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

After the short bucolic break from reality, both Brody and Carrie have melded back into a plot prancing along apace.

Brody is called into Langley to tell Saul about Tom Walker. He’s tense and frustrated having to answer the same questions again. He sees Carrie and he cringes. True, he believes that he’s been called in because Carrie shared his confession to her that he killed Walker. It’s a “dammit, there she is” wince. He wants to ignore her, and maybe he was hoping he wouldn’t run into her there. But, maybe he was hoping he would, and he’s recoiling at his own stupidity over still wanting to see her after what she did (i.e. what he thinks she did). “Dammit, there she is” can mean a variety of things, can’t it? Whatever the case may be, his eyes keep going back to her.

No, Carrie and Brody are not a couple you will ever see making googly eyes at each other across a room. No one’s buying anyone flowers. No one’s sending cute texts and personal “just between us” gifts. What you get instead are curious glares. Eyelocks and frowns at the pain of connection and non-connection. Wincing when it hurts. This was not supposed to happen. Neither of them want it to happen. The eyelocks and frowns tell you this, and they also tell you that they are both powerless against it happening. The fact that this isn’t a dinner and roses sort of love story makes it no less real a love story.

 She tries to apologize, to clarify that she knows now that she was wrong to believe he had been turned. Why does she do this? She believes, at that point, that she got the wrong POW. It was Tom Walker who was turned, not Brody, she and Saul both think. Why apologize so profusely? She seems to cares what he thinks about her. But why? If he was just a suspect, and now not a suspect, why not just leave it alone and move on?
Because, she can’t, that’s why: there is no choice in love. Afterall, this was no relationship, just car sex followed by cabin sex, with and without libations. Yet, it was the sparkling hint of more. It was a taste. Yes, one can move on, given time and space, especially from something so transient to begin with. But, the idea of “choice” when it comes to pursuing more of that first taste of maybe loving someone? Nope, choice never existed in the same room as that brand of love.
In return for her apologies, Brody spews some nastiness about her taking that special initiative in her job, to fuck someone she suspects of terrorism. Now, it’s her turn to recoil.
Since that Yorkshire Gold moment, Brody lives in a state of feeling “used, manipulated and lied to” (though he won’t use those words until S2). He’s hunkered down in full-on self-preservation mode. That includes trying to preserve his marriage and family. So he’s at home, soothing Jessica’s tears (more generously than we’ve seen him ever do before), playing cards with the kids, and getting prettied up for a fancy party at the VP’s house.
Jessica loves being on Sergeant Brody’s arm with all eyes on them. We learn at this party that the Brodys, as picture perfect as they are, are being groomed for a fortuitously emptied seat in Congress.
On the way home, when Brody turns away from backseat cuddling and his face goes all vacant, to some faraway place, maybe he’s anticipating his move to the inside of government (even though he doesn’t know it yet). The inside where he can be more flexible than ever to carry out Nazir’s mission. More likely is that he’s thinking the coziness with Jessica does not feel the same, cannot feel the same now, compared to what he experienced with Carrie.
When they get home, Jessica seems to have something else in mind, but all Brody wants to do is sit with his kids and watch Ice Age 3.
Carrie is a bit in recovery mode too, trying to salvage Saul’s confidence in her by admitting that her contact with Brody got personal.\
Seems both Carrie and Brody are recovering from letting things get too personal. They’re like “Look, this isn’t supposed to be a love story, okay…Let’s get back to playing good guy vs (maybe) bad guy.”
Now for the title of this episode, “Achilles Heel”. We know that Tom Walker’s Achilles Heel is his wife and son. For Saul, as Mira is moving away, it’s his work. What are Carrie and Brody’s Achilles Heels’? They both share the state of being under the influence of all-encompassing missions, which happen to be on opposite sides from each other. They both share the ultimate weakness of their own minds betraying them, and making them do things they know to be wrong. Albeit, Brody is much more weakened by his mind than Carrie is by hers. And, I’ll venture to say, they share the same difficulty in letting each other go completely. In this weakness, Carrie ultimately wins. But, right now, they’re running neck and neck.
See, this isn’t a strengthening, empowering love. Not in any conventionally healthy way, that is. It’s the kind of love that breaks you. Strength comes from the drive to defy all reason, empowerment comes from the attempt to beat all odds. The fact that it is so difficult and destructive does not make it any less real.
The next morning, at 6am, Carrie calls him from outside his house. The advent of cell phones and caller ID certainly added a cool trick for the most talented actors to hone to great affect: that pause, that brief breathless stillness and incremental change in the eyes, revealing whose name must be on that little cellular screen. And here’s Damian pulling that trick from a horizonal position.
He goes out to his yard barefoot. She wants to give Brody the heads up that Walker is alive and that she wanted him to know before they release the info to the public, to tell him again that she was wrong, to apologize again, to implore him to not hate her. Again, why?
Does she really want that badly to continue their affair and to break up an innocent man’s home? Does she still think he’s guilty in some way, and wants to get close to him again? The answer is more simple that either of those: she wants him to not feel pain. She doesn’t want to be the reason for bringing him any more pain. Sure, no human wants to be the reason for another human’s pain, so this may be just Carrie being human. And the matter-of-fact non-emotional way she’s apologizing does seem to support that argument. We’ve seen her have heart before. She’s been shown exhibiting empathy for the sad and helpless: Lynne Reed, the harem girl with the diamond necklace, and, this episode, Helen Walker as they commiserate over how men are simultaneously both the best and the worst. Carrie carries her own pain and she feels for others acutely. So, yeah, she doesn’t want him hurt.
A lot of the emotion in this scene, in fact, is coming from Brody. He’s still angry, he doesn’t trust her. He doesn’t want her near his family. But there’s something else beneath the words. Something else beneath “I don’t hate you Carrie.”
Carrie sees nothing but him turning away and walking back to his wife at the door. “Who’s she?” Jessica says. “CIA”, he answers.
She’s said her goodbye and she seals it by sharing her “epiphany” with Saul.
I’m going to be alone my whole life, aren’t I? 
Meanwhile, lo and behold, Brody is revealed to us as exactly who Carrie thinks he is.

9 thoughts on “Homeland, Carrie and Brody, Was it Love?: Part V”

  1. Wonderful story as always, I just started looking at Homeland, and I’m at this episode, as always Damian is awesome, and he does wonderful things with his eyes! What a look! No need for words! Monique

  2. “The fact that this isn’t a dinner and roses sort of love story makes it no less real a love story.”

    You cannot have put it in better words.

    I absolutely love the way you share with us Carrie and Brody’s Achilles Heels. Clever. Very clever.

    With this fantastic series, you make me re-live my Homeland experience all over again. I have to say I LOVED Jess and Brody at the VP’s party. They look like the next John and Jackie Kennedy! So beautiful together. And at that point, Season 1 Episode 9, I was still rooting for them to be happy together… And my personal interpretation of Jess looking at Brody as she is on the couch with Chris and he is on the floor with Dana was “maybe, just maybe, he is coming back to me for real.” And she obviously falls for the glory she sees in the VP’s house and the happy possibilities on the horizon. Even though I admit I was so intrigued by Carrie and Brody’s weekend, I still thought there was a chance for Brody and Jess.

    I completely agree Carrie apologizes to Brody at Langley because she cares about what he thinks of her and who knows maybe she wants to go back to the cabin with him again. And yeah I love your interpretation that he may be pissed with himself that he still wants to see her after “what she’s done” (which she of did not do and he finds out that she did not). Feelings are certainly mutual at this point. I do not understand though why Carrie goes to Brody’s house to tell him about Walker in the wee hours. Yes, I understand she does not want him to feel pain but going to his house?!?! Why would she let Jess see her with Brody on their yard? Why would she put Brody in a situation where he needs to give his wife an explanation? Any ideas? Does she just so desperately want him to forgive her for suspecting that he was the POW that was turned?

    I remember screaming when I saw Brody in “Yummy Yummy Yummy”‘s living room. That was the moment I knew this was the best Season 1 of any show I ever saw!

    1. Thanks partner! Crazy still revisiting and talking about this show 6 years after the fact. Feels like yesterday though when we’re rewatching. The emotions, reactions, interpretations all come back.

      Sounds like you may think Carrie went to their house to hurt Jess, or somehow “out” Brody and make him uncomfortable? I don’t think that was her intention at all. She didn’t “let Jess see her”. She stayed on their yard with no expectation that Jess would come out and see her. If she wanted Jess to see her, she would’ve knocked on the door. And why would she be concerned about Brody having the explain himself? There were two people in that car and in that cabin. Brody CHOSE to be with Carrie, she didn’t seduce him. Whether he tells his wife about it is between him and his wife. Turned out the only explanation he had for Jessica is “She’s CIA”….just an anonymous nameless woman, a stranger. If Carrie wanted him to feel uncomfortable explaining himself, she would’ve gone up and shaken Jessica’s hand and introduced herself…maybe even let slip that she’d met Brody a few times. If she was so hellbent on being the “other woman”, with sinister intent to break up a family, she would have woken up the entire household. I don’t see Carrie at all comfortable in the role of “other woman.”

      Brody said, and Carrie saw with her own eyes, that the Brody marriage was fragile. Carrie did nothing to make the marriage fragile. It already was. Brody was no longer who Jessica thought he was. And she was not capable of wrapping her head around what war did to Brody. Even if he hadn’t been turned…even if he were just an innocent man coming home from being held captive for 8 years. Jessica had no idea on how to deal with the aftershocks of trauma like that. She wanted to, she just was not capable. The fact is that Brody did not get the help he needed for his trauma…it’s bizarre that the military did not require him to get treatment. And for the entire family to get the help they needed to deal with Brody’s trauma. If they had, the marriage would have made sense as a strong enough to weather any storm. But no one got any help. No one was to blame. There is no formulaic love triangle swooping in to ruin everything here. That’s what made the story so compelling. It was an impossible situation for everyone involved.

      Brody said, and Carrie felt for herself, that he found peace with her. She wants him to have peace. There is no indication in anything we’ve seen on screen that she intends to hurt anyone. Yeah, she broke up Estes marriage, so we know she has a history. Maybe they put that bit of history in to make us question Carrie’s motives, and apparently a lot of us did. 🙂 I didn’t. Because I saw no evidence of Carrie intentionally wanting to hurt anyone.

      I think she went to his house b/c, as she said, they were about to release the info to the public that Walker was alive, and she didn’t want Brody to be blind-sided. She went in person instead of calling because she knew he wouldn’t believe her (and he didn’t at first). She went in person because maybe she feared he wouldn’t answer the phone at all if he saw her name on it. So she texted him that she was there outside. He could have chosen to not go outside.

      Thinking back now, I think my heart stopped when the camera panned to show Brody on the chair in the yummy diplomat’s house. I didn’t expect him to be revealed so soon. It definitely was an OMG moment, harkening a killer of a first season.

      1. I really did not think Carrie intended to hurt Jess. And I completely agree with every word you say about the Brody marriage and that they did not get any help. It was interesting that there was no help for the family except that support group at the church. I don’t know much about Veteran Affairs in this country except for a few articles I have read over the years in The New Yorker but if this is the help families get in real life, it is very very very sad. So, anyway, yes, Carrie knew the marriage was fragile, and she knew it even before Brody told her because she watched their bedroom. Yes, she could have knocked on the door; so I do not imply that she wanted Jessica to see her, and out Brody or anything; but hey, who would not wake up and follow her husband if he got up from bed and left in the middle of the night? I would :))))) So did Jessica! And I would never believe my husband if he said that blonde woman was just CIA. Jessica didn’t, either. So, I still think, even though, you are right, he chose to be with her in that cabin, she should have been concerned that he had to make an explanation to his wife.

        Ha! I totally forgot about Carrie and Estes!!!! Now you MAKE me question Carrie’s motives especially regarding marriages 😀 Well, I never believe it is “the other woman” that ruins a marriage, it takes two to tango like with Estes and Carrie or Brody and Carrie… but admit it is a delicate situation… I cannot believe I forgot about Estes! I think it is time for a Homeland marathon — ah I wish!

        I am sure we will keep talking about this 12 years later as well! CRAZY <3

        1. It was 6 am, not the middle of the night. And nope, I wouldn’t follow my husband if he left my sight for two minutes and told me he’d be right back. If he was gone longer than two minutes, maybe I’d peek out the window and ask him about it later, but I would not walk out after him. I don’t think Carrie would either. And that’s why she probably didn’t assume Jess would either. I cannot fathom why Carrie should care about how uncomfortable Brody would be explaining her to his wife. I mean, shouldn’t a man be uncomfortable in those situations? Why should Carrie be the one to protect Brody from his wife? It would be a sign of deep disrespect to coddle him like that, like he’s not a grown man capable of defending his own actions. He’s damaged, but he’s not a child. Whatever Carrie did or didn’t do, she never treated Brody like a child. And, at that point, I think Jessica did believe that the stranger on her lawn was just CIA. Later she knew..about the “blond who worked for the CIA”, but right then, I don’t think she did.

          Anyway, as you know well, I’ll defend Carrie Mathison till my dying breath. So, yes, even 12 years from now, I’ll still stand by this fictional character. Hehe. Here’s to 12 more years (and more) of bickering about what was what the first three seasons of Homeland. <3

          1. You certainly will and, you know what, you should! I hope with all my heart we keep talking about Carrie and Brody when we’re 90! <3

  3. I’m back! From an exhilarating/exhausting trip to NYC! and back with my Brody girls.
    This is a fascinating segment.Achilles Heel. The hero of the Illead, his mother dipped in the River Styx by his heel. Thereby rendering him invulnerable – except in his heel.
    Too true this is not a love story; this is Une Grande Passion. I’ve watched it happen and it rarely turns out well.Who am I to judge a person in the grip of an emotional tsunami. I have felt an irresistible draw. I completely accept the premise of this story. It answers all my “whys”.
    I relish the big reveals: Brody to Carrie about Tom’s “death” and his relationship with Nazir; Carrie’s to him about the lie subject of the lie detector and now: that Tom’s alive. I believe they cannot resist doing these things. She was in that bar and now on his lawn because she can’t stay away. She’s in uncharted territory. They never dreamed that they’d love this way but they do.
    I’m also touched by their ineffable sadness, to have come so close. You are so right Jania – Brody’s expression when his phone rings, in the car with his wife and Carrie, well, all the time: lying to Saul, confessing to Saul, talking with Helen Walker but especially on that lawn. She’s heartbroken because she still believes she is wrong about Brody, did him an injustice, ruined everything. Twice she begs him to believe “I would never do that!” And of course as you said the “I’m going to be alone..”
    As for Jessica, I’m afraid she is an innocent bystander. No one escapes unscathed – we’ve all seen it. Carrie doesn’t want to hurt her but I don’t think she gives her much thought at all.Just as I’m sure she had no intention to break up David’s marriage. I don’t think she even wanted him. She needs Brody. I don’t judge her, this is art not life.
    After Carrie’s reveal about Tom, I think Brody is ahead of Carrie. He for the first time knows something she does not. It’s shown to us in that powerful closing shot. That “different Brody”, he of the “Get in” line shows up. A powerful man who knows what he’s about.
    But Carrie is his Achille’s heel and Brody is hers.

    1. Yes! She can’t stay away….there is no rhyme or reason to it. It’s a force beyond anyone’s control. Sure, we can all sit in judgement of her being a homewrecker. But when someone is under the influence of something like this, there’s no accounting for moral decision making. That’s not an excuse or an apology for her. That’s simply the way passion works. And, we know, Carrie operates driven by two things: her mind and her passion. Most times they are one and the same. In Brody’s case, her mind takes a back seat sometimes. As it does, in real life. And, so SO true, the woman (or man) at home often is never thought of. There is a blinding glow from it that renders all others invisible. Again, not an excuse or an apology, just reality.
      Absolutely, in this moment, they are each other’s weakness, whether they realize it or not.

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