Episode Title: "Representative Brody"
Writer: Henry Bromell
Director: Guy Ferland
Previously on "Homeland":
After learning that Saudi diplomat, Al Sahrani (Ramsey Faragallah) was working with POW turned terrorist, Sgt. Tom Walker (Chris Chalk), CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and her associate, Virgil (David Marciano) spend the intervening weeks learning what they can about him. And according to Carrie's mentor, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), they find that Al Sahrani is heavily in debt and secretly gay… which wouldn't go over well with his family, his government or even the terrorist Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban). Over the objections of the state department, Carrie and Saul convince their superior, David Estes (David Harewood) to let them force Al Sahrani to speak to them despite his diplomatic immunity.
Meanwhile, former POW Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) receives an unexpected visit from Vice President William Walden (Jamey Sheridan), who wants him to run for the newly vacant seat in congress that belonged to Dick Johnson… all going according to Abu Nazir's plan. The one hitch is that Brody's wife, Jessica (Morena Baccarin) is against the idea and doesn't want him to run. Jessica also surprises Brody by revealing that she knows he slept with "the CIA girl." Elsewhere, Carrie (aka the CIA girl in question) makes an arrangement with Al Sahrani's bank to trick him into meeting them at there during his lunch break.
When Al Sahrani is escorted to an empty floor of the building to meet with Carrie and Saul, he is initially uncooperative. Al Sahrani states that he won't betray his country and he challenges the CIA to release the photos of himself with naked men. But Carrie tells Al Sahrani that she will make sure his beloved (and academically successful) daughter will be deported and banned from all Western countries unless he relents. Broken, Al Sahrani shares details about how he meets with Walker on behalf of Abu Nazir. Saul tells Al Sahrani to set a meeting for the next day and he sarcastically welcomes him to the CIA.
Elsewhere, Brody sees his old friend Mike (Diego Klattenhoff) and he apologizes for punching him out when Brody learned about his affair with Jessica. But Brody says that he understands that they both thought Brody was dead. Brody also enlists Mike to convince Jessica to let him run for office. To further cover his tracks, Brody arranges a meeting with Carrie, who seems to think that he wants to resume their sexual relationship. Instead, Carrie is crushed when Brody insists that he just wants to her to keep quiet about the affair and make sure that his wife doesn't find out for sure.
At Brody's home, Mike dutifully pleads Brody's case and doesn't bother to deny that he was put up to it. The next day, the CIA is well prepared for the meeting in Farragut Square between Al Sahrani and Walker, with agents and snipers everywhere. Even Carrie is there on site. When someone who may be Walker finally shows up, Carrie notices that he appears to left-handed despite Walker's well known right handedness. Carrie tries to warn the rest of her agents to get back, but the unknown man reaches Al Sahrani just as Walker remotely detonates a bomb in his briefcase.
In the aftermath, several people are dead and horribly injured. Even Carrie is knocked unconscious and badly wounded. Later, Jessica is horrified by the violence and Brody says that's why he still wants to make a difference. After conferring with their kids, Jessica relents and lets Brody run. In the hospital, Saul tells Carrie that she suffered a concussion. And as she wonders how Walker could have known that Al Sahrani was turned, Saul states that someone within the government must be aiding Walker and Abu Nazir.
There are some parts of the Middle East where suicide bombings are all too commonplace, which often gets lost in the U.S. media. One of the most effective scenes ever staged by "Homeland" was in this week's episode, where it depicted the result's of the suicide bombing on the pedestrians and other innocents who were killed or suffered missing limbs. Even compared to the images in last week's episode (i.e. the apparent death of Abu Nazir's son and other children), this carried a greater visceral impact because it brought a real sense that the next wave of terror has come to America. And I hope we never see the day when it happens in reality.
There's something about the smaller threat posed by Walker that seems more credible than the apparently Manchurian Candidate-like scheme by Brody and Abu Nazir. Although I expect Brody to be around for a long time on this series, Walker's plan actually seems like it could succeed. And if Saul is correct about the mole within the government, one of the characters we've met this season is likely to be the culprit.
This was one of the more impactful episodes for Carrie, not just because she was also badly injured. Instead, the way she was crushed by Brody seemed to have just as dispiriting effect on her. Carrie had already come to the conclusion that her profession (and ongoing mental issues) may mean that she's destined to be alone. But when she can't even have Brody for a quick fling she fell to pieces. I don't think that Carrie is necessarily in love with Brody, but she's clearly attached to him at this point. And that rejection hurt her almost as deeply as the bomb. Even Saul still seems to be feeling the ache from his wife's departure. If there's one thing that "Homeland" has over "24," it's that this show takes the time to demonstrate that the war on terror is partially responsible for emotionally breaking those who are expected to fight it.
Al Sahrani's interrogation was both sublimely funny and brilliantly staged. His "yummy, yummy, yummy" remark was particularly hilarious. It's almost a shame to see him die in this episode, as there could certainly have been a lot of drama in watching the pressure of the situation affect Al Sahrani.
I was surprised that Jessica knew about Brody's affair with Carrie and I'm still not sure if I missed a clue in the earlier episodes about that. It could be that Jessica guessed about it based on the brief time she saw Brody speak to Carrie outside of their house. Still, it seemed like a big leap of logic. Of course, Brody's silence basically confirmed it for Jessica if she was just fishing for the truth there.
While "Dexter" has floundered this season, "Homeland" seems to be picking up the baton as the best drama series on Showtime. Hopefully the last two episodes of the season can live up to what's come before it.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.