Claire Danes and Damian Lewis
[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from Sunday's episode of Homeland. Read at your own risk.]
No one can argue that Homeland is dragging things out this season.
First, Brody's suicide tape ended up in the hands of Saul (Mandy Patinkin) in Beirut. Then, rather than waste a couple episodes deciding what to do with the tape, Saul showed it to Carrie (Claire Danes) as soon as he could. Carrie then took the baton and, instead of flirt-interrogating Brody (Damian Lewis) for several days/weeks, she promptly blew the mission and had him arrested. So why stop now?
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Sunday's episode saw Carrie & Co. go after Brody in the interrogation room with everything they had, both because they feared an Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban) attack on America is imminent and because, despite being estranged from his wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin), Congressman Brody's prolonged absence would not go unnoticed. Quinn (Rupert Friend) took the first stab (ha!) at Brody, trapping him in a series of lies before showing him the video. However, when Brody refused to cop to wearing a suicide vest, Quinn lost his temper and pinned Brody's hand to the table with his switchblade. (Turns out Quinn isn't crazy — he was just overselling the bad cop routine.)
Enter Good Cop Carrie, who slowly coaxed Brody through the facts again. He initially held firm to the notion that, despite making the tape, he didn't wear the vest and is not a killer/terrorist. Carrie then turned off all the cameras and turned the interview much more personal. She reminded Brody of the ways that he is unlike Abu Nazir and urged him to embrace the freedom of telling the truth. (To prove her point, Carrie confessed that she wants Brody to leave his wife and kids and be with her! Crazy!)
But somehow it worked. By correctly guessing that it was Dana's phone call that kept Brody from going through with his plan to kill the vice president, Carrie was able to call Brody a "good man," — the Brody she fell in love with. Shortly thereafter, Brody spilled it all and although he doesn't know the specifics of Nazir's planned attack on the U.S., he gave up all the members of Nazir's American terror cell, most of whom are dead.
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So now what? Has Homeland's quick-burn storytelling left it with nowhere to turn? Not so fast. Because the CIA needs details about Nazir's plans, they offer Brody immunity so long as he begins to work as a double agent for the CIA. But is that a good thing for the show?
We'll admit, upon first viewing, this particular turn in the story was a bit of a letdown, if for no other reason than it was one we'd previously considered. (Although the show has zagged a lot this season, this time it zigged, pretty much how we expected.) But then we realized something else: By bringing Brody into the CIA fold, the show once again puts him in the unenviable position of choosing between his former country and his newfound beliefs. Even better, it cranks the paranoia to 11. Carrie, who, lest we forget, is still a bit unstable from her first ride on the Brody Crazy Train, will have no way to know whether she can trust Brody. Every move he makes, especially if it's a misstep, could send Carrie over the edge. Similarly, how much faith does Brody have that the CIA will honor his deal?
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We still don't know how important Brody's story will be in the long-term life of the show (he was originally supposed to die at the end of Season 1, remember). And it may become harder to sympathize with a confessed terrorist who intended to kill Americans. But for us, that just adds to the complexity of the new, incredibly fertile storytelling ground upon which the show has arrived.
What do you think of Brody working for the CIA? Are you surprised that he confessed? And what did you make of Carrie's "confessions"?