Homeland Season 2: Star Ascendant

If you missed Homeland Season 2 Part I, you can read it here.


“ Go to Brody .. empower the guy.” Peter Quinn

At the Brody home chaos ensues. Dana has taken off, Jessica is raking her husband over the coals for the events at the police station, Brody is due in half an hour to meet with Roya, and Carrie is right outside with her team listening to it all, worrying.

Jessica, how has she made it this far? It’s unbearable. There is no way she can understand any of this. “Tell the CIA to back off, that your daughter matters more!” “I CAN’T I CAN’T I CAN’T!”

Jess goes to get Dana, who’s turned up at Faber’s, leaving Brody alone in the house. Seeing this Carrie darts into the house. She finds Brody curled up in a corner of a dark hallway.

She tries to rouse his sense of duty – to the deal, to his family.

“Everything’s falling apart. This is a nightmare.”

Then she does what she must always do. I don’t say this as a criticism of her character but as a real and compelling behavior in her story – throughout all the seasons. Carrie is truly compassionate and caring of her assets; even as she leads them into greater and greater danger. Every heroine has a curse, a fatal flaw. “It’s almost over.” she whispers gently, “Now, come on.” She leads this husk of a strong man out of the hallway.

The meet with Roya goes horribly awry. Damian squeezes his entire body into a fist of frustration and rage. We’ve never laid eyes on this man! He bounces between bitter sarcasm, anger and despair. With Carrie et al listening, he calls off the plan. “I’m through.” and strides off, losing Hammad in a crowd.

(Someone ought to count how many times Brody says “I’m done/through.”)

Carrie’s response,“I’ve gotta keep this thing going…his cover’s still intact. As long as his cover isn’t blown, he’s still in play.” And, really, what good choice does she have? Following him, she catches him by his car. The mission is no longer uppermost in her mind. This is the point at which the needle of her compass ceases to bounce between the job and the man. she has to save this man. He turns his haunted face to her. “Do you think I really care what happens to me anymore?” “Well I do. I care what happens to you. Even if you don’t.” Even as he register suspicion, he gets in the car.

They wash up at an anonymous roadside motel. Of course we learn soon enough, this is not so anonymous but rather a sort of safe house. A place Saul knows; it’s already wired. Brody is calmer but it is the calm of despair.

“You think you can save this. You can’t.” Carrie is not to be deterred. She wants to save this man as much as she wants a win. He wants to stop lying. “At least that part will be a relief.” What always brings Brody back from the brink? Hope. She offers him a glimpse of a future, of an “us”, of a redemption. She says, “It will all be about getting to there.” Yes, even what he did to her. He’s not all alone; they’re in “this deal of ours” together. Just as in Q and A his journey lies entirely in Damian Lewis’ talent, spirit and skills. He shows us this man walking the razor’s edge back from the brink. No tricks, no histrionics. He’s nothing less than wonderful.

Their lovemaking is not the thrill ride of a parking lot nor the tender ballet of The Weekend. It is an intense, noisy search for total release…broadcast to the team at CIA.

In the morning Brody’s back in play, reaching out to a visibly skeptical though verbally, agreeable Roya Hammad. She may be done with him as a comrade in arms but he still has his uses.

Carrie and Brody are finally at ease with each other. Perhaps the only place they can be at ease in this kaleidoscopic world they inhabit. “Talk to me next time, before it gets to be too much.” she says. He doesn’t accuse or challenge her, we’re not in the Clearing anymore. He leans in and kisses her tenderly on her shoulder.

Now Brody is Carrie’s secret. Back at CIA, deflecting what they all heard, she hides their relationship from her colleagues, especially Saul. “I did what I had to do.” He is far from convinced.

On his way to work Brody is intercepted by Roya. Those bridges he thought last night were burned are not, as much as he might wish. She takes him on a winding trip collecting and losing co-conspirators and intelligence agents on the way to a helicopter that brings him to Abu Nazir in the flesh!

“OK, I’ll say it – he’s dead, if not physically dead, operationally dead.” Carrie is beside herself with concern. She holds on to the mission: eliminating Nazir. This is the “there” that getting to would make all Brody’s past unimportant. She’s going on for him.

That same morning somewhere in Baltimore, Nazir bids Nicholas farewell, “Forever, if all goes well.” Brody is clearly moved but not torn…

He finds the nearest phone to call Carrie. Clearly under some sort of time limit, he begs her to get his family to a safe location. He’ll call back in an hour “once it’s done.” The Brodys’ are secured, Brody arranges to meet Carrie “where we first met”. She replies, “In the rain?”recalling their first beautiful moment in Semper I. She chokes when he says,“I thought I was dead”.

When she manages to say,“It’s really good to see you.” he really looks at her, he smiles and they join hands. They both know what she means.

In the same room, in the same clothes and lighting as Q and A, Saul, Estes Quinn and Carrie interrogate Brody. He tells a story of subtle coercion, emotional manipulation and threat at the hand of the master himself, Abu Nazir. And he reveals the plan! His part is to get Roya Hammad into a welcome home ceremony for special ops to be held the next day. Carrie glances around the room, his gaze rests solely on her.

The team retires to confer. When Carrie returns to update him, she finds Brody leaning against the wall. This is not the jumpy, anxious, enraged man of the preceding episodes. I think we’re seeing the real Nicholas Brody at last. He’s calm but determined. He doesn’t have to lie to Carrie anymore. The only thing he wants to know is: does she believe him.

“Because that’s all I care about right now.”

She does, of course she does. They’re in this together. He even approves her placing his family in Mike Faber’s care. “Smart.” She smiles, “I thought so.”

Using Brody’s intel CIA develops a counterattack against Nazir and his cell. Events move forward the following morning, Brody’s information proves to be good. The Brodys awkwardly reunite at the safe house. When Carrie calls Nick can’t repress a tiny smile. Jessica sees and retreats. They review a plan for his near future then with a few superficial words acknowledge who they are to each other. Moments later Carrie’s car is broadsided in an intersection and she disappears!

Nazir’s plan’s foiled, his network rounded up but the man himself is still loose. Brody gets a call at the safe house. He looks at the screen – there’s Carrie bound and gagged. Nazir has pulled him back into a plot to assassinate the Vice President using Carrie’s life as the bargaining chip. Brody drives a hard bargain for Carrie withholding vital information from Abu Nazir until he has visual proof his lover has escaped. It’s a virtuoso performance when a man can intensely interact with a Blackberry!

Even more amazing is Damian’s performance with Jamey Sheridan as Walden. As Nazir’s people use Brody’s information to access Walden’s pacemaker, Damian shows another side of the real Brody. At last he can unleash his deadly loathing for this man to whom he’s had to show deference. The man he came home to kill. “You still don’t get it do you? I’m killing you.” Chilling.

At the safe house Jess and Nick come close to having a real conversation when a call from Carrie interrupts them. He has to take it. Carrie tells him Nazir is still at large. They do a quick recon on tactics but Brody says “All that matters to me right now, is that you’re safe.”

Later, acting on a clue inadvertently dropped by Roya Hammad when Carrie questioned her; Abu Nazir is cornered. On his knees, surrounded, he draws fire and dies.

Separately Carrie and Brody react to his death: Carrie gazes almost bemused at his corpse. Her obsession of years. Now what? Brody breaks down at the news, frightening his family. Overwhelmed. Such a long time, such long distances. But the Brodys can now go home.

Only he can’t. In an emotionally shattering scene Jessica and Nick part ways. “For the longest time all I wanted was for you to tell me the truth…I don’t have to know anymore. I just don’t want to.. Carrie knows everything about you, She accepts it. You must love her a lot.” She reaches for his hand – he doesn’t respond. She goes into their house alone.

The doorbell rings at Carrie’s apartment. Brody stands on her doorstep bathed in the warmth of the porch light. They gaze at each other. All impediments are gone, all the truths are revealed. It is of all those things compared to Carrie that he says, “It wasn’t even close.” Brody’s face is open. Clear eyed and honest, he strokes her cheek. She turns her wounded face into his palm. For the first time unafraid to be so vulnerable. They turn and enter a warm lighted space of peace and comfort. I believe they’ll sleep in each others arms. All nightmares at bay. At last.

There I prefer to leave them. No bombing, no parting at the border, no red rope in Tehran, even no Frannie. Maybe it would have been better to lose Brody now. Happy, whole. All those things that were so important, are so important, tonight it’s down to only them with their star ascendant.

5 thoughts on “Homeland Season 2: Star Ascendant”

  1. Well done NotLinda! For me, the saddest scene in all three of the seasons with Brody in them, was that one with him and Jess in the car, after the family left the safe house, and she goes into the house alone. I was so rooting for Jess, I tired of sniveling Carrie quite early. It was even sadder then the hanging in season 3 somehow, probably because I was expecting the end of Brody, but I really thought he and Jess could make it together.

    1. Thanks again for reading my articles, Connie. I’m aware Homeland is old news but as an example of Damian’s work it is to me peerless.
      My heart broke for Jessica. She tried so hard and gave up so much to get nothing in return. Like Brody her marriage was doomed.

  2. A wonderful wonderful walk through memory lane! Thank you so much for taking the time to re-visit Carrie and Brody in Season 2! I would have asked if you would have cared to do S3 but I now know the answer! How clever to leave them there at that door… With love, with hope, with a possible future.. Remember Carrie asking Brody “Can you imagine?” And yes I can!!!! It was LOVE. He and she and I LOVED the possibility of their impossible love. Ah you are making me crave this show! And if I were the woman at that door, I would take THAT Brody to my Desert Island in a heartbeat! That may be the Brody that is closest to his pre-Iraq self. What do you think?

    1. I agree absolutely. He can’t unknow he shouldn’t unknow but he can live! Carrie’s gift to him. To tell the truth I watched the rest of season two yesterday. Maybe “Falling Star” could happen.
      I really appreciated what Jania did when I found out how much effort it is. All of you in fact!

      1. It seems to me that given you have a title “Falling Star” will happen 🙂 Thanks so much for the wonderful work you share with us!

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