Homeland, Carrie and Brody, Was it Love?: Part II

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.

Homeland_Nightmare

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.

Homeland_Couch

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.

Homeland_Crouch

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_Bath2

 

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

Homeland_Tie

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_Stills

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.

Homeland_Play

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.
-Right?

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.

Homeland_Rain

4 thoughts on “Homeland, Carrie and Brody, Was it Love?: Part II”

  1. This comment has come from Not Linda. For some reason she could not post on the comments and sent me the comment via email.

    Good job, Jania! It’s a pleasure to revisit these episodes. You pointed out Brody’s reaction on seeing his family – I truly saw his shame more clearly after reading your analysis. I know you saw guilt where I saw its brother shame but we agree that its mysterious. It’s impossible to take myself back to a state of not knowing the future. Fun, though!
    Carrie is established as a sexual woman in these episodes. She needs sexual release like she needs her wine, and her meds. I loved that she explained the wedding ring ruse by saying “There’s less chance I’ll screw up people I don’t know. ” Her affair with Estes is revealed. Something besides sex happened; he and she think she blew up his life. One can only speculate but she sees her sexual self as dangerous.

    You’re absolutely right she misses Brody when her surveillance is taken down. Saul says so,”You miss him.” She’s admired him naked and she’s witnessed the dysfunction and humiliation that intimacy with Jessica has become – for both partners.
    Carrie has shown us her conviction that Brody is the turned POW. Her interaction with him at Langley was indeed an interrogation not a debrief. They locked eyes at that table; they recognized a threat or at least an opponent. It’s a relationship. I believed she trailed him to the support group only as a way to continue to surviel him. The surprise is how happily he greeted her! He should be wary but he is open to this woman, follows her. For Carrie this only the beginning of her “unusually intense” relationship. She is “always working” but the connection is real. This man is coming on to her and she loves it. I think he would have hooked up then and there. To feel potent and sexual after the mess at home….. he has no desire to resist. After he said “Right?” Neither did I!

  2. Let’s see, ladies, you know a woman, being as close to a man, with the charisma, the beauty of Damian, would not be in love with Damian?
    I do not know !!Monique

  3. Jania – I really owe you a debt of gratitude. When I read your impassioned defense of Carrie in response to a recent comment I made, I reflected on your words. To wit: ” you must be watching a different series “. So I went back; you were right. I was so desperate for signs of Brody that I missed all but the most obvious of the signs. A moment in season 5 when she is showing Jonas her timeline and says “Then I spent a couple of years at Langley” was especially moving. I had missed much of the arc of her character. Though I must admit I did enjoy seeing the wild old Carrie before it went to far.
    And that moment I longed for with Brody was there in season 4 Redux!
    Thanks for pointing the way. I’ve enjoyed the chance to look through your perspective,

    1. Goodness, it’s so good to hear this! I know I get violently impassioned when it comes to Carrie. I realize full well that no one has ever changed anyone’s mind about their favorites or non-favorites. I still can’t help defending her till my fingers turn blue from all the writing :). The fact that I did manage to change your mind a bit….well I don’t know what to say. I think you may be the first person in the history of the internet to ever admit such a thing!

      Frankly I love having my mind changed about something. I relish conversations with folks who know more than I do or see more than I do. And thru such conversations I have seen some of what other people see as Carrie’s faults and ways she is a non-sympathetic character. But, still, I can never hate her the way a lot of folks do. Or desert this show where she has been and will always be the lead character. I’ll be a Carrie Mathison stan till her dying breath. 😀

      And thank you as well for your comments which Damianista posted. Brody’s just barely audible “Right?” under that smile was….gah, I have no words. I can only wish for a love story to come along in the future as poignant as this one was!

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