Sunday, November 18, 2012

'Homeland' Review - 2.08 I'll Fly Away

        On the newest episode of Showtime's Homeland, Brody's juggling of alliances appear to be leading him to a major meltdown; Carrie, against Quinn's orders, decides to stage a dicey intervention; and a conflicted Dana seeks comfort from an unlikely source.

        The focus of these last few episodes of the second season of Homeland have been the emotional arc of the Brody character. It has been absolutely brilliant and impeccably well-written and portrayed as Brody keeps getting pushed down the emotional pit of despair with no exit strategy. The whole character arc has done a phenomenal job of hitting home the season's overall thematic message of how much control we truly have over our lives and the choices we make. Last week's episode had the great scene with Carrie and Brody in the clearing and those same issues arise tonight in the scene at the motel. Even thing Carrie has been dealing in these last few episodes has been so muddled by is she just working him as an asset or is she letting her emotional attachments to him take over. The line that separates those two has gotten increasingly more blurry to the point that we see both motivations clearly in her actions but we are left guessing which one is truly taking hold on the situation. It is also a very powerful arc and vastly different than their romance from the first season.
        This season has done a beautiful job of boxing people in - both emotional and visually (just take a look at Michael Cuesta's direction in this episode). Brody has gone down this wonderfully grim road that now all of his personal relationships have been destroyed and people are now just using him to get what they really want. He did everything he did in the name of his family and now even his connections with Jess and Dana have disintegrated (Chris is off watching TV without a care in the world). Carrie started this season off as a complete emotional mess but the validation of her being right about Brody and her getting her job back have evened her out a bit lately. She seems to be on more stable ground even with the possibility of going into the realm of emotional instability at any second.  Much like Brody, she has relied heavily on her close relationship with Saul to balance her. But now, even he is questioning whether or not she is fit and not too attached enough to do this task - even though last week focused on him getting to close to an asset. Finally, there's Dana who spent most of the hour away from the main players - and with exposition Mike. She truly has become the morally pure heart of the series as all she wants to de is admit to the crime she committed. She has to battle it out with the cynical and political world around her and it has taken a huge toil on her. Her relationship with her mother has come a long way since the start of the show and the scene where they embrace is powerful. All of this adds up to an overall powerful thematic narrative that hopefully continues to push the boundaries as the series heads into its final four episodes of the season.
        By hour's end, we are left excited by the emergence of Abu Nazir to the main fold as while as how in the dark the CIA is. All of these personal joy and excitement can leave us overlooking some of the murkier plot mechanics. Would Quinn really risk letting two high level persons of interest - one of whom led the attack that killed six operatives - go in the name of stopping a national attack they know nothing about? Would the CIA really not have bugged Brody's entire car out with surveillance or have the means to track that helicopter? But in the end, it is these characters we care about and their reactions and emotional toils from these situations that help us get through some of the problematic introductions to them. 

So what did everyone think of the episode? Is Navid Negahban the least used series regular ever? Does Brody have the emotional stability to be a triple agent? Share your thoughts in the comments.