The Best and the Worst
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
This episode was extremely frustrating, jumping from extreme to extreme. Many scenes were largely unnecessary to the propulsive nature of the season and it causes the entire story to come to an irritating pause. What happened, I’m not entirely sure. This is the first episode of the entire series that throws the entire narrative into complete denial of plausibility and it’s bizarre. Abu Nazir’s kidnapping of Carrie is jarring and while I enjoyed the two finally getting some screen time together, I did not enjoy how the narrative took them there. The hour also kills off Vice President Walden. Once again, as much as I enjoyed the sequence itself, I despised how we got there. It is possible to assassinate by pacemaker, but how on earth could Brody make a bathroom excuse and get so close to the Vice President in the first place. I get it, they’re political buddies, but that’s still a poor way to get the narrative to that point.
Saul and Dar Adal have a neat conversation that can be filed underneath the good half. Adal confirms that Quinn is one of his men, but he has no ideas to why Estes wants him in the first place. Saul concludes Quinn was brought in to kill Brody, a surmise that turns out to be quite accurate. Estes becomes furious at the suggestion that he’s trying to kill off Brody to hide his complicity in the drone strike that hit the school during Season 1’s flashback. Just as the conversation is heating up, Quinn reports that Carrie was in a car accident and that she’s missing.
In the most ridiculous moment of the entire episode, Nazir operates a truck and slams into Carrie’s car, taking her hostage. He takes her to an abandoned mill and calls Brody. He’s furious at Brody’s betrayal and wants him to kill VP Walden using his pacemaker if he wants to see Carrie alive again. I have no problem with Carrie and Nazir sharing screen time. Her entire professional life has revolved around this man beyond the point of obsession and them sharing some screen time makes perfect sense. But crashing a truck into her car? Really? That’s the best way a terrorist mastermind is going to capture a CIA agent on American soil? Nazir is quite intelligent and the entire methodology thetre just feels super contrived and completely unlike the Homeland I know and love. That being said, their debate of morality and the tactics of war both sides have adopted is some brilliant writing. Violence does beget more violence and the show has done an admirable job in not sparing either Nazir or Walden when it would have been much, much easier to do so. So kudos on that front.
Having already discussed the ridiculous way Brody gets into Walden’s office, let’s skip straight ahead to the killing. Brody says he is withdrawing his VP slot on the ticket for his family, something that makes Walden cringe with fury. Nazir’s associate accelerates the heartbeat with a pacemaker, causing a heart attack. Brody chillingly reveals to him that he wants to be “clean” again and finds Walden despicable. He tries to call for help but Brody doesn’t allow that to happen. “You still don’t get it, do you? I’m killing you.” It’s a chilling scene that ends with a harrowing sense of dread. Walden is dead.
Carrie is set free and immediately calls Saul. Saul is stopped by two men on his way out of the building and she runs back into the mill to look for Nazir. Homeland is a show that goes outlandish from time to time but always finds a way to ground things back in. The killing by pacemaker and the Carrie scene with Nazir were perfectly fine, but it was befuddling how the show got there. Homeland is better than that and I say that will all the love in the world for the story and its characters.
Title: Broken Hearts
Written By: Henry Bromell
Directed By: Guy Ferland
Image Courtesy: TV Hackr