Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Showtime Homeland "I Spy" #202 "Bullets Over Beirut"

Episode 2 of Season 2, “Bullets Over Beirut,” of Showtime’s “Homeland” continues the story, lots of action, lots of suspense, lots of “nail biter” scenes. I’m going to rename this episode “I Spy.”

Carrie’s thoughts and actions dominate this episode. Her emotional state is so fragile. She is emotionally devastated because she is convinced that she was wrong about Body being a terrorist agent. She now has a lot of doubt about whether or not she can trust her own judgment. Her emotional devastation is all the greater because her co-workers at the CIA no longer trust her judgment either. Her self esteem has plummeted. She is engaging in a lot of risky behavior, most likely due to a combination of her self-esteem issues and her medication. 

When Carrie talks about her shame concerning Brody, I experience the “talk-back-to-the- TV "moment of the week. I just want to reach through the TV screen and comfort Carrie. “You weren’t wrong,” I want to tell her. “Take care of yourself,” I want to tell her.

Here’s Carries story in this episode. Carrie has gone missing after evading her attacker at the Beirut marketplace in the last episode. She knows that her assert, Fatima, goes to morning prayers, so she finds her there the next morning. Fatima tells her that her husband is going to meet with Nazir the next day. Fatima wants the $5 million dollar reward for informing on Nazir and to be brought to America by the CIA to start a new life.

Carrie returns to the American Embassy where everyone has been anxious about her safety and trying to find her. Saul is relieved that Carrie is safe. However, Saul is upset that Carrie met with Fatima alone. He wanted to be in the meeting to assess Fatima’s credibility. (Remember, no one trusts Carrie’s judgment.)

Everyone has doubts, but after a lot of back and forth between Beirut and the CIA, it is decided that the possibility of capturing or killing Nazir is worth the risk. Carrie’s information proves to be correct and the agents have Nazir in their sights as he exits his car, when Nazir suddenly gets back in the car and speeds off. The mission has failed. Only Fatima’s husband and another Nazir associate are killed. (I’ll get back to just why in a bit.)

Now Saul and Carrie and another CIA agent quickly get into a car and rush to pick up Fatima for her escape to the United States. They have to move quickly, lest Fatima be discovered. As Fatima gets in the car, Carrie grabs her house keys, and rushes back into the building where Fatima lived. She wants to search Fatima’s husband’s office to see if there is any intel to be gathered. She picks up a bag she finds in the room and begins stuffing it with papers.

Meanwhile things are getting dodgy in the street. A menacing crowd has gathered  around the car. They are rocking it. Saul refuses to leave without Carrie. A brick is thrown through the window of the car, and there is no longer a choice. The car speeds off. Carrie has been left behind.

The situation is now dire for Carrie. She has been spotted leaving the apartment, and bullets are whizzing around her as Nazir’s men try to kill her. Fortunately, she is not hit. You can see her fright on her face—she knows what a dangerous situation she is in. She is wildly running down halls, up and down stairs, running every which way. Her attackers are closing in. Suddenly, a hand grips her shoulder. A friendly hand. The hand of the CIA agent that was part of the mission to pick up Fatima. He guides her to safety.

How did Nazir escape? Brody. Back in the United States the CIA and the military leaders are in the situation room watching the operation. (It reminded me of the pictures we saw—the ones taken during the real-life operation against bin Laden.)  V.P. Walden has invited Brody to join the brass in the room. Brody sends a secret text message to warn Nazir. Nazir gets the message just seconds before he would have been shot and is able to escape.

Brody is shaking. Is he upset about Nazir’s close call? I think it is more upset about his own close call—he could have been caught sending the text. Later he meets with his contact Rona, and tells her that he can’t do this anymore. She persuades him that he must continue. But Body’s life as a “double agent” is getting to him. It is proving hard to be a spy.

At the end of the episode, we see Carrie as she arrives back home. She’s a wreck. Her doubts about herself, her near death, the intensity of her experience in Beirut and her letdown as she returns to “ordinary life” have taken their toll. She is a spy. It is her whole identity. It’s why she rushed into Fatima’s building heedless of her own safety.  

In the final scene, we see Saul going through the items that Carrie retrieved. The papers have revealed nothing of importance. But Saul feels something sewn into the lining of the bag. He rips the bag open and retrieves an SD chip. He puts the chip into his computer and plays it. It is a video recording of the confession that Brody recorded before his aborted suicide mission. Had the mission been carried out, the video would have been released. Saul  essentially spied on Brody when he found and watched this video.   

Now what? Brody is exposed. Is the series over? Will Brody become a “triple agent”? Will he go into hiding? Will he become an unwitting tool of the CIA? The discovery of the video certainly took me by surprise. I don’t know what to think. Guess I’ll just have to watch next Sunday.  
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