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Homeland 2

Homeland 2 – series finale

Colour me disappointed. It just won’t do Homeland! Why do American script writers keep on having whole seasons wiped out at the end of the season? Why do we have to endure the whole Bobby re-emerging from the shower scenario so we can go back to square one?

In this elongated episode – elongated by adverts only I suspect – Carrie and Brody had lots of woodland walks and romantic clinches while talking repeatedly about how their relationship might just work out afterall. The only thing missing from the happy ending was “putting on a show for the townsfolk, right here in this barn” – oh and the bombing spectacular which of course had been telegraphed all the way through.

I suppose the writers think they were brave to get rid of Estes, the VP, Finn and so many others in one explosive scene but to be frank there was nowhere else they could have taken those characters so it was almost inevitable. I suppose we should be happy that Saul had been conveniently released just in time to be the lead professional on site in the aftermath – but why was he released and on whose orders? Why were Carrie and Brody so suddenly lustful that they left a memorial ceremony for a clinch in an upper floor office? It also didn’t ring true that the VPs memorial service would have been in the CIA buildings at all. Don’t they normally do these things in the Cathedral? Moreover, wouldn’t the surly daughter Dana have gone to the funeral to be a support to Finn even although they were estranged at the time?

So, who do we suspect as the mole? Brody obviously – maybe playing the long game. Carrie’s surveillance team mate – he seemed to be following her at one point in the series rather than Brody and my personal favourite Quinn. Quinn suddenly saying he only killed bad guys was a bit suspect wasn’t it? He’d already marked Estes card on a personal level and he had stayed Brody’s execution twice – once on orders and once against them. How much easier it would be to have Brody as the fall guy.

I did think that the filming of Abu Nazir being sent to a watery grave and the laying out of the victims of the bombing was beautifully shot in blues, whites and greys.

I don’t know if I will watch the next season even although there are many unanswered questions like Saul’s wife being suddenly back on the scene, Carrie being allowed to return to the CIA? Seriously? Brody trying to survive alone. Abu Nazir’s ability to play such a long game without Brody’s collusion?


Homeland 2 – Episode 8 I’ll Fly Away

Dana turned to an unlikely source for comfort. At the start of the episode she arrived at Mike’s front door while Brody and Jess argued about what would be the right thing to do. Meanwhile Carrie listened in the van outside to every turn of the disagreement. Carrie and Brody met up as soon as Jess left but it was obvious that Brody both knew he was being listened to all the time but also that he appears to be in the middle of a nightmare from which he can’t escape. Jess confessed all about the  car accident to Mike which gave him some sort of leverage should he choose to use it. Brody went ahead with his rendezvous with his handler Roya in a park but told her he was through. She told him that quitting was not an option but he wandered off refusing to discuss anything further. Carrie went after him to bring him in as he was a danger to the operation. She begged for his keys to save him from himself.

Saul and David argued about Carrie and Brody having too much of an alliance now that Brody was unravelling. Carrie took Brody to a lakeside motel to try to repair things but Brody was convinced it wouldn’t work. Dana meanwhile told Jess that it was Carrie’s intervention that had stopped Brody going to the police about the accident, that she was the CIA operative he had meant.  Brody felt he had burnt every bridge he ever had – family, CIA and Abu Nazir. He looked like a man with nowhere to turn – a man who might welcome the comfort of prison. Carrie spoke about him still having the chance to be a real hero, to stop Abu Nazir, which would wipe out all the bad things that Brody had done up until now. She told him he wasn’t alone and then kissed him while they were filmed and recorded by the CIA. The sex was noisy, sustained and apparently orgasmic.

Brody called Roya after his night’s rest and said he wished he could take back what he had said. Roya took her SIM out of her phone immediately afterwards. She met up with Brody in an underground parking garage and made him turn around and drive while handling his phone to remove the audio link.

Dana and Mike shared a breakfast of omelette and she asked him about how hurt he was to suddenly have been replaced by Brody’s return. Carrie discussed her liaison with Brody with Saul who let her know that everyone had heard the sex.

Dana tried to tell the daughter of the woman who had been killed that she was sorry and was wanting to take responsibility for being in the car but not going to the police. They daughter replied that being in the car was exactly the same thing as being the driver – is it in America?  But she also told her that she had two young sisters to take care of and that her money would stop if Dana went to the police and that she had better not ruin that for her. Dana couldn’t cope with the pay off and needed her mother’s reassurance.

Brody was apparently forced into a helicopter by Roya and the man who was a known terrorist. At the end of the episode Brody was met in the shadows by Nazir: “Ni-cho-las.”

Homeland 2 – Episode 6 – A Gettysburg Address

Dana visited the hospital, but got a shock. Faber asked one too many questions about his old friend Tom Walker. Brody agreed to work with Carrie and Quinn to stop an attack on America, but his loyalty came into doubt.

The episode opened – after the usual interminable preamble – with another surveillance operation with banks of screens and Max and Virgil (Blue 1 and 2) on the ground. The meet couldn’t be heard because Roya Hammad and an unknown man were talking in front of a waterfall. The man then went underground on the Metro and lost his tail only to re-emerge at another station without his sunglasses.

Dana was woken up by her mother but was reluctant to get out of bed, obviously worried about the previous night’s events. When Brody drove her to school it was obvious that both were too troubled by events in their own lives to talk the usual chit chat. Brody had lied to his wife that Carrie was no longer with the CIA to reassure her that she had nothing to fear by his new involvement with the security operation. Dana went to the hospital on her own to see what had happened to the woman who had been run over. She met the daughter waiting at the bedside and gave her a cock and bull story about her father being a surgeon – it will be too bad when her face is plastered all over the papers as the daughter of the running mate of the VEEP. Finn was really angry when Dana told him what she had done. “What the fork is wrong?” – “Fork”? (Doesn’t this channel allow a more adult version of that phrase?)

Brody admitted that he had previously been involved in the death of the bomb vest maker to gain the trust of Carrie and Quinn. The tailor’s premises were searched, with no detail being considered too small.  Meanwhile Mike and Lauder continued to be suspicious of Brody and Mike was persuaded to investigate further. Mike reached out to a contact he had within the CIA. When he went to Langley to meet up with his contact, he was instead greeted by Saul who took him to meet Estes. “Sit.” – swiftly followed by a short conversation which basically meant “butt out.”

Roya Hammad implied that there was something important at the tailor’s shop and so reinforcements were sent in. This was juxtaposed with Mike searching Brody’s garage and finding a case of bullets. The scene returned to the tailor’s shop being stormed by a group of terrorists led by the mystery man who proceeded to gun down all the CIA men including Quinn who somehow survived by feigning death while blood poured from abdominal wounds. The terrorists broke down the fake wall and took away a large metal container. Dana wouldn’t listen to Mike’s warnings about the missing bullet and what that implied.  Carrie was so enraged about her 7 casualties that she went to Brody’s office and pounded on his chest and then sobbed onto his shoulder.

Homeland 2 – Episode 5 Q&A

This was a very stripped back episode, much more like a low budget original than an HBO blockbuster. Mostly shot in a dimly lit room as a two-hander across a table.

Brody finds himself a prisoner again, but this time on American soil. Carrie is forced to play second fiddle after her rash judgement call at the hotel, while Estes is kept busy.

What do you do to a suspect who was locked up for years and tortured by America’s enemies? Why, put a bag over his head and take him to an unknown location where you’ll chain him to the floor and question him. Brody was given enough rope to hang himself before being confronted by the tape he made himself to explain why he had become a suicide bomber. Cue trauma. Brody admitted to the tape but not the bomb vest. He pointed out that the VP was the one who had ordered the drone strike that had killed Isa and that he had hated him for it but that the CIA had no real evidence at all. In a cut to domestic life, Dana told the VPs son that her father had been kicked out by the mother – so quickly disloyal to her parents.

Carrie could only watch and marvel at how good Quinn was at reeling him in. Meanwhile Brody’s disappearance was conveniently explained by his marital spat and an imaginary ‘flu. Quinn demanded details about where the strike was going to be and who the target was. Quinn stabbed Brody quite unexpectedly and Carrie and Saul rescued him – good cop/bad cop to soften Brody up.  Would that ever happen in any real life scenario?

Jessica went to the Ashford Hotel looking for her husband, taking him chicken noodle soup for his flu and immediately phoned his aide to demand to know where he was. The aide phoned Estes and demanded to speak to Brody and was fobbed off with a promise that he would call back.

Carrie and Brody had a heart to heart and she remonstrated about what his actions had done that impacted on her life and career. There was a lot of talk about “feelings” – the one thing a terrorist would be trained to avoid. She denied that she had been playing him the whole time and said that what had happened up in the cabin had been real for her. She also turned off the cameras to make it seem that they were alone and could talk off the record. She asked him about friends and therapists and if he had ever found anyone to talk to and she told him about what caused her nightmares and them asked him about his. She told him it was the lies that undo us. He claimed to be sure that he was not a monster. Abu Nazir’s crimes were outlined by Carrie again and his “kindness” was actually a disassembling of Brody so that he could be reconstructed in the image Abu Nazir wanted. She said that Walden and Abu Nazir were the ones who had ruined his life and then came back with the kicker that she wanted to be with Brody and that she thought he was a good man because he hadn’t gone ahead with the bombing. Dana’s voice was what had changed his mind – killing himself and ruining Dana’s life wouldn’t bring Isa back. Brody was sick of death – that was who Carrie wanted and had fallen in love with. Nonetheless he said he didn’t know what the plan was but agreed that there was a plan and gave her four names including Roya. Saul entered and told him he had to phone his wife and tell her he would be home later that night.  He told her he’d been off looking for answers and Jessica used emotional blackmail to get him to agree to come home – too bad about the stab wound – how would that fit in with seeking answers.

Dana went on a date with Finn, having dispensed with her homeboy the night before. Finn promised to get her back “safe and sound” – ominous.

Brody was offered shame or redemption – back to a life of obscurity, out of politics in any small town of his choice.

Finn drove like a maniac to get away from their security detail while Dana screamed for him to go faster. Unfortunately Finn knocked down a woman in an alleyway and as his father was VP didn’t want to stick around so drove off with Dana’s agreement.

Carrie drove Brody home and they agreed that as far as Roya was concerned Brody and Carrie were having an affair – that that would be their cover. Immunity, protection for his family and sex – what more could a boy want?

The episode closed with Brody and Jess having a conversation about him working for the CIA – and Dana returning with her own secrets.

Homeland Series 2, Episode 4: New Car Smell

Homeland Season 2 Episode 4 New Car Smell (5)

Drama series about a former CIA operations officer trying to uncover the truth about a Marine released after eight years as a hostage in Iraq. Following a secret debrief from Saul, David authorises a covert operation to pursue intelligence recovered in Beirut, but puts his own trusted operative in charge. Brody, reeling from his misadventures, bumps into Carrie at Langley. Dana finds that she has something in common with the vice president’s son, Finn. With Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, David Harewood, Morena Baccarin, and Diego Klattenhoff.
What follows is a spoiler. Do not read unless you have already watched the episode.
David Estes finally had to admit that Carrie had called it when her instincts had told her that Brody was a terrorist, but only when confronted by Brody’s taped confession. He and Saul agreed to work outside the agency with a team to include Carrie but to be headed by someone of Estes’ choosing.
Brody instead of pacifying his wife Jess with more than an espresso packed his bags to give her some space, which did not sit well with his daughter Dana. The son – who has been missing for several episodes – was suddenly and briefly on screen but only to tell Dana that it was time to leave. Dana was wearing the ugliest boots I’ve ever seen but on the plus side stated that there must be more to do than get stoned.
Homeland Season 2 Episode 4 New Car Smell (10)
Peter Quinn claimed to be an analyst with a background at Langley and Venezuela and outlined his plan to Carrie and the team. It was exactly what Carrie wanted to do so she went along with it – be seen by Brody at the CIA headquarters so that he became unstable enough to go back to his handlers. A meeting was engineered outside a government building at Langley and they had a friendly chat -but she refused to tell him why she was there, walking away after they had shaken hands. Peter goaded Carrie that if he had been treated the way she had by a former lover he would want to rip their skin off – she was inclined to agree.
Homeland Season 2 Episode 4 New Car Smell (8)
Brody’s drunken veteran buddy Lauder forced his way into Jess and Brody’s house refusing to leave until Brody got there but she phoned her former lover Mike rather than Brody to sort it out. Lauder although a drunkard had worked out  a nice little conspiracy theory that Walker and Brody had been a team in the past and that Brody knew more about Walker’s death than he was letting on, which made him part of the cover up. Mike looked intrigued.
Dana and the VP’s son buddied up to study the Declaration of Independence, talking about the dichotomy of Jefferson stating that all men are created free while keeping slaves. The VP proved that no-one ever remembered who the VP was by asking who Jefferson’s VP had been and only Dana remembered, once he left the room. Dana and the VP’s son went out on a pseudo date to the Washington Monument with his Secret Service detail. They kissed against the backdrop of Washington by night with their images reflected on the glass windows and she reminded him she already had a boyfriend – the stoner drop out she had left behind that morning. She looked rather pleased to be receiving a text from him when she was lying in her bed later – ah young love! What is a “rube” by the way? A hick? Has she seen her own boots?
Homeland Season 2 Episode 4 New Car Smell (4)
Brody’s handler said that Carrie’s visit to Langley could be over Nazir rather than Brody and that he shouldn’t be so worried, that they would use it to their advantage. He checked into a hotel but spotted the potential tail. After a stiff drink Brody called Carrie and offered to “bury the hatchet for real.” Carrie agreed to meet him at the bar in 20 minutes. Brody reassured her it wasn’t a booty call – while she continued to reel him in pretending to be after the “head of the snake guy” rather than Brody. He asked her about her ECT and the extent of her betrayal by David Estes became clear but she covered it well – saying she barely felt a thing.  She was convinced that Brody would go to ground so could not be convinced to return to base. She went to Brody’s room and told him everything that she knew, just prior to his room being stormed by Carrie’s team. Brody was taken away with a hood over his head…
Homeland Season 2 Episode 4 New Car Smell (1)

Homeland 2 – episode 3 – The State of Independence

Carrie, feeling wired, was typing up her report back at home when her dad reminded her how important sleep was to her well-being. She promised that she would only work for another hour into the night. She returned to her mundane job teaching EFL but met with Estes to see if she could be given information. Estes confirmed that her papers had been valuable but he couldn’t tell her any more than that – so the audience were unsure about whether he even knew about the film clip which ended last week’s episode – clever!  Carrie left her father’s house saying she needed to plan her next move and that what she really needed was a night’s sleep in her own bed. At home of course Carrie glammed up with the intention of having something other than an early night – cue rather a lot of wine and pills! She took to her bed obviously expecting an eternal rest but seemed to wake up in time to force her fingers down her throat and expel the worst of it. Saul came by a few hours later, just back from Beirut, and said he was going to show her something. Carrie was finally vindicated.

Jess and Brody were about to get down and dirty in the kitchen when their daughter and her boyfriend returned home early from school and put paid to that little plan although we were left in no doubt how excited he was by the prospect! (Props!) Just as well the plan changed really as Brody then received a call from his attractive Palestinian contact telling him he was the only one who could get a message to their Gettysburg contact. An email referencing Gettysburg had been among the documents Carrie snatched during her suicidal dash into that Hezbollah commander’s apartment in Beirut, and Nazir was taking no chances that the CIA could find the tailor and, presumably, get him to talk.He asked what every viewer wanted to know – why him – but was assured that he was the only one the contact knew and therefore the only one who could get him to move. Of course the fact that this contact was the one who had given him his bomb vest and knew what Brody was was used as leverage. The plan to take him to a safe house went awry when it because obvious that they were being  followed. Although he managed to give the van the slip, he later got a flat tyre and as there was no jack they were likely at least to be late for Brody’s speech to veterans which he had agreed to for the sake of  Jess’s social mobility. The journey had several moments where it was obvious that each of the men were calculating the danger that the other posed to them and whether they should use the available weapons to hand to end it now.  Brody stopped for gas, papers and tobacco but his tailor left the vehicle and made a getaway into the woods. He chased him and caught up with him pushing him to the ground – unfortunate for him that he landed on a metal trap which Brody had to extricate him from. He did try to help him by stemming the flow of blood but then he got a call from Jackie O lookielikie Jess and had to talk his way out of why he was late, while murdering the tailor by breaking his neck because he  would not keep quiet. Just as well she didn’t expect face time! Later a mud drenched Brody was really down and dirty after having covered over the body. Honestly, men will do anything to get out of doing something their wives want.

The speech however still had to be given – just as well Jess was able to ad-lib about flat tyres, wounded warriors, violent nightmares and eight years of loneliness. She ended with “We’re all fighting this war together” and received rapturous applause. And all that success can quite go to a girl’s head, can’t it? Cue handsome former lover who might want a “nightcap”. Mike told her how amazing she had been tonight but declined the offer until Jess told him about the weekend of “fucking the CIA agent” Brody had had.  Brody did not look best pleased to find Mike in his house again. Brody and Jess bickered after Mike left about Brody’s lies and she suggested he go to a hotel room and give his marriage some serious thought.

Best bit? Saul doing the right thing and showing Carrie first and her face showing every emotion within 30 seconds. Emmy award winning I should think.

Homeland 2 – episode 2

Spoiler alert

Carrie was back in Beirut and after being followed by a man while she tried to make contact with Saul in last week’s episode decided to change the plan and meet with a former contact at the Mosque. Unusually it was an entirely female gathering so she could talk to the second wife of the local Hezbollah leader who had information she wanted to trade. Her price was $7 million and a new life in America right away in exchange for the time and place of a meeting between Abu Nazir and the woman’s husband. She wanted both her husband and Abu Nazir killed – the suggestion later from Carrie that the husband’s abuse had become too much for her to bear.

Carrie no longer trusted her judgement entirely as she had been “so wrong” about Brody but she somehow managed to persuade Saul on the ground and Estes watching back home that this woman was to be believed and that they should take their chances to kill Abu Nazir.

Conveniently for Abu Nazir, Brody not only stumbled on the TV pictures about what was happening but had also been allowed to keep his mobile phone with him this time and he used this to text “May 1” to Abu Nazir which alerted him to get away  just in time.

There then followed a frantic attempt for the wife, Carrie and Saul to get out of Beirut. Carrie had a Sarah Lund moment and went back into the flat to pick up whatever she could that might provide intelligence later. The bag and papers didn’t seem worth getting killed over as the gun-totting men chasing her got closer and closer but afterwards when she was free and clear Saul found a secreted memory chip – the one which had Brody giving at least the start of his intended suicide bomber final words. Only Saul has seen this and this will clarify whether Saul has been turned.

Unanswered questions – why was Carrie’s hair a wig, I thought initially that it was dyed brown? Why did Carrie talk to the woman in English when she  had previously used Arabic because she  had been an operative there in the past? Would that not just make them more suspicious if others overheard them? Was Carrie supposed to serve her purpose and then be disposed of? Has she become so much of an embarrassment that they want her killed on foreign soil?

Why has Jess changed from the “perfect” military wife to the ambitious political one with such ease? Would a loving wife really put their husband’s choice of religion below political advancement? Why was Brody allowed in to watch the killing of Abu Nazir, even if he  had been held prisoner by him, without being required to give up his phone? Has Brody been helping the Palestinian woman because he remembers that Abu Nazir has that suicide tape to be used to blackmail him, and if so why has she never mentioned it as leverage?

Homeland series 2 – episode 1

The show began with a helpful  5 minute recap for those of us who do not write blogs to aid our memories.

Carrie on high lithium levels pottered in the garden while her family switched off TV news which might set off another episode for her. She was back to using coloured pens to highlight notes which had been an indication of her problems getting out of control in the past. Saul was in the Middle East trying to work out if a woman with information about an attack was significant or not. He left the safety of the Embassy compound with a car full of security and was immediately followed but managed to lose the tail in the crowded streets around the souks.

Brody appeared in his office, already a Congressman, was approached by the VP to see if he was interested in running as a future VP on the ticket. The VP wanted to make sure that Brody wasn’t “damaged goods” and that nothing was going to come up which would embarrass the campaign. The scene cut to Carrie teaching English as a foreign language returning marking to her students. She refused an offer to come in to talk to the CIA and said she had never belonged there in the first place. Brody’s wife was delighted at his chance for advancement but his daughter was as mouthy as ever, saying she had no friends at her new school. Carrie was followed home and her sister asked her to phone Saul who needed her help. She tried to point out that making vegetable lasagne for the family with vegetables from her own garden was more important than returning to David Estes and the fold but eventually agreed to look at the assignment. Fatimah Ali was originally recruited by Carrie so she had the background information that might be genuine but would only speak to Carrie about what she knew. She was a dead asset who hadn’t helped since Carrie left the region but they had shared a love of American films with Julia Roberts and, apparently, that was enough to forge a bond. She met the woman assigned to help her – “Call me Joy.” / “Call me ma’am.” a nice little bit of power-play.

A Palestinian woman with a British accent came to Brody’s office and reminded him about Abu Nazir’s son, giving enough information to prove her genuine link to the terrorist. She warned him he would have to choose sides and there was a veiled threat made while she talked about David Estes’ security codes and the bombing of 3000 Iranians by Israel. Nicholas Brody countered that the numbers claimed by Iran were exaggerated but as she left, it was clear that being a “friend when new laws were being made” would no longer be enough for Abu Nazir.

Brody’s daughter Dana was in school at part of school debate at the morning meeting and was wound up enough to reveal that her father was a Muslim. Another student diffused this by saying his father was a Scientologist  but the genie was out of the bottle. Jessica was incensed when the school phoned and in the ensuing family argument it came out that Dana was right and Brody had been dissembling since he came back from his captivity. Jessica immediately went into the garage and raked through to look for his religious paraphernalia and then screamed at Brody that his religion would want their daughter stoned to death for sleeping with her boyfriend and she pointed out how incompatible with American life his choice of religion was. Jess let her jealousy of Carrie show through when she asked if she had known about his religion when she hadn’t but Brody pointed out that she had been locked up in a mental institution after being fired from the CIA.

Carrie with dyed brown hair was given a new identity as a Canadian from Calgary but was finding it hard to remember the back story. She seemed far under par and not ready to perform. Carrie however was the CIA’s best chance of getting intel from the wife of a commander in Hezbollah about an upcoming attack on America.

Conveniently Brody was left alone in Estes’ office while he “sorted out a situation” which gave him the chance to search drawers and files. The situation was the same woman who had insisted that Brody choose to help Abu Nazir. Would a high ranking CIA man really leave unlocked drawers and step out for a moment?  Estes made a dinner date with the rather attractive woman for Saturday night – again, really? A stretch too far.

Sweating like a pig, Carrie arrived in her sumptuous hotel room and found the basket of fruit and a note in her room. She was immediately walking through souks losing a tail who had “made her”. She changed her headscarf and when he approached asked for help from the other woman in Arabic, while kicking him in the groin and kicking his gun away. She looked positively manic while she walked away.

The final scene of the night was Brody burying his Quoran with due deference in the garden while Dana helped.

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