With Redux, for the first time in Season 4 of Homeland, we have an episode that is entirely personal. In many ways, it’s a “traditional” episode of Homeland, in which the backdrop of world politics and CIA espionage is the theater in which Carrie Mathison’s mental illness gets enacted. I’m not entirely thrilled by this development, but I am fully on-board for now.
It’s remarkable the sexism with which Carrie is constantly treated. Not surprising, given the real world, but remarkable. Carrie “sulks,” she is emotional, she is shrill, she is not emotional enough, she talks too fast. The level to which ordinary sexism can be exploited by the ISI is nearly infinite. The medication switch alone is not enough; she has to be seen as a little untrustworthy to start with, and being female is what does that.
Sure, it would be easy enough to say that Carrie is untrustworthy because of her past, broadcast all over the media last season, including her history of mental illness. But this season’s Homeland clearly has no interest in incorporating that part of the show’s history. We’re stuck with sort of pretending that this season is a standalone…except when it isn’t. Because the reappearance of Brody, even as a hallucination, indicates that yes, this show did have three prior seasons. What can we make of it beyond “oops”? Nuthin. I’m just going by the script they’re giving us, and that script is very interesting about sexism, even while it’s very stupid about Senate hearings that are broadcast on national TV.
The sexism is compounded by the fact that Carrie was probably right, as Basketcases in comments said last week. Saul is arguing as much to Haqqani when he says “I’m not that important.” It’s really clear that Saul doesn’t expect to be rescued, and that he thinks dispassionate heads should prevail. Alas, that head belongs to a woman, and you know how they are.
I love Damien Lewis so very, very much that even his imaginary return elevated the episode. There’s such a naturalism about him, and that chemistry connection was right back, full force, even though, yes, everyone in the audience knew that Brody was part of Carrie’s bad trip. It was kind of a great moment, even though my skin was crawling, knowing that Carrie was that far over the edge.
It’s very hard to figure out what happened to Carrie, though. Obviously, Brody was a hallucination, and so was the gun, but what else? Was she really in a creepy little cell? Was she really in a straightjacket? And how long does this drug last, anyway? They don’t know when, exactly, she took it, so Aasar Khan (the ISI guy pretending to be Brody) has got to be erring on the side of caution.
Aasar Khan is played wonderfully by Razza Jaffrey. He had a small and annoying role on Smash, a show I liked. I noticed then that he had some real presence, even though the role was badly written. On Homeland, he lies, manipulates, and seduces, and it’s very powerful.
None of this is going to be resolved sensibly or sanely. We’re veering off into Imaginary Land, and the real world politics of the past six episodes will probably go out the window.
Also, I really didn’t need to see a Taliban terrorist fuck his wife. Seriously.