HOMELAND Recap: “The Motherfucker with a Turban,” Plus a Sneak Peek at Next Week’s Season Finale

     December 9, 2012


One thing lately that Homeland has had in common with Sons of Anarchy is that even when the plot lets you down, the show does a damn fine job of giving satisfying “feels.”  Last week’s Homeland left viewers and critics alike in a quandary: was it a great episode?  A ludicrous one?  Had it turned into Prison Break? My stance was essentially that it was pretty ridiculous, but as others pointed out, we’ve bought into a pretty ridiculous world here anyway.  Why not believe that terrorists could be using Skype or that a normally subtle character went off the rails screaming a terrorist’s name in the Vice-President’s house?   But “The Motherfucker with a Turban” righted many of those wrongs, and focused almost entirely on the emotional.  It also blew some of the show’s conspiracy theories out of the water, possibly, but hit the jump to get into the specifics.

homeland-motherfucker-with-a-turbanThe death of Abu Nazir was one of the most emotional moments of the series so far, both for Carrie, who saw her life’s work and purpose carried away more or less in a body bag, and for Brody who lost a mentor, oppressor, enemy and friend.  It was also emotional for viewers — at least this one — because Nazir had been the bogey man / scapegoat / crux of so much that had happened on the show.  He was a complex villain, and though foreshadowing alerted us to his (likely) imminent death, the way he was even able to control and orchestrate those final moments showed what a powerful person he really was.

That orchestration raises other questions.  Theories floated around last week that Brody and Nazir had actually plotted the entire thing together, from the kidnapping of Carrie through the killing of Walden.  Brody’s histrionics therefore were explained because he assumed he was being overheard by Carrie, and the whole thing then created the opportunity for him to “save” her and reestablish their relationship as a massive manipulation tactic to keep Carrie quiet and use her feelings for him to allow him to continue to operate for Nazir.

I’m not sure I totally buy this, though it makes for a neat story (and explains a lot of the craziness of last week).  But can we really deal with yet another twist of Brody’s loyalty?  In “Turban” he did essentially let his family go, and we don’t know why Nazir would have released him back to his normal life after his kidnapping unless the two had concocted something special together.  Does Brody still have a terrorist plot in him?  Do we even want him to?

The promos for the finale all but blatantly show Brody’s death, but nothing is certain with Homeland and I won’t be placing any bets.  Yet as much as I adore Damian Lewis, Brody is becoming a drag, and eliminating him along with Nazir would allow the show a fresh start next season that might make it like 24, sure, but also might still be a better option than the forever Brody-Carrie back and forth.

homeland-season-2-episode-11There’s plenty going on in the background, too, though it is all somehow tied to Brody.  Estes still wants to take him out, which Saul knows about, which has Estes putting him out to pasture.  Quinn seems conflicted suddenly about his mission, possibly because he actually likes / respects Carrie now or because he simply doesn’t believe in it, but that doubt could be exceptionally important next week.  Homeland‘s characters are rarely without complex motivations, and one of the best aspects of the show is that most of the time, we have no friggin’ clue what anyone is thinking.

As I mentioned pre-jump, another one of the series’ greatest strengths is its ability to give us real emotions, and Brody’s very truthful (for once) conversation with Jess in the car was a fantastic moment.  Even though Brody is conceivably free now (or is he?) it’s too late — his family unit has broken down for good, or so it seems, and he and Jess essentially acknowledge that without laying blame on anyone.  It’s just how it is.  That’s that.

Brody’s family dynamics played such a massive role in the first season (that being the real focus of the Israeli series on which Homeland is based: the idea of coming home and assimilating back to “normal” life, and if it can be done), but if Brody really is being set up for a send off in the finale, the conversation with Jess was an important one in quietly closing the chapter on their story.

There will always be a new target, and Roya’s switch on Carrie and her dedication to her cause is still very much in play, and very interesting.  Homeland’s second season may not have been as engaging necessarily as the first, but it’s still fascinating television if not just for what it gives us, but also for our discussion of all that it doesn’t.  Prayer circle for Brody …

Episode Rating: A

Check out a sneak peek at the season two finale, “The Choice,” below:

Musings and Miscellanea: 

Homeland occasionally flirts with other genres, and it turning into a horror film briefly was a suspenseful and spooky change.

– Many were disappointed by the idea of Galvez being the mole because he is a Muslim character, something Carrie vocalized this week in a moment hopefully we can just chalk up to her being off her meds … if he is the mole, that would be an unfortunate place for the show to go, though.

– Speaking of which, the title of this episode …

– I’m not sure how I would react if someone told me that they had killed the Vice President to let me live.  How about you?

Claire Danes gave some amazing face tonight. I hope they all get GIFed

– Everyone gives Dana a hard time for being really unlikable, and that’s why I love her so much.  She’s so real!  Her histrionics about the milk made me uncomfortable because I got flashbacks to my own asinine hormonal teenage behavior.  Dana is a great character because she’s exactly the mess she ought to be.

– Roya was allowed to keep her high heels?  They weren’t considered a potential weapon?

– When is Estes going to learn to trust Carrie?  She is always right!

– Did no one watching Brody as he stared, sputtered, cried, and then looked up like nothing happened upon hearing the news of Nazir’s death think that was weird?  That was weird!  Although I guess Chris did ask “isn’t this a good thing?”  I kept waiting for Brody to act like he was sobbing from relief but … nope.

– RIP Nazir …


  • Dustin

    Amazing episode! I hate how Estes always walks in like a bad-ass and half assedly says “thanks” as if Carrie hardly did anything. Carrie is a terrorist catching machine and I hope Estes gets whats coming to him.
    Does anyone else have a hunch that Saul may be a mole? Remember in the first season when a terrorist the CIA had aprehended, killed himself using a razor blade. Remember Saul was one of the few people who had contact with him, hugged him actually, and then failed the subsequent polygraph test regarding how the weapon was passed to the terrorist?
    I don’t believe Brody will die, I believe he and Carrie will turn into terrorist catching versions of Bonnie and Clyde!

  • Lindsey

    I still believe that this was planned by Nazir the whole time. He knew he was not going to survive, and had the chance to kill Carrie as he had access to the FBI guy’s gun. Why didn’t he? He didn’t even try to escape but instead sat down and waited for fate. It seems he knows there is more coming. Roya practically told them where Nazir was as well. Plus, he had to have known Brody could have been compromised after the video was found. That is why the security guard tried to take it. Nazir seems like that guy that has a plan for everything.

    Some important quotes that lead me to believe this is true:
    “If you helped catch Abu Nazir, then you’d be a real hero, and nothing you did before would matter.” “Even to you?” “Even to me.” (Carrie to Brody)

    “He’s smarter than you think he is.” (Carrie to Abu Nazir, in reference to Brody. Nazir responds with a very telling look.)

    “If all does well, this will be the last time we see each other.” “Pray for me.” (Nazir and Brody)

    “Sometimes when you are breaking a man, an emotional transference takes place.” (Nazir, talking about his and Carrie’s similar relationship to Brody)

    “You’re never going to leave this country alive.” “I know, and I don’t care.” “Bullshit.” “You can’t even imagine it, can you; something bigger than you, worth dying for.”

    “A man gambles with what he has.”

    Not only that, but Brody hearing about Nazir’s death just had so much emotion in it. Not just being relieved and sad he was dead… But I sensed almost fear, like there was so much more going on than what we know. Plus, we never did see everything that happened to Brody when he was aerial kidnapped. I don’t think he was strapped to a battery for 8 hours, that is just what he told us. I’m just not sure if he is a triple agent, or an unwilling one.

  • Cpt. Hindsight

    Brody seems like he’s gonna die at Walden’s funeral. The tv cameras will all be rolling when he gets up to give a eulogy and he’ll go off script telling the world who Walden really was and showing his loyalty Nazir then…BOOM for real this time. It would truly be crazy if he takes out the funeral. Also it gives a complete fresh start to the show.

    Also I could see Saul releasing the video of Estes and Walden bombing the school now that he’s backed into a corner.

  • Joe

    In the sneak peek we realise an assassination is going down, my theory is that Estes wants Carrie gone, but where Quinn has become to like her he doesn’t know what to do! Who do we think is being buried at sea? And why is Saul there….

  • Mars

    God, this show blows now. It’s scene after scene of long drawn out silence occasionally interrupted by bullshit where the Brody’s talk about their feelings or talk about how they struggle to talk about their feelings…and this goes on again and again and again and again.

    My guess is that Peter Quinn will be yet another one of the worst assassins in the history or worst assassins as he takes forever just to off the fucking guy.

  • NRM

    That sea burial will be Nazir…..similar to what happened with Bin Laden.

  • Lance

    I didn’t like how Carrie and that one FBI SWAT team guy decided it was a good idea to get separated from the rest of the group before checking out what was behind that rack of machinery. And the rest of the squad didn’t realize they’d gone missing?

    • Danny

      Exactly, that was pretty convenient. The whole time that Swat guy was walking in the dark room by himself I was yelling at the screen “You just found a secret room. Call/Wait for backup, then go into it!” But of course, TV reality takes place and he goes in alone stupidly. What’s interesting is that earlier in the episode they were talking about how those guys who did search worked in pairs to cover each other but it’s quickly forgotten here.

  • Rosie

    If Brody dies in next week’s episode . . . fine. I never expected him to survive the series. But, if he does die . . . that’s it for “HOMELAND” as far as I’m concerned. I became a fan of this show, because of the dual interactions between Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. I’m not that interested in the series with only one of them as a main character.

  • Rosie

    If Brody dies in next week\’s episode . . . fine. I never expected him to survive the series. But, if he does die . . . that\’s it for \"HOMELAND\" as far as I\’m concerned. I became a fan of this show, because of the dual interactions between Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. I\’m not that interested in the series with only one of them as a main character.

  • KB

    I really liked the last episode and the whole story too. But I thing not everything is clear. I am sure a big shock is coming, and I guess it is Carrie being terrorist or something like that. She has been to Baghdad and some other cities a lot of times, and she was kinda has dedicated herself to finding Abu Nazir. Also the fact that she spends too much time with Brody, it makes me curious too. I am sure that the revelation will be “fight club” style, and they will show the whole story from Estes/Saul/Peter perspective, and everything we “knew” from Carrie/Brody perspective will be lie.

  • Akshay

    unless something major happens in the finale, this season has been a total waste, unless something big comes along which puts everything into perspective. besides that i hope now that brody is finally out of the marriage, the writers will not focus much on the brodys – hate dana and mike – hope these 2 somehow dies in the finale.

  • gypsy rover

    did you all see in the preview for the finale where the money and birth certificate, passport, cash and Virginia license for Carrie had another name on it – the birth certificate and license had the name of Ellen someone, not Carrie, now what the h is that about?!!!! This show is killing me!!

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