Monday, October 22, 2012

Showtime Homeland "New Car Smell" #204 "Spy vs. Spy"

Homeland” on Showtime delivers the thrills, the suspense, and the “I-never-saw this-coming” plot twists week after week. Props to the writers—they do a great job every episode. 

Showtime named the season 2, episode 4, of “Homeland “New Car Smell.”  It refers to Brody having his car detailed because it smells of smoke--the terrorist suicide-vest-maker, known as “the Tailor”, who Brody attempted to rescue, but ended up killing in the last episode smoked in the car. But, it could have a deeper meaning, the smell of terrorism clinging to Body, the smell of craziness clinging to Carrie--may be these smells are being replaced with something else. As usual for this season, the new episode shook everything up. 

I’m going to name this episode “Spy vs. Spy” because the two spies, Brody and Carrie, are trying to “play” each other.  Also, Brody’s former best friend, Mike Faber, and some of his former Marine buddies have some suspicions that Brody knows more about the death of another former member of their team, Walker, than he is letting on. (As indeed he does, because Brody killed Walker on Nazir’s orders.) The team have resolved to do a little spying of their own to discover the truth.  

Carrie is back in the game as a spy once again. She is the key person in the operation against Brody. An amazing surveillance system has been put into place as part of the secret off-book operation to discover who Brody’s contacts are and what terrorist plots against the U.S. are being planned. 

Carrie fairly glows, she’s so happy to be back in the game. The CIA “spy-runners”, David Estes, Saul and a new hot-shot, Peter Quinn, have decided that Carrie should have an ‘accidental on-purpose” chance meeting with Brody to arouse his suspicions that the CIA is up to something related to him or to Nazir. The hope is that his suspicion that he is under suspicion will lead him to contact his “handler.”   

By the way, Carrie and Peter, were quite antagonistic to each other when Peter was first brought in. However, there seems to be a slight thaw in their frosty relationship as they get to know each other and start to respect the talents each brings to the game. 

Carrie carries out her mission on this “chance meeting” perfectly.  Brody is concerned about Carrie’s return to the CIA. He speaks with his contact, Roja, a woman who works undercover for the terrorist group as a journalist. The spy team observes this encounter, but since they only have “eyes” and not “ears” on Brody when he is in the halls of the Pentagon building, they don’t hear the conversation and they don’t suspect her. Instead they suspect the other Middle-Easterners Brody has had contact with throughout the day, like the man who is detailing Brody’s car and the taxi driver who drives him back to his office when he has to leave his car at the car-wash.  

Roja tells him to “renew the relationship” so he can find out more about Carrie’s role at the CIA. Brody calls Carrie late at night and invites her to meet him at the hotel bar.  

Brody is staying in a hotel because his wife, Jess, has thrown him out of their house. She asked Brody for some “answers” about his failure to show at the fund-raiser.  All he said was, “I want to explain, but I can’t tell you.” Jess took this to confirm her suspicions that he is cheating on her and she told him to pack a bag and get out.) 

Carrie promises to be at the bar in 20 minutes. They have a drink and Carrie acts a little flirtatious, and a little tipsy, and lets it “slip” that she is closing in on “the man who stole eight years of your life.” She is, of course, referring to Abu Nazir, the man who held Brody a prisoner-of-war for eight years. The conversation ends and Brody pays the bar tab by giving the bartender his room number. He leaves Carrie at the bar.   

Back at “Operation Spy-on-Brody” headquarters, the entire meeting has been observed, eyes and ears. Everyone is elated and Carrie is asked to return to headquarters. In the “who-me?-follow-orders?” moment of the week, Carrie goes rogue again.  We can almost see her brain light up as she calculates her next move. 

She goes to Brody’s room, playing it coy, like she is there to do the “booty” part of the “booty call” they both had firmly insisted neither of them wanted. However, it doesn’t take long for Carrie to blow her cover. She loses it because she is genuinely hurt—she was in love with Brody and he betrayed her. He made her think she was crazy, he complained about her to the CIA causing her to lose her job, and the very worst thing, he broke it off with her. This is the “Hell hast-no-fury-as-a-woman-scorned” moment of the week. Brody now knows that the CIA have his confession video. 

“What are you going to do?” Carrie asks. “Kill me and blame it on rough sex?”
Of course, Carrie can afford to be reckless. She knows the team has eyes and ears on her and Brody. Within minutes, agents break down the door, handcuff Brody, and take him away. Fortunately for Carrie, there were no slip-ups in the surveillance. 

So now what? See what I mean by the totally out-of-the-blue-sky plot twists. 

By Catherine Giordano
This picture from shows Carries and Brody having a drink.
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