Thursday, November 29, 2012

Showtime Homeland "Two Hats" #209" Your Move

Showtime’s “Homeland” season 2 episode 9 is entitled “Two Hats. Towards the end of the episode we learn that the title refers to Quinn, but it could just as well be a reference to any number of people in the show who have secret lives and who might not be just exactly who we thought they were. I’m naming this episode “Your Move” because I feel like I’m in a game of three dimensional chess. A player makes a move, another player responds, and the game unfolds in incredibly complex ways. 

The CIA team has assembled in their little war-room and they are trying to decide what to do. Carrie announces that Brody is probably dead. She’s very matter of fact, intent on proving to everyone that Brody was simply “an asset” to her, nothing more. Her attitude conveys that the only thing on her mind now is “what is our next move?”  

The team decides that their only option now is to bring Roya in. Just then they get a call from Brody. He asks them to get his family safe. Once he knows that his family is safe, he will meet with Carrie. When Carrie meets with Brody, the “I’m-a-total-professional- here- no-emotional-involvement-whatsoever” mask falls. Carrie is clearly relieved to see Brody alive.  

Brody feels the same way about Carrie.  After he is brought back to the war-room and debriefed, he asks Carrie if she believes hims.  She says t she does. He says that is all that matters to him. 

Next move. Good old Mike is back in the picture. The CIA team knows that they have to send someone for Brody’s family that Jess and the kids will trust, and someone who will not arouse the suspicions of any nosy neighbors. Mike tells Jess and the kids that they have to leave with him right now. Dana kicks up a fuss. She says, “This is bullshit.”  She appears to be going through a phase where everything that happens elicits that phrase.  Mike becomes step-in-daddy again and Dana falls in line. 

They all go to a posh apartment “safe house.”  Mike is spending the night. Is he there as a marine to protect the family, or is he there as a friend of the family. That is not clear, but it soon becomes clear why Jess wants him there. Evidently, there are only two bedrooms in this apartment, and Jess insists that Mike take one of the bedrooms and she and the kids will share the other one. Later that night, when the kids are asleep, Jess makes her move. She sneaks out of the room and goes to Mike’s room. Mike wakes up when she enters. She lifts her night-gown over her head and lets it drop to the floor. She stands there naked for a moment, and then slides under the sheets with Mike. Mike and Jess are re-united—if you know what I mean. 

Jess should be much too worried about her husband, or the danger that she and the kids might be in, for a 2am hookup, but apparently not. So has Jess decided to leave her husband and resume her relationship with Mike, or is this just “revenge sex”? Is Jess so angry at Brody for his lies and disappearances and his association with Carrie despite knowing that he really is involved in a dangerous CIA mission—that’s why they were all brought to the safe-house—that she thinks bedding Mike is the way to “get even”? This is the “don’t-get-mad-get- even” moment of the week. I’m starting to feel bad for Mike. He’s a good guy, a good friend; I hope he isn’t being used by Jess.  

Brody tells Carrie, “I thought I was dead. Brody reported that he had been wired to a car battery, but they didn’t use it to torture him with electrical shocks. They simply left him alone in the room for a few hours. Then Nazir entered with tea. They had a nice little kiss-and-make-up chat. They got down on the floor and prayed together, Muslim style—but Brody does not tell Carrie about this prayer session. Brody explains to Nazir that he wavered in his dedication to the cause because he was blindsided by his feelings for his wife and kids. Nazir tells Brody that he is essential to the plan.  

Nazir tells him that the attack will occur at a homecoming ceremony for 300 soldiers at at a naval base. Vice President Walden will be there. Brody’s job is to get Walden to agree to have one reporter present—Roya. 

Is Nazir being straight with Brody or is just making a move in this real-life elaborate chess game? Perhaps he knows that Brody has defected back to the side of America, and he is giving him dis-information to mislead him and the CIA.   

The game proceeds. The CIA follows Roya and her TV crew.  They have stopped at a restaurant. Another van pulls up to the camera van. Large camera batteries are switched from one van to the other. The FBI team swoops in; the plot is foiled, and Roya and her crew are taken into custody. Is it really all over or was this whole operation just a decoy operation? Nazir is still free. Perhaps Roya was just a pawn to be sacrificed, and the big move is still to come. 

While this plot is unfolding, there is a bit of a sub-plot. Call this one, “Who is Peter Quinn?” It seems Saul has had some doubts about Quinn. He had Virgil and Max, two trusted agents that have long worked with him and Carrie, check Quinn  out.  They follow him and then decide to break into his apartment for a little look-see. They discover that Quinn’s apartment is as bare as a monk’s cell. “This guy is ready to bounce at a moment’s notice.” They also find a picture of a woman and a young boy. 

Saul finds the identity of the woman, and he begins a little game with her. Saul visits her pretending to be from the IRS investigating Quinn’s tax returns. The whole purpose of the visit to get her to call Quinn and tell him about the visit so that Quinn will become concerned that Saul is “on to him” and make a move. The plan works, Quinn leaves the war-room, takes a bus, takes another bus, but Saul and his boys keep him under surveillance despite these evasive maneuvers. 

On the second bus, they see Quinn meet with a man. The man is Dar Adal played by F. Murray Abraham. Dar Adal is a legend at the CIA, a high level operative. This raises so many unsettling questions. Why is Quinn involved with him? Why was Quinn brought in to head up the team? What is Quinn up to? Who is he working with? 

The questions become even stronger at the end of the episode.  As the capture operation is about to go down, Estes nods to Quinn. Quinn leaves the room. “Where’s he going?”, Saul asks.  Estes says he is going to liaison with the FBI.  Saul says, “an analyst.”  Estes says , “He’s wearing two hats today.”  

Later we see where Quinn has gone. Quinn is driving a limo and is at Brody’s house to pick him up. Brody get’s to the back seat and he cannot see what we see.  Quinn has a gun with a silencer and is about to shoot Brody. However, just at that moment, he gets a call from Estes informing him that Nazir has not been captured. Estes says, “We still need him.” The game is not yet check-mate. Quinn replaces the gun into the glove compartment. Brody will not die today. 

Just when it looks like the game is won, a whole new game is beginning. It’s three-dimensional chess.  

Here's a photo of Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), Homeland's "Mystery Man."