Monday, November 12, 2012

Showtime “Homeland “The Clearing” #207 "Clear and Unclear"

By Catherine Giordano

The Clearing” is the title of Showtime’s “Homeland”, season 2 episode 7. It I may take the liberty of a little play on words, I’m entitling this review, “Clear and Unclear.”   

It is clear that a terrorist attack is coming, but when and where and what is still as unclear as ever.  Roya intercepts Brody as he is jogging in the park and tells him “it’s close.” And that is all he, the CIA, and we the viewers, know. 

The identity of the man who met with Roya by the fountain is still unclear. The CIA thought they had cleared this up, but it all went wrong. Here’s what happened.  Saul goes to visit Aileen, an American woman, who is in prison. She had been part of a terrorist cell and Saul established a relationship with her when she surrendered to him in Mexico where she had been hiding from terrorists who wanted to kill her. This involved a long road trip, just the two of them together.   

Saul visits Aileen in an interrogation room of the prison in the hopes of identifying the person who met with Roya. Saul shows her a photo and Aileen says she knows him. Aileen has been kept in a basement cell in the prison in isolation so she makes a deal with Saul to reveal the identity of the man in exchange for being moved to a cell with a window. Saul agrees. But the warden doesn’t. It is a bit of a turf war. The warden says that he is the boss in his prison, and he doesn’t have to do anything for the CIA. Saul says he will get an order from the attorney general. However, there is a delay in doing this since the attorney general cannot be immediately reached. 

In the meantime, Saul, because he is a good man and because he wants to ensure that Aileen remains co-operative, allows her to stay in the interrogation room. This is a treat for Aileen because the room has a window. Saul even brings in some “contraband”—a small bottle of wine, some good bread and cheese.  

Finally, the order from the AJ comes through, and Aileen gives them the name and address of the man in the photo. The CIA team storms the house of the suspect only to find that the man who lives there is not the man in the photo. Saul is still at the prison when he gets the news. He’s puzzled, why did Aileen lie? Suddenly, it’s clear to him, and he races back to the interrogation room. There he finds Aileen on the floor in a pool of blood. She had slit her wrists with the glass from the reading glasses that Saul had lent her so she could read the agreement that would allow her to have a cell with a window.  She dies in Saul’s arms. She killed herself because she could not bear to live out her life in prison.   

So nothing is cleared up about the identity of the man with whom Roya met. Perhaps it is not even important whom she met with. The CIA doesn’t know and neither do we. 

Carrie meets with Mike. She once again tries to make it clear to him that he must cease and desist his investigation into the death of Tom Walker. She tells him is too emotional because of his involvement with Jess, Brody’s wife. She tells him the best thing he can do for himself and for Jess is to stay away from her. Will Mike take this advice? I tend to doubt it.  

There is a big fund-raiser event at the home of a rich backer of Walden for President campaign, a man named Owen. The Walden family is there, the Brody family is there, together with a bunch of donors. It appears to be an all-day pool party. A woman starts asking Brody some insensitive questions about his time as a POW. It makes Brody uncomfortable. Owen gets Brody alone and apologizes for the “lookie-loos.” He explains that he was a Navy man, and he had experiences similar to those of Brody. He understands.   

Brody says, “Just don’t call me a hero. All I did was not die.” Owen says that he doesn’t care much for Walden. He is only supporting Walden because he’s looking eight years down the road for when Brody can run for president. Brody insists that he is not the man for the job. The host thinks that he is just being modest.   

Later that evening, Owen makes a little speech to the donors. He talks about Brody more than Walden. Much to Walden’s annoyance, he makes it clear that he wants Walden to choose Brody as his running mate.  

Carrie calls Brody and says that she is in a nearby clearing. She tells Brody to take a walk and gives him directions to the clearing. She tells him that she has spoken to Mike and he will leave it alone. One small question:  Couldn’t she have just told him that on the phone?  Of course she could. One thing is clear, she takes every opportunity to see Brody in person. 

Another thing is clear. Brody is under a lot of stress. He has to constantly lie. Lie to Jess. Lie to Walden. Lie to Roya. Carrie may be the one person in his life that he does not have to lie to. He tells Carrie about his conversation with Owen. He feels a lot of guilt because he is not the man that Owen is. He says, “Owen believes that I am like him. That guy is the man I could have been if I hadn’t lost myself.”  The lies and guilt are getting to Brody. 

Carrie takes his hand. They look at each other for a long time. Then they are swept up into a kiss. It’s not clear who “swept” first. It appears it is simultaneous.  Brody is unclear about whether he can trust Carrie. He asks, “Is this for real? Are you just handling me?  

Carrie replies, “Brody, I don’t know.  I don’t want you to feel used.”   

Brody answers, “I feel used and lied to. I also feel good. Two minutes with you and I feel good.  How do you pull that off?  More kisses and Brody leaves.  It is clear that both Brody and Carrie are unclear about their relationship. 

Vice president Walden’s son has been drinking the dregs from glasses left on tables.  Dana, Brody’s daughter, has been pestering him about the two of them telling their parents about the hit-and-run. Fin’s mother sees them arguing, and Dana blurts out the truth to her. Mrs. Walden immediately escorts them into the house.  Jess is brought into the room. 

Jess feels that they must go to the police with this information. Mrs. Walden tries to dissuade her. “You are new to the world stage. Leave it to me.  I’ll take care of it.  You have to follow my lead here.”  Jess does not like what she is hearing and says she has to talk to Brody.     

When VP Walden gets the news from his wife, he complains, ”Why does that kid always get into trouble.” Then he blames Dana.  He says that Estes will take care of the DC metro police. Mrs. Walden tells him, “We have to worry about Jess.”   

Walden tells Brody, “We should not be benched by this. It’s a moving train and a screw-up by a couple of teenagers is not going to change that.”   

Brody decides to go with Dana to the police. Carrie is sent to intercept Brody at the police station. She pulls him aside and tells him, “You can’t do this. You won’t have a deal if you do this.” Dana is angry and surly when she sees Dana, and especially when her father tells her that they will not be talking to the police today. They will do it sometime “down the line.”  Dana marches off, where to, is not clear. 

One small question: Why are Brody and Jess and Dana are all so intent on confessing right this minute? This is the “This–just-does-not-make-any–sense” moment of the week. The prudent thing to do would be to consult with a lawyer, and, should they decide to confess, to be accompanied by the lawyer when they confess.  Are they unclear about how this will ruin all of their lives?  Perhaps Jess and Dana have a strong sense of right and wrong. Perhaps Brody, who so enmeshed in lies, must finally get on the side of truth. 

How this will all play out is not clear at all. Is Dana going to confess on her own?  Will Dana tell Jess that Brody met with Carrie? Will Mike back off? Will they find the out who Roya met with? Will Brody and Carrie resume their affair? will the terroist attack be thwarted?  Is Walden the target? Can Brody navigatethrough all his lies?  Perhaps it will all be clear next week.

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This picture of Carrie and Brody in the clearing is from