There’s a reason Homeland is one of the best shows on television. Episodes like last night (entitled “Q&A”) remind viewers that the writers are not just thinking week-to-week; they have a much grander plan in mind, one that will continue to surprise viewers throughout each season. Last week’s episode ended with Carrie revealing to Brody that the CIA knows about the video confession he made before his attempted suicide bombing. He was then swiftly taken into custody with the knowledge that his real motives had been discovered. A suspenseful cliffhanger of an ending, but where could the series go once Brody has been confronted? As it turns out, there are any number of ways the action can proceed from this point on.
The majority of this week’s episode is a one-on-one battle of wills between Carrie and Brody. After his capture, Brody is left chained to a table in a dank, featureless room. When he finally enters, Peter Quinn, the man who is overseeing Brody’s case (much to Carrie’s chagrin), calmly begins asking Brody questions about his capture in Iraq, the intervening years that he was gone and his return home. Saul shrewdly notes that Peter is letting Brody tell lie after lie so Peter can confront him later. Soon, Peter shows Brody the video recording he made that was recovered by Carrie in Beirut. Peter leaves the room and the full weight of his situation dawns on Brody.
When he returns, Peter asks Brody to stop lying and to tell him what Abu Nazir is planning. Brody claims he doesn’t know and that he never actually put on the bomb; he changed his mind before going through with it. When Peter loses his temper and stabs Brody in the hand with a knife, he is pulled out of the interrogation room. Carrie then takes over, reassuring Saul she can handle it. (We find out later that Peter’s “theatrics” were so Carrie could play the good cop to his bad cop. Brilliant.)
The dance that happens between Carrie and Brody is quite one-sided, Brody not knowing what else the CIA knows about him. He sticks to his story that he was not wearing a bomb that day and Carrie continues to tell him she doesn’t believe him. Both Claire Danes and Damian Lewis give some of their best performances so far in the series during the back and forth they share. Carrie clearly has feelings for Brody still, which she plays up in order to gain his trust. We aren’t sure if she’s exaggerating how she feels about him or if she is finally being honest with herself. Brody is completely broken and knows he has been beaten. As the story progresses, Lewis looks more and more weakened as if he really had been sleep-deprived for several days.
This is where the story gets interesting. Carrie tells Brody he has two choices. First, he could endure the inevitable trial he is sure to face, possibly resulting in the death penalty, while bringing shame to his family and country. Or, he could take Option #2: Begin working with the CIA to discover Abu Nazir’s plot against America so that the attack can be stopped. With little real choice in the matter, Brody elects to begin helping the CIA in exchange for his family’s safety.
And just like that, Homeland has reached a whole new level of awesome. Now a triple-agent, Brody has to act like a U.S. Congressman, a terrorist aid and a CIA informant. It would be an easy assumption to make that by the end of this season we see Brody suffer the kind of breakdown Carrie had at the end of Season One.
“Q&A” also added another potentially interesting storyline to the series. So far, Dana (Morgan Saylor), Brody’s daughter, has had a very small, but critical role in the plot. Granted, she was the first person Brody confided in and revealed that he had converted to Islam, but mostly Dana has just been the obligatory unhappy teenager. That changed with this week’s episode when she and Finn Walden (Timothee Chalamet) go out on a date. Finn is Vice President Walden’s son and has been courting Dana for some time. While joyriding in an effort to lose his Secret Service detail, Finn hits a pedestrian with his car and then convinces Dana that they can’t stay and help. Dana agrees, but we see she immediately regrets it. This will be interesting to watch develop since VP Walden and Brody have begun developing a potential ticket for the next presidential election. Where this will go is hard to say, but it’s likely going to get very, very tense.