Homeland – “The Motherf**ker with a Turban / In Memoriam” (Season 2 Episode 11)
This week’s Homeland packs a lot of excitement into its hour, whacking off a seemingly important character, bringing some finality to the Brody family’s problems, and putting Saul under fire. While much of the hour is exciting, its end result leaves the viewer wondering where it’s all going and what could possibly happen next week (and not completely in a good way)…
Spoiler ALERT! You have been warned!
I’ll start with a quick note: I’m not sure what the true title of this episode is, as I have seen both names listed on the web for it. Perhaps the “Turban” one is too offensive, so they changed it, but either way, I have included both…so don’t shoot me or lock me in an interrogation room.
BRODY FAMILY COUNSELING: Now that we’ve finally got to the point where the Brody’s have decided it’s just not working, can we all get a Hallelujah? No? Alright, then. It’s kind of nice to have this little storyline over with, as it was beginning to drag, and while I get that the characters had to try and work it out–and that there truly was a lot at stake–it seems as though this has been a long time coming.
With all that said, though, I have to give the writers credit for the way that they handled it (most of it, anyway) in this episode, and the dialogue between Jess and Brody toward the end, where it’s clear that it’s over–and Jess tries to make sense of it all–is fantastically written and expertly handled by Lewis and Baccarin. The scene is affecting in all the right ways and you truly feel for them as they finally agree to give up on what they had. Moreover, it speaks to Brody’s experiences and the fact that he came back as a much different person than he was before, and Jess simply couldn’t accept it, or come to terms with it.
On the other hand, the crazy stuff with Dana is just…blah. I’m truly over her character now, and again, I ask, what was the point of all that hit-n-run nonsense?! I am 100% convinced now that it was the equivalent of the Kim Bauer-Cougar storyline from season 2 of ’24′. It truly went nowhere, and if it was just meant to drive a wedge between Brody and Dana, there could’ve been a better way, no? The scene with the spilled milk? Dreadful; and while it delivered an heart-wrenching line (that wasn’t a truly fair statement, mind you), the juvenile-ness of it all just kind of undermined it. Now that the family is outs, do we not have to deal with her anymore? Please? So now Brody and Carrie can be together, I suppose.
SAUL NO LIKEY POLYGRAPHS: We see Saul being interrogated through the use of a polygraph (don’t we have anything more advanced now? Is the CIA on a shoestring budget?) and he’s asked about whether he provided the weapon that Aileen Morgan used to kill herself. Whoa there, Nelly! Saul doesn’t buy into this ridiculous accusation, so he says that if Estes wants to frame him, so be it. Moreover, Saul says he should be asked about the plot to assassinate a U.S. congressman once Nazir is kaput.
Later, relatively calm Estes gets the report from our polygraph operator–let’s call him Wellington for the hell of it–and he says that there’s enough there to “do what you want” with Saul. More importantly, Wellington adds that Saul was telling the “truth” about the assassination plot, but that he could easily chalk it up as an anomaly and nothing more. Oooh, devious! Estes comes to Saul and says he wants him out, tired of being constantly undermined and he can choose his own exit story. It’s like choose-you-own-adventure, minus the adventure. It should be interesting to see how this plays out and if Saul really is on the outs in the CIA.
CARRIE THE STREET TOUGH: As Carrie returns to the mill to go after Nazir, she sees someone in the dark, and chases them down, but ends up coming into contact with the TAC team sent there to help her out. Carrie claims that Nazir is still inside while Quinn questions her about her escape and intel. Later, after searching, Quinn gives Carrie the bad news that the TAC teams found no one inside, and Carrie refuses to believe it. Carrie is convinced that Nazir must have had inside help, and immediately jumps to the conclusion that the Muslim Galvez must have helped him. Really? That’s what convinced her? That was he Muslim? Oh my…that’s kind of lazy, right there. No wonder she was kicked out of the CIA. She takes off to to find him, only to discover that he getting his stitches switched out. So much for theintelligence in Central Intelligence Agency. High five!
Later on, Estes brings in Roya for questioning, hoping that Quinn can get something out of her, but Carrie barges in and takes over instead. She tries to gain some rapport with Roya and for a moment, Roya appears to come around, only to tell Carrie that she’s stupid and calls her an “idiot whore”, saying that this is not a “game” as she rails on her in Arabic. The two are separated and Carrie is sent home. But her mind won’t rest about something Roya said about Nazir never running, so she returns to the mill and convinces one of the remaining TAC teams to search with her. They find a suspicious wall and behind it, a place where someone has been clearly hiding. As Carrie goes to get the rest of the TAC team, her friend gets his throat slit and her and Nazir play a game of cat-and-mouse. Eventually, Nazir runs away, only to be cornered by the TAC team, who shoot him dead when he reaches for something.
Okay, what? So Nazir, who was so pivotal to the ongoing terror plot, is now just dead…just like that? So much for being important. I get that it adds to the tension and the unpredictability, but that was it, really? The mastermind who has eluded the CIA, FBI, DHS, and pretty much everyone else was killed by a regular old FBI TAC team because he continued to hide in a mill. Alright, then. I certainly hope the writers have something planned for this that somehow makes this seem less like a mistake, or we’ll all be wishing he survived just a bit longer. Maybe his plan didn’t require his continued involvement? Either way, this seems like a strange choice to make right now, and its suddenness is both its biggest strength and its most glaring weakness.
Estes then congratulates Carrie in the way a distant and unloving father would a child, and tells Quinn that it’s time to handle Senor Brody. We’re later treated to a scene where Brody arrives at Carrie’s house and tells her that it was either Walden or her, and it wasn’t even a choice. She welcomes him in and we notice that Quinn is watching from the street like a creeper, no doubt ready to send Brody to the big house in the sky. I’m interested in where this is going, but what’s left for Brody? If he somehow manages to escape the plot to kill him, what will he do then? Will he and Carrie go on the run together? I’ll admit, I wondered in a similar fashion after last season when it appeared that the writers painted themselves into a corner, so I’m cautiously optimistic. Yet, with all that has gone on in the last few episodes, I’m also worried that this season of Homeland won’t play out in the most impressive way. Next week, we’ll find out…for better or for worse.
THE VERDICT: This is a just great episode of Homeland that is very close to doing things that derail the show. As it stands right now, they still work and it should be interesting to see it play out. We got some resolution to some nagging storylines that should reignite some excitement next week, and that leaves me hopeful for what could be a HUGE Homeland finale.