Monday, November 05, 2012

Homeland Ep. 2-6: Gettysburg Address


That's not a reaction I generally expect to have to a "Homeland" episode, especially one with a shocking climax, but that's pretty much how I felt about this one.

We were probably due for a comedown after the highs of the last couple of weeks, but the show really felt like it was struggling to get out of second gear tonight. It's not that nothing happens, because plenty, in fact, does happen: Surveillance of Roya Hamad shows her meeting a mysterious man the CIA can't identify, and Carrie - despite Peter Quinn's misgivings - calls in Brody to see if he can. He can't (or says he can't), but, prompted by some obscure impulse, does reveal that one of their other suspects, the tailor in Gettysburg, is dead. Under pressure from Carrie and again against Peter Quinn's advice, Brody approaches Roya to try to get more information from her about Abu Nazir's plans. Instead he only succeeds in (possibly) tipping her off. Because shortly thereafter, while investigating the tailor's shop in Gettysburg, Quinn, Danny Galvez, and several others are gunned down by a group of men in SWAT gear (one of whom turns out to be Roya's mysterious contact), who remove something from behind a wall before leaving. Yet when Carrie angrily confronts Brody about the debacle, he swears that he knew nothing about it and had nothing to do with it.

Meanwhile, Mike continues his investigation of Tom Walker's death and runs smack into Saul and Estes, who tell him to lay off; nonetheless, he confides his suspicions in Jessica, who refuses to believe him and tells him Brody's working for the CIA. Finally, in the subplot that refuses to go away, Dana tracks down the victim of little Spawn of VP's hit-and-run only to discover that the poor woman's on the verge of death and leaving behind a grieving daughter. Overwhelmed with guilt, Dana shares the bad news with Spawn and implores him to do the right thing; he, like a cornered rat, turns on her for pressing him.

That's a full slate of happenings. Yet most of them, with the exception of the massacre at the tailor's shop, felt like just so much wheel-spinning. Maybe it's because Roya Hamad and Gettysburg have been among the weakest of this season's "A" plots, and Dana's joy ride the tritest and most tiresome of the B plots. (I don't mind the Mike-and-Lauder-play-detective storyline as much, if only because it provides - intentionally or not - some welcome comic relief, e.g., Mike's hilarious, mostly wordless interaction with Saul and Estes.) Even the Gettysburg surprise seemed, at some level, faintly ridiculous: in such a small town, wouldn't the neighboring shopkeepers and passersby notice first the FBI squad and then the (fake) SWAT team shooting up the place? Covering tracks is clearly not Abu Nazir's priority, though it doesn't seem to have hurt him yet in keeping ahead of U.S. intelligence.

Not surprisingly, the best moments in the episode were the interactions between Carrie, Brody, and Peter Quinn. If Quinn survives - and it did look like he was alive at the end, albeit critically injured - this latest development is likely to make Brody even more of a wedge between Quinn and Carrie. Will she trust Brody, and should we, in turn, trust her judgment? This question has always been the heart of "Homeland." I don't know how much longer it can be - and for this reason, I hope they keep Quinn on as a character, as his relationship with Carrie is almost as interesting - but it's still what makes this show work.

Random observations:

-Quinn may have survived, but it looks like Galvez is down for the count. Poor Galvez - he's been underutilized as a character, especially this season, but I always liked him. At least, if he's dead, he probably isn't the mole.

-Brody may be a pathological liar, but I actually believed him when he told Carrie he hadn't (at least not intentionally) communicated anything to Roya. More likely that he was made, maybe long before this. Her question about his hand was one of her rare chilling moments.

-One point that's bugged me all along: the Hezbollah may think they confiscated the Brody video from Saul, but wouldn't they (and by extension, Abu Nazir) assume there's at least a *possibility* that Saul already saw the video? And combining that with Carrie's sudden reappearance on the scene, wouldn't they have put two & two together about Brody long ago?

-Recipe for future disaster: Brody lying to Jessica about Carrie. You just *know* that's going to come back to bite them both.

-While I hate her subplot, I have to admit that Morgan Saylor has been great as Dana, and especially so tonight. The storyline may be tired, but her reaction was totally believable.


Blogger Amanda Gregory said...

While my understanding of Lebanese politics is limited, I thought Hezbollah was part of a coalition, but was not the ruling party, and thus the Lebanese version of TSA wouldn't necessarily be reporting back to the Hezbollah leaders or even watching the confiscated video?

12:09 PM  

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