Wednesday, 7 December 2011

HOMELAND, 1.10 - "Representative Brody"

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Now that many of Homeland's cards have been laid on the table (although I suspect there's a few aces up sleeves), the show has transitioned into a slightly different beast. It's no longer so focused on Brody (Damian Lewis) and in Carrie (Claire Danes) trying to ascertain if he's been flipped, because she wholeheartedly believes he hasn't, and instead it's become more of a straightforward thriller. I hate to keep making comparisons, but it's very much like 24 if a mainstream network started giving notes saying "less explosions, no torture, more characterisation and human drama".

"Representative Brody" was another good episode from a show that feels incapable of giving us anything less than that. Brody was officially asked by the Vice-President himself to run for office, and after some hesitation from Jess (Morena Baccarin) he's now pursuing this new horizon. I'm just wondering if Brody gaining political power is part of Abu Nazir's masterplan, or a favourable and unexpected bonus that Brody's seized on. But the real driving force of the story was the CIA's continuing efforts to find Walker, which led them to Saudi diplomat Al Sahrani (the brilliant Ramsey Faragallah) who appears to be in contact with the traitorous sniper. This led to one of the scenes Homeland's so brilliant at, with a tense and fascinating interrogation from Carrie (with Saul as brooding back-up) where they attempted to get Sahrani onside by threatening to expose his homosexuality to the world. But after the Sahrani called their bluff, Carrie's impromptu Plan B of threatening to deport his Americanised daughter back to Saudi Arabia had the desired effect. A cute reminder of the paradox that so many collaborators of Middle Eastern terrorists are happy to enjoy the freedoms of a western society they're helping bring down.

It was also interesting to note that this episode contained Homeland's first present-day terrorist atrocity, with Walker detonating a bomb delivered by a homeless man paid to get close to Sahrani during a meeting the CIA had setup and were monitoring. The fact this points to there being a mole in the CIA doesn't bother me in the slightest, despite such a twist getting a very bad reputation on the aforementioned 24. Here, Homeland feels like it's earned the right to involve a mole, as it was seeded into the story many weeks ago (when Brody's former prison warden was slipped a razor blade to cut his own throat). There aren't that many characters who could be the mole, which is also very intriguing to me. Estes (David Harewood) and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) would be the biggest shocks, but it would also betray those characters far too much at this point. So my money's on Carrie's old friend Virgil, simply because that character made such a big impression early on but has been conspicuously quiet ever since. Is he slipping information from Carrie to some of Abu Nazir's men, or Walker directly? Does he have some of his own high-tech surveillance planted where Carrie and Saul work?

Overall, "Representative Brody" was a good episode, with its best sequences involving Carrie and Saul trying to catch Walker, leading to a very memorable explosion beside a fountain. A great scene, made better because of how it communicated the ringing numbness survivors feel in the immediate aftermath, and the various horrific injuries such blasts create. A fantastic show, that I'm praying will deliver a satisfying finale in a few weeks time.


  • I appreciated the issue of Mike's (Diego Klattenhoff) affair with Jess being returned to, with Brody forgiving his friend and coming to realise it was nothing malicious because everyone thought he was dead... but a part of me still thinks this subplot just fizzled out too much.
  • Interesting to see that Jess is nobody's fool and knows that Brody's been getting close to Carrie. Their marriage is on the mend, but they've both strayed. If Brody does indeed become a political figure, you can almost guarantee their marriage is going to suffer as Jess fears.
written by Henry Bromell / directed by Guy Ferland / 4 December 2011 / Showtime