It begins with Saul attempting to go home: he’s at the Beirut airport when security pulls him aside, and a taciturn, plainclothes official sorts through his belongings. “Jewish, yes?” the security guy asks. “American,” Saul replies, identifying by nationality, not religion. The security guy uncovers a computer chip in a secret compartment — whoops!— and sends Saul on his way. After the plane takes off, Saul reveals another computer chip in a double-secret compartment — psyche! In your face, mysterious Hezbollah guy!
Back at her dad’s house, Carrie burns the midnight oil trying to finish her official report about her Beirut experiences. She’s in high spirits — “I feel pretty great,” she tells her Dad, who tries to get her to go back to bed, because sleep is the best medicine. That morning Dan from the CIA picks up Carrie’s report and tells her that the official meeting (debriefing? My jargon’s getting rusty) will be later that afternoon. Carrie takes it on faith that she’ll be welcomed back, but given the circumstances of her ouster, she’s setting herself up for disappointment.
In the Brodies’ kitchen, Jessica reads part of Brody’s speech at that night’s fundraiser and finds herself moved by its honesty. Brody apparently writes about accepting death in captivity, the kind of thing he never talks about with his family. Brody and Jessica start making out, he hesitates and then he heats up, sweeping her in his arms and breaking something. Their passionate interlude gets interrupted first by Dana coming home with her boyfriend, then Brody taking a call from Roya Hammad, who gives him an errand — in Pennsylvania — but assures Brody that he’ll make it back in time for the fundraiser.
Roya says that Brody needs to pick up the tailor of Gettysburg who gave him the suicide bomb vest last season, and that it can only be Brody, because they’ve seen each other face to face. You have to wonder if Abu Nazir, who requested that Brody steal stuff from Estes’ office on the season premiere, is just messing with Brody at this point. Will Brody’s missions become increasingly trivial and inconvenient? Next week, will he have to deliver a truckload of Coors Beer and get back in time for a Congressional floor vote? At any rate, Brody’s desires for a normal, non-terrorism-related life continue to be denied.
Brody finds the shop and tells the tailor (Nasser Faris) to pack a bag — supposedly the CIA is onto him. The tailor proves reluctant and suspicious, but when Brody suspects that incognito agents are closing in, he hustles the tailor into the car and they drive off. (My wife wondered if the Marines taught Brody evasive driving tactics as part of his training.)
At her ESL class, Carrie has her students repeat some simple sentences about a man driving to work — shades of the Brodies’ superficially idyllic suburban life. She checks her messages about the CIA briefing, but hasn’t heard anything, and one of her students playfully asks, “No text from your boyfriend?”
On the road from Gettysburg, the tailor repeatedly questions Brody about where they’re going and what they’re doing. He clearly believes that he’s going to be killed, while Brody suggests that they’ll ensure his safety, and even if he has to leave the country, that’s better than Abu Graib. But then —oops! — the car gets a blow-out and runs off the road, and Brody discovers that he has no jack in the boot. A tense scene follows with Brody trying to change the tire and use logs as a makeshift jack, and the tailor contemplating braining Brody with a tire iron, then a big rock. Jessica calls Brody from the banquet hall, wanting to get a copy of his speech for the teleprompter, but Brody claims to be at a union meeting in his district. Jessica’s getting pretty antsy.
Carrie returns to her home office at the CIA and, to my surprise, isn’t turned away at the door, so at least they let her in the building. She hangs out in an old colleague’s office but is too nervous to sit still, so she goes to the briefing room and finds the meeting in progress without her. Estes takes her aside and, making a valiant effort not to be a dick, thanks her for her work but says they don’t need her on the case. Carrie keeps a brave face but crumples on the elevator (providing future fodder for this Tumblr).
Despite being all in a hurry, Brody stops at a Quik-E-Mart for gas, goes inside for some reason or other (maybe it didn’t have a pay-at-pump option) and returns to find that the tailor gone. He spots him rushing into the woods down the road and goes after him. Eventually, in a stand of woods reminiscent of Miller’s Crossing the tailor hits Brody with a rock, they tussle and the tailor impales himself on something. The tailor begs to be taken to a hospital. Brody reiterates his intent to take him to the safe house. Then Jessica calls at the most hilariously awkward moment imaginable — the fundraiser’s about to begin!
I imagine that most viewers, like me, expected that this subplot would have Brody going through all kinds of agita to get the tailor to the safe house intact, only for the terrorists thank him for his trouble and then immediately kill the tailor. Instead, Brody finds his attention split between the wounded tailor and his angry wife, and so he kills the tailor himself. Most of the time on “Homeland” Brody seems like an honorable man with divided loyalties, but this week reminds us how unpredictable and compromised he actually is, and we shouldn’t trust him to follow his moral compass.
Carrie goes back to her dad’s house, but decides that she really needs to be at home, so she returns to her old apartment. She thinks a bit, then put on her little black fuck-me dress and phony wedding ring, suiting up for another of the anonymous pick-ups she favored early last season. Rather than go out, however, she stays in, gathers her pills and drinks them all and a big glass of white wine. She curls up in her bed and closes her eyes — remember how her father was trying to get her to sleep earlier in the episode? Then she bolts out of bed, sticks her finger down her throat and vomits up the pills. She even knows how to hold her hair away from her face.
At the fundraiser, the peeved vice president asks Jessica “Who am I supposed to introduce?” “Don’t worry, sir, this is my mess,” Jessica replies, and takes the podium. She promptly wings a candid, heartfelt speech about living with Brody, alluding to his severe nightmares, using the word “intimacy” and suggesting the military should have program to prepare the families at home for soldiers who return with PTSD. The crowd goes wild. Meanwhile, Brody buries the body in the woods and hoses himself off in a self-service car wash.
Jessica’s old boyfriend, Captain Mike, gives her a ride home, and her fury at Brody outweighs her triumphant feelings. She brings up the fact that Brody had a tryst with Carrie: “He was fucking the bitch, for a whole weekend.” She invites him in for a nightcap but as they approach the front door Brody shows up. Awk-ward, even the American flag on their lawn seems embarrassed. Inside, Jessica suggests that Brody think about his actions if they want to stay married. The one flaw in Jessica’s new career as a politician’s wife turns out to be her husband.
The doorbell rouses a groggy Carrie, who hides her suicide kit, puts on a robe and lets in Saul, who says he came straight from the airport and has a piece of intel he hasn’t shared with anyone. She plugs it into her laptop and sees Brody’s suicide confession. “I was right!” Saul: “You were right.”
Since Saul brought the Brody confession to Carrie, does that mean he’s not going to bring it to Estes? Could it be that, instead of having the CIA rehire Carrie (as a consultant or whatever), Saul and Carrie will open the case against Brody as their own off-the-books operation? I wouldn’t put it past “Homeland’s” showrunners.
If you’d like to see the airport scene again with the tension cranked up to 11, check out Argo.
The reference to Carrie seems to ring a bell with Mike, but we don’t know why.
We previously saw the tailor on Season One’s penultimate episode, “The Vest,” in which Brody took his family on a visit to Gettysburg and picked up the suicide vest, which Dana came close to spotting. It’s not unpleasantly reminiscent of the classic “Sopranos” episode “College,” when Tony took Meadow to village some college campuses and had to make a detour to kill a traitorous colleague he found living in the witness protection program.
Brody's efforts to make the fundraiser reminded me of the old John Cleese movie Clockwise.
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