As promised, we’re checking in on Showtime’s Homeland. After two episodes of sitting out, Damian Lewis’ Brody returns to dominate the third hour. So how does the series handle Brody’s resurrection?
Let’s bitch it out…I’m the first to admit that I think Showtime has done Homeland a disservice by keeping Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) alive. I think that the actor is amazing, but for the sake of the plot, I was never convinced he should have survived past the first season finale. Then season two came along and for the first half at least, I was forced to eat my words as Brody’s struggle proved mesmerizing, particularly 2×05 ‘Q&A’.
‘Tower Of David’ is no less impressive, though for entirely different reasons. The fact that both episodes share the same writer, the late Henry Bromell, is hardly surprising as he has an ironclad grasp on how to write both Carrie (Claire Danes) and Brody. But whereas ‘Q&A’ was a heart stopping show stopper, ‘Tower Of David’ is a slow-burn character-driven hour. It would be easy to dismiss this as a simplistic, boring episode: Brody is imprisoned in a unfinished apartment complex in the slums of Venezuela while Carrie struggles to retain her composure – and sanity – in the Psych ward.
To leave it at that is short-sighted, though. Once again the framing and writing serve to visually reinforce the parallel desperate situations the separated lovers find themselves in. For completely separate reasons the events of last season has led both to their own private hell: with a $10 million bounty on his head, Brody is unable to escape from the Iraq-like building that marks the end of his travels, nor its totalitarian, gun-toting regime. Meanwhile Carrie, the disgraced but ultimately innocent former CIA operative, has been quietly stashed away, left to bang her head against mirrors and venomously lash out at anyone and everything.
As always the balance of the show hangs on the performances of both stars, which are masterful as always. While I remain uncertain whether Brody’s survival serves the narrative requirements of the show (versus the awards desires of Showtime’s owners) remains to be seen. If the quality of future episodes remains equivalent to ‘Tower Of David’, I’ll likely be forced to eat my skepticism once again. And look forward to doing so…
- I’m sure others missed them, but I was okay without seeing Saul, Quinn, Dar Adal or the Brody’s as, in many ways, their respective presence seemed to hang over both Brody and Carrie. This parallel structure helped make things feel much more intimate; checking in on Dana or Saul would have ruined a lot of what ‘Tower Of David’ was trying to accomplish
- I particularly enjoyed the performance of Erik Todd Dellums as the pedophile doctor who pushes heroin on Brody. It’s an unnerving role because the ick factor creeps up on you, even as you realize that Dellums’ character is just as trapped as Brody is
- While I’m unsure I want to watch an entire season of Brody stuck in the Tower, this episode certainly makes me interested in seeing more of the stories of other characters living in unfinished wastelands such as this (so long as director Danny Boyle stays far, far away)
What are your thoughts: gripping or boring? Are you happy to have Brody back? Did you miss Saul, Quinn or (god help you) the Brody clan? Where does the series go from here? Hit the comments below with your thoughts
Homeland airs Sundays at 9pm EST on Showtime