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September 23, 2014

'Homeland' Recap, Episode 7: 'The Weekend' the Brody-o-Meter Died?

by Michael Hogan, posted Nov 13th 2011 11:00PM
Was Alan Sepinwall right? Is it time for AOL TV to retire its exclusive Brody-o-Meter? Judging from the last 5 minutes of tonight's episode of 'Homeland,' the answer could well be yes.

What the hell am I talking about, you ask? Well, for the past couple of weeks, I have structured each 'Homeland' recap around a single question: Is Sergeant Nicholas Brody a sleeper agent for al-Qaeda, or a messed-up war hero? Meanwhile, HitFlix's Sepinwall has said he doesn't want to focus on the is-he-or-isn't-he debate. He's more interested in the twisted relationship between Claire Danes' Carrie and Damian Lewis' Brody.

Well, Alan, this episode's for you.

Let's start at the very end of "The Weekend," shall we? Are we buying that confrontation between Carrie and Brody? Knowing what we know of Brody, do we really believe that he would sit down and invite Carrie to ask him anything? And knowing how suspicious Carrie is, and how much she has risked to go rogue on this so-called investigation, do we really believe that she would take him up on his offer and turn over every card she's holding? Maybe so. Maybe I just need to let go of my desire for these two to be master chess players, because this exchange was about as strategic as flipping over the board and crying for mommy.




Not to say that it didn't amount to some damn enjoyable TV. Under Carrie's oh-no-you-didn't gaze, Brody spilled it all -- admitting that he killed Tom (or thinks he did), lied about Abu Nazir, and converted to Islam. We even got an explanation for his suspicious finger-twiddling: "It's a habit, when I don't have my prayer beads." But the most fascinating confession had to do with the content of his character: "You don't understand anything I've been telling you. I'm not made of that stuff. I'm no hero. I had nothing to give." He tells Carrie he lied about Abu Nazir because he was too embarrassed to admit that "he was kind to me, and I loved him."

Come to think of it, Brody could say the same for Carrie. As tormentors go, she could give Abu Nazir a run for his money, however closely her methods may conform to the guidelines laid out in the U.S. counterterrorism handbook. And her half-calculated kindnesses turned Brody into a pasta-stirring lover boy in record time. It's starting to look a lot like there's less to Brody than meets the eye. We thought he was either a flawed hero or a diabolical terrorist, but he's really just a wounded puppy looking for a firm hand to scratch him behind the ears.

If this episode's late-innings revelations are to be trusted -- and I'd say that's still an "if" -- then Brody has been beating himself up for a murder he didn't commit. After driving Raqim Faisal's girlfriend Eileen all the way to Virginia from Mexico, Saul finally extracts a key piece of information from her: an American visited them at the house by the airport and spent an hour on the roof. After establishing that the roof is an easy sniper shot away from a helipad for Marine 1 (that's the president's helicopter, for those playing at home), Saul decides it must be Brody. But it's not. It's Tom Walker! He's alive -- and evil! He's the "turned" P.O.W. that her Iraqi source warned Carrie about.

Saul calls Carrie to tell her the news. The phone is still ringing when Brody storms out of Carrie's cabin, understandably furious that the woman he has been sleeping with for the past 72 hours can't seem to let go of the idea that he's a secret agent for al-Qaeda.

But now that she's heard what Saul has to say, Carrie is convinced that she's been mistaken. Brody's a good guy. And, not incidentally, her only decent romantic prospect in a 300-mile radius, even if he does have that ridiculously beautiful wife at home. Brody is pulling away in his car when she catches up with him. "This weekend, this time that we spent together, it was real," she says. "The parts that we both ... the important parts."

His entirely understandable response: "Fuck you, Carrie."

So again I ask: are we buying all this? I, for one, am torn. The Yorkshire Gold "gotcha" moment seemed a bit cheap to me: Carrie's a C.I.A. agent, for god's sake. She couldn't have improvised a line that would have covered up for that small slip up? "Doesn't everybody?" would have sufficed nicely, I should think.

But I am able to believe that Brody was invested enough in his budding relationship with Carrie to open up to her, especially if he really did have nothing to hide -- and I suppose I can believe that Carrie was eager enough to have her questions answered that she would sit down and fire away, especially given the proximity of that handsome antique firearm.

Assuming this isn't headed toward some 'Killing'-style switcheroo, I suppose 'Homeland' is about to head in a whole new direction. We'll watch Brody and Carrie join forces to capture Walker, even as they attempt to heal the wounds inflicted during their reckless interlude. And we'll continue to wonder which of Carrie's colleagues can be trusted: How did Saul know so quickly that Faisal had been murdered? As a commenter pointed out last week, he got home awfully late that night. And what precisely did he mean when he told Eileen, "I thought we'd understand each other"?

I, for one, will also be rooting for Jessica and Mike to find a way to be together. With all due respect to God, family, and the American way, this little nuclear unit is about as stable as uranium-238. Dana's drunken encounter with that glass window is just the beginning; she may think she wants Mike to go away and make room for daddy, but her teenager logic is no match for the complexity of this situation. Jess needs a lovin' man around the house, and Brody needs someone who feels his pain (not to mention a boatload of therapy).

But at least he's no terrorist! (I think.)

Final Brody-o-Meter Score: 10



I know I didn't cover everything in this recap, so tell us, in the comments, what were your famous moments? Did you enjoy Saul's cross-country drive? How about that stolen kiss on the sofa between Jess and Mike? And the wolfish look on Brody's face when he got a good look at Carrie's pink underwear?

Yeah, I think that was the highlight for me too.

Infographic by Catarina Ferreira.

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Livingstone

Abu Nazir is playing a master game: he has planted TWO terrorists into american soil, one will make the deed, the other one is the decoy. Who's who? Saul surely knows... and poor Carry is just a pawn in the game. I love the plot, they must have a great CIA advisor in the team!

November 18 2011 at 5:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Livingstone

Abu Nazir is playing a master game: he has planted TWO terrorists into american soil, one will make the deed, the other one is the decoy. Who's who? Saul surely knows...

November 18 2011 at 5:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RedEpistaxis

Carrie was busted as soon as the words 'Yorkshire Gold' came out of her mouth. There was no explaining her way out of it. She's a spook. She gave him the third degree at the debriefing. She 'bumped into him' at the support group. Brody put it all together immediately I'm sure.

November 15 2011 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Holly Houston Stein

I think there's going to be more to Brody's story, and they started some more in this episode with his calling out "Asa" in his dream. He said that was his guard, but was it? Perhaps he was given his freedom for something in return, and "Asa" knows what that is. Brody says, "I'm no hero", was that just in reference to his believed beating to death of Walker? Perhaps there's more that he did that would classify him as an anti-hero. I think when he looks back at Carrie when he's standing by his car at the end, that he seems to know what she will hear on the phone. Has Walker been in touch with him? Don't be so quick to assume that Brody is innocent in all of this. Remember we're given to believe that Carrie has great extincts and years of service to the CIA, was she really convinced that Brody no longer is hiding anything? This is where she may start to get her romantic feelings for Brody confused with her eagerness to find the truth. We need Carrie to get back on her meds, and stay focused on Brody's actions, not what he says. Yes, Walker is the POW who turned, but maybe Brody knows why and what the plans are. So Nazir was kind to him, then what did he want in return? If nothing else, we need to learn to be aware that any of these characters (except Carrie, of course) act suspiciously at times.

Yes, what about Saul? How did Aileen suddenly decide to give him key info, did Saul promise her he'd get her out of the country before she went to jail, did he promise her father something in return? There's so much here to think about, I love, love, love it!

November 15 2011 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lor

as much as i like saul i think he might be in on something....he can really relate to eileen plus remember how the polygraph went off the first time he took it? he is the one that slipped the razor blade in there. but we can never be sure, this has a lot of twists and turns, i love it.

November 14 2011 at 5:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Samantha Zalaznick

Of course, I realize there's the more obvious possibility that Saul was just using his research on her life to get her to open up...but did anyone else feel like he may not have been? Why was he so intent on getting her himself?

November 14 2011 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Samantha Zalaznick

What about at the diner when Saul told Eileen he's been in touch with her dad?! They know each other! I guess Saul and her dad somehow knew each other (perhaps worked together?) in his time overseas. This just adds another layer to Saul's developing backstory, but what do we think is going to come out of it? All this hinting must be leading up to something...

Also, I don't think he knew that Faisal was dead when he said that prayer, I thought he was saying the Mourner's
Kaddish for the terrorist who killed himself, wasn't he?

LOVED this Walker twist! So maybe Abu Nazir did plant intel to get Brody released after all, but it wasn't to send him home to carry out his plans, it was to confirm Walker's death and thereby facilitate his next attack.

Thoughts?

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