Episode 7 - The Weekend
12 April 2012
I give a lot of credit to the creators of Homeland for going in the direction you don't expect and having Brody answer all our questions. We will see if in the long run that turns out to be a bad idea but here it made for another compelling hour of TV.
I thought the Brody-Carrie story was very strong. At first there was the tension of not knowing how Brody interpreted her involvement in the polygraph test. Did he have a secret agenda for this spur of the moment trip? Similarly we had Carrie loading a gun just in case.
That tension soon dissipated and turned into something else. Two lonely people who for very different reasons looked warily at the other and wondered if maybe this relationship could be something more than a drunken fumble. The sight of them both being anxious without alcohol was particularly effective in getting us inside their emotional state. Throughout we got a master class of facial expressions, particularly from Carrie who had to factor in her suspicion the whole time. It was definitely one of the most intriguing sex scenes you are likely to see as Brody tries to imagine what life might be like with someone new. I can't even imagine what would be going through Carrie's brain. She clearly enjoyed being with him but how on earth she could square her belief that he was a terrorist with his apparent interest in her I don't know.
In a way the scene which followed released all the tension in the whole season so far. The slip up with the make of tea was a nice organic mistake for Carrie to make, tipping Brody off to what was going on. Then what followed was a very plausible explanation for all of his behaviour. It was a mesmeric scene as you stared into Brody's face checking for any sign that he was holding something back. He may well be but for now it was very sad to see him open up to someone who had betrayed him. His description of how he was so broken that he loved the man responsible for his incarceration was a wonderfully constructed scenario.
Then came the revelation that Tom Walker is the one who was turned and is still alive. That does play nicely into the ambiguous Â memories that Brody has of pummelling him to death and burying him. However it does feel like a made-for-TV twist, which was unavoidable I suppose. We have to see how it plays out before assuming it will be a letdown. There remains the vague possibility that Brody is lying.
It's increasingly difficult to imagine that though. He and Carrie are both reduced to tears by their time together. He was just imagining a normal life again when the rug was pulled out from under him. He returns to the home where he feels like a stranger and cries. If true, his story generated a huge amount of sympathy for him. Reduced to a wreck he was made to feel worthless for eight years and adopt his enemies religion to survive.
Meanwhile Carrie once more faces up to the fact that she is married to her work in a way which is destroying any chance of a normal life. The one missing part of the story was her failure to take her medication. Having introduced that idea I was expecting her to have some kind of reaction though I suppose she stole some from her sister's house so I guess she may have been covered for the weekend.
The Saul-Aileen story felt a bit more standard than normal. I still like Saul a lot and his segregated childhood was well explained. However Aileen broke as expected and we jumped straight from a story with intrigue to one that sounds a lot more like what we came to expect on 24.
I did like the abruptness of the scene where Dana gets high and then badly cut. Although that too felt a bit like it was entirely manufactured to set up her very un-teenager like analytical comment to Mike about Brody not having a place in the house anymore.
This is the turning point for Homeland of course. We are just over half way through season one and apparently we know what is really going on. What kind of show are we left with now? Will it become a fairly straight spy thriller or retain the psychological intrigue that has made it one of the best new cable dramas of the past few years?
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