Homeland 4.07: Redux

 Posted by on November 9, 2014 at 10:40 pm  Homeland
Nov 092014

homeland-407-Redux-11 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.


  12 Responses to “Homeland 4.07: Redux”

  1. Great post, Deborah. I agree: the sexism is grating. Realistic, we know, but galling and sick-making nonetheless.

    Here’s my take: the most horrendous and significant act of sexism, I think, is Lockhart’s treatment of Carrie. We saw it last season, but look what he’s up to here: I think he is in on the whole turn-Carrie-into-an-unstable-wreck plot. Remember: Carrie was on to him in the first episode(s), when she talked to the sidelined agent who’d uncovered proof of Lockhart’s treasonous dealings and used that knowledge to blackmail him into giving her the position she wanted: station chief in Islamabad. So, he’s got plenty of reason to want her gone. What made me think he was behind the drug-switching that the ISI agent had Duck carry out? Notice how he addresses Carrie after the initial briefing, essentially saying: What’s wrong…you’re talking really fast. This was a prompt to get her to go and take her meds, which he knew would send her into psychosis.

    With Carrie out of the way–sidelined forever, he hopes, because you know she’s probably going to divulge secrets now that she’s out of her right mind, thinking the ISI guy is Brody–Lockhart’s career is safe. He is no doubt hoping they do away with Saul, too, so watch him sabotage whatever gains the Ambassador has made toward a prisoner exchange or other diplomatic solutions.

    Here’s what I think might happen: Duck still has a few of the psychoactive meds in a baggie in his pocket–he only counted out as many as there were real meds in Carrie’s prescription bottle. They showed him flushing the real antipsychotics (Clozapine) but after counting out the replacement ones and putting them in the bottle, he did not dump the remaining ones down the toilet. I think those will turn up, somehow, and expose him.

    I also think that, because he “kills bad guys”, Quinn will be the one who ultimately takes out Lockhart. Okay, so that’s definitely wishful thinking, but I could still see it happening as a way for him to put his demons to rest.

    • Correction: upon re-watching, I noticed the medicine Duck replaced was Carrie’s Nortriptyline capsules (I had remembered the female ISI agent reading “Clozapine” from the photograph of the bottles in the previous episode). Nortriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that’s sometimes used for panic disorder, so it makes sense that it would be part of Carrie’s med cocktail. I think they used those as the switch-out drug because they’re capsules–easy to mock up. Whereas Clozapine generally comes in tablet form–harder for ISI’s pharma guy to copy precisely, using whatever psychoactive agents they had, on a tight timeline.

      • Why would she be popping those like they were Xanax, then?

        • You have to take Nortriptyline at various intervals throughout the day, like four times at least. It was one of the earlier p-meds, a tricyclic. Those were developed before SSRIs and SSNRIs, and one-a-day/extended-release antidepressants weren’t a Thing. At least, not like they are now.

          • Interesting. Thx!

          • Do you have any guesses as to what drug Duck may have substituted? (Unless it is simply a magic Hollywood psychedelic of course.) LSD?

            • In the first scene, immediately following the opening credits, we see a pharmacist (at first, just his gloved hands) chopping and preparing white powder that he then packs into the green and white capsules. Those get put into a small ziploc bag, and he walks out to the counter and gives them to the female ISI agent, who will later have Duck switch them with Carrie’s AD meds.

              I think that given how violent, and violence-filled, her hallucinations were, it was likely PCP, but there are a few different drugs that specifically cause hallucinations, including of course, LSD. PCP is a white crystalline powder that can be packed into capsules, so when I saw that, in the beginning, that was my first guess.

  2. Let’s see. Brody was found by the US military after years of imprisonment. He became a popular hero in the US. He ran for and won a Senate seat, then was tapped for the Vice-Presidency by the sitting VP. Then he blew up the leadership of the C.I.A. (apparently) and his martyrdom video was shown on television. He escaped and popped up in Iran, which granted him asylum. He appeared on Iranian TV denouncing US policy. Then, in a surprise move, he murdered the head of the Republican Guard, was caught and publicly executed. Given that Gen Khan is a high ranking member of the I.S.I. and has never heard of Brody perhaps he should consider taking out a newspaper subscription?

    • Haha! I thought the same thing, but you said it better (Congress, though, not Senate).

      • I had the same reaction, then I thought maybe it was a way to get Carrie talking. Also, maybe the connection between Brody and Carrie wasn’t clear to him.
        The actor who plays Khan was on “Spooks” (British action series from a decade ago), I really liked him there and was thrilled to see him on Homeland

  3. Aasar Khan is played wonderfully by Razza Jaffrey. He had a small and annoying role on Smash, a show I liked.

    Ha ha!!!! You’re right. 🙂 I too was a fan of Smash, but not of his character. This role on Homeland seems a much better one for him.

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