The Question, Part 2: Homeland in the Rain

Last we left, our couple had just met across a table and over files at CIA offices. Since then, Carrie Mathison has continued getting to know this mysterious Marine, Sgt. Nicholas Brody. Thanks to well-placed surveillance, she continues to get a head start on upcoming events by spending a few nights with her subject. Unbeknownst to him of course, but nights spent, nonetheless.

Two of these shared nights, the camera cuts really do make it appear as if they are in fact sleeping together. We see Carrie witnessing all the ways Brody just can’t seem to connect with his wife. And we see Carrie witnessing Brody in his private moments, essentially the moments when he’s alone with whatever is going on in his own mind. In one such night, Brody snaps awake from a nightmare. Carrie wakes at the same time.


Another night, as Brody is vegging on the couch to a basketball game, Carrie cuddles up on her couch too. You can tell a thing of two about a guy by how he lounges on the couch watching a game, and you can almost see some of that knowledge as it dawns on Carrie.


One of the reviewers back when Homeland was being written about more frequently remarked on the essential conceit of Carrie watching Brody. He noted that we’d seen surveillance shown in drama many times before. Anyone even remotely exposed to police procedurals has seen a cop watching a perp on screen before. In Homeland, the show runners did the brilliant new thing, according to this reviewer, of taking that intimacy one step further. (sorry I don’t have a name for this reviewer, but if you know which review I mean, let me know, please, so I can cite him properly) When seen this way, the conceit was not all that improbable. The intimacy gained from watching someone 24/7 is real, why not see what happens when it goes further? Further it went, we know. But not just yet.


So, we have the nights. Soon, we get the mornings. Carrie sees Brody coming out of the shower. It’s like watching reality TV, and it’s like watching porn, in a way. Except, Carrie knows this man is real. She’s seen his mind, the haunted parts of it and the parts of it that love his family, and now she sees his body. And a slight hint of a lascivious smile emerges, the eyes get all glittery, and the girl has to fan herself down and take a sip of coffee to bring herself back to her senses. It’s not love, of course. Not yet. But lust sure has sown its doggish seed in Carrie’s mind (and wherever else lust goes to propagate).



Homeland_BathAlso, as he’s getting dressed she “virtually” helps him find his tie. Intimacy.


The warrant for the cameras has reached its limit and as the realization dawns on Carrie that she’ll be losing this window into his man and his life, she’s frustrated. First, that her case is running cold, and, second, because she really got used to seeing him everyday. She liked sleeping next to him and waking up with him and watching him get dressed and feed his kids in the mornings. Now that the live motion screens are gone, her house is empty. She misses him, and all she has left are the still shots.


Homeland_LonelyThe loneliness, the not knowing what he’s doing at that very moment, gets the better of her and she decides to take on the surveillance the old-fashioned way, by staking out his house. When she sees him drive away, naturally, she follows. This could be it, the meeting with his contact that she’s been waiting for. When she sees that it isn’t that, she’s torn. She wants to leave, let him be at the support group meeting she knows he needs. But, she also wants to see how much further she can get with him, she wants to ingratiate herself into his life somehow, make herself a confidante maybe.


When they literally run into each other, Carrie proceeds to lie like the professional she is. She tells him she’s there for the support meeting too and that she’s not supposed to be there and then she turns to leave. She’s inticing him somehow to want to know her too. When she rushes to leave, I do think she genuinely wanted to leave him alone. But, some part of her also knew he would follow.

Outside, she continues the lie, continues to wheedle some more trust from him, share the sense that they’re on the same side, those who came home from war to a world that had no idea (could never really have an idea) what they’d been through. So they share that bit of coming back from Baghdad, misunderstood, perpetually disconnected. The connection over that disconnection was what Carrie intended by going into the support group meeting. But the flirtation there between them as lightning cracks and the storm moves closer, that flirtation wasn’t in her script. She senses him flirting and she likes it, but she also sort of thinks, hey, that’s not what I’m doing here. I’m here to work this guy, why am I smiling at him? Where are these smiles coming from? He flirts with her and she can’t help but to flirt right back.

-Maybe we could hold our own private meeting out here, how’s that sound?
-It’s tempting.

Homeland_GlowAdmittedly I was still (and always) in Carrie’s head, even as the rain came down. So I didn’t consider then why Brody started the flirtation in the first place. Obviously, he doesn’t know the subtext of any of what’s going on. Carrie is the omniscient protagonist in this scene. She’s playing a game about which he has no clue. But, in that flirtation, could it be, that he honestly does feel a connection with her over their shared history? He senses that she’s someone who could understand him in a way that others can not. Brody in the rain is the Brody who has temporarily forgotten his mission and is just desiring a real connection with another human being. He’s been lying through his teeth from the minute he stepped off the plane. In Carrie, he sees a flash of someone he could maybe at least attempt honesty with. Not honesty about the mission, of course. He’s no fool, she’s CIA. But another kind of honesty, more human.

So, the rain falls, Carrie glows, Brody flickers. It’s electric. And we’re on.


16 thoughts on “The Question, Part 2: Homeland in the Rain”

  1. Never get tired of to watch the spark between them in this scene, sometimes I can’t help wonder their performance in this part was improvisation or rehearsed, either way is incredible, it looks so nature,
    I even can see Carrie blushed. 🙂
    Thanks for your brilliant analyze, so I have a chance to enjoy more deeply the sweetness feeling between Carrie and Brody.

  2. This great moment is the first time the series becomes magic, transcending its original premise. We see Brody emerge from his introverted exile and behave like an extrovert to Carrie. You explain how he opens up to Carrie but notice how many times he subtly propositions her:

    What’d you say your name was again?
    Are you all right?
    I’m not going back in if it means you can’t go back in.
    Your secret’s safe with me.
    Maybe we could hold our own private meeting out here, how’s that sound?
    Can I ask you a question?
    Don’t leave me like this. All alone in the rain.

    This is a different Brody than we’ve ever seen before. It’s quite a revelation.

    1. So SO true!! Could not have said it better myself. 😀 This was a brand new Brody! I think it came as a surprise to her….the charm and the ease of flirtation. I think it made her feel justified in being attracted to him as more than just a target, and it confused her a bit too. The logical part of her brain took a back seat when the smiles started sparking. And he was more than a little surprised too. He gets soaks in the rain, looking after her as she leaves, thinking “what the hell was that?” She made him forget himself for a second.

  3. Oh God, yeah, this is the show we fell in love with. Whatever Damian says, I agree to disagree with him: Homeland, from the rain scene on, has become a relationship drama! 😀 And this scene turns out to be the moment where Gansa and Howard knew they could go ahead with some Carrie and Brody love. They saw what we saw: Off-the-charts chemistry!

    And THANK YOU for making me understand about my feelings a bit more about Homeland, but about Brody in particular. You and I have had a number of private conversations about Homeland, and in particular about Carrie and Brody. I know we have not always seen eye-to-eye about their story. And your post has been some kind of a-ha moment for me today: We just look at the show differently. You say you were and always are in Carrie’s mind. “What would Carrie do?” For me, it has always been — no, that is not right, not always. When I watched this episode for the first time I was not blown away by the chemistry or anything. I was just starting to watch a show and we probably binged the first four so I really did not have time to digest anyway. I was just a bit pissed off with Carrie that she was obsessed with him. It was very disturbing for me that she was violating his privacy unnecessarily – why would you look at someone coming out of shower? For me, that is sick. (I could not stomach her sleeping with the young Pakistani guy in Season 4, either. WHY? I just cannot get her.) After The Weekend I came back (and I sooo look forward to what you will write about that episode) and watched from the beginning, and oh man, from then on, it has always been about Brody and about MY MIND. “What would I do?” And so as much as I LOVED LOVED LOVED them as a couple, I always had myself there with them 🙂 And that is probably why I never liked Homeland as much as I did after Brody left. Because I never cared as much for Carrie. And this should be because, in almost every single thing she does, I say “I would not do that.” By the way I really like Claire Danes. She is a talented and a smart woman who brings her all to the character. My HL ranking in contrast to yours (I love the idea of ranking those four) would be: Brody > Damian Lewis > Claire Danes > Carrie.

    Thanks again for taking us back to some of the finest moments of TV. And I have fallen in love with your line: “So the rain falls. Carrie glows. Brody flickers. It’s electric. And we’re on.” WE ARE SO ON.

    Now that I am thinking as much as I have always talked about HOW MUCH I love Brody, I never talked about WHY I LOVED HIM SO MUCH. Maybe this is the beginning of a post: “Brody and Me” <3

    1. It’s not that I think “what would Carrie do”, it’s more like, “ah, she’s so well-written, such a complete person, with tremendous flaws that make her all the more interesting and beautiful to watch”. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She actually wears everything on her sleeve. “Both the smartest and the dumbest” as Saul said. Her behavior is not something I see myself doing. I don’t think anyone could get away with her behavior. But I’m not there at all when I’m watching these two., or any other show I care about. I surrender completely to writing and performance….authentic, consistent, genuine storytelling. The performances here are just so truthful that I didn’t need to insert myself, my personal judgement, into the art. I felt how perfect it was. The way her face lights up when she says “Tempting” left me breathless. And still does.
      As for watching him, that was her job, wasn’t it? Since he was a suspected turncoat and all? His visions in the bathroom mirror were evidence of his mindset. She falls for him completely separately from looking at him as a potential traitor. THAT’s the part that’s the “relationship” drama. But the show as a whole is not a relationship drama. It’s much much more.
      IDK, I don’t put personal morality or other bias upon the art I consume. I simply let it transport me. If it doesn’t do that, I abandon it, and if it does, it becomes a part of me. Forever and ever. ❤️❤️❤️

      1. You are absolutely right both the writing and the acting are perfect that I am not surprised it leaves you breathless. But I do not understand how you are able to have no personal judgment as you consume art. Isn’t it our personal judgment that makes us like or not like characters, and ultimately the show? It is, for me. For example, I do not like House of Cards because I do not care about anyone there even though I love both Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. On the other hand, I love almost everyone on Mad Men and Billions. But yeah I consume more like you there and I don’t construct my own planet with a character 🙂

        I don’t know about CIA rules and regulations. But even for a possible traitor, bathroom and bedroom should be off limits. It is a horrible violation of privacy. At least she may choose not to look at people’s private affairs or parts. But she does that. Of course, this is drama, and it should be entertaining and so here is Carrie looking at this awesome man. I know that. But it disturbs me. This, of course, does not mean, I do not enjoy watching it – completely the opposite! And maybe the show, in a way, wants to make us think about controversial stuff like CIA surveillance. Yeah it is her job. Should she be doing it like that? Or not?

        I absolutely know the parallel writing (if Carrie had done what I would have done) in my mind would not make good drama. Not at all! But I have my own planet for Brody and me – I cannot help it 🙂 I see this broken man and I just feel for him so much and I want to cuddle him and tell him everything will be alright. It is like an affection you would feel for a little kid, not the kind of lust that I agree with you is seeded in Carrie’s mind as she watches him. Yeah I love Brody like he is a little, helpless kid. <3

        1. I guess the nuance probably comes in “if I am enjoying this character, am I approving of them in some way?” My husband feels very much the same way about Carrie, he dislikes who she is and cannot enjoy her at all.

          I, myself, have a problem with separating an actor from their roles. If the person is terrible in real life, I have trouble divorcing my mind from their characters they are portraying and enjoying the art they create. To me, that’s when you are somehow passively approving of what they do, by ignoring it and consuming what they make, anyhow. So I can relate, on a level.

          So, when I enjoy Carrie’s flaws and complexity, I am certainly not making her ok, making her a good person, but I am still enjoying it all. It also matters, too, in that she does face repercussions for this behavior. The writing of the show maintains that balance, that there are consequences for her. And for Brody, as well. Some TV and movie writing can be problematic when they portray heinous behavior and have no sort of balance, no sort of consequence, or portray it in a celebratory way.

          1. Haha don’t get me started on my husband. He is the same. He finds Carrie very annoying and he tells me, whenever he says he does not like her, apparently I start defending her. I am my mom’s daughter. She is a lawyer 🙂

            I mostly separate the art from an actor or a director. I will not name names but there are a few people who have behaved badly in their own lives but I still enjoy their work. I, in fact, would love Damian, to work with one of them.

            You are absolutely right about Carrie. Enjoying her does not mean you are making her okay. Not at all. That way I enjoy her, too, and Claire Danes does more than justice to the character, she gives her 200% percent to the role. She is amazing. I just cannot help think “what would I have done should I have been Carrie?” Not anymore. I did that in the first three seasons and then let Carrie be 🙂 But as I said in my earlier comment, it does not happen to with every show, it is just that Brody is just so special.

          2. You and I are likethis when it comes to the way we consume art.

            The beauty of Carrie is that her egregious flaws also empower her. Her “emotions”, the way she holds absolutely nothing back, give her an incredible insight…an insight that sometimes even she is blind to. That rooftop in Beirut…she totally believed she had been wrong and she flailed at herself for being wrong. She isn’t a character who’ll preen and posture at being right all the time, even when she IS right for the vast majority of the time. She written so completely as a woman, second guessing herself, blaming herself for everything, not as an action hero man who happens to be a woman. (often times, for the sake of political correctness or whatnot, women are simply stuck into roles written for men…. with the hope I guess that the creators won’t be called out for not hiring a woman. It’s so silly and it still gets done so often. Like Homeland, Ghostbusters was a recent exception…the women were not simply female versions of the original male cast.) If you want a woman to play a role, write her as a WOMAN, kicking ass, taking names, but still essentially a woman with her flawed and complex (often self-flaggelating) emotional landscape. And, boy, does she ever pay for her mistakes. Big time.

            And I don’t care if Carrie is good or not. She’s interesting and that’s all I really care about.

            Mad Men = example of a principal character behaving badly with no consequence, and in fact celebration, for his behavior. Oh, how I hated Don Draper. He wasn’t a good person, and as a result, he wasn’t very interesting, nuanced enough, to care about.

            Tony Soprano, more of a sociopath than Don, on the other hand, I cared about and did find interesting, right up until the end. Probably if Don had come before Tony, I would have cared more. As it was Don was just a spiffed up, more handsome and less murderous version of Tony.

            I do tend to be adversely affected by actor’s behaving badly in real life, but not much. I stopped watching Woody Allen movies for a while. And never really loved them as much after the scandal.

        2. Caring about a character is different from judging their behavior, I think. I watch characters I care about. I don’t necessarily judge their behavior along some guideline set by my own morality.

          I think Carrie may have thought of Brody as a helpless child too. At least in that safe house at the end when she strokes his sleeping head on her lap. And that look she gives him in The Weekend when he sees his scars…Not the horror of it that Jessica responded to with just raw deathly terror, but more like “oh, you poor baby, let me take care of you, even if it’s just for one night”. Feeling that sense of nurturing is one part of love, I think. Brody as a helpless child is one of the ways I see him too. Mostly I see him not as a man at all, and more as the very personification of and the perfect metaphor for war. War, hell bent on trying to destroy itself, and, like a cockroach, refusing to die. There’s a literary term for a character that transcends his own humanity and becomes a glorious symbol, more eternal than any human could be. Can’t think of the term I mean, but I see Brody as that. He’s bigger than himself.

          Anyway, it’s crazy how there’s so much there in every scene between them. It’s really crazy.

    2. And, yes, by all means, do a post on why you love Brody. I have a feeling our thoughts will be different on that as well. <3

  4. I love Homeland, first because my favorite actor is exeptionnel in his role Brody, and also, because the love between these two wonderful actors is really so beautiful, so sincere, so wonderful!
    The Damian interpretation is above all, , he must be understood, without many words, almost only with his face, his eyes!
    It is the high quality of our Damian,This is what allows him to play any role!
    Yes Claire is a great actress, but I like less, the way she play,
    even a producer said that the role of Damian, was the most difficult, but I love the couple, so touching, so in love,,and we can read, intense love, in Carrie’s eyes!!

  5. The writing and acting in this scene is tremendous. The “sparks” between the two are tremendously real and believable.

    Much of the Brody/Carrie relationship spoke to me on a deep level, as in my not-too-distant past, I was in a forbidden/secret type relationship myself. They encapsulate the fear, the exhilaration, the excitement, the conflicting feelings, remorse, joy and terror of being in such a precarious position. I remember this moment, for myself, when I lived it. That moment when things change, and become something else, when you don’t expect it or see it coming. It’s joyous and horrifying all at once. And so, so confusing.

    1. Absolutely.
      Had no problem at all getting into that space of concurrent joy and fear shown by Carrie and Brody crashing into each other. Can’t say I’ve been there myself, or maybe I have, I don’t know. If so, probably so long ago that it’s no longer a part of my consciousness. But I sure felt the vivid reality of watching Carrie and Brody go thru it.

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