Previously on Homeland:
- Carrie (Claire Danes) had to take down the surveillance in Brody’s (Damian Lewis) home. Raquim Faisel was almost tailed back to his suburban house near the airport. Carrie followed Brody to a support group meeting and they had a meet-cute moment.
Family was a key factor in tonight’s episode. Even as we continue to wonder whether Brody has been turned, the show has done an admirable job of rounding out the supporting cast and making the rest of the show interesting and engaging. Blind Spot” did this well juggling the workings of the CIA as they took another step in unearthing a new terrorist plot, with the impact of Carrie, Brody, and Saul’s actions on their loved ones.
We open in Islamabad in a scene reminiscent of the pilot when Brody was rescued. We’re in the same compound, only this time someone new is being captured. The man is bagged and delivered to an awaiting air field. We’ll learn shortly that this man is Hamid, one of Brody’s guards and torturers.
First we check in on Carrie, who is back at her sister Maggie’s house to snag some more pills (the recap helpfully reminded us that Maggie only gave her seven pills so as to avoid arousing suspicion). This scene provides the first of two familial introductions as we meet Carrie’s previously referenced father, who also suffers from bipolarism. Carrie and Pops share an awkward conversation before she slips away to take a call and learn that Hamid is being brought in. She then promptly steals pills out of the bathroom before returning to the kitchen to baby her father by unplugging the iron. As she makes her way out, they both sound the chorus “Fuck the CIA” – clearly a common dialogue exchange between the two. This scene could easily be construed as filler, but it sets up an interesting parallel between Carrie’s desire to care for others and her abrasive “all-me-all-the-time” attitude wherein she puts herself at the top of the list of most important people. She’s self-righteous, offensive and head-strong – she’s also one of the most fascinating female characters of the television season. We might as well just give her an Emmy nod right now.
Next up is our second familial introduction as we meet up with Saul (Mandy Patinkin) at the airport as he picks up his absent wife, Mira. (*Sidenote: Did we know that Saul had a wife before now?) He receives the same call about Hamid as they gather her bags, and – much like the exchange between Carrie and her family – it’s clear that Mira has grown accustomed to Saul dumping her for work. She resignedly tells him she’ll get them a cab as he yammers on.
Cut to a briefing as CIA boss David (David Harewood) assigns Saul and Carrie to question the prisoner. There’s a twist, though: he wants Brody to help out. Clearly Carrie is not happy. Interestingly, despite the reconciliation she shared with David in the bar last week, she storms off with Saul to vent to him like a petulant child. Once again she takes the morally superior high ground and insists that they have an obligation to find out if Brody has been turned. Saul sees right through her and tells her that their obligation is to stop the next attack.
We continue gathering the troops as Mike (Diego Klanttenhoff) picks up Brody on his (rather intense – rawr) jog. (*Sidenote 2: Mike smokes? Is this a recent development as things between him and Jessica (Morena Baccarin) fall apart?) Brody wants information about what the CIA wants with him, but Mike claims ignorance and insists he get ready. We cut to Brody arriving home to a concerned Jess, who asks if she’s alright. He’s annoyed (like everyone else in this episode apparently), and Jessica apologizes. Chris, the son, materializes to initiate a predictable family storyline about going for his blue belt in karate and Brody promises he’ll be there to witness the test. If anyone didn’t foresee that Brody would miss that appointment, please call me so we can discuss some great time shares I’m looking to unload. Yawn. Boring!
Let’s jump ahead to the exciting stuff. Brody, Carrie and Saul descend upon the safe house, which apparently comes complete with interrogation room (The CIA : such handy decorators!). It’s interesting to watch another Carrie/Brody interaction, especially after last week when she crossed all kinds of professional and ethical lines to “pretend” that she was attending the support group meeting. They both pretend that they haven’t met since his debrief, but they both have dumbass smiles like little kids keeping a secret. Bad shit can only come of this new relationship.
Saul leads the interrogation, while Carrie guides Brody to feed him information on Hamid. Initially Brody is unsure what he’s doing there, so Carrie spells it out for all of us:
- Brody is there to confirm Hamid’s identity, and
- Provide information to unsettle Hamid to demonstrate how powerful they are
Brody asks if they will torture him, and Carrie reassuringly tells him that they “don’t do that here.” Brody seems to buy it, despite the fact that Carrie is obviously lying to him. Clearly this is setting the stage for all sorts of dangerous confrontations, so I was surprised that the questioning remained so tame. Of course, after Brody leaves, that’s when we get into the heavy metal/flashing light sleep-deprivation (did Showtime tell them waterboarding was off limit?). But first Brody helps Saul to propose a deal: the CIA will protect Hamid’s family if he tells them about Abu Nazir. After an evening of soul-crushing metal thrash, who wouldn’t be willing to cut a deal? 30 seconds of footage was enough to make me give up my mother.
So Hamid gives them an email, but refuses to give much more without reassurances that his family is safe. Carrie runs off to her tech squad to find out who it belongs to and Brody visits David to call in a favour: in order to be a man to his wife and a father to his children and a G.I. Joe puppet for his country, he needs closure. He needs to look his torturer in the eyes and let him know that he won. Since the previous four episodes have established that David is both a terrible boss who spies on his employees and is generally a douche, he agrees and off they go to the safehouse. Naturally Brody and Hamid get into a scuffle during which time Brody gets a loogey in the face. Take that American infidel!
At the same time the big reveal about the email comes through.Claire Danes finally gets to do what every cable television actress yearns to do on an uncensored show: she looks at a screen and exclaims “Holy Fuck.” The address belongs to the clear Bryden Engineering professor, Raquim Faisel – the guy they vetted last episode. Carrie tells her squints that Faisel is priority number one and unleashes her bug guys to his office on campus. There they discover an envelope with the address of his shell house by the airport and the CIA closes in.
Of course, as soon as things look like they’re coming together, they all fall spectacularly apart. Saul calls Carrie to tell her Hamid committed suicide with a razor. Carrie demands that Saul give her permission to raid the house since whoever supplied Hamid with the razor may have tipped off Faisel. This may be the first logical thing she’s said in the entire episode. And low and behold she’s right! After Saul gives in, they discover the house has recently been abandoned (despite Faisel’s blonde faux-wife reassuring him that they were fine to stay, apparently they decided to move on to the next phase).
This leads to the most interesting confrontation of the episode. After Mira explains to Saul that she accepts his dedication to his job, but needs to have more in her life than just him, Carrie shows up. Talk about understanding boundaries! Carrie and Saul review the safehouse tape after she completely fails to acknowledge the marital conflict happening right before her eyes (good old Carrie) and they see that Brody visited Hamid shortly before his suicide. Carrie’s spidey sense goes off and she freaks out on Saul because she knows that Brody was responsible, but he won’t support her. She calls Saul a pussy and tells him to “Fuck this shit” before storming off. The relationship between these two has been building for some time, so it’s no surprise that it came to a head, but it’s interesting to me just how much Carrie runs her mouth off around Saul, considering he remains the only one that even remotely supports her Sybil-style antics.
The following scenes do show that the argument has a big effect on her, though. The show is great at reminding us that although both Carrie and Brody are damaged goods, they’re not two-dimensional cartoons and they have emotional reactions to their behaviour. Alone at home, Carrie packs away her surveillance wall, then bursts into tears. She ends up back up at Maggie’s, exclaiming that she’s quitting the CIA. Maggie talks her into spending the night and the nieces elect to sleep with her, but Carrie can’t sleep. She accidentally wakes the younger of the two, who asks if she’s worried about bad guys who blow stuff up. In a way that only kids can, she offers to protect Carrie, prompting Carrie to reassure her that it’s her job to protect people from bad guys. You can almost see the lightbulb go off above her head as she sits on the stairs and half-smiles – clearly she’s not going aware as long as she thinks she’s the only one who can crack this.
And that’s Blind Spot. What did you think of the domestic discord between Saul and Mira? Or, for that matter, between Brody and Jessica? Were you surprised when it was revealed that Hamid had committed suicide or that Brody has (potentially) strategically staged the fight in the titular blind spot of the safehouse? What do you make of Brody and Carrie’s burgeoning relationship? And what flavor of ice cream is best for celebrating a blue belt in karate?
Kim Burnett says
I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on how mental health issues (PTSD & and unnamed anti-psycotic requiring illness) are portrayed in the show (perhaps in a future post!). So far, to me the show seems to be doing an OK job nuancing instead of the standard TV/movie PSYCHO = MURDERER trope.
Bitch Stole My Remote says
I think thus far they’ve been handled well. Carrie feels more fully fleshed out because of her struggles, so I think it’s a good balance between making her three dimensional and using an illness as a narrative crutch. If the show relies on her illness getting in the way of her ability to function as a dramatic arc, I reserve the right to reconsider my position, though.
Kim Burnett says
Yeah, I expect that eventually her suspicions about the former POW will be written off due to her mental illness. How this is handled will be key!