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RECAP & REVIEW: Homeland “The Vest” S1 E11

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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RECAP & REVIEW: Homeland “Representative Brody” S1 E10

We only 2 episodes left in Homeland’s amazing first season.  There are still lots of questions to be answered.  I have to wonder, since the show has been renewed for a second season, if some of our questions will remained unanswered and moved into S2.  I’m not sure.  I don’t know if Homeland is planning on doing season long arcs and wrapping them up in 12 episodes (like Dexter) or if they plan on answering some questions, but opening up others that stem from the core story.  That’s why I am very curious to see how these final 2 episodes play out.  And I’m ok with either.  This isn’t a situation like The Killing on AMC where the promotion of the show was about solving the murder of Rosie Larsen and when the season wrapped, they didn’t solve the very case they promoted (angering many fans.)  Homeland was never promoted that way.  It was always about CIA agent tracking down an alleged turned POW and the question of whether or not Sgt Brody is a bad guy or a good guy.  That could be a season long or series long premise depending on how the writers choose to spin it.  As long as the writing remains compelling and the characters still fascinating, I’m on board with however they choose to unveil the secrets of this show.

I will admit, I really didn’t think that bomb was going to explode in the park.  I thought Carrie was going to overreact and blow the cover.  Although I have to say, I don’t think their cover was all that strong to begin with.  Really, how obvious were those agents standing around the fountain area?  At least have them reading a newspaper or checking an iPad or drinking coffee with another agent.  Something to make it look not so obvious that they are just standing around staring at Al Zahrani.  Not that I think that had anything to do with what happened…Walker was already tipped off.  But if Walker wasn’t, he would have been considering how perceptive a man he is.

So who is the inside person who tipped Walker off?  I go back to my previous post and I’m sticking with my guess…Saul.  With every episode that goes by, I am more and more convinced that Saul is involved.   Which of course means I will be completely wrong…ha!  But I don’t care.  I’m staying with that prediction.  The only reason (and there is only one) that keeps nagging at me that it won’t be him, is because if it is, Carrie will need to be committed and she is the lead in the show.  I can’t see Homeland going on without her!   Carrie is still beating herself up for not being able to stop 9/11…and that was 10 years ago.  Can you imagine if her closest ally and friend in the CIA turns out to be involved and he was right under her nose the whole time?  It would be great TV, I just don’t know if the writers are going to do that to her.

Here is one question I have and I am really curious to other people’s opinion on this…is Brody really looking to plot revenge on the United States (more specifically it seems the Vice President) because he lied about what happened in Iraq with the drone and the explosion killed Abu Nazir’s son Issa?  Are we to believe this all over the accidental killing of the son of a known terrorist and the cover up?  Because that blew me away.  If Brody was turned, I thought it would have been something much more significant than that.  Although maybe he was so far gone mentally that any sort of kindness towards him (even if it is coming from his captors and his son) would sway him to their side.  In present time, you can still see times where mentally, he just isn’t 100% there.

I’m just not ready to believe that Brody’s a bad guy yet.   Maybe it’s because I don’t want him to be, but I am still leaning towards there being more behind the story.  Maybe he is playing Abu Nazir and his team, not only to save himself, but to get on the inside so he can give his intel to the US government and therefore stop him.  It still seems as though if he takes the congressman’s seat, he can go after the VP.  While I’m sure he’s not happy with how the VP handled the situation, I don’t think he’s going undercover as a politician to kill him.  It just appears too obvious to me.  And there have been so many times I’ve been swayed one way or the other, that I have to believe, there is more to this than meets the eye and therefore, Brody is going to end up being a true hero.

Does anyone know what the deal is with Walker?  Is it safe to say he is working with Nazir but maybe for a completely different mission that what Brody is allegedly working on for Nazir?  That is the one part of the show, I haven’t been able to put my finger on.  How did Walker survive?  How and why did he turn?  Did he really turn?  What is his end game?  Are Brody and he in on it together or did the they have no idea about what each other is up to?  I can see this storyline going either way and I’m really not sure which way to lean.

That’s why Homeland is still so great.  It keeps me guessing the whole time.  I have no idea what I am watching I should take at face value or if there is so much more to what I am seeing but just don’t know it yet.  I love shows like that!   Probably why I loved Lost as much as I did.  But like Lost, I don’t want to be in the dark all the time.  At some point I will need some of my questions answered.  Not right away and not all of them at once.  But I would like a little peek behind the curtain so I don’t lose interest.  But I am not at that point yet.

What do you guys think?  Who is the insider who tipped off Walker?  Do you think Brody is a hero or terrorist?  Do you think this season will get wrapped up in the finale or are we trickling some of this over into next season.  Let me know because I want to hear from you!

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Recaps and Reviews, Showtime

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Homeland…The Season So Far

I am going to make a bold statement.   Brace yourself.   Are you ready?   Saul is part of the terrorist ring and he is involved somehow.  I’ve been thinking this for about 2-3 episodes now.  Here are the few things I have noticed that have me leaning towards feeling Saul is involved:

  • Saul tried to discourage Carrie from investigating Sgt Brody.   I’m still not sure if Brody has an involvement or not but regardless, Saul didn’t want the idea of an American POW being turned investigated by Carrie.  But after a while, when Carrie started finding evidence that couldn’t be overlooked, to not look like he isn’t being supportive, he agrees to let her look into it.  Probably because he could stay on top of her investigation and know exactly where she is at and could possibly protect whoever he is working with.
  • Saul touched Hamid’s hands in the interrogation room.  Remember Hamid?   The guy they captured and eventually killed himself in the holding cell?  The idea was that someone slipped him the razor blade.  Carrie thought it was Brody.  Saul was giving David the stink eye.  But if you remember, Saul went in to see him to question him, and the first thing he did was grab his hands, kiss him twice, hold onto his hands and say something to him in Arabic.  I thought it was strange when it happened (and it was actually the first thing that made me think Saul was in on it) and right away when they looked back to see who could have given him the blade, I thought of Saul.
  • Saul tried to get out of the polygraph.   When everyone in the department, who talked to Hamid, had to take the polygraph, Saul fought it and found reasons not to go in.   And actually his first attempt, he walked out because something came up.  I’m having a feeling that was intentional so he could have an idea of the questions they were going to ask so he could best prep for round 2.
  • Saul gave us Tom Walker.  When Saul brought Aileen back and talked to her about her connections to all of this, he was the one who called Carrie and said Walker was the turned POW.  Did we see Aileen say that?   Did we see Aileen identify Sgt Walker as the man who came to see her?   The answer to all is no.  We only know that because we saw Saul tell Carrie that.  But we never saw Aileen tell him that.  He could have made a deal with her that we didn’t see.

So what do you think of that?   Ha!  I think he’s involved.   But we’ll see.

As for Brody, I still don’t know.  I’m rooting for him to not be involved but there’s a part of me that thinks, how could he not?   But that’s why the show is so great.   They have done an amazing job keeping us on our toes about Brody.  Or maybe it’s just me and you guys are convinced one way or the other.   But with only three episodes left, what do you guys think?  Is Brody a terrorist or a patriot?   Is Saul involved or have I gone off the deep end?

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: Homeland “Grace” S1 E2

I find this show to be riveting.  And think about how many minutes of the show are designated to Carrie (Claire Danes) just watching Brody (Damian Lewis) on the monitors.  It can be dangerous to go down the path of surveillance because it can be boring to watch someone watch another person.   But I am constantly looking for clues like Carrie is.  Because I really have no idea if Brody is a POW turned terrorist or a true patriot who is struggling with reintegrating himself back into his life.

As we learned in the pilot, Carrie is still beating herself up over missing something from 9/11.  As a result, she has become obsessed with bringing down known terrorist Abu Nazir.  Her obsession with Nazir, combined with the intel she received about an American POW being turned,  is why she is going after Brody so hard.  And we are learning more and more about Brody right along with Carrie.  Although, since he wire tap friend couldn’t get into the garage, we actually know a little more than she does.  And what we are seeing, isn’t really clearing things up in terms of where Brody’s loyalties lie, but it is fascinating.  We see that Brody is having nightmares.  One in particular culminates in strongly grabbing Jessica’s arm (leaving bruises) and shouting things in Arabic (which we later learn through Carrie that it translate to Brody begging to be killed.)  We see Brody struggling with all press hounding him.  As a result, he moves an ottoman from the corner of his bedroom and sits in the corner for about 7-8 hours.  We see a flashback to his time in captivity where it seems he did the same thing as a calming mechanism.  It’s fascinating to see how a person can handles coming back into society after being a POW for 8 years.   The thought is, the whole 8 years of being tortured and beaten, all that POW wants, is to go home to where he/she will be safe.  Well, we are seeing Brody back in a safe environment yet he is using coping techniques from his time in captivity to calm him.  I also like the way the show is using flashbacks to explain why Brody is acting certain ways.  One example was his day in the corner of his bedroom.   Another example is his time in the garage.  You see Brody in Iraq seeing sunshine through a slight opening in a door.  He is also able to see Muslims praying to Allah.  Flash back to the garage and Brody is awake again in the early morning hours.  He starts sweeping the garage and using the items he bought at the home improvement store to fix the garage door.  He cracks the door to let in just enough sunlight (like his time in Iraq) and then lays out a mat and starts praying, in Arabic, to Allah.   Say what!!!!   So is this a sign of him doing something to calm himself or is this a more sinister sign of his new allegiance?  Time will tell.   Could you imagine if Carrie could see this?   She would be freaking out!!!   This is why the show is awesome.  We have no idea what is going on with Brody….at least I don’t.   But Carrie thinks, as each day goes by, that Brody is getting closer and closer to proving her point.   Saul made a comment to Carrie that usually people who are trying to cover up something, would exhibit certain behaviors.  In Saul’s mind, he thinks Brody would be playing the “hero” card a little harder.  Carrie thinks it’s possible that maybe he’s going about this a different way.   But then, after his private prayer moment, Brody puts on a full uniform and goes out to address a crowd of reporters he has so desperately been trying to avoid.   And Carrie is now giddy because she thinks he about to go the hero route.

In other news, Carrie has an asset in the field, Lynn, who is undercover working for a Middle Eastern Prince.   She is able to see that the Prince has connections to Abu Nazir so she reaches out to Carrie immediately.   She and Carrie meet and she tells Carrie about her newly discovered intel.  Carrie is booming with excitement while Lynn is a tad bit less enthusiastic.  She didn’t think she would have to get this close to a powerful terrorist and she is very fearful for her life.  Carrie promises to protect her but she needs to keep going because this is the closest they have gotten to Nazir.   Carrie asks David to increase security for Lynn and he tells her no.  David tells her that she needs to protect the asset herself and asks her to give Lynn a flash drive to use on the Prince’s phone.  Carrie and Lynn meet up and she tells her the request regarding the flash drive and tells Lynn that she is being protected (even though she really isn’t) and Lynn agrees to help out.  I have a bad feeling that poor Lynn won’t be long for this world.

While all this is going on, Carrie is out of her medication.  So she has to go to her sister who is a psychiatrist, to get more meds.  It’s pretty obvious that Carrie isn’t around very often and shows up only when she needs her meds.  Needless to say, her sister isn’t very happy about it for many reasons.   We also learned that Carrie’s father has the same condition that she does.   Have we been told, officially, what that condition is?   She mentioned mood swings and her surveillance guy said which drug she was taking, but do we know what her official diagnosis is?  I don’t think so.   But her sister only gives her a weeks worth of meds which will force Carrie to come around more.  I’m torn about how I feel about this.  I know the doctor in her wants her sister to get the help that she needs and go through the proper channels for treatment.  Not to mention, her swiping meds puts her job at risk.   But she is very well aware of Carrie’s delicate situation and that she doesn’t have the availability or option to go through the normal channels.  So it seems like she takes every chance she can to make Carrie feel guilty about it.   Well, no wonder Carrie doesn’t come around more often.   I see both sides to argument so I’m not sure with whom I agree.

What do you think about all this?  Do you think Brody is a turned Iraqi terrorist?  Or do you think he’s just a marine who was a POW for 8 years who went through unspeakable tortures and he’s just trying to get his life back on track?   I think it’s possible it could be somewhere in the middle.  Maybe Brody isn’t turned 100% but he’s involved with something bad.  What do you think of the character of Carrie?  Is she over the top and out of line or is she a passionate patriot determined to do the right thing?   Sound off below!

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2011 in Recaps and Reviews, Showtime

 

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