Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
16

US TV Recap

'Homeland' recap: The CIA takes a blow in 'A Gettysburg Address'

By
Season 2, episode 6 | Aired Sunday, Nov 11 2012 at 21:00 GMT on Channel 4

Thanks to the breakneck pace and character-focused writing the Homeland writers have gone for this season, the show in its current form lives and dies by the Carrie/Brody dynamic. And thanks to the new status quo established with Brody now working as a double agent, there's a whole new world of cat-and-mouse manipulation and heady emotional connection to explore. As we learned yet again last week, these two are always playing each other, even when they're being nakedly honest with each other in a way they can't be with anybody else.

Homeland S02E06: 'A Gettysburg Address'

© Showtime



There's always been a problem with the premise that Carrie - a fanatically committed CIA operative - would fall so passionately in love with a man she's always believed to be a traitor, especially because her levels of compassion for what Brody suffered in captivity have seemed inconsistent at best. Thanks to Danes and Lewis's electrifying chemistry, this is one arc where emotional logic has managed to override actual logic, and you buy their connection despite everything.

But now that we've enjoyed seeing Carrie strong and capable and vindicated this season, seeing her collapse weeping into Brody's arms was a bitter pill to swallow. The possibility of his betrayal seemed to absolutely demolish her, to an extent that makes Saul's concern about her getting too involved easy to understand. That said, there was something ever so slightly off about that final scene; in contrast to Brody's devastating breakdown last week. This didn't feel fully earned.

Still, it's been easy to forget in all the breakneck action of the last two episodes just how emotionally fragile Carrie really is. This is a woman who tried to commit suicide less than a month ago and has presumably had no time to process the emotional aftermath of that, having kept it totally to herself. She thought being brought back into the CIA would heal her, but all it's done is act as a distracting plaster over a gaping wound. Carrie and Brody's relationship has always been based around the fact that they're as broken as each other, and so it's fitting that their roles from last week were reversed here, with Brody comforting an emotionally exhausted Carrie.

Homeland S02E06: 'A Gettysburg Address'

© Showtime



And then there's Brody, who remains terribly ambiguous despite the fact that, in theory, his cards are all on the table. Did he somehow pass information to Roya during that moment of silence, or not? Was he telling the truth when he said he'd never seen the Hezbollah man before, or not? Was he lying to Carrie at the end, or not?

We predicted in last week's recap that his lie of omission about the tailor had to come into play, and sure enough it did - but of course he still hasn't admitted either to that killing or to Tom Walker's murder. But beyond those definite lies, it's tough to know whether Carrie's "He's all we've got" or Quinn's "Don't trust him" is closer to the mark. The way Brody's face was filmed in the final shot, almost entirely in shadow as he comforted Carrie, was ambiguous to say the least.

Elsewhere, there seems to be a slight case of Dexter syndrome emerging - i.e. there's one central story that's clearly the most interesting and developed, surrounded by one or two others that don't work half as well, but need to be included for logistical reasons. Danes and Lewis can't be in every single scene, just as Michael C Hall can't be in every scene of Dexter, so the writers are forced to contrive B-plots based around supporting characters who aren't really interesting enough to sustain them.

Homeland S02E06: 'A Gettysburg Address'

© Showtime



And so we get Dana and Finn's seemingly endless telenovela, and we get Mike and Lauder's clunky investigation of Brody. Both are dragging characters down, but since we never cared all that much about Mike to begin with, it's not that offensive to find him being written as a weirdly douchey version of his former self. That being said, the idea that the single missing bullet would somehow lead him to the conclusion that Brody killed Walker was the kind of logical leap we wish Homeland would stop making. Obviously Mike has ulterior motives, but wanting your former best friend to be a traitor so that you can go back to banging his wife and playing faux-dad to his kids isn't a hugely sympathetic motivation. In summary: Mike sucks.

Dana, though, used to be a rare example of a well-written teenage character being used skillfully, and now thanks to Finn she's increasingly a whiny and dim-witted mess. As touchingly as Morgan Saylor played the scene in the hospital, this is a scenario we've seen so many times before (Nip/Tuck did almost exactly the same episode in its first season) that it's hard to feel invested. And having given the Dana/Finn storyline five episodes of time to make itself relevant, we're now pretty comfortable with saying that it's a writing misstep, regardless of whether it's going to (eventually, finally) tie in with Brody's story further down the line.

But to give writer Chip Johannessen credit where it's due, he delivered yet another of the second season's now-patented 'OMG' moments with the shop front shootout, even if it was obvious from the start that Rupert Friend wasn't going to get offed that easily. Nothing could live up to last week's powerhouse two-hander, but if you can ignore the flimsy B-plots this was a compelling enough hour, and pivoting yet again on Carrie and Brody's strange, magnetic anti-love story.

Homeland S02E06: 'A Gettysburg Address'

© Showtime



Other thoughts:
- We can't believe it's taken us two episodes to notice that there's now both a Finn and a Quinn on this show. Let's hope the Glee parallels begin and end there - although in truth we'd pay good money to see a musical episode of Homeland. With lead vocals, naturally, by Mandy Patinkin.
- Chris Brody continues his streak of having more than one line per episode! Sure, there's still the issue of that crippling vacuum where his personality should be, but one step at a time. And understandably enough, he always did have more of a relationship with Mike than with Brody, so their scene was the one thing involving Mike that made sense this week.
- Do the CIA not employ lip readers for situations like the one that arose with Roya's meeting? They seemed to have a decent enough angle on the guy's face.
- Max literally dozed off in the middle of a stakeout. In broad daylight. This show definitely isn't afraid to make the CIA look like clowns on occasion, and after last week's smoothly-handled interrogation, it was definitely ineptitude's turn to shine here.
- If anybody's curious, the Nip/Tuck episode containing a near-copy of the teen hit-and-run plotline was season one's 'Cara Fitzgerald'. It's one of that show's best hours ever, sneaking in there before it went rampantly off the rails in classic Ryan Murphy style.
- "DAMMIT VIRGIL!" It's been too long.

You May Like

Comments

Loading...