Now that Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) has been captured, the real cat and mouse game can now begin. Episode five, ‘Q&A’ is all about the interrogation.
Let’s bitch it out…Like literally all about the interrogation. I can imagine some fans of the show complaining that “nothing happened” in the episode because it more or less exclusively focused on Brody’s interrogation – first by Peter Quinn (a returning Rupert Friend – yay!), and then Carrie (Claire Danes). Even that’s not entirely true, since Quinn exits shortly after performing his “Bad Cop” role by stabbing Brody in the hand. The rest of the episode is like a candid conversation between Carrie and Brody in which both sides play at telling the truth. Sometimes it is truth (such as when Carrie admits that she wants Brody to leave his wife and kids and be with her) and other times it is fiction (such as when Brody refuses to admit he wore the bomb vest in the S1 finale).
In this way Homeland reasserts its true power as a drama (and reinforces why it won the Best Series Emmy and both lead acting awards). When push comes to shove, this show is about the relationship between these two damaged individuals. What’s marvelous about it is that Homeland continually finds new ways to explore this relationship. It’s an unfair comparison, but my Sunday night opens with characters on Once Upon A Time who are forever static, no matter how much the show tries to explore their backstories and provide them new conflicts. Homeland is continually exploring its characters, but the difference is that it excels at this: Brody and Carrie are forever changing, subtly shifting under the surface depending on the circumstances and the players involved. They’re both chameleons, which is likely why they’re both capable of being so raw and naked with each other in the interrogation, even as they understand they’re not alone (with Quinn and Mandy Patinkin’s Saul listening in and Morena Baccarin’s shrill Jessica calling every five minutes).
By the end of the episode, nearly exactly what you would expect has occurred: Carrie is more or less “back” with the CIA as Brody’s operative, and the former traitor is now a double-agent working to uncover Abu Nazir’s plan and back with his family. Very little has changed by the end of ‘Q & A’, and yet once again it feels as though Homeland has reinvented itself. This is a show that had nearly everyone wondering for the first few episodes (of both seasons) how it could possibly sustain itself. Clearly the answer is in great writing, great acting and the relationship between these two protagonists.
Now, it’s time to fill up that suspect board and catch us some terrorists!
- Lots of questions in the fall-out: Did Brody lie when he said that he had no feelings for Carrie and he truly was just using her in 1×07 ‘The Weekend’? Does Carrie realize that her description of what Nazir did to Brody (broke you down, built you back up) is the same thing she just did in the interrogation? Were either of them truthful in these responses, or was this a masterful game of chess filled with little kernels of truth?
- Frustrating nitpick of the week: Why did no one (I’m looking at you David Harewood’s David) think to either a) tail Jess to ensure she didn’t turn up at the hotel or b) ensure the staff were versed in the cover story so that she couldn’t see that the room hadn’t been occupied in a day? Foolish
- Memorable image of the week: Tie – Brody lying in the fetal position on the floor after his interrogation ordeal and Carrie sitting in the near dark at episode’s end with her celebratory glass of wine
- Kim Bauer “Cougar” storyline alert: In the grand tradition of stupid teens doing stupid things that frustrate/annoy viewers (ala 24‘s Kim Bauer), Dana (Morgan Saylor) and Finn’s (Timothée Chalamet) first official date ends in disaster when they ditch secret service and do a hit-and-run drive-by on a woman in the street. Ugh – that’s all I can muster for this storyline. This is why you stick to Sergio Leone films, kids – because skipping “wide screen agony” only leads to real-life agony
- Carrie (after Quinn’s Bad Cop routine): “I can do this, Saul. It’s my turn.”
- Carrie (to Brody): “It’s the lies that undo us. The lies we think we need to survive. When was the last time you told the truth?”
- Carrie (to Brody): “Maybe you were just sick of death? That’s the Brody I’m talking to. That’s the Brody that knows the difference between warefare and terrorism. That’s the Brody I met up in that cabin. That’s the Brody I fell in love with.”
- Dana (to Jess): “Dad changed over there…they did something to him.”
Homeland airs Sundays at 10pm EST on Showtime.