Homeland, Carrie and Brody: Was it Love?


Took many breaks while walking us all through the love story told on Homeland Seasons 1-3, and, while we wile away what remains of the summer, this time I plan to finish it. Here’s where the “argument” starts. 

The issue of “Was it Love?”: I never thought to even ask the question, but it seems it’s a point often brought up by Homeland fans. And it was a can of worms opened up here in the comments section for one of my earliest posts, Nicholas Brody was No Hero, Part Two. Most of these read to me now like me saying the same thing over and over. But it didn’t seem to make any difference in the argument, so here some of my words from those comments again, ripe for starting fresh arguments. 😀

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I felt it all from the beginning. Sort of unbelievable at first, then the most real thing in both of their lives. Carrie and Brody were both deeply damaged people who somehow found something in each other. Sure, there are different perceptions of what that “something” was. But like Carrie said: “whether together or apart…I believe the reason I was put on this earth was for our paths to cross”. To me it was the most deeply felt love story possibly ever told. The “perfectly impossible love”, as Claire Danes described on Charlie Rose.

(The issue of the baby….requires an entire other post…because her ambivalence towards her baby was the most real picture of motherhood ever shown on any show EVER. But some (most) hated Carrie for her willingness to desert her child. All I saw was the most real depiction of the complexity of motherhood EVER TOLD.)

Back to pre-hanging, Carrie was still willing to move heaven and earth to save Brody. When she sees Javadi and he tells her Brody’s been sentenced to hang? She tried… oh my god how she tried… to reach him… to do something. She had nothing. No power to do anything. And eventually I guess she did see (as Brody did) that his death was inevitable. But she was reaching out to him till the very last second!!! No one can convince me she wasn’t.

Yes, Brody was manipulated by the CIA, and he was never mentally and emotionally fit for anything, but what other option did Carrie and Saul have? Yes, Damianista’s idea of him being an informant/operative in exile was a fabulous idea. But wouldn’t that have been manipulative too? Could he have believably gone on to an average-joe construction job, or a teaching gig, back in middle America? The CIA was his only option. Either that or a life on the run. Or, if this were a soap opera, a face transplant and total identity change. (Thankfully those things only happen on soap operas!) And Carrie and Saul wanted to give him that opportunity to make up for everything he planned to do (and did) for Nazir. The country wasn’t just going to forget that, were they?

They are ALL puppets. Every character on this show is a puppet. That is the crucial point of the entire show. Carrie and Saul and even Dar Adal and Lockhard, just as much as Brody, are all puppets. Yes, Adal is a nasty cold piece of work. But, there is a sick logic to what he says about the job of the CIA. The success of the operation trumps the people in the operation. Collateral damage is just that: collateral. I guess the buck stops with the President (who btw was the final one to give the okay for the operation…and is the last okay in the real world too I assume) The US President in Homeland was not as prominent a character as he was in 24, but, ultimately, if you want to blame anyone, then blame him. And then blame the folks who voted for him. ie ALL of us are culpable. Not accepting culpability makes this entire story just another show, to entertain and frustrate us. Yes, it is fiction, but it’s the most politically real and relevant fiction ever shown. As such, I find it a lot more satisfying to accept the tragedy of it. And see how beautifully truthful the telling of that tragedy was.

The story is written in a way that we can all assign blame to many MANY characters. And what a hallmark of a compelling story, that it leads to such passionate discussion!

This story was filled with a bunch of people just trying to do their job to the best of their ability. The trip to Iran was offered to Brody as an out. It went to hell, yes, but Saul tried. Saul never wanted Brody to die, for Carrie’s sake if nothing else, even if all odds were against him. And Carrie would have gone on saving Brody, putting that noose around her own neck, if she could. She sure as hell didn’t want Brody to die. Brody wanted to die. He was done. But he’s not to blame for any of it either.

Me, I like to step back and not assign blame to anyone. If no one is to blame, then all of us are. That’s sort of the “personal responsibility” world I choose to live in. And, I believe, that’s the world the writers intended for us with this story and with this show.

She was in mourning and, to some extent, will be for the rest of her life. Brody was the father of her child. And she loved him through everything. Practical matters came in the way, her job came in the way, but she never stopped loving him.

And, no, she has not rushing into Quinn’s arms at all. Here’s what I see: Quinn is very self-aware and also aware that Carrie is not. She’s impulsive and headstrong. In every other way, though, they seem to be just male and female versions of the same character. At PaleyFest, the director (Meredith Stiehm) was really pushing for that Carrie Quinn kiss and the other writers kept pushing it back to later and later episodes. Chip Johansen didn’t want it at all. I’m with Chip. Quinn has feelings for Carrie and sees how they could be compatible and healthy for each other. Carrie doesn’t do healthy. It would be boring for her to choose a guy who could actually be good for her. I think she will move on, but I don’t think it’ll be Quinn. Or, who knows, since the writers who didn’t want it are leaving, Meredith Stiehm may get her way. She had some really poignant things to say about that relationship, that made me rethink it. I don’t know, I’m okay either way. I know for a fact that Brody was the love of her life. That kind of love only happens once. Sad, and true. Maybe she’ll be happy eventually. Everyone wants their favs to live happily ever after. I just want her to live :).

Her admitting that she was willing to let Brody die in Redux? That was a woman in extreme emotional pain, putting all responsibility on herself. Women do that a lot. She feels guilt for Brody, she feels guilt for Frannie, she feels guilt for the state of the world. Women do that A LOT. Of course, she was guilty, but so was every other person in the show. She still sees Brody when she looks at Frannie, and the bathtub scene….was her panicking, her at her weakest, mourning, in pain. She realized she could not go through with it, she realized she loved her baby, and she realized her responsibility to her baby. When she takes Frannie on as a responsibility, it doesn’t mean she’s forgotten Brody. It’s just one more step in the grief over Brody: acceptance.

Yes, I think her ability to envision a life with someone she loves has changed her forever. Now she knows it’s not an impossibility. Who that is doesn’t really matter to me (at least until I see who it is and get swept away like I did for Brody :). I know it’ll be fantastic as long as Claire Danes continues bringing it as she has been.

She didn’t tell him about the baby because she was too busy trying to save his life. Also she was dealing with the reality of the baby herself.

The mission to Iran was a way for Brody to do some good, to make up for the terrorist acts he had committed and/or planned to commit in the US, so he could come back and perhaps have a reasonable life at home. If the option of Iran had not existed, he would be rotting in a prison in Guantanomo right now. Lots of men who didn’t have a Carrie in their lives are rotting in Guantanomo right now. THAT is why Carrie and Saul agreed to the mission to Iran. They didn’t do it to get Brody killed.

Brody is dead. Bobby Axelrod is a totally different incarnation of Damian Lewis. Damian Lewis is very much alive and working and keeping us all rapt in attention at whatever projects he chooses to do in order to appear on our screens, and keep appearing on our screens, forever more. Amen.

I fell for Brody the minute he got off the plane to meet his family and couldn’t quite look Jessica in the eyes. He was a shell, from the start, and already broken beyond repair. The fact that Damian so convincingly portrayed an empty shell while still filling him up with such convincing sympathy was a wonder to witness and truly a once in a lifetime TV event. Thanks to that performance, Brody remains alive for all us in our hearts.

For months, my fellow bloggers have been batting around the idea of doing our own posts answering the question “Was it love?” between Carrie and Brody. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t see the show as a relationship drama at all. Nonetheless, it ended up being one of the greatest tragic love stories ever told and affected me more deeply than I could say. Recently, I decided to bite the bullet and to do an entire series of posts on the grand question of Brody and Carrie, scene by tragic scene.

And, so it begins. In this series, I’ll be doing a rewatch of Homeland S1-S3, without necessarily writing about any of the show’s bigger questions. (That, we can save for later as a collective thing) Instead, with this series, I’ll restrict each post to careful picking apart of every scene shared by Carrie and Brody. How every breath, every touch, played a part in showing us the greatest tragic love story ever told. (Hyperbole, I know. But, really, nothing even comes close, does it?) From Carrie’s breakthrough smile in the rain to Brody’s punch to the gut (for her AND for himself) as he told her to leave him and his family alone, to Carrie’s breathless “just a few more seconds.” I’ll talk about it all, with plenty of visual evidence, of course. Stay tuned!

giphy (1)Homeland, Carrie and Brody, Was it Love?: Part I

6 thoughts on “Homeland, Carrie and Brody: Was it Love?”

  1. I can’t stand these two together. I am tired of her constant rogue BS and I’m only on season 3. He’s as tiresome a guy as I’ve ever seen in a drama.

  2. I know it was tough when he came back from Caracas but we needed to see some heat, some spark navigating them through to Iran, it was too sad for the viewer to see them together and not really glimmering anything for one another.

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