The Concept of Freedom
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Freedom often is a theoretical concept we accept as something we can take for granted. It’s like the air or the Starbucks on the corner we believe will be there forever. Or it’s that little piece of our past we’ve been so ardently attached to but when we move on we expect it go away, too. Brody is constantly imprisoned, constantly boxed in by something or another. He was literally imprisoned by Abu Nazir for eight years and when he came back to the United States, he was more boxed in than ever before. When he commits the murder of the tailor, he becomes free by killing a man who could end his life as he knows it. But by committing that murder, he ironically becomes more imprisoned by the lies he so flawlessly tells. His marriage is back on the rocks and he is now more embroiled within Abu Nazir’s scheme than ever before. Oh, Brody.
Saul is nabbed at the Beirut Airport and in a clever twist, the writers attempt to make us believe that the chip damning Brody is gone. Meanwhile Galvez comes to Carrie and informing her that the CIA briefing on the Beirut mission was the following morning. Carrie’s expression of sheer joy is so breathtaking that to see it fall into complete depression is absolutely heartbreaking. Estes shuts her out of the debrief entirely, with a pretty pathetic sort of of “Thank you.” Carrie depressingly walks out of the building, readying herself for a night of debauchery. Instead she takes a handful of sleeping pills, downing them with her choice beverage of red wine. She goes to bed, readying herself for death. She then gets up quickly, running to the bathroom and vomiting, exhaling in a harrowing fashion. It’s a phenomenally constructed sequence, one of the series’ absolute best. The writing and direction (especially the lighting) in and of themselves are phenomenal. Claire Danes gives a standout performance as the protagonist here and if she hasn’t written her name all over every Best Actress award already, there is even less justice in the entertainment world than I already thought.
On the Brody front Roya gives him a task – handle the tailor with the vest. Frankly I’m not a fan of Roya’s character and that has little to do with Zuleikha Robinson’s performance, which is spot-on. But so far the show has given her little in motivation beyond “justifiable act of retaliation.” We still have nine episodes to go, of course but as of yet her character is basically a plot device and little more. It’s an interesting development for Brody to be the person to grab the tailor, but wouldn’t it be more expedient to not do so? Brody is a high-profile Congressman after all and him grabbing a random tailor from Pennsylvania is sure to raise some eyebrows, no matter how rarely traveled the road itself. Someone would Tweet it for sure. Anyhow, it naturally goes off the cliff. The tailor understandably is more than a little paranoid when Brody comes. As far as he was concerned, Brody was there to kill him and that is quite a reasonable prediction for him considering whom he’s working for. However, there is what may possibly be the most ridiculous shot in the entire history of the series. The camera cuts around in horror movie mode where the tailor raises a weapon to kill Brody. Of course he drops the weapon and the whole thing reeks of cheapness. It’s unlike Homeland to try and pull something like that off, frankly.
Jessica is at the fundraiser her and Cynthia talked about last week and Brody is supposed to give the keynote speech. She calls him at the most unfortunate time. No, he’s not a politician having an affair whose wife calls him mid-coitus. He’s proceeding to kill the tailor when Jessica calls. “Flat tire,” he manages to breathe. Jessica has a great “Screw you” moment. In what is the greatest material the series has handed to Jess, she goes up to the podium and gives a speech about how it’s not just veterans themselves who need help upon returning home. Their families need an equal amount of support to handle a loved one that has perhaps changed extraordinarily in the time he or she has been in harm’s way. It’s a thundering speech in its own right and Jessica wins the night easily.
If Claire Danes had left any weird doubt about winning another Emmy, she sealed the deal at the end of this episode. After her near suicide, she’s in her home when Saul knocks on the door. Quickly she hides all evidence of her suicide attempt, opening the door for him. He plays the video for her, watching as her face just crumbles apart. “I was right,” Carrie sobs. “You were right,” Saul answers quietly. And the camera fades away as Homeland once again throws the status quo out of the door. Carrie now knows she’s right. But does that free her in any way or does it simply ensnare her even further?
Title: State of Independence
Written By: Alexander Cary
Directed By: Lodge Kerrigan
Image Courtesy: IGN