‘Homeland’ episode 2.05: ‘Q&A’


Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison and Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in Homeland (Season 2, Episode 2) (Ronen Akerman)
October 29, 2012

As Carrie tracks Brody, Ned Martel will be tracking their every move in weekly recaps of Showtime’s Emmy Award-winning series “Homeland.” Check back each Monday morning to join the conversation on one of TV’s best nailbiters.

Previous episodes

201: “The Smile”

202: “Beirut Is Back”

203: “State of Independence”

204: “New Car Smell”

Q&A: it’s not just this recap’s format, but also the name of Sunday’s episode.

So what was the most important question Carrie got an answer to?

Arguably, Carrie (Claire Danes) answered her own question: could she ever admit how much she loved Brody? She was both playing him AND speaking her truth, to put it in California terms. “There I said it, I’m still alive,” she said, as a confession of her pain and love. Actually, Carrie did drop the L-bomb on the guy in the hotel room last time, but in this outrageously entertaining tete-a-tete, she plumbed the depths of her emotions to see if they were reciprocated.

Well, are his emotions similarly deep?

It’s hard to tell. Damian Lewis is a very good actor playing a very good actor. We have seen Brody hold VERY TIGHT to his role under questioning, but he did seem to turn. It was in his watery blue (and red) eyes. He started giving her the answers she was seeking. But was it genuine? Is it possible to fake such vulnerability? If you’re that emotionally naked, can you still come up with a scrim to cloak yourself?

Wait, you’re supposed to be answering. So did she crack him?

Well, let’s put it this way: She found that he has a very deep well of emotions. We can’t figure out something crucial. There’s a possibility that when she called down that well, all we were hearing were the echoes of her voice.

OK, what are you talking about?

Under a massive interrogation, Carrie played to his better angels. She had her own boss (and possible future love interest) ready to pounce on the guy and gouge his hand or whatever else, but this former POW knows something about pain and resistance. He survived eight years in enemy hands; now it’s his first day in American captivity, so we might not expect him to break so soon. Maybe he knows it’ll ultimately be easier to maneuver in their care, or at least Carrie’s care.

But this is also “Homeland,” where action happens at a break-neck -- break-hand pace -- anyway. So does that mean he was playing her?

Well, he did get what he wanted: a form of freedom. Brody has to return to his family and act as a sort of double-agent. And Carrie has offered him a possible safe-house, under her bed covers, should he want to make the cover story happen. And she means HAPPEN.

So who’s in love with whom?

She clearly was. Not clear if she is now. He clearly was at least hot for her, but also said in retrospect that they were basically playing each other.

By saying she now wants more, is she pushing it?

Yes! The world was in danger and he was a terrorist, but she felt something big. And now she is launching an epic let’s-talk-about-our-relationship exchange when he is literally a captive and she’s in total power. He once accused her of being a stalker, but it’s much easier to be one when the government has handcuffed him to the desk across from her.

Isn’t it way too risky for her, as an accomplished woman and as a credible character, to mix the professional and the personal so much?

That’s why the spy world has made for good fiction forever and ever and ever. This is a shadowy, dark demimonde like “The Sopranos,” where inhabitants play by their own rules and it’s exciting to hear them talk like actual men and women. But in any other universe, she’d get hauled off to the H.R. department.

Once Brody acknowledged he had made the tape, how could he get away with claiming he didn’t wear the vest?

Through sheer gall. “No bomb went off,” he said. “I killed no one.” Yeah, but…

Are they really going to let Brody continue his close contact with the vice president after all they know about him now?

Well, there’s one thing they cannot control: the budding relationship between Finn and Dana (Timothee Chalamet and Morgan Saylor). They took their love on a joyride and ignited a Bonfire of the Teenage Vanities. Even if they fall out of love, they’re stuck with each other. And so, in a legal way, are their families!

Is the moral of the story that Dana is sabotaging her dad?

She has shown that inclination. Remember: “My dad’s a Muslim”? Maybe the moral of the story is “Keep your kid in public school.”

Any clues on who the mole is?

Signs point to Saul, except when they don’t. Sleeper candidate: Virgil!

Speaking of sleepers, will they haul in that blonde suburban lady with the sleeper-cell husband who got killed last season?

Well, her photo and the Middle Eastern journalist’s photo were the last two remaining on the bulletin board in the surveillance room.

So is Carrie using Brody’s new vulnerability because she thinks she can manipulate him for national security purposes or personal growth purposes?

Uh ... yes? Let’s put it this way: she saw Brody steered by someone else who had national and personal needs. Carrie is becoming his new Abu Nazir. And you know what she wouldn’t mind making with him? A new Issa!

Homeland addicts, unite! Please send me recon or outrage or any other signs of intelligence life: marteln@washpost.com or in the COMMENTS below.

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