The Tightening Secrets Unravel
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The Vest ultimately rests on the shoulders of Carrie, whose manic bipolar disorder erupts in full swing here. It’s a masterful tour de force of a performance from Claire Danes, who manages to portray varying shades of Carrie’s mania with incredible aplomb. This is her Emmy submission no doubt and this should be her Emmy win. Carrie loses everything in this episode and in this whirlwind of tragedy she’s the one paying the price while Brody is outfitted with a suicide vest he had every intention of using. The Vest in many ways is about the ultimate price an individual is willing to pay for the cause they believe in and what that willingness in turn costs them.
Carrie, who has been an individual always putting everything on line for what she does to the extent where she forgets about literally anything else, is found by Saul to be in a completely manic state. The explosion triggered her mania beyond anything Saul had ever seen. He absorbs the revelation of her disease pretty calmly, even though he understands how serious this situation has become. The seriousness is juxtaposed with Vice President Walden wanting someone to pay for the bombing that occurred last week.
The Brodys meanwhile take what seems like a quint family jaunt through Gettysburg before Brody gets on the campaign trail as the hottest political token of the season. It’s a beautifully directed scene as Brody stares out into the battlefield, telling Civil War stories as his own war plays over and over again in the back of his mind. He goes to “grab something”, feasting his eyes for the first time on the suicide vest made for him. “Will it sever my head cleanly off?” he asks coldly. He disguises the vest as a present for Jessica. Dana doesn’t completely buy it, looking at her camera footage and noting how long father just stared out at the grassy battlefield, where thousands had shed blood.
Saul discovers Carrie’s magnificent map of Abu Nazir’s activity, unable to hide the expression of how impressed he truly is by it. Carrie and Soul tag team her analysis, not knowing that Abu Nazir was mourning his son Issa during his dormancy. And then Carrie makes her fatal mistake. She calls Brody about Abu Nazir and he betrays her ruthlessly, calling her out to Estes. He finds her behavior bizarre and her wonderful timeline constructed of classified material is the excuse he needs to comply with Vice President Walden’s demands. He fires Carrie and she has a complete meltdown. It’s heartbreaking to see Carrie’s mania further erode her ability to respond to this situation responsibly. She’s torn apart, a woman who put her job and her nation ahead of everything and everyone else. And the worst part is, she’s actually right.
Title: The Vest
Written By: Meredith Stiehm & Chip Johannessen
Directed By: Clark Johnson
Image Courtesy: Kathryn Oregan @ WordPress