Rewinding the Tape
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
No one can ever fault Homeland for being slow on plot at this point. The show pulled what would be a season finale move in Episode 2. Yep, 2. And there’s still ten more episodes to go in this season. It’s a very impressive, risky move that will see validation for Carrie and a sudden, threatening danger zone for Brody. Somehow it seems that his Vice Presidential slot won’t be coming to fruition anytime soon. The suicide tape that Brody made last season before he planned to blow himself up with the Vice President resurfaces in a bag Carrie grabs in Lebanon. Is it convenient that the tape is in the exact same bag that Carrie grabs? Sure. Does it make sense? Yes. Carrie does grab multiple things in that apartment, so I give the series a complete pass on that. And for that video to be with Abu Nazir’s contacts adds another layer of plausibility that works.
One of the most prevalent themes of Homeland remains whether or not one can completely escape the past. Carrie’s judgment so far has been a little heightened to be sure, but it has always been on the nose. Her work, her passion, and her dedication in the eyes of her superiors went out the damn door in last season’s The Vest, but is it right to constantly throw her under the bus for that? Carrie’s contact Fatima reveals that her husband Abbas Ali (a regional Hezbollah commander) is meeting with Abu Nazir himself in the streets of Beirut. Carrie’s eyes erupt in Danes’s regularly phenomenal performance, a burst of thundering energy erupting through her eyes. Saul and Estes, however, are skeptical. Carrie slowly realizes that no one trusts her and it’s heartbreaking. “I have never been so sure and so wrong!” she yells furiously amidst tears to Saul and an extra layer of irony is added. We know Carrie’s right, but arguably the people who need to know that most ardently are astutely unaware of said fact. The entire journey has created a deep hole in the amount of trust she can place within herself. She argues that the Carrie of now isn’t someone whom she would trust either, but the Carrie of eight years ago who recruited Fatima – that Carrie she would trust. Saul thinks about it and given the operation a go.
In less turbulent geographical areas (arguably so), the Brody couple attend a function where the Waldens are in attendance. VP Walden informs Brody that an Iranian nuclear site survived an Israeli strike and he wants Brody to convince the Secretary of Defense that they needed to strike. The Presidents behind the screens is unwilling to do so. Cynthia Walden invites Jessica to co-host a veterans’ fundraiser and she happily accepts. Jessica’s perfectly in her element amidst the VIP crowd and frankly one can’t really blame her for liking her surroundings. “If you want to help veterans, you should just blow up everyone here,” Brody says coldly, throwing cold water on Jessica’s excitement. She’s disquieted, although Brody does have a semblance of a point. The best way to help veterans is to well, not send them to violent wars where they’re going to get killed or come back with severe amounts of PTSD. Hawks like Walden will never truly help veterans unless it’s politically expedient. That’s the simple truth.
Brody is invited in by Walden to watch the Nazir operation go down. Realizing what is going to happen, he quickly texts “May 1” to Nazir, the date of when Osama Bin Laden was killed. Quickly he begins to turn back but not before several of his lieutenants, including Fatima’s husband, are killed. Carrie is distraught that her star prize escaped her but Saul congratulates her on her being right. There’s something, but of course Carrie can’t just go quietly. Carrie runs back into the Hezbollah compound, grabbing a bunch of bags. There might be something, there might be nothing, but Carrie being Carrie has to make sure she’s left absolutely no corner unaccounted for. Hezbollah men fire at her but she manages to escape, slamming one fighter in the head with a brick while she’s at it. They all make it out of Beirut, Fatima included, and for a while everything looks fine.
As the shadows of night begin to fall, Saul himself begins to take a deeper look through the bag. His hand catches a chip and before you know it, Brody’s confession tape is playing. “My name is Sergeant Nicholas Brody.” And Saul’s eyes grow wide with realization. The game is up for Brody and we’re only two episodes in. I certainly don’t imagine that Saul will keep quiet on this, but what he does with this remains to be seen next week. Brody also meets up with his war buddies that are intersted in how Walker died but frankly the scene isn’t that interesting, a retread of something we already know. Unless it builds up to Brody’s further exposure, it’s kind of a pointless scene. Let’s just revel in Saul’s reaction.
Title: Beirut is Back
Written By: Chip Johannessen
Directed By: Michael Cuesta
Image Courtesy: Yards of Grapevine @ WordPress