November 15, 2012 by Susan Miller
This week on Homeland, Carrie made out with Brody and Brody freaked out, Rex (new pointless character, don’t trouble yourself) respected Brody and Brody freaked out, Brody admitted to killing Tom Walker and Jessica freaked out, Dana confessed killing someone and not enough people freaked out and Aileen (old pointless character, don’t trouble yourself) killed herself after giving Saul false information. Saul freaked out. Following the Gettysburg attack last week, Peter checked out of the hospital early, took a bunch of pills, called Max a mute, disparaged the off-screen dying Galvez and refused to give the people what they want: a status update on Carver.
In other words, I’m temporarily mad at Homeland.
What is Estes’ long term plan at this point?
Susan: Estes still wants to be promoted, right? Isn’t that why he’s so friendly with Walden? The only problem is that I thought that the only position above Estes was Walden’s job so wouldn’t that mean Brody got the promotion over Estes? Estes character has always been a little cloudy. They start to shade him in and then they ignore him for two weeks. Last season we found out that he used to date Carrie and he’s divorced because of it. Then… nothing else. This season we see his house and his kid, a potential date with Roya and then a bunch of images of him looking at people and calling other people to do work. I wish they would just commit to him. They’re doing these fringe players a disservice by binging on plot. For example: Saul got a meaningful character story this week with Aileen, but it wasn’t completely effective because it did nothing to forward the plot. In fact, this entire episode felt (grad school cliche alert) – problematic – to me because it was all character based without any sort of cliffhanger-y sort of ending. We still don’t even know the fate of off-screen Galvez. Or Carver. WHAT ABOUT CARVER???
Steven: Estes, Estes, Estes. What’s up with your name? It wants to be a palindrome, but it’s not. It sounds like it should be spelled “S-Tee’s” but it’s not. Wikipedia tells me that your name comes from Old English and means “Of the East.” Is that important? Please reveal something about yourself and stop looking so noncommittally at other characters when their backs are turned. Do you like these characters, trust them, can we trust them? Tell me something!
My trouble with Estes, besides the utter lack of shading they’ve done with him, as Susan points out, is that his intentions are not clear at all. Even if he just seemed pleased by some course of action, then at least I would know it’s part of his plan. Right now, I feel like he is just there to create the necessary situations so that the plot can keep progressing. It is because of his supposed political ambitions that Brody is allowed to be turned and thus remain a part of the show. It is his (adj) ____ (noun) _____ that there will be no consequences for Dana and Finn and, more importantly, Brody and Walden. At this point I would feel much more comfortable if one of the writers came on screen and gave Estes an envelop of cash. “Do what you’ve got to, just keep this thing going,” the writer could say. Then at least we would understand why Estes does what he does.
Is this business with VP Walden going to push Brody back to the dark side?
Susan: There’s no way out for Brody, and I think it’s about time someone kidnapped him again so that he could teleconference with his good friend Abu Nazir. It’s really the only thing that seems to calm him down. Freaky. For now he just gets wound tighter and tighter by all the women in his life who keep asking him for mutually exclusive things. Uh-oh. Does Homeland have a woman problem? Hmmm…
As for the business with VP Walden, I don’t know. It seems to only provide settings for the story instead of including actual stakes. It’s not Walden pulling the strings, it’s the CIA without Walden’s knowledge. So if Brody does go back to the dark side because of his situation with Walden, the CIA is to blame. For now, I like thinking that Carrie and Peter’s conversations are just lifted directly from the writer’s room. “Is that really a good idea?” “I think it’s our only option.” “He’s all we’ve got.” Etc, etc.
Steven: I love, love the absurdity that has become Brody’s life. The real promise for him, his dream situation, is to move away from D.C. and never see any of these people or deal with their politics again. I don’t think Brody is an al-Quaeda or a Marine any more. I’m pretty sure that he’s a straight-up, move to the woods and never pay taxes again, libertarian. Welcome, Brody. We have nothing to offer you. Ain’t it grand? What’s absurd is that in order to receive this freedom from espionage, Brody must become more involved in both sides than he’s ever been.
I loved Brody’s temper tantrum in this episode after talking with Roya. He is clearly overwhelmed to the point of regressing to childhood. I also loved the clearing scene. To me this was the most bi-polar scene of the entire series thus far. Forget crowded cork boards and fake wedding rings, in that one scene we see Carrie go from cautious to smitten to aroused to heart broken and on the verge of tears in the span of a few minutes. If there has even been a clearer display of the rise and crash of the manic-depressive, I have yet to see it. At least on screen.
Her: So, Dana and Finn are over before they ever really began. I still think this is a really weird use for these characters. So… they had to kill someone… just to prove that being in politics is icky and sticky and ethically challenging? Kind of a clunker. Hopefully we can all move on and pretend it never happened, a la Friday Night Lights, season 2.
Carrie has been super marginalized this season. Why can cable shows not work around pregnancies with their female leads? Matt Weiner was so befuddled that he put January Jones in a fat suit and only let her be in three episodes. I’m beginning to wonder if Gansa and Gordon wished they could’ve done the same. It can’t be that hard, guys. Network shows have been doing it for years, and with twice as many episodes in a season. Get it together and give Carrie something real to do.
Him: I for one think that Carrie is getting plenty to do. She isn’t in every scene, but in the ones they put her in, we are seeing the development of her feelings for Brody, now a confirmed terrorist. One of the difficulties with Carrie is that her personality is so loud, while her situation is not as loud. That is to say, her disorder is loud but it’s an internal element, not pushing on her from outside. Brody is loud too, but there is plenty going on to make us empathize with him. “I would scream in the woods too,” we think. With crazy characters, it’s harder to sympathize because the crazy is seemingly without origin. “That’s unfortunate,” we think, but it can’t go much further than that.