banged Carrie in a motel room with the entire CIA listening in and tell her every chance you get that you love talking to her and just want to be together. The fact that either of you has the audacity to act pissy towards the other about Mike/Carrie is ridiculous. Your marriage is a complete sham, quit wasting your energy.

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For some reason, I’m having a hard time writing a regular review for this episode. Perhaps I’m spent with all the excitement of Boardwalk Empire or perhaps it’s because so much has happened this episode (and this season) that I’m running out of steam. Whatever the reason, I think I’m just going to stick to bullet points for today. Hopefully next week, I’ll be feeling more energetic!

  • So, we don’t really know what exactly happened between Brody and Abu Nazir during the 12 hours he was off the grid. The story that he tells Carrie, Saul, Quinn, et al. seems plausible enough, but Brody didn’t tell them that he prayed with Nazir, so who knows what else he’s hiding. I think it is significant that his discussions with Nazir about Allah revolved around personal motivation and force of will. I really liked the way the show kept us guessing by just showing us snippets of the flashbacks.
  • Still, Brody’s panic to ensure the safety of his family after he watched Nazir drive away seemed authentic.
  • The plot to blow up the vice president at a ceremony for 300 returning soldiers is at once symbolically typical of Nazir and also too simplistic. The plot from last season was layered, and I have  a strong feeling that this plot has more to it than meets the eye.
  • Mike, Jessica, and the kids are essentially playing house, and Mike occupies the role of father better than Brody ever has. I especially liked how he shut down Dana’s whining.
  • Mike and Jessica’s middle of the night guest room tryst echoes Carrie and Brody’s cabin tryst of last season. Both Brody and Jessica look more comfortable with their secret lovers than they do with their spouses.
  • I also thought it was significant that Brody wasn’t mad when Carrie told him that Mike was with his family. He is either ready to give up on his marriage and family because a) he genuinely recognizes that they’re better off without him and his baggage; b) he knows he’ll be dead soon thanks to his role in Nazir’s bomb plot; c) he knows that he’ll be in jail soon thanks to his role in Nazir’s bomb plot; d) he has deluded himself into thinking he can somehow run away with Carrie and everything will be fine; or e) he’s got too many other things on his plate to worry about that
  • Meanwhile, Saul has had Virgil and Max keeping tabs on Quinn, and they discovered that he has a different name, lives in extremely spartan living conditions, and a secret baby and baby mama who happens to be a police officer in Philadelphia who is immune to the charms of Saul’s beard.
  • Quinn is apparently adept at the city bus system and has a secret meeting with someone who Saul and Estes know, but who for now remains mysterious. So, he’s not a mole but just working for another agency? Or another part of the CIA? I’m interested to see where this goes.
  • One place that it apparently goes is that Quinn has standing orders from Estes to kill Brody the minute that Abu Nazir is captured. Brody’s saved at the last minute this time, but perhaps he won’t be so lucky next time. I can’t imagine Carrie will be too happy once she finds out this little detail.
  • Is Carrie just playing Brody or does she really have feelings for him that are compromising her integrity? I’m starting to lean more towards the latter.
  • Ambushing Roya and Nazir’s guys at the diner seemed slightly premature. I thought they were going to wait until they got to the location of the reunion?
  • I can’t wait for a Carrie-Roya interrogation scene next week.
  • Do you think they’re using Carrie so sparingly this season because of Claire Danes’ pregnancy? I can’t help but wonder how differently this season might have shaped up had she been able to participate more fully.
  • I can’t imagine what this show is going to do for the next 3 episodes. A normal show would have the interrogations and the frantic search for Nazir occupy the end of the season, but this show will probably cram those into the first half of next week. I can’t wait to see where they take us next.
  • Brody is going to die this season, right? I mean, now he’s got Abu Nazir’s henchmen AND the CIA pointing guns at him and he can only escape so many times. The only question is how it’s going to go down – will Quinn, Nazir, Saul, Estes, Walden, or Brody himself pull the trigger? Or, will Carrie finally be forced to prove once and for all whether she’s able to put her feelings for Brody aside when homeland security is at stake?

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Is anyone else getting the distinct impression that Brody wishes he’d just blown himself up when he had the chance? He at least must be pining for the good old days of season one, when he actually had a semblance of control over his own life and the fallout from the actions. Back then, he was largely on his own. Sure, he had to play the part of the hero, which chafed on him a bit, but that didn’t really involve much energy. In the end, he even was able to exercise the decision not to blow himself up, and then he managed to convince Nazir that this was a better plan after all. Season One Brody was firmly in charge.

What a difference a season can make. While Brody thought he was placing himself firmly within the best-case scenario (he gets to keep his family and his life while working for Nazir from inside Congress), he was actually painting himself into a pretty small corner. Now, nothing Brody does is really under his own volition and it seems like his follower nature is kicking in more than ever. WHen he’s with Carrie, he does what the CIA wants; when he’s with Roya, he starts to think that being with Nazir is the right move; when he’s with his family, all he wants is to tell both the CIA and Nazir to go fuck themselves so he can live in some kind of domesticated bliss that only exists in his head. As Brody continues to spiral downward, it’s becoming more and more apparent that there is no “best-case” scenario anymore. Think about it: If he continues with Nazir, he’ll either die in the plot or he’ll be disgraced by the CIA, hated by his family, and spend the rest of his life rotting in a cell like Aileen. If he continues with the CIA, he’ll either be killed by Nazir (along with his entire family), or he’ll be forced to live in witness protection with a wife who doesn’t trust him, a daughter who is constantly disappointed by him, and a son who . . . well, as long as there’s video games, Chris probably won’t care. But still, hardly ideal options.

Indeed, as much as Brody might want to be with his family, it’s becoming more and more clear that they’d be better off without him. Even Dana, who sympathized with her father’s Islam and unknowingly stopped him from killing himself, doesn’t need him anymore now that she’s got surrogate-father Mike. As much as I disliked the hit-and-run plotline at the beginning, the last couple of episodes have made it all worthwhile. The scene where Dana visited the daughter of the victim and was told in no uncertain terms not to go to the police was heartbreaking. All along, Dana had been seeing the world in black and white, and the shades of grey that she’s discovering are disconcerting. She can’t imagine accepting a payoff in exchange for keeping silent about your mother’s murder and now she finds herself living in a world where that exact scenario is considered almost commonplace. She finds safe haven at Mike’s, and his willingness to give her space even lets her open up to her mother, revealing to her that it was Carrie who made Brody turn around. We don’t see the fallout from this revelation (because Brody doesn’t come home), but when Dana gets back to her parents’ house, she dissolves into tears in her mother’s arms. It’s a powerful scene where the two women, so often at odds with each other, are maybe finally in an honest place with each other, recognizing the strength that each other has, and knowing that, even though they’re in a pretty fucked up world, they’ll somehow get through it together. At the very least, Dana should hopefully sulk less around the house.

Brody, meanwhile, continues to fuck everything up. During a fight over what to do with Dana, Jessica demands that Brody just call the CIA and tell them to back off. Under the pressure coming at him from all sides, Brody finally explodes, screaming helplessly, “ICAN’TICAN’TICAN’T!” When Jessica leaves, Carrie rushes in and finds a broken Brody curled up on the floor at the end of the hallway. She manages to put the pieces back together enough for him to make his meeting with Roya, but the glue comes undone pretty quickly and Brody tells Roya that he’s out. When everyone else at the CIA is ready to pull the plug on the whole thing, Carrie of course insists that Brody can be salvaged if she has more time. She convinces Virgil to take the tracking off his phone, but she takes Brody to a known CIA safehouse motel where Saul quickly tracks them with a camera and audio surveillance. It’s through these methods that we get one of the most laugh-out-loud funny scenes in Homeland history, where Saul listens stone-faced to Carrie and Brody’s desperate sex sounds. Seriously, is there anything more awkward than Carrie’s surrogate father listening to him having sex with anyone, let alone a known terrorist? The awkward hilarity was amplified when the camera panned out to show Quinn and the rest of the surveillance team also listening intently. Quinn uses their moaning as a background track for yet another discussion with Saul about whether Carrie has finally crossed a line into being “stage five delusional.” Saul insists that Carrie is just trying to bring Brody back, but when she does return the next morning, he reveals that he’s not entirely convinced of this fact himself. Carrie insists that she’s not spiralling again, but it’s hard to really be sure. Is she any more able to stay true to herself than Brody? When she’s with Saul and the others, she acts impartial, but when she’s with Brody, it’s not clear whether she’s thinking with her head or her heart. I did love that Carrie treaded the realization that the entire staff had heard her having sex with Brody with no more than an annoyed sigh. Say what you will about her mental state, she doesn’t embarrass easy.

Perhaps she’s so confident because her sexy skills worked, and Brody calls Roya to tell her he’s back in. Roya treats this news with deserved skepticism and leads Brody to the middle of nowhere. She gets him to tell her that he’s only fucking Carrie to get information like Roya wanted him to, and it’s said with just enough edge that it might conceivably be the truth. Almost immediately afterwards, Roya disconnects his phone and the CIA’s listening skills, thus sending Carrie into a panic, insisting on being in one of the follow vehicles with Virgil and Max. As it becomes more and more apparent that Brody’s cover is blown (either that, or these are the stupidest brilliant terrorists I’ve ever heard of), Carrie becomes increasingly agitated.  She convinces Quinn to let them do a drive by, and she sees Roya and the assassin from Gettysburg with Brody. In an act reminiscent of Beirut, Carrie jumps out of the van and runs toward Brody when too late, she and Saul realize that the reason for stopping near an empty field is so that they can be picked up by a helicopter. As Carrie’s futile screams of “he’s gone!” echo into the darkness, it’s clear that this is about more than just protecting an asset.

It’s also clear from the look of terror and panic on Brody’s face that he knows he’s fucked. It’s a testament to the unpredictability of this show that I legitimately thought we were about to see the demise of Sgt. Brody. Instead, Abu Nazir steps out of the shadows and greets “Nicholas” in a deceptively warm-sounding tone. Nazir has clearly decided that enough’s enough and it’s time to bring Nicholas back to where he really belongs.

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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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