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RECAP & REVIEW: Homeland “The Vest” S1 E11

16 Dec

I was just able to watch last week’s Homeland.  There were certainly some eye raising things that happened in this episode.  And since we are only two days away from the 90 minute finale on Sunday, let’s quickly discuss what we think is going to happen in the finale and what you/I hope to see in the finale.

Carrie

In “The Vest” Carrie has been put on administrative leave since Brody told David about their affair and the “illegal” surveillance.  I can’t imagine that sticks for very long since we still have the finale and the show has been renewed for a second season.  But what a scene that was and quite frankly, Claire Danes has been outrageously good the last two episodes.  She’s been great all season but she took it to a whole new level the last two weeks.  While suffering a bi-polar episode after the explosion, she’s back at home and on bed rest (sort of) until she starts to “level out.”  So her sister and Saul are taking shifts watching her.  But while in this state, Carrie starts taking all these pieces of paper and begins manically circling and highlighting and crossing out in specific colors (and we learned not to mess with her when she wants a green pen.)   She looks like a crazy person who has completely lost her state of reality.  But when she finally gets some rest, Saul starts to look at what she has done and starts to put the pieces together.

Turns out, Carrie was able to put together a timeline of Abu Nazir’s actions and conversations with each year being a color and having a specific role in the build up to what we are seeing today.   When she wakes up the next day and sees he was able to see what she has been seeing (only in a much more professional and organized fashion) she starts to break down with tears of excitement.  They walk through the timeline and determine that the key is the yellow (2008) in which very little happened.  They come to the conclusion that some sort of event or tragedy happened that triggered everything that has happened following 2008.   Now they have no idea what it is, but we do.  We saw the back story of Brody forming a bond with Nazir’s “son” and eventually watched him get blown up.  But Carrie and Saul don’t know that so they are going to have some people they trust look into it to see what they can dig up.

In the meantime, as Carrie is still recovering, she decides to reach out to Brody because he was with Nazir at the time of this gap they are trying to fill.  She figures if anyone knows what happened during that time, it’s Brody.   Her father tells her it’s a bad idea.  “There’s good gut and bad gut.  Like the time I was 100% sure I needed to empty out my refrigerator and set it on fire….bad gut.”    Very true!   But Carrie tells him this is a good gut.   Weeeeeeeeeeell, not so much.  When she calls Brody and tells him what she knows, he now knows she getting too close to figuring everything out so he has to get her out of the picture.  The best way to do that….tell her boss that they slept together and she had an illegal surveillance running against his family.   Yep, that would do it.  And it did….for the time being.  And while Carrie’s sister and father try to restrain her, David instructs his men to take down all the work she and Saul put together.   It was a tough scene that just sent Carrie even further over the edge.

It’s during these times I can see why people get very frustrated with her character or down right hate her character.  I was talking to some of my family and friends and about Homeland and I was shocked how many people told me they stopped watching the show because of Carrie’s character.  The reasons ranged from her annoyance level being at astronomical highs to hating the way she conducts herself in a professional environment.  I can see what people are saying and since she is the main protagonist on the show, if you can’t stand her, chances are it’s going to be tough to get through episodes where she dominates the story.  But to me, while she can be over the top sometimes, I chalk it up to her character being bi-polar and she is struggling to deal with it.  Add to that fact, she is still blaming herself for 9/11, so much so that it drives everything she does and she will destroy her own life to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.  If I’m being honest, it’s why I love her character so much.  And, I think this show is so riveting that even if you don’t like Carrie’s character, the show is that good that you should be able to put up with it for the sake of a well told story.

Brody

Damien Lewis is incredible.  I am so happy he was nominate for a Golden Globe.  Here truly deserves it!   More on those abominations in another post.  He is the one character I cannot figure out but I think with this last episode, it’s the closest I’ve come to understanding him…..I think.  But before we analyze, let’s review what happened with him.

We start the episode seeing someone creating a bomb in a vest that you are to assume someone is going to wear.   We don’t know who the vest is for but the logical assumption is that it’s Brody.  While that’s going on, Brody and his family are preparing for a quick family get away to Gettysburg.   Can I ask, when did Gettysburg become Disney World?  It’s the second TV show I’ve seen use Gettysburg as a day trip (The Office was the other one.)  Anywho, the Brodys are off and of course Dana wants no part of it.   But she goes and films her father the whole time.

They go to the battlefields and Brody begins to tell Chris what they are looking at.  He tells the family the story of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin and his incredible, daring, and brave decision to save one of the most important hills during the Battle of Gettysburg….Little Round Top.  He tells him how this was a simple man, a professor no less, who was able to lead his men into battle and make a remarkably impactful decision that would change the course of the Battle of Gettysburg (which ultimately led to the turning point in the Union position in the Civil War against Gen Lee and the Confederates.)   Chamberlin decided that instead of gun fire, they were going to charge the Confederates with their bayonets.  And charge they did.  The Confederates were so stunned and unprepared for this maneuver, that it saved Little Round Top and changed the course of the battle and therefore the war.  Brody ends by saying he was so amazing because he was an everyday man willing to do whatever it takes for a cause he desperately believed in.    Hhhmmmmmmmm.  A little foreshadowing going on here?  I think so.

When they go to get something to eat, Brody says he needs to buy a toothbrush because he forgot his.  We then see him go into a men’s clothing store and into the back room (where the store clerk inside didn’t even blink an eye at this) and we see speaking arabic to the man we saw in the beginning of the show.  He brings out the bomb vest and Brody tries it on.  It was such a disturbing scene and it just made me sick to my stomach.  As he’s trying it on, he talks about what happens to the person wearing the vest…that the impact blows up and cleanly severs the head leaving it in tact while every thing is blown to smithereens.  He walks out with the wrapped package and Dana sees him putting it in the car and asks what it is.  He tells her it’s a present for mom and it’s a surprise so don’t say anything. Dana isn’t buying it and presses him more on the issue but he talks his way out of it.   Her suspicions have definitely been raised, especially after Brody tells her to look after her mother when he is gone.  Dana probably had the same thoughts I had..you’re running for Congress not going back to Iraq so why are acting like we will never see you again?

When they get back home, Jess has told Brody how incredibly happy she is and how things are finally starting to move in a positive direction.  Meanwhile, Dana is gone into the car, retrieved the package, and begins to open it.  But just as she gets the tape off, Brody come and grabs her arm and tells her to leave it alone.  Now if he hadn’t been acting so strangely, it might not have been that big of a deal to say “Hey, it’s a surprise for your mom but it’s none of your business and you need to respect that.”  But since he’s been weird, Dana doesn’t believe him.  She takes her video to her boyfriend to show him how odd her dad was behaving at Gettysburg.  You see the video where people are everywhere and Brody is just staring off into space.  He tells Dana that she is right, it is weird.

Ok, so what does all this mean?  Here is what I think.  I can’t take credit for this realization but after reading what someone said about Issa I agree.  I don’t think Issa was Nazir’s son.  I think he was part of the collateral damage from the drone attack and a plant to get Brody attached to him so Nazir could get Brody to do his bidding.  Brody was in such a weak mental state during his captivity and here was Nazir’s chance to use that to his advantage.  So he set Brody up to connect with Issa so that when he died, Brody would be willing to do whatever Nazir told him to do.  Here’s the hard part to understand, at least for me.  Brody is really going through with all of this because of a few months connection with a kid?  He is willing to sacrifice his wife, his kids, his friends, his career, HIS LIFE because Issa died and he didn’t like how the VP handled it?  You could see that Brody look a bit timid in the men’s shop when trying on his bomb vest.  I’m sure he has to be having second thoughts.  But it seems like regardless, he is moving forward with this.  I don’t get it.   But maybe that’s part of the story so far, we aren’t supposed to  get it.

On the flip side, trying to understand this, this all comes down to Brody’s mental state.  We saw some parts of his captivity and what that did to him but we still don’t have a clue as to the whole scope of what a USA POW in Iraq goes through.  I can imagine the mental anguish in addition to the physical.  And that’s probably what terrorists do.   They find the person they want to use, they break them down, then show kindness, create a tragedy that will break them again, and then make them feel like there is no one else in the world who could bring a right to this wrong the way you can.  It’s sick and perverted.  But I have to believe that’s what is happening to Brody.  So deep down is Brody a bad guy…no.  Is he an incredibly damaged individual who has been brainwashed and tricked into believing what he is doing is the right thing…yes.   At first I didn’t think Brody was involved at all and it was all a red herring.  Then I thought he was involved (or at least had knowledge) but was going to back out.  Now, I don’t think he is backing down.  But it’s not for the awful reasons we thought.  It’s awful, don’t get me wrong, but not in the way the show set it up initially.  It’s awful for a different reason.

What Is Going To Happen In The Finale

So it all comes down to Sunday night.  What is going to happen?  One of the big things I want to find out (and from the promo it looks like we will) is what happened with Brody and Walker and what is currently happening.  Are Brody and Walker working towards the same goal?  I don’t think so.  I really believe Brody didn’t know he was alive.  I wonder if Walker knew Brody was alive.  Is Walker on his own trying to stop Brody?  I don’t know.  It looks like Walker had some terrorists connections but has he gone rogue at this point?  And if he hasn’t, who is he working for and what is his end game?

I have to wonder if Nazir hedged his bet.  Maybe he set up both Brody and Walker separately both with the goal of doing exactly what he wanted (it looks to be, kill the VP and anyone who happens to be around him at the time) that way if one backs out, he still has someone else in his back pocket.  What will be interesting is if after they meet up, they talk it out and realize what is going on and turn the tables on Nazir.  I can’t imagine that happening, but it would be fun to watch.  Regardless of what goes down,  I would really like to know what Walker is up to and how he connects to all of this.

Of course the other big thing we all want to know…who is the CIA mole?  My money was on Saul the whole season and I would be a snake if I backed out now.  So I am still sticking with Saul.  But it could be David.  I just hope it’s not the guy we’ve met a few times that answers phones and does menial work for the department.   That would suck.  I think it needs to be someone big.  And if it’s anyone less than Saul or David, it just would seem a waste.

Ultimately, the #1 most important questions we need answered….will Brody go through with it?   I can honestly say, I have no idea because I can see this play out so many different ways:

  1. He goes through with it, mission accomplished and his family leaves Virginia with Mike in ruins.   Speaking of Mike ( and not to get too off topic) does anyone think he has ANYTHING to do with what is going on?   I would love some Mike theories!
  2. He goes through with it, misses his target because he is redirected but he still dies, the truth of what he was planning to do comes out, and his family leaves Virginia in ruins.
  3. He plans to go through with it but he is found out in time and is stopped.  He’s arrested and his family leaves Virginia in ruins.
  4. He plans to go through with it but changes his mind at the last-minute.
  5. He and Walker develop a plan to appear to be going through with it but then turn the tables on Nazir and destroy him (I have no idea how plus this is more wishful thinking than anything else.)
  6. He doesn’t go through with it because Dana, Jess, and Chris find out about the plan and stop him.
  7. He doesn’t go through with it because he changes his mind and wants to move forward with his life and family.
  8. He doesn’t go through with it and asks Carrie for help.

See, lots of possibilities.  And there are probably 30 more that I didn’t think about or care to write down.  But I have no idea what’s going to happen.  I just know that I will be in front on my TV at 10pm ready for an explosive (pardon the pun) 90 minutes of TV and I am looking forward to the conclusion of the BEST new show of 2011!

What are your predictions for Sunday night?  Let know your theories below!

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