Monday, October 15, 2012

Showtime Homeland "Wired" #203 "State of Independence"

Homeland continues to deliver suspense, heart, and “I-never-saw-this-coming” plot twists. Episode 3 of Season 2 is named “State of Independence.”  I’m going to rename it, just because that is what I do, “Wired.” The adrenaline is pumping in this episode. 

The episode begins with Carrie in her room at her father’s house at 3 am in the morning working on her debriefing report of her mission in Beirut. Her father warns her that her health is still precarious and she needs her sleep. “I’m fine,” Carrie says. “No”, her father says, “You are wired.”  He’s right, Carrie is strung out.

Carrie is told to come to Langley the next day. She expects to attend the debriefing session, but when she gets there she finds that it is already in progress. She crashes the meeting. Her boss at the CIA, David Estes, escorts her out of the meeting and speaks to her in the hall. Estes tells her that she was “pretty damn impressive ”in the field.”  This lifts Carrie’s spirits. Then he adds, explaining why Carrie can’t be in the meeting, “You didn’t expect to get your job back did you?”  Carrie’s spirits crash. Estes asks Carrie to wait so he can speak to her after the meeting. Carrie flees the building, breaking down in the elevator in anguished tears. She’s wired, and her fragile recovery is like walking a tightrope wire.

Carrie returns home and tells her father that she wants to return to her own home. She says that she can’t recover with him hovering over her. At her own apartment, she enters her closet, spies a sequined mini-dress and puts it on. She puts on makeup. Is she going out?  No, she most definitely staying in. She empties her pill bottles and downs the pills. She lies down on her bed; her breathing is ragged, and she soon falls asleep.

She doesn’t sleep for long. She suddenly awakes, rushes to the bathroom and puts her fingers down her throat to induce vomiting. Her will to live has triumphed over her despair. 

Meanwhile the Brody’s are walking a wire of their own. Nick Brody (who is always called just Brody on the show, so I’ll refer to him that way also) has prepared a speech to give at the fund-raiser that Jessica is doing with Vice President Walden’s wife.  Jessica finds a copy of the speech in the kitchen and begins to read it. Brody wrote very movingly about his emotional state as a prisoner of war. “I prepared to die,” he wrote.

Jessica is very touched by the speech. She says, “I did not know that this is how you felt. She begins kissing her husband, and soon things heat up. She takes his hand apparently to lead him to the bedroom, but he grabs her roughly and lifts her onto the counter. Things heat up further, but Jessica wants more than sex. She wants intimacy.  She stops her husband and tells him, “Look at me.”  He does, and they resume foreplay, love and lust intermingled.
 
Just then Dana, the Brody’s teenaged daughter returns home. School has let out early.  The couple quickly break apart and try to look as if nothing was going on. Dana knows exactly what was going on. She has a weird expression on her face as she leaves the kitchen. As I suspected last week, there is something going on with Dana. She wants to usurp her mother when it comes to the affections of her father.  

Brody is walking also on a tightrope wire trying to navigate the perils of his double life.  He gets a call from his handler, Roja. “Move the tailor,” she tells him. “The tailor” is the middle-eastern man who made the suicide vest tor Brody. The tailor’s identity has been discovered, perhaps from the papers Carrie collected at the Abbas home, and the CIA is on the way to pick him up.  Roja insists that Brody is the only one who can get “the tailor” to the safe house because he knows Brody and will therefore trust him. 

Brody reluctantly agrees. However, Bassel, the tailor, does not trust Brody. He is suspicious and thinks that he will be killed. Things go from bad to worse when Brody’s car gets a flat. Brody discovers that there is no jack in the car. He goes into the woods that are adjacent to the highway and comes back with some logs. He uses the logs to jack up the car. We can see that Bassel is thinking about killing Brody first by running him over with the car and then by bashing him over the head with a lug wrench while Brody is busy fixing the flat. Bassel can’t quite get up the nerve to attack Brody.   

The flat tire is fixed and Brody stops for gas. Bassel says he needs to use the rest room. Brody says they are only five minutes away from the safe house, so he can “tie a knot in it” which I took to mean, he can hold it. Then Bassel says he needs tobacco. Brody goes into the convenience store to get it. When he returns, Bassel is gone. (One small question:  If they were only five minutes away from the safe house, why didn’t Brody drop Bassel off and get gas on his way back?) (One more small question: Brody insists that Bassel stay in the car which makes me think that Brody is concerned that he might run, but then he leaves Bassel alone in the car which makes me think that he is not concerned that Bassel might run.)   

Brody goes into the woods and tracks Bassel down. He finds him and there is a tussle.  Bassel falls and is impaled by a root or something. He is bleeding profusely and Body is trying to stop the bleeding. Bassel begs to be taken to the hospital. Brody says he can’t do that.Just then he gets a call from his wife who wants to know where he is. He tells her he had to go to a union meeting and he had a flat tire. Bassel is moaning and Jessica can hear him. Brody tries to stifle the moans with his hands, but he cannot, so he breaks Bassel’s neck to silence him. We hear the sickening crunch of the bones breaking.   

Brody calms Jessica’s suspicions about who he might be with and ends the phone conversation. He digs a hole with his bare hands and buries Bassel. All of this has taken hours and Brody is caked in blood and dirt. He goes to a car wash and hoses himself down. He evidently had some sweats in his car because he is wearing them when next we see him.

Brody never made it to the fundraiser. Jessica bravely stepped up and gave a speech in his stead. She talked about how hard it is for the families when their loved one suffers the trauma of war. She pleaded for support for the families. She got a standing ovation.  Her political star is rising.

After the fundraiser, Jessica is driven home by Mike, Brody’s best friend before the war.  Mike and Jessica had begun a secret relationship in Brody’s absence. They both believed that Brody is dead and they had just decided to get engaged and go public when Brody returned.  (One small question: Why didn’t Jessica drive herself to and from the fundraiser?  She had broken off her relationship with Mike when Brody returned, so why put herself in close proximity to him?) 

Jessica does more than just put herself in close proximity. She invites him in for a nightcap. Mike turns down the invitation. Jessica is wired about Brody being a no-show at the fundraiser. She suspects that he is engaging in some extra-marital activities. She tells Mike, in a spontaneous outburst, that her husband had an affair and disappeared for a weekend with that “CIA bitch.”  Mike now agrees to come in for the nightcap; they are both walking towards the door of the house when Brody shows up.  Mike leaves. 

Jessica confronts Brody about her suspicions as to why he missed the fundraiser and she pointedly enters the bedroom and slams the door shut. Not too hard, but enough to give Brody the message.   

Finally, at the end of the episode we get to the “I’ve-been-waiting-for- this-all-week” moment of the show. Saul arrives at Carries house early the next morning after her aborted suicide attempt, and gives her the SD chip. He tells her no one else knows about this chip—he wanted her to be the first to see it.  

Carrie watches Brody’s confession in amazement.  “I was right,” she cries.
 
This picture of Brody and "the tailor" is from http://sho.com

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