Homeland recap: A Simple Smile

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October 3, 2012 by Susan Miller

You can change the head scarf but you can’t change the girl.

Oh Carrie.  Don’t you remember the last episode?  I mean, I know it was 6 months ago and you’re fictional and all, but it was the last episode!  Don’t you remember how the CIA unceremoniously dumped you and Saul betrayed you and Brody lied to you and broke your heart?  Don’t you remember that it made you so unhinged that you had to resort to electroshock therapy to get some relief?  Oh wait.  I guess that’s kind of the point of electroshock therapy, isn’t it?

More than Breaking Bad or Dexter, The Wire or The Sopranos, Homeland puts me through the emotional ringer.  I care so much about Saul and Carrie and Brody and the only way for them to be happy is to make decisions that will ruin their lives.  What are you supposed to do with choices like those?  The only thing you can do.  Keep watching.

Wrong reaction, Carrie.

Do you think the show is interested in revisiting the mole story from season 1? If so, who do you think the mole is?

Steven: I had sort of forgotten about the mole problem. While there is certainly an argument out there for Dexter having too many story lines (one I will again refute), I think there is a bigger argument about Homeland. Right now, at the close of episode 1, we have Brody being approached to be on a presidential ticket, his daughter is spiraling out at school and letting loose about his Islamic practices, an Abu Nazir proxy is giving Brody secret missions, his wife is outright accusing him, Iran is on the verge of attacking America, AND, you know, Carrie Mathison is manic and running around Beirut… did I mention that was episode 1? Don’t get me wrong, though, I am definitely eating it up!

Susan: I’m a little worried that they’ve abandoned it and just inserted the new girl reporter in to explain it away.  Did she exist last season?  Was she the one on the inside?  Where did she get the numbers to Estes’ safe?  I hope there’s a mole.  I wondered if maybe it was Galvez in this episode since he was the one to get Estes out of the meeting with Carrie.  As for the multiplying story lines, I’m most worried about the magic ascension of Brody’s political career.   It seems much too convenient, and at the same time will paint the writers into the same corner they were in last season – how do you keep Brody alive without destroying plausibility and annoying your audience?

Is there going to be any political fallout about Brody’s Islam?

Steven: I kind of hope so. VP Walden has already referred to the fact that Brody is going to get some curve balls. Why couldn’t someone from the school tell his other-political-partied dad that Dana claimed her dad was a Muslim? I think that could heat things up rather nicely. We’ve already been promised that the media is going to play a bigger and more negative role in their lives… let’s see it!

Susan: I don’t think so.  It seems like more of a plot device to align Brody and Dana against Jessica and to tell us that even though Carrie is no longer a romantic entanglement, the Brody marriage is not on solid footing.  It’s also an interesting way to show Brody’s competing alliances.  If Jessica asked him to choose between his family and his religion, which would he choose?  This show excels at forcing the characters into impossible decisions.

Stray Thoughts

Virgil was promoted to series regular, but was nowhere to be found in episode 1.  Unacceptable.

It seems like this season will be more about Jessica questioning her husband’s behaviors and attitudes.  That should be more dangerous than Dana snooping around.  Will Mike be in on the mission too?

I love me some Saul, but I have a really hard time believing that he could be persuaded into asking for Carrie’s help.  That shows a level of shadiness I don’t want to see in the character.  His beard is full of secrets.

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