Homeland Recap: 302, A Dangerous Question

 Posted by on October 14, 2014 at 9:00 am  Homeland
Oct 142014

homelands3These voices in your head are not your friends right now. You have to make them go away. – The Doctor to Brody, Tower of David

When we last saw Carrie, drugged and surly in the TV room of her mental ward, we knew she’s become something of a prisoner. In Tower of David, we know she’s not the only one. Brody might have escaped detection in the United States, but he’s hardly free. 

Seeing Brody again is a shock: he’s been shot, he’s delirious with pain, and all that glorious ginger hair is gone. Still, he’s somehow found himself in the hands of people intent on saving him (he’s only MOSTLY dead!). And that’s exactly what they do, with the help of a lot of heroin and a willowy young woman who floats around Brody’s bed, silent and concerned.

Lest you think we have drifted back to the halcyon world of Witness, remember: this is Homeland. There will be no candlelit interiors for us, no milking cows at dawn, no rolling wheat fields and joyful barn-raisings that are actually excuses to gaze on the magnificent architecture of Harrison Ford’s 20th-century face.


Instead, we get:

Brody, stuck in the not-fun part of Venezuela. The good news: his bedside friend, Esme, is helpful, and much stronger than she looks. The bad news: she is also the daughter of the gangster who brought him there, a tough guy with a spider tattoo on his neck. More bad news: Brody’s not in a hospital, but an unfinished highrise with an elevator that only goes one way: down. Very fast.

Still more bad news: Brody and Spiderneck have something in common.

You know Carrie Mathison? So do I. – El Nino (Spiderneck)

Carrie, trapped on the psych ward and wanting out. She’s doing “everything that’s asked of me,” as she unhelpfully points out to the staff. She’s changed her mind about lithium; she’s sleeping, a whopping six hours a day. It’s the closest she’s gotten to good behavior in months. So why won’t Saul see her?

The sooner I can talk to Saul, the sooner you can go home and do something useful with your life. – Carrie

An absent Saul. Carrie isn’t just the only one who doesn’t get to see Saul: we don’t, either. I really need to know who made this decision. An episode of Homeland with no Saul Berenson is like a morning without orange juice: it’s a hell of a long hour.

A soft-spoken doctor, who ‘fixes’ Brody in more ways than one. The doctor saves Brody’s life, shoots him up, and drops some pretty unconventional wisdom on him as well. The doctor refers to the high-rise as “this abscess beyond healing we call home;” when Brody asks him why he’s there, he warns against getting too nosy. Brody, never much of a listener, ignores him.

Indefinite detention, at home and abroad. Just as there is nothing Carrie can do to get out of the psych ward, there is finally nothing Brody can do to escape his new surroundings. With Esme’s help, he does try — following the call of the muezzin to a local mosque — but his brief shelter there doesn’t last.

There IS no ‘next place.’ – Spiderneck

The impossibility of escape. More than once, Brody insists that he needs to move on to “the next place.” I wish the episode had done something more with this, because it points to a sizable flaw in Brody’s character: throughout his adult life, he has chosen a very risky path. He continues to choose that, and I think the risk itself might be the reason why. What if Brody is a guy who finds trouble because he’s easily bored? We don’t find out the answer to this, because heroin.

Our prisoners’ drug problems. Both Brody and Carrie have gone from articulating what they don’t like about the drugs others give them (Brody, on heroin: “I can’t think on that”), to embracing them. Our last glimpse of Brody is in his cell, a needle in his arm; we watch Carrie walk right to the nurses’ station, where she demands her dose. This isn’t a good look for either of them.

Let’s leave these depressing places, and proceed to the closing thoughts!

  • First things first: BRODY’S HAIRCUT. What did you think? A woman I follow on Twitter put it quite bluntly: “He looks like a potato.” I am no fan of shaved-head Brody, but that’s a bit offside, yes?
  • Did you notice that Dana wasn’t in this one? The Internet sure did!
  • Do lawyers often visit mental patients on behalf of their powerful partners? Seems a bit farfetched. Is there anyone here who can advise? Perhaps someone with legal knowledge who’s also insane: any Members of Congress feel like chiming in?
  • Mike the Marine Watch, Week Three. I’m trying not to worry, you guys. Three weeks is a long time without so much as a phone call between Jessica Brody and the man who bores the rest of us to tears.
  • Is Virgil still alive? I don’t think Carrie’s ever needed him as much as she does now.
  • I’m just not sure the spider tattoo on the neck is necessary. Once a guy establishes a practice of throwing people down an elevator shaft, a neck tattoo of a giant spider seems a bit excessive. Perhaps a small wrist tattoo in tasteful script is a better choice, yes? Or a small butterfly on the ankle?

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