Monday, December 10, 2012

Homeland - Season 2, penultimate episode

I had some catching up to do this weekend on "Homeland," and fortunately was also able to watch tonight's episode - the last one before the season 2 finale. I don't have time for an extensive recap, but just a few thoughts.

First, a word on the previous two episodes: there's no doubt the show's plotting took a turn from improbable to ridiculous, between Abu Nazir's "24"-esque kidnapping of Carrie, the VP's assassination-by-Pacemaker (though apparently the part about pacemakers being hackable is at least partly true), and Carrie's going after Nazir into a dark mill armed only with a lead pipe. (Though to be honest, what bugged me most were all the scenes that took place in what purported to be a safe house in D.C. that looked anything but safe and like anywhere but in D.C.) The one plot thread I did like, however, was the one involving the truth about Peter Quinn's identity and his real mission vis-à-vis Brody. The reveal set up a very interesting conundrum for the show, and especially for Carrie, if she only knew: if Nazir dies, Brody dies too. A fitting sequence, in a way, in light of the weirdly codependent relationship between the two men and Carrie's obsession with them both.

But Carrie *doesn't* know, and this week's episode opted for dramatic irony over moral dilemma, as Carrie keeps mum about Brody's involvement in Walden's death while zealously flushing out Nazir from his hidey-hole. That underground sequence leading up to his capture, while silly, was pretty gripping, even if I did wonder where all the FBI agents disappeared to only to show up conveniently at the last minute. Nazir's death, however, was anticlimactic; or maybe just the reactions to it, which were fairly muted, though Carrie's expression was a real study - a mix of emotions that ended with something like that smile we saw back in Beirut. Methinks she'll have a very different reaction to Brody's death, assuming it happens.

And that's the million dollar question now: will it happen? Will the show finally let Brody die? Rumors have been circulating for a while now that Damien Lewis has signed on for additional seasons, and the heart of "Homeland" has for some time now been the relationship between Carrie and Brody. But the show's milked that for just about all it's worth, and I can't see any way it can sustain Brody's character arc now that he's lost everything except Carrie; it's not like those two have any realistic hope of going off the grid together, Carrie's fantasies notwithstanding. The only way he could possibly be saved is if Saul somehow gains the upper hand over Estes, or if Peter Quinn, who did seem a bit conflicted every time he looked at Carrie, somehow finds a way to let him off the hook. Still, neither Saul nor Quinn strike me as remotely likely to jeopardize their lives or careers for Brody's sake - or even for Carrie's.

If Brody does bite it in the season finale, I can't say I'll miss his family - at least not bratty Dana or dopey Chris - or the sight of his marriage painfully dying by inches. It was something of a relief to watch him and Jess finally put the damn thing out of its misery, and that last, quietly moving heart-to-heart between them was outstanding, probably my favorite scene of the episode. Morena Baccarin's really done well this season with a role that could have been - and sometimes was, despite her best efforts - tedious, but she managed to make poignant. The car scene also felt like further confirmation that Brody's trajectory is nearing its end. It might, however, just be the end of a chapter. We'll know which this time next week.

Random observations:

-That Roya, she don't mess around. Her yanking Carrie's chain wasn't surprising, but it was still jarring in its viciousness.

-So glad Galvez turned out not to be the mole, though that was a rather obvious red herring I fell for anyway. I suppose he could still be the mole, but I doubt it.

-Poor Saul, done in by lie detector tests and his loyalty to Carrie. Does Estes have to end every season by torpedoing someone's CIA career? Damn him. But Saul's not going down without a fight, and he's better equipped for it than Carrie ever was.

-I guess Dana was only stating the obvious about Mike being a better dad than Brody, but man, that was cold, if not totally uncalled for.

-Funniest exchange (paraphrased):
Chris: That place was awesome! They made your bed for you!
Dana: You idiot, that was mom.

Seriously, Chris?


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