Homeland started its second season with a focus on Carrie’s mental health and her emotional deterioration. Without the CIA, she didn’t want to live. That fact is what made her betrayal of the agency and loyalty to Brody so confusing. She and Brody had a sexual connection, sure, but would he really be able to keep up with her for the long haul? Was the relationship really worth her losing the thing she actually wanted to die over? Brody is gone and Carrie isn’t stable, but she’s not where she was last season. But, this year again focuses on her trials battling mental illness and also its stigma. The way to “deal” with Carrie is to have her unwillingly committed to a psych ward, it seems. It was brutal watching her realizing that not even her family was on her side. However, Peter Quinn is — and that’s something. Hit the jump for more.
Some of Claire Danes‘ most powerful work as Carrie was at the start of last year. The image of Carrie just laying down to die is burned forever in my brain. In “Uh…Oh…Ah” (worst / laziest title for anything ever?) there were number of haunting scenes relating to her imprisonment and the potential that no one would come for her or claim her (that the CIA might have expunged her records). Quinn telling Saul that seeing her hauled away kicking and screaming made him want out of all of this, and we can understand why. It was terrifying to watch, for Carrie’s sake. The final scene where she managed to curse at Saul from behind animated, not dulled eyes though shows she’s not done, and will not be constrained.
It’s interesting how Homeland has tried to keep the Brody family relevant by giving Dana a parallel story of mental health. But because it’s Dana, it doesn’t quite work. She wanted to die because of the inescapable reality of what her father had done, but as the doctor noted, it wasn’t about her. What Brody did affected Jess and Chris just as much. The fact that she now wants to live because of her romance with Leo is also extremely troubling. It won’t last, and where will she be, then? Leaving her mother and brother to worry while she went to find him was typical of a selfish teenager, but it’s a huge reason viewers have a problem with her. Most of us either have, or recently were, those selfish teenagers. They aren’t people we want to spend time with.
There is a good third plot forming though with the advent of Farra, the “kid in a headscarf,” who is becoming the star Saul needs her to be. By following the money trail, she can see that payouts were made to associates of Abu Nazir to carry out the 12/12 attack, but that it was bankrolled in Iran. In a wonderful scene, she challenges the bankers to find some ethics, which falls on deaf ears. Quinn, incensed (and needing the death of the child to count for something), pays him a personal visit later to compel him to cooperate. The bank plot, particularly regarding the unaccounted for money, is a nice mystery (in addition to “Where Is Brody?” and it might tie in) that gets back to the agency’s real work.
Further, Quinn is proving himself to be an unlikely hero. He has a strict code and an austere life. He’s chosen it, so he knows the consequences. He also believes in Carrie and, beyond that, at least respects her (though perhaps something more, depending on your sentimentality) enough to protect her when he can. He didn’t kill Brody last year because he thought it would break her. He visits her while she’s locked up, and later appears as a character witness, even after she made it clear she wanted nothing to do with him. I struggle to call him a good guy, but right now, he’s as good as Carrie has got. And that counts for a lot.
Episode Rating: B+
— Claire Danes is so good with both Carrie’s mania and depression. Didn’t it really sound improbable when she was initially talking to the doctor that people were trying to “hush her up” and that the CIA probably expunged her records? The craziest thing is that it’s true (or could be).
— “Your client funded a terrorist attack, and your question is how did we find out?” – Farra
— Saul’s lecture to Farra about her headscarf and how that means she has to work even harder to prove herself was really great in its honesty, at least.
— Oh Dana, I hope Leo wore a condom …
— Poor Chris trying to act as a diplomat between his sister and mother, and both being short with him all the time. That kid, I swear. One day he’s gonna snap!
— I did like that Dana called her father out as a psycho and a liar. To then have her go through his old pictures and lay on his prayer mat was also a very nice touch, and felt very real.