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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Homeland 4.1-2: Carrie's States of Mind

The big question was whether Homeland could sustain the energy and tension it had for the first three seasons, given the killing of Brody at the end of season 3, and given that he was at least half responsible for the energy and tension.  Not just the initiating character - an American war hero under a terrorist's spell - but his subsequent relationship, against all odds, with Carrie.

The answer, based on the first two episodes, is yes - though we are being treated to a very different, somewhat more conventional, CIA story.   But Carrie is the same character, just this side of sanity on the insanity border, and she once against plays a pivotal, wild, unpredictable role (brilliantly performed by Claire Danes, as always).

I mean, she maybe almost drowns her baby girl - who is Brody's baby girl - and the possible reasons for that are as complex as they can be.  Part of her doesn't want to be a mother.  Part of her wants to get back to Islamabad - though maybe part of why she wants so badly to get back to Islamabad is that she doesn't trust herself with her baby.   And part of what must be driving her is that the baby looks just like Brody.   The hair color is exactly right, and even the expression.   In this triumph of casting, we as well as Carrie feel she's looking right down at Brody when she looks at her baby.  So, if she hates that part of herself - or, a part of herself hates that she slept with Brody, and came to love him - he was, after all, the enemy, at least part of the time - then that gives her another motive for almost drowning her baby.

That scene in the bathtub was the most disturbing scene in the first two episodes.  Which is saying a lot, since the killing of the Islamabad CIA chief Sandy, pulled right out of the car with Quinn and Carrie doing their best to stop it, was pretty brutal, too.   And the aftermath is a simmering can of worms, with Carrie sure she and Quinn could have done more to save Sandy, and Quinn sure they did all that they could.

Quinn certainly did.   Carrie didn't do much, because she couldn't find the weapon that Quinn said was in the car.  Assuming it wasn't really there, what more could Carrie have done?  Does she feel guilty because she thinks Quinn was diverting at least a little of his attention to save her?  Maybe, but I don't even know if that's the case.

What is the case is that Homeland is off to a great, harrowing start, and it all revolves around Carrie's states of mind, as it alway has, even though this a very different situation indeed, without Brody.

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

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  different kind of espionage

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