That expression of surprise is repeated later in “Q & A” when Carrie, again fearlessly, speaks the truth: “What if I said I wanted you to leave your wife and family and be with me?” Brody is again shocked at the balls on this woman. I read these events as this: He doesn’t see himself worthy of being loved by anyone. He had one cell left in him of humanity, a cell left barely alive since he’d been back. That one cell was touched by Carrie and awoken by her in “The Weekend”. One glimmer in him that still hoped, still dreamed, still wanted life. But (in his mind) she crushed it when she disclosed her suspicions, and it has remained crushed since then. Her capacity to love him, her confession of it, is nonsensical and bizarre to him. He can’t even wrap his head around it.
So here we are in S1, Brody’s been revealed to us as exactly who Carrie thought him to be. He prepares further for his mission.
We learn what the mission is, and why Brody has been compelled to do it. The show kind of lost me a bit with the flashbacks. However pleasant it may have been to see Brody in a kurta knocking around a soccer ball and falling in love with an innocent child, did we really need to see Issa or get any of that back story? Did it need to turn from straight up terrorism to a revenge plot? Alas, such is the way Homeland throws moral ambiguity into every single frame.
It’s the nature of abuse that an abuser eliminates all access to support, all modes of comfort and humanity. Then, the abuser steps into the void where those things used to be. He becomes the sole provider of comfort. This is exactly what Nazir did to Brody and all we needed to understand this was the statement: “He was kind to me, and I loved him.”
Homeland had to hammer it home though with the doe-eyed little boy transformed before our eyes into a lifeless corpse. I so wanted Abu Nazir to be straight up evil. So much did I want this that I imagined that Issa wasn’t his son at all, just a boy he picked up somewhere to win over Brody. But, no, in the Homeland world, no one is all evil or all good. And, it followed that the Vice President killed not only just a beautiful child but the son of the man who would plot throughout the “fallow yellow” to exact revenge. They were holding Brody for 5 years before he finally became useful to them. He came upon his special purpose so serendipitously!
Back to the love story. As he’s marching hither and yon doing this terrorist-y duties, Brody has the wherewithall to stop by Carrie’s home. She greets his call with skepticism. She’s not at all all smiles that he wants to see her after telling her to fuck off. But, then, when she knows he’s on his way, she turns up the Miles Davis and puts on the rare lipstick.
My understanding of this scene, has, I am bemused to report, been somewhat changed by being around the “it wasn’t love” crowd. On first viewing, I could’ve sworn I saw Brody look at the paint on her face and go momentarily quizzical, like, she did all that for me? Doesn’t she know I’m nobody and nothing? On first viewing, I thought he was looking for pieces of her in the art work on the walls, in the books on the tables. But, now I see that he is looking around at her house for pieces of him he may find there. Stray trails of his presence in her life, evidence of them.
He tells her he wants to make sure their affair stays hush-hush, in light of him running for office and all. On first viewing, I felt he didn’t want to say all this and had to. Then when he gets into his car and leans back, I thought he knew the pain he had just given her and hated doing it. But, maybe, I see now, it was relief too.
As for Carrie, can anyone doubt for one millisecond what she thought was going to happen that night? Does anyone have any doubt whatsoever what her tears meant when he hurt her like that? If he were just a mark, just a suspect, would Carrie bother to shed a tear over him? She loves him.
Meanwhile, around them, stuff happens.
Carrie gets blown up and loses her mind. And her job. When the mania abates, she cries to Saul “Why did he do that to me? Rat me out like that?” Remember, she still thinks she was wrong about Brody, that he’s not the terrorist afterall. For some inexplicable reason, he hasn’t accepted her apology. And now this? Why would he do this to her? A legitimate question.
Saul tells her to let him go. She says “I can’t.” I don’t know about you, but, for me, that “I can’t” evoked every heartache every woman who’s ever loved a man who doesn’t love her as ever gone thru. Seriously resplendent with that heartache. Of course, she loves him.
Then, more stuff happens, and Brody almost blows himself up and then he doesn’t.
When they next meet, Brody spews all kinds of awful nonsense and Carrie takes it all, blow by painful blow. He hurts her to the core. And when he’s done, he’s surprised by how much pain this woman is capable of withstanding. He hates hurting her. And the way he catches his breath when he says goodbye shows he’s hurt himself too.
All he had to say was “You saved my life.” That’s all we want him to say. But, he doesn’t. Because the mission must go on.
With that, Carrie has lost her job, her mind, believes herself to be so crazy that she wants to erase it all with electro-shock therapy.
And there you have it, kids. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.