Homeland Season 2: Star Ascending

JaniaJania gave us a wonderful “Carrie and Brody: Was It Love?” series covering every single scene with Carrie and Brody in Homeland Season 1 followed by a discussion between NotLinda, a wonderful reader and an occasional Fan Fun contributor, and herself. And now we are thrilled to leave the stage to NotLinda for her to give us Carrie and Brody in Season 2. We MISSED them, didn’t we?

Please ENJOY!

Welcome to an examination of the relationship between Damian Lewis’ Brody and Claire Danes’ Carrie traveled in Season 2 of HOMELAND. It’s a wild ride with hairpin turns. However, as importantly, this season is a mesmerizing character study of Nicholas Brody. The character is pulled by opposing, coerced, and uncontrollable forces. The repercussions of his commitment to Abu Nazir, the unexpected bond to his family, and his deal with CIA. At the top of his game, I’ve never seen Damian so compelling. Please enjoy –

ASCENDING STAR

The dust has settled from the chaos of Season One. Carrie’s completely undermined, left over-medicated and quietly puttering in her sister’s garden.

Brody has slipped smoothly into his life as a sleeper agent. He believes he has set the ground rules for this game. Foolish man.

The pair enter a purgatory of suspicion and attraction. Suddenly the very forces that drove them apart propel them together again. Brody’s been unmasked; she was right all along. She is back from the brink of despair and he’s quickly being driven to it. Brody and Carrie locked, loaded, aimed at each other in point blank range.

The handlers on both sides decide its time to weaponize the relationship. So Carrie is sent to ambush Brody at Langley. She’s all nerves, that little twitchy smile shows up as it often does when Brody’s involved.

He appears. Of course, he can’t let her pass him by. The lies and manipulation fly! As they part her small triumphal smile dissolves into utter sadness. One truth is spoken, “Anyway, I’m glad I saw you.” “Yeah, me, too.”

For Nick’s part – he’s scared shitless.

For, Roya Hammad, reporter as well Nazir operative – she’s pleased. Carrie is an opportunity.

“Re-establish the relationship.”

And he does. Ordered by his wife to leave his home, he’s drinking in his hotel bar; totally surveilled. He picks up his phone; over at CIA, Carrie’s cell rings.

Carrie’s also being watched, by Saul and by the new guy Peter Quinn as well. She has so much on the line. This is her chance to restore her creditability, if not her job, and yet there he is. It’s Brody and he’s on her phone.

They meet and circle each other warily. Desire and rage. It’s Carrie who, finally, shows a tell. Discussing EST is too much. They are so attuned that there is no hiding. He knows and she knows he does. None of the watchers can see it but Carrie does! We get to watch the story play out in Damian’s every expression and gesture, the master of the sidelong glance.

He calls an end to the game but Carrie’s having none of it. Defying everyone she confronts him up in his room. She drops the pretense immediately. In the ensuing exchange Nick says a most remarkable thing, “I’ve had a pretty good run so far. I seem to be good at this. If nothing else.” Yet he can’t seem to understand how they got here: “I liked you.” She shouts, “I loved you!” and he looks completely stunned and disarmed even takes a small step toward her.

source: fanpop.com

She charges him with his crimes and calls for justice. As agents haul him away. She stands alone in the room not triumphal but holding back tears.

“If only circumstances had been wildly different.”

Damian’s performance is so comprehensive that at this point we forget there ever was a Brody that Carrie could feel at peace with. There is only a trapped animal who’ll do or say anything. Without any clear idea of to what end any more. Watch his face. He says it all.

“Q and A”. One of the best episodes in the series. In it we watch The Relationship turn from suspicion to knowledge. Brody, shackled and cuffed shows nothing but righteous indignation. Carrie, a lady who doth protest too much, watches Quinn’s interrogation with visible sympathy for the man who an hour ago she denounced. Quinn violently engineers his questioning’s termination to get Carrie in the room.

What does she lead with? “You broke my heart, you know.” He looks up in wonder – she’s a specter from another time. She tosses off a question almost identical to one Brody asked her at the end of Season 1. “Was that easy for you, was it fun?”Her interrogation is as much about them as about his crimes. Essentially she talks (and talks) about Truth and Lies. Yes, she plays him with guilt and fear but she acknowledges a tragic truth, “I’m just happy to be talking to you again.” As Damian plays Brody, he denies, defies but we can see him step closer to her second by second. His posture is upright with only his jiggling feet betraying anything else. His expression changes from defended to distraught to unbearable sadness. Then she turns off the cameras!

“Alone at last.”

With Saul and Quinn listening from the adjoining room, she leads him through the horrors they’ve witnessed, the truth about Abu Nazir’s manipulation and… the truth of her feelings for him. Brody looks like a man who finds water in the desert. Truth and hope do what isolation and violence could not. He gradually melts under the burden of so many lies, until he is looking up at her! When she brings out that she knows the call from Dana stopped his attack. He looks up in shock and he breaks. He gives up most of the players, admits to wearing a vest and collapses. Holding Carrie’s hand.

When Saul enters, telling Brody he must call his wife, Nick looks to Carrie for confirmation. She nods, he makes the call; telling Jess he’s been “lookin’ for some answers”. Did he find them? “Yeah, I think so.” During this conversation he and Carrie look straight at each other. No Saul, no Jessica.

Later Carrie rouses him from unconsciousness and, all business, goes over his options. This is just the first of the swings from intense intimacy to unthinking suspicion with which this season is shot through.

As she drives him home to his family Brody rests his head against the window – a position hauntingly familiar to us who’ve watched the whole series. As they talk of security for himself and his family Carrie comes up with a plan going forward,“The affair will be our cover.” His response is to reach with his wounded hand to take her hand and they both gaze forward; wordlessly acknowledging their bond.

Brody is filled with dread for his family for now he’s a double agent and Nazir is ruthless. Carrie moves into her new role as his handler/lover. They hold a long knowing gaze before he gets out of the car for the walk back to his house. She watches him, considering – as she’s always watched and considered.

(Can I just interject here with a question that’s bothered me from my first viewing: What is up with those shrubs he passes going to his drive? They’re completely wrapped in some diaphanous material..?)

The next day. Carrie texts Brody to come in and possibly id a contact of Roya Hammad’s. She and Quinn are trying to track down the plot Brody has revealed is planned. She opens the door to him, “How are you?”, “Not too bad actually.” Wait. What? After the shattering night before and a tense morning at home, this is his response? For me this is the first moment that I believed that Brody IS “a man who changes his mind”.

I was there, now I’m here. My best interest now lies with this woman and the deal we’ve made.

United, Quinn becomes the focus of their mutual wariness. Unable to identify Roya’s colleague in Nazir’s network, Brody does reveal the fact of the tailor/vest maker’s death and his involvement but when only Carrie calls him out. Not for Quinn.

This relatively low level action throws Brody into high anxiety.

As for Carrie she, continues to claim “my eyes are open” as far as Brody is concerned. That’s not the same as saying “I don’t love him”. I think she’s well aware of that.

When the agents decide to run Brody back to Roya to discover if her contact is the tailor’s replacement, what started out as a simple beginning to his new role turns into real and dangerous counter intelligence work. “Not too bad” is really over.

The next morning Carrie accosts Nick in a Senate parking structure. His tension is already through the roof, when she informs him of his new mission he shudders in disbelief. To calm him she reassures and caresses him. Again he takes her hand but this time not lovingly. Rather he says, “What’s this?” Out pours all the cynicism of man who wears value systems as disguises. Carrie draws back, shocked by his response. Still, mission accomplished.

When we next see them together, tables are turned. Seven agents are dead following Brody’s information about the tailor. Nazir’s network knew they were there. Carrie bursts into his office, convinced he’s been lying to her, betraying her. He’s astonished and protests, “I don’t know what you’re saying. Really.” He takes her hand this time in both of his. “Shhhh” He enfolds her in a comforting embrace; she weeps quietly into his shoulder. Yet Nick gazes thoughtfully into the near distance. “Don’t trust Brody.”

The following morning finds Brody on his morning run, only to be ambushed again. This time by, a haggard Roya, we learn a lot about the increasing pressure on Brody. He must be wired almost constantly since this was not a planned meet yet Carrie’s hearing every word. He is fulfilling his double role, pressing Roya for details of Nazir’s plan.

That evening driving with his wife to a fund raiser, Jessica reveals that Mike Faber has accused Brody of killing Tom Walker. Brody’s becoming more Jess’s handler than her husband. Notably he uses words to describe Tom as a way to describe himself, just as he did when confronting Lauder. “Tom lost his way. He just went through too many things and he couldn’t get right again.” The pressure mounts.

Upon arriving he splits off to call Carrie, his outrage and suspicion boil over – at Carrie, at Roya, at Mike. Carrie tries to calm him, she’ll take care of Mike but Brody hangs up on her.

The fundraiser is an unending endurance test for Nick from the obsequious attentions of Walden to the offer of fellowship from a fellow soldier. An offer that only makes him feel inherently unworthy.

Carrie calls, “I’m in the clearing.” She’s fixed the Faber situation yet Brody is still jumping out of his skin, crazy eyes. He opens up, he tells Carrie what’s going on in his broken heart. She takes his hand, they are drawn together in a long tender kiss. “Is this for real?”, he asks.

She answers truthfully,”I don’t know.” He admits, in one of my favorite moments to feeling “used and played and lied to. I also feel good. Two minutes with you and I feel good…. How do you pull that off?” He just can’t trust her when she can’t trust herself. Yet she makes him feel good and he never feels good! Still he stalks off.

source: Showtime

Relief is not in sight. Later that evening he learns his daughter has been involved with the Walden’s son in a hit and run accident. Which the Waldens plan to cover up. Dana begs him to help her do the right thing. Go to the police. Her Dad finally agrees, but when they get to the station, there’s Carrie. She has to tell him he can’t do this. It will nullify his deal with CIA. Dana is so disappointed in her father. He is so trapped. Carrie is so helpless.

4 thoughts on “Homeland Season 2: Star Ascending”

  1. Now I’m curious about that shrubbery. Will have to go back and look at that episode. Nice blog entry NotLinda. Thank you. Maybe I should just go back to Homeland season 1 and watch it all again. But that must wait till fall.

    1. Thank you, Connie. Re: the mystery shrubs; you could just fast forward to that point in the story. I couldn’t but you might be able to! 🙂 Love to hear your speculations.

  2. Sorry for being late to the party but I was on vacation for the last 12 days! What a wonderful re-visit to Season 2 of Homeland also known as my favorite season. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us!

    I know most people’s favorite episode is The Weekend, and I love it, too; but Q&A is a masterpiece and no wonder the show got a writing Golden Globe for that particular episode. It’s pure theatre with the two actors at the top of their game. And to imitate Carrie, that’s the Brody I fell in love with. That episode sealed the deal for me and soon after I started finding myself googling Damian Lewis quite often 🙂 And exactly like Connie, I need to revisit Season 2 just to see those shrubs you are talking about! Otherwise, interestingly, it hurts to watch Brody. I feel as if he is a real character and that he will die. And it is all Damian to blame!

    Damian Lewis can play anyone. He is incredibly versatile. That said, I know Brody will always stay as my favorite Damian character and Season 2 as my all-time favorite TV show season that Season 2 poster is literally my view in our study at home. Can’t wait for your take on the second half of the season!

    1. Thank you, Damianista. Your vacation is well deserved! This project showed me a glimpse of the work you and the other ladies do. A labor of love still involves labor! What is it you always say? “And it’s all Damian to blame.” <3

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