Homeland, Ep. 206: A Gettysburg Address

Last we saw Sergeant Brody, he was picking himself off the ground of a dank interrogation room pleading forgiveness to the woman whose life he nearly ruined. Homeland effectively yanked the rug out from under its audience and exploded all the threads the show had previously been built on. One might guess that “A Gettysburg Address” would be a moment for reflection, perhaps a lighter episode to lean back after the fireworks of the previous two weeks. For instance, how would Brody cope with his new role? Or will the CIA actually trust a terrorist? Instead, the show plunges headlong into its new plot direction, shooting off on the same notes of tension as where we left it.

Jessica understandably has “millions of questions” for Brody about his role with the CIA. Not least of which, Jessica worries about Brody’s interactions with Carrie. Caught again in a situation where honesty seems like the worst policy, Brody continues his pathological dishonesty by lying right to his wife’s face. He tells her Carrie “had a breakdown” and “no longer works for the CIA.” This moment reveals that Brody is far from ‘all in’ on admitting the faults of his past, testing his credibility as a genuine CIA informant.

Previously I mentioned that Dana Brody’s angle nicely mirrored the bankrupt (if also immature) moral codes that possess most of the adults’ around her. After last week’s bizarre twist with the veep’s son, the plot has now swerved Dana into the horrors of witnessing a hit and run, forced to cover up a murder just like her father. The melodrama teeters on the brink of being an unnecessary side story that derails the momentum of Carrie and Brody’s increasingly tense interactions. However, this is Homeland after all, and each time we may assume we’re going headfirst into a ditch, the writers trigger the ejector seat and fire us out into another space altogether. Where Dana Brody may go is a curious thing. But Homeland has a habit of playing to it’s strengths, leading me to suspect Dana’s complications will tie into her dad’s career, further hindering the soldier’s ability to live a faux-transparent existence.

Sergeant Brody spent most of the series as a borderline sociopathic liar with the power to trick polygraph tests and stop at no boundaries to achieve his goal of serving Abu Nazir. Now Brody seems to have sunken into a sad-sake of fear and guilt. He’s still a liar, but he’s now trapped in a web that’s too tight to wriggle out from. Because Brody so steadfastly got within a faulty trigger of blowing America’s most important people to smithereens, it’s suspicious that he seems so easily duped into letting the CIA get to him. I find it hard to believe he’s been suddenly struck to his emotional core, now – just like that – ready to serve America again. He seems like he’s still lying. By the end of “A Gettysburg Address,” Carrie too doesn’t know if she actually can believe Brody. Again on the brink of emotional collapse, Carrie dissolves into Brody’s arms, terrified of her own judgments.

Homeland closes with a surprise shootout that comes with the not-so-shocking revelation that Brody wasn’t even close to the only one working for Abu Nazir in America. One has to wonder if Brody was ever anything more than a willing pawn in a far larger cell of terrorists. A revealing conversation with Roya exposes that Brody not only knows just small pieces of a larger puzzle, but he may not actually be able to help the CIA much at all. He’s given himself over to a cause that used him only for his loyalty and connection to the target. The first season smartly built a world that made Brody seem like he alone was the missing link to the deadly terrorist’s ability to infiltrate America. By the end of “A Gettysburg Address,” I wondered if Brody’s use to Nazir was reaching a close, making him a lame duck to both sides of the game. [A-]

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