The Debriefing: The fallout continues. Carrie (Claire Danes) heads to the newspapers to tell her side of the Brody story but is quickly taken away for psychiatric detention — at the behest of the CIA. She must then stand trial to be released on her own recognizance. You know that there’s a vintage Carrie break down coming in this episode. A new, Mulism-American agent Fara (Nazanin Boniadi) begins to work with Saul and Peter. Her job is to track the money that went to the terrorists that blew up the C.I.A. Despite initial berating from Saul (Mandy Patinkin), she becomes a valuable asset to the team. Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) is still reeling from killing a child in the last episode and is quickly becoming tired with the way Saul is handling the whole Carrie situation. Dana Brody (Morgan Saylor) is not adjusting to being at home and longs to see her boyfriend whom she met in the asylum.
America’s Most Wanted (Best Overall Performance): Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn. As stated by Friend in a behind-the-scenes featurette, Peter Quinn’s moral compass is pointing towards a more human side. In tonight’s episode we see a more humane version of Quinn as he sternly tells Saul he’s disgusted with him and when this current mission is over — he’s done with CIA. You can tell behind Friend’s steely reserve that last week’s accidental shooting of the young boy has changed him. However, the American badass side of Quinn is not completely gone. At the end of the episode he threatens the American banker who’s stonewalling the CIA telling him that he only has limited patience for “veaial shit heads like you.” Quinn’s become a fascinating character, his evolution will be interesting to watch unfold.
The Sleeper Cell (Best Supporting Performance): Nazanin Boniadi as Fara. This new character makes an impact from moment one. Her silent introduction — walking into the CIA complete with a traditional Muslim hijab, gaining unwanted and unwarranted glares from her fellow CIA officers, was a powerful one. Her first encounter with Saul, when renders her to tears, is a particularly intense one. Yet, it’s not Saul who owns this scene. The moment Fara takes command is when Saul walks out, she calls him back in and, despite the tears in her eyes, devises a plan to “follow the money.” She also more than holds her own in the scene where she and Saul confront the bankers. I dig this new character as she has the potential to be this season’s Quinn — a side character that involves into a really interesting and integral part of the story.
A “BOO” Nazir (The Worst Part of the Episode): The Dana Brody story line is like a bad MTV teen drama. It drags us away kicking and screaming from actual, good storyline to mire us in this predictable, melodramatic garbage. Dana telling her psych ward boyfriend that “We’re not damaged” and that he’s “beautiful” sounds like something out of that Drew Barrymore movie Crazy/Beautiful. Barf. I can’t wait for Nicholas Brody’s storyline to kick in so this storyline can see considerably less screen time.
The Key Evidence (Best Part of the Episode): Quinn’s confrontation of the banker. It’s an interesting scene especially since we just saw Quinn state he’s done with the CIA and that what Saul’s doing to Carrie doesn’t sit well with him. He’s just put his moral foot down yet in this scene he’s basically threatening to kill this banker and his family — all for the good of the CIA and the USA. Can’t he see this is exactly what Saul’s motives are in regards to Carrie? Call it hypocritical if you want, but it’s a terrifically acted scene nonetheless. “Venial shitheads” might also be my new favorite phrase of all-time.
The Analysis (Overall Thoughts on the Episode): This is a vintage table-setting episode for Homeland. “Uh…Oh…Ah…” (a TERRIBLE name for an episode) turns the page on storylines that began last episode including Dana’s suicidal state and Carrie’s fragile emotional state. The conclusions of which are radically different for the two of them. The introduction of the savvy yet still inexperienced Fara is a nice touch and will make for a solid addition to the cast. Speaking of additions to the cast, it’s great to see F. Murray Abraham’s oily agent Dar Adal in a regular role. He was such an intriguing character last season and now his weekly interaction with Saul (which is usually confrontational) is becoming a regular favorite segment of mine. It’s also interesting to see how the relationship between these two will play out especially since Saul is on the record as not being a fan of Dar’s. And by not a fan I mean he kinda hates his guts.
The Brody storyline continues to be the worst part of the series. At least there was a bit of a cease fire between Dana and Jess (Morena Baccarin). Now we just have to wonder if Dana’s going to convert to Islam (yes the scene of her on Brody’s prayer rug we’ve seen in all the trailers happened tonight). Speaking of Brody, next week we FINALLY get to see him. What I find interesting about Homeland right now is that I’m just as glued to it as I was when Damian Williams’ character was in every episode. So far it’s been no Brody but the same excellence. That’s just the marks of a good show right there.
I’d be remiss in concluding a Homeland recap without talking about Claire Danes. In tonight’s episode we see the devolvement of Carrie Mathison into a state of madness. The combination of no medication, trying to defend Brody and taking heat from the CIA is just cracking away at her sanity. Danes’ acting remains as great as it has throughout the series; her manic panic is nerve racking. However, it’s her quiet moments that speak volumes. When she quietly mutters, through a drug-induced state of malaise, that she hates Saul…well, that’s more powerful than her best over-the-top screaming banshee scenes. When she punctuates this by turning her head from Saul…well, that just sewed up her third consecutive Emmy.