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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Homeland 2.8: Personal and Professional

Homeland has now settled into a riveting mind game between Carrie and Brody, and, of course, the viewers.   Each of those two searing leading characters has enough truth and deception mixed into their motivations that we can't be 100% sure in any scene where the truth and deception reside.  This makes for riveting television.

In Homeland 2.8, for example, we have Carrie and Brody making passionate love in a motel room - with video of the scene, of course, online for Saul and the team.   Carrie's cover story, to herself and the team, is that she's doing this as the only way to bring Brody back into the fold after the blow-up with his daughter last week and this.  But we - watching how much Carrie enjoys this gambit - know a little better.  Carrie, if not in love with Brody, is certainly in lust with him.

Brody's motives are even more complicated.  Unlike Carrie, whose loyalty to her country is unquestioned, we still can't be 100% sure that Brody has left Nazir,   And that puts in a dose of ambiguity as to his motives for sleeping with Carrie.  Yes, he's attracted to her and enjoys their time in bed.  But is he playing her in some way and therefore our CIA in some way, too?

Later in the episode, the questions continue as Carrie disregards her orders and goes after Brody in the field.   Is she doing this, as she says, because she thinks our mission demands it - that we need to  keep an eye on Brody and his safety because he's the only asset we have now in the desperate attempt to stop Nazir?  Or is she so concerned about Brody's safety because of her feelings for him, with her actions not necessarily the best in terms of the CIA's and America's interests?  Obviously, she has feelings for him, so the question really boils down to whether she is compromising the team's mission when she acts on her personal feelings.

What continues to make Homeland so strong and appealing is the way it deftly mixes the personal and the professional, i.e., spy thriller parts of the story.   24 did this pretty well, though Jack Bauer's personal life sometimes verged on the soap operatic.  Not so Homeland, where the personal is so good that it could make a strong story on its own, but indeed makes the spy-among-us thriller that much better.

See also  Homeland on Showtime ... Homeland 1.8: Surprises ... Homeland Concludes First Season: Exceptional

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