Originally Titled “The Mother****** With a Turban”
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Like last week’s erratic episode, In Memoriam (which originally had a far more badass title), has the best of Homeland while retaining its worst elements. The worst is how the show has handled Navid Negabhan’s Abu Nazir. I love villains who are quiet in their villainy. It gives them more shadow, a more secretive direction, and a thrill loud, evil cackles just cannot do. But this episode reduced a criminal, terrorist mastermind into a slasher villain. There is undoubtedly another part of the plan to be executed still (pun intended) but Nazir with a knife in a tunnel just strikes me as being constructed in extremely poor taste. On the opposite end, the scene where Estes interrogates Saul is crackling and an example of the extremely smart writing that defines this series. Roya’s interrogation is handled well and the target on Brody’s back just grew a lot bigger, and that’s not just because Jessica knows that Brody is working with Carrie again. This marriage can’t possibly last.
Saul is taken into an interrogation room, fueling his extreme anger. “Did you provide the weapon that led to Aileen Morgan’s death?” the interrogator asks. What a brilliant masterstroke of writing. This is what I love about Homeland. It can take even the most nonchalant piece of information, like Saul’s glasses, and turn them into a masterful plot twist. It’s powerful narration and the show shines when it pulls off these acts of daring brilliance.
Carrie tells Quinn that if Nazir got away there must be a mole. It’s a logical thought and the show has been playing with the idea of a mole since the very beginning. Immediately Danny’s name comes up as he’s Muslim but it isn’t him. I’m really grateful to the show that they didn’t go down that path because I don’t need a show that has so much nuance to do the typical “the Muslim guy is the terrorist informant” thing.
Estes presents Saul with the polygraph results, noting that the CIA didn’t make deals with terrorists (Estes needs to read more intelligence books). Estes nastily notes that he will remove Saul from the agency on his own terms or using the polygraph, which would absolutely destroy him. **** you, Estes. I have very little sympathy for a character that stood calmly by as a school was blown up by a drone strike and then tried to cover it up to save his own ass. And then his behavior towards Carrie was just pitiful. It wasn’t just her professional missteps that pissed him off. He harbored a resentment towards her for their affair, his insecurities eating him up as he took it out on her. What a pitiful man.
The other best scene is when Carrie interrogating Roya. For the first time in the entire season, it felt as if Roya was being fashioned into a real character and not an annoying plot device whose air of all-knowing oppression was seriously getting on my nerves. Carrie approaches the same way she approached Brody, by using emotion. But in a brilliant bit, it doesn’t work her. Roya explodes in anger. She’s a loyal soldier and she will not take her emotional bait. “He would not run” she yells in Arabic and Carrie comes to the realization that Nazir’s still in the mill. This is where the episode, after a stroke of brilliance, begins to go off the deep end. Carrie takes the SWAT team inside with her, finding SWAT team bodies lying on the ground. Nazir tries to attack Carrie but the SWAT ream arrives before he is able to do that. He attempts to blow himself up but he’s shot before he could do so. It’s a terrible end to a great villain and I just don’t know why it went down the way it did. I understand that there’s something bigger in play obviously, but it’s fairly annoying how he dies.
Carrie gets commendation from Estes but in the same breath basically orders Brody’s assassination by Quinn’s hands. Brody breaks down at the news of Abu Nazir’s death as he realizes that chunk of his life is completely over and for brief moments the man had been kind to him. As they drive home Brody refuses to get out of his car. There’s a beautifully mature moment when the both reach the realization that their marriage is over. He almost tells her the truth of what had really happened on the day Elizabeth Gaines was shot. Jessica doesn’t want to know anymore, there’s no purpose. It’s a beautiful moment expertly played by both Damian Lewis and Morena Baccarin. It’s quiet but it’s all the more impactful. He leaves to see Carrie and Quinn watches from afar with a deadly eye. It’s a good episode marred by a terrible execution of an incredible character.
Title: In Memoriam
Written By: Chip Johannessen
Directed By: Jeremy Podeswa
Image Courtesy: IGN