The “Other” Love Story in Homeland: Nicholas and Jessica Brody

It was a lovely fan fiction imagining Jess and Brody’s wedding day that got me thinking… got me thinking about the “other” love story in Homeland that we never really witnessed except for little bits and pieces here and there.

Jessica and Nicholas Brody… A beautiful couple united by love and separated by war… High school sweethearts… They start dating at 16 and get married probably in their early 20s… They have a simple, yet happy life: A house. A car. Probably a mortgage. Two beautiful kids. Football and BBQ on the weekend. Your picture-perfect American family… Well… until life happens…

Homeland creators seem to have also imagined Jess and Brody’s wedding day…

Jess and Brody’s Wedding Day

Sweet! My hunch is that this picture Morena Baccarin shared on Social Media is either a part of a flashback scene that did not make it to the final cut… Or it is just a photo taken for a photo frame at Brody house! I LOVE it either way!

So, yeah, back to the story:  Brody goes to Iraq and Jess gets word that he is MIA. She holds out hope for years that Brody will come back but finally decides to bury him and allows herself to love again… and loves no other than Brody’s best friend Mike who has always been there for her and been a surrogate father to her children. The two are at a point in their relationship that they will move in together…

And the phone rings:

“Jessica, it’s me. Brody.”

Finding out that a loved one that you think has been dead for years should be as big a shock, if a happy one, as finding out a loved one is dead. And, Jessica may well think this is the biggest shocker in her life but she doesn’t even have a clue about what else is in store for her…

Brody & Jess love story is, in fact, over when we meet them. However, neither Jess nor Brody nor we, the viewers, know about it yet… Brody rightly admits it to Jess in their most intimate moment much later:

“I was fucked the moment I left for Iraq. We all were.”

The couple’s first night together is heartbreaking. Jess is doing her best to welcome home the man she has loved for the longest time with her sexy “negligee” and a bottle of wine… But the romantic moment quickly turns into a horror movie as Jess notices Brody’s scars and freaks out… followed by Brody turning into an animal and almost raping her…

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

We learn that this scene was filmed early in the shoot and Morena Baccarin explains why this timing makes sense:

“When we shot that first intimate scene, it was very early on in the filming schedule. I think we had known each other for about three weeks. But it worked because we were like strangers.”

Then come the dark nights with Brody having awful nightmares and even attacking Jess one night in his sleep… And, when he realizes what he’s done, he withdraws himself farther and farther away from her, grabs his pillow and sleeps on the bedroom floor… And, in the the saddest and the most disturbing scene of the show — yes, it is the most disturbing for me even in comparison to torture and violence scenes — Brody tells Jess to take off her night shirt, masturbates and goes back to his pillow on the bedroom floor when he’s done… too much to take for any human being.

And not just for Jessica, but for Brody, too… He’s also struggling… He’s now back to his wife and children whose love helped him keep going for eight years in captivity, and now he does not know these people that he calls family. He and Jess, two people that have been together since they were 16, are complete strangers. Brody does not know how to deal with that. Moreover, he realizes the relationship between Jess and Mike was beyond friendship and this is also quite hard for him to take even though deep inside he knows Jess thought he was dead for a long time and Mike was always there for his family.

Brody is desperately looking for the love he once had for Jess… For example, when he takes Dana for a walk to a chain link fence and shows her a padlock with his and Jess’ initials on it from the times they were dating; it’s not just to show his daughter the love he and Jess shared a long time ago, but also to see the proof to that love with his own eyes…  Brody wants to believe in his love for Jess, with whom he is not even able to sleep now…

source: Showtime

I believe one deep down reason for Brody and Jess not being able to connect physically is the fact that they just cannot connect psychologically. Brody and Jess cannot talk. They are never ready to talk. And it is not just that Brody does not share with Jess about his horrible experience as a POW, but Jess also does not share with him about her life in his absence. And this unspoken eight years of their lives tear them more and more apart every single day…

source: Showtime

Morena Baccarin says many fans told her they were rooting for Jess and Brody to be together.(source: Homeland Revealed by Matthew Hurwitz. 2014. Chronicle Books. Page 34). Well… I am not going to lie to you. I am one of those fans that rooted for Jess and Brody… And, in fact, for a long time… until I saw… no, not The Weekend… Not even The Weekend in which Brody finds this recognition and intimacy with a woman who has gone through experiences similar to his made me think it was over for Brodys… Probably because The Weekend was more of a cat and mouse for me than two people bonding — don’t get me wrong there was some real connection between Brody and Carrie in that cabin, but not at a level to convince me that Jess was completely out of the picture. So I rooted for Jess and Brody until much later… And they had those little moments in their relationship that the hopeless romantic in me could not help saying “Oh maybe they will make it” without believing it 😀

Jess knowing about The Weekend, accepting the fling her husband had with Carrie and being able to move on from that tells me she is strong and tries her best to do things right with Brody. And once Brody becomes a congressman, Jess seems to very much enjoy the company of her husband – it’s a cliche, but they really look like a new Jack & Jackie – as well as the glamorous D.C. life.


I believe even the way she does deal with Brody’s new faith by not dealing with it is all about her feeling very happy about where her family stands. Jess is very protective of her family and so her disbelief, her outrage, her angry “this cannot happen!” at finding out about Brody’s being Muslim is all about, first, her being hurt that her husband has not been honest with her and second and maybe more importantly, her being freaked out about their now happy life falling apart… which brings me to Jess’ high point in public’s eye!

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

The evening Jess needs to fill for Brody and give a speech at a fund-raising for the Iraq war veterans is a turning point for her in so many ways. It is the first time she opens her heart to complete strangers about the traumatic experience she and Brody had upon his return:

“If someone had warned me how he’d look at me as if he didn’t know me anymore… how violent his nightmares would be that he would attack me in his sleep… how he wouldn’t know what to say to the kids those first few weeks… how hard intimacy of any kind would be for him… If someone had actually warned me, in plain English, how hard coming home would be for him…”

It is also a moment that Jessica feels she is, in fact, enjoying the public spotlight and the prospects of being the SLOTUS 🙂  However, that evening also marks the beginning of the end for the Brodys.

Jess and Brody have their fallout after Brody does not show up for the fund-raiser and says he had a car problem which Jess does not believe…. And she’s right. It’s not just this one lie, but Jess has been lied to by Brody many many times and the moment she thinks they may have turned a corner and BAM! Another lie! It hurts badly… And then arrives Q & A and the rest is history… I now know Jess and Brody are so OVER. I believe in conversation as the most intimate human relationship. And, Brody and Carrie can talk… This is LOVE. And same goes for Jess and Mike… That is LOVE, too…

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

So… we never see the beginning of this love story but we definitely see the very end of it. The conversation Jess and Brody have in the car in Season 2 Episode 11 is probably the first and only time, since Brody’s return, the two are completely honest and open with each other – exactly like when they were 16. They just admit to each other and maybe even to themselves at that point that it is just “beyond” them…

Why not see it again and maybe shed a few tears for this love story that had in fact ended the day Brody left for Iraq…

FIRST LOVE is something nobody forgets. So I don’t think Jess could ever forget Brody, either. Her response to Dana saying “Dad was a psycho, he ruined our lives” with “Your father was a lot of things” is very telling.


And a true confession: I watched a couple of scenes just to refresh myself about the stuff I talk in this post. And I have realized one more time that I just cannot get over Brody. I just can’t.


Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

5 thoughts on “The “Other” Love Story in Homeland: Nicholas and Jessica Brody”

  1. S2E8… Carrie and Brody are never more turned on than when they’re on the run from the entire world. Free from all the handlers, their season-long subtext spilled into the open. Carrie really is in love with him. Brody really is a broken man underneath all the lies.

    Did Brody love (or not) Carrie?
    For some, she brought him back to life in every way and he loved her.

    Whenever we delve into the discussion of “Did Carrie love Brody?” (which I really find super interesting, don’t get me wrong) inevitably we can’t help thinking about the words of Andy Greenwald, who wrote in the middle of the second season:

    I don’t think Brody loves Carrie any more than a drowning man loves a slowly leaking life preserver.

    In other words, out of necessity, despite the knowledge it will only end in him drowning. Brody was cunning and astute and recognized very quickly, once it got to that point, that he could manipulate and use Carrie’s near-infinite, almost unconditional love for him as a way out. Or at least as a way to prolong the inevitable.

    Do I think he did it out of a sense of malice?
    Mostly not. Mostly I think he was so broken when he came back–from all the ways you could be broken by war and torture and loss and grief and, as Carrie put so well in “Q&A,” being shaved down to the bone and built back up again as a brand new person–that I understand why he did what he did (again, mostly… he is on my eternal shit list for what he did to Carrie at the end of season one).

    There are glimmers of something genuine and real and something like love in episodes like “The Weekend,” which is the closest Carrie came to “bringing him back to life” (and vice versa). But my overall feeling is that after he decided not to blow up that vest; after he ended the game with Carrie outside the police station in “Marine One”; once he was found out, as his marriage began to crumble; and, most importantly, when his daughter made clear just how much of a disappointment he truly was to her, he shifted back into survival mode, clinging onto that life preserver as long as it would hold him.

    Later on, I think he knew it was impossible he would survive long enough to become the person Carrie wanted him to be: a hero–or at least not a villain.

    I don’t think Brody wanted to die, but I also think he lost a lot of will to keep going on (in some respects I think he did keep going on for as long as he did out of respect for Carrie and what she sacrificed, because he did understand that sacrifice). He recognized when the end was near, and gave himself up to it. Obviously, Carrie wasn’t so quick to realize. I think at times she thought she could love him hard enough for the both of them. She tricked herself, especially at the end of season three, into believing it.

    In more recent seasons Carrie has wrestled a lot with the “means to an end”/“mission over man” conundrum, which was first prominently introduced in the episode wear Brody dies. I don’t think this is a coincidence. Carrie sending Brody to Iran, knowing that it was both likely to end in his death and the only way he could come back to her the man she needed him to be, was the ironic (and fitting) culmination to their roller coaster romance. And, as I explained over two years ago, I’m still not convinced she’s over him:

    The passion with which Carrie delivers that speech in “The Star”–“I happen to believe one of the reasons I was put on this earth was for our paths to cross. And I know how crazy that sounds”–betrays something that I’m not sure she ever got past, or ever got rid of, or even felt the need to. Brody confirms it a second later, calling it “the only sane thing left to hold onto.”

    Maybe the delusion did crash around her as she watched him die. Maybe it died when she finally saw what a real relationship could be. Maybe it died as she literally hallucinated his person in front of her.

    Or maybe it didn’t. Maybe she has a private “Brody box” (real or imaginary, it doesn’t matter) that she opens sometimes, only when alone, thinking of the grand romance she was deprived and wondering what if.

  2. Why Morena Baccarin deserves an Emmy nomination, Exhibit A: Ep. 2.11 ‘In Memoriam’ Jessica tells Brody that Carrie knows everything about him and excepts it , still loves him , so he should love her back, a lot .

    The importance of this moment, of Jessica saying her name–Carrie–cannot be overstated. Think of all the times they ever talked about her before. They danced around it. She was “the nut,” “that CIA woman,” “the bitch” he fucked.

    But Jess brings her here, in this moment. When Jessica says, “She accepts it,” she might as well be referring to herself. Accepting the end of her marriage, that the father of her children will be leaving them. That everything she had worked so hard to be–this great American story–was a lie, imperfect.

    The comparison between Carrie and Jess is an easy one way to make, if entirely unfair. It’s easy to assume that Carrie is the bigger person for being able to harbor all of Brody’s damage, to take in his soul, the black and tarred bits, too. Carrie would never throw Brody’s Quran on the ground, Carrie would never freak out when he has nightmares, Carrie would never…

    Jessica doesn’t want to know everything about Brody–it’s easier not to, after all, and she’s tired of fighting. Carrie on the other hand wants and needs to know everything.

    But they both love Brody. They love him the only way they know how. For Jess it’s not enough. Not enough for her, not enough for Brody. Ironically, for Carrie it’s probably too much. She loves him too much, so much it overwhelms her, clouds her judgment, comes to inhabit her very being. She only knows two gears, reflective of her illness: an extreme high or a dangerous low.

    They both love Brody the only way they know how.

    And Brody loves them both, too. He loves Jessica the way a man loves the mother of his children, the way a first love stays with you forever. And that’s not enough for Jessica. It can never be enough.

    Carrie accepts him, knows everything, and she still picks him. For eight years Brody was told he was less than, nothing, no one loved him and was coming to find him, to bring him home. No one was choosing him. His worst fears are confirmed when he arrives home and finds another man in his own house, taking on his role as father and husband.

    It’s no wonder his face drops when Carrie, just days later, tells him, “I want to be with you.” Because she was choosing him, she was starting over with him, for him. Despite the vest, despite the lies, despite everything. She had chosen him. She must love him a lot.

    Yes! Related, that scene with Jessica and Brody is totally underrated and one of the best scenes of all of season two. Morena Baccarin is exceptional.

    1. I agree that the car scene with Brody and Jess is up there with the interrogation scene with Brody and Carrie in “Q&A”. Both actors are killing it.

  3. of course Carrie / Yevgeny “relationship” is problematic now do you think that they’re toxic? Why?

    Compared to the other relationships (Brody, Quinn and Jonas), platonic or otherwise, Carrie had, In my humble opinion, Because…

  4. Referring to the scene with Jess and Brody in the garage where she finds his Quran in Season 2.

    When she says “this can’t happen” she indirectly references the prejudice that Americans have against Muslims, so she is not the only one with a less progressive way of thinking.

    Jessica’s reaction has less to do with Brody being a Muslim (and she is ignorant and uninformed about Islam and Muslims–as are a vast majority of Americans) and more to do with the fact that he lied to her about it for months.

    A marriage works both ways. Should Jess have showed more respect towards his Quran and his religious conversion?
    Now Brody also should have respected Jess and their marriage and the trust that’s broken between them by telling her. That he lied to her about this major, vital change in his life–in his fundamental being– but did tell Dana and Carrie.

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