Episode Title: "Uh… Oh… Ah…"
Writer: Chip Johannessen
Director: Lesli Linka Glatter
Previously on "Homeland":
Someone on my twitter feed wrote that the best way to enjoy “Homeland” is to fast forward through all of the Brody family scenes and through Carrie’s freak-outs.
Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury. So that means having to suffer through another emotional breakdown of Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and the excruciating teen romance of Dana Brody (Morgan Saylor) and Leo Carras (Sam Underwood). I had hoped that the “Homeland” creative team was smart enough to realize that Dana’s subplot with her ex-boyfriend, Finn Walden was the lowpoint of season 2. This is not a story area that they excel in.
But if I had skipped ahead through the Brody family’s trials, I would have missed one of the best moments in the entire episode, courtesy of Morena Baccarin. Jessica Brody’s emotional breakdown after hearing her daughter call out her father for being a liar and a murderer was very affecting. Baccarin really sold the moment and it went a long way towards making the Brody family’s story seem worthwhile.
There are full spoilers ahead for last night’s bizarrely titled episode, "Uh… Oh… Ah…," so if you missed the latest “Homeland” then you should probably skip this review or else Carrie will have an epic freak-out.
The “Homeland” writers have shown considerable restraint by keeping Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) entirely out of the first two episodes. It’s easy to forget that Brody is still out there when his family has written off as dead and they consider him to be the man who ruined their lives. In most conventional TV dramas, Brody would eventually make his way home with his name cleared and his reputation partially restored.
I don’t think that’s in the cards for Brody on “Homeland.” So far, there doesn’t appear to be any way for Brody’s name to be cleared. But somebody had to have put the explosives in Brody’s car and moved it closer to the CIA headquarters before it blew up.
In the meantime, a good deal of the focus has fallen on Dana, in the wake of her suicide attempt. Dana’s sojourn to “the nuthouse” and her subsequent scenes with Leo were tedious and very CW. It seems like the only time that Dana’s story doesn’t seem contrived is when Saylor is playing off of Baccarin.
There’s also some indications that Dana may follow in her father’s spiritual footsteps in an attempt to better understand him. That could potentially be interesting, if it isn’t as overwrought as Dana’s romantic relationships.
Strangely enough, Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) is emerging as the soul of this show. Quinn is the only one at the CIA who seems genuinely upset at the way the agency is treating Carrie. Quinn is also haunted by the accidental death of a young boy, whom he inadvertently murdered in the previous episode. In no uncertain terms, Quinn tells Saul that he intends to quit the CIA once his current objectives are complete.
One of the intriguing things about Quinn’s relationship with Carrie is that he has become very protective of her despite their rocky relationship in the previous season. In this episode, Quinn alluded to the fact that David Estes (David Harewood) had marked Brody for death and Quinn refused to carry out the order because it would have devastated Carrie.
Of course, Quinn would have to admit to being tasked with Brody’s murder and he doesn’t seem ready to go there with Carrie yet. In her paranoia, Carrie can’t tell that Quinn is one of her only friends left. But if he wasn’t trying to be there for her, Quinn wouldn’t have been so upset by the way Carrie was dragged away, kicking and screaming from her hearing.
Back at the CIA, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) essentially signed off on Dar Adal’s (F. Murray Abraham) plan to discredit Carrie. Although it was arguably Saul’s testimony at the Congressional hearing that set off Carrie’s latest mental breakdown. Saul seems primed for a meltdown himself and he takes out his frustrations on Fara Sherazi (Nazanin Boniadi), the CIA’s newest financial expert… who happens to be a Muslim.
Saul’s verbal assault on Fara was borderline racist, but it was riveting to watch. Boniadi’s tears seemed genuine as Fara tried to withstand the harsh words from Saul. So far, I really like Fara and it was fun to see her embrace her inner-Saul with a verbal takedown of her own for a dirty banker who deals with terrorists.
However, Fara’s attempt to shame the banker falls flat and it’s Quinn’s threats that finally convince the banker to cooperate. Near the closing moments of the episode, Fara tells Saul that the money trail leads back to Iran… and there’s a significant amount missing. Perhaps that money was meant for another imminent terrorist attack.
Meanwhile in crazytown, Carrie felt the sting of Saul’s betrayal and she went running to the press to tell her side of the story. And as promised, Dar Adal silenced her by having her committed for a psych evaluation. The thing is, Carrie really brought this on herself. Nothing Saul said in the Congressional hearing wasn’t true and Carrie is very unstable when she isn’t on her medication. It’s too much to ask for Carrie to take the fall for the CIA’s shortcomings, but she’s made herself into the perfect scapegoat.
However, it feels like Carrie’s story is rehashing beats that “Homeland” already explored in the first season. There’s such a huge hole for Carrie to crawl out of that it’s hard to see how she’ll be able to convincingly rejoin the espionage world at the heart of this show. I’m not sure if the writers of “Homeland” can write Carrie out of the corner that they’ve put her in.