Homeland - 2.10: Broken Hearts
With two episodes left after this in the second season of Homeland, you might expect there a lot of set-up but very little happening. And, well, to give them some credit, they haven't quite done that. Instead, the writers have pushed the moral ambiguity (already a fairly constant hanging smog in this show) up to 11 and introduced one particularly major new complication.
So, Broken Hearts - how did it make me feel? Spoilers obviously - watch the episode on 4OD if that bothers you.
Carrie, Brody & Dana - Sidelines, Murderous & OtherwiseFirstly, this is one of the first episodes this year to make me wonder if it was really written with Claire Danes's pregnancy in mind. I've seen speculation on whether we're getting more Brody exploration and extended scenes about Dana's sideline in serial murder to make up for Danes not being too available, and this week we get a storyline which allows Carrie to spend most of the episode off-screen and shrouded in darkness. To be honest, when the kidnap happened, I thought to myself "Ah, there we go, she'll be gone for the next few weeks", but they didn't go quite that far.
Although now we've seen Brody beg Abu Nazir for Carrie's life, after they'd been acting like a couple on the phone earlier, it will seem odd if Brody's marriage lasts beyond the end of this season. The fact his wife is givng speeches about not regretting her adultery is obviously another factor in my prediction. They're both basically dating other people at this point, so let's make the split official and be done with it.
But the Brody marriage plot is basically spinning along the same lines it always has. Newer territory is the unmasking of Quinn as an FBI assassin, come to take out Brody once he's out-lived his usefulness. I think we're meant to be appalled, although as I said last week, with Brody's history of suddenly becoming a terrorist because he's been upset by damned evil American weather, I don't entirely blame them. Still, seeing poor loyal Saul potentially go down for it tugs on the heartstrings, even if "American security serivce turns on its own" seems ripped from a hundred different movies.
Making me feel even less conflicted about Brody's inability to stay not-evil is the sequence this week where he... conspires with Abu Nazir to kill the Vice-President. Well, not quite, but still, not only does he let Walden die to save his pseudo-girlfriend, he gives a fairly impassioned speech about how much he's enjoying it. That, to be honest, was one of the best parts this week, reminding us that Brody might be helping the CIA now, but he's still a morally ambiguous man with issues. And the big question, really, has to be where he'll stand with Carrie and chums once that comes out.
Congressman Brody Kills The VP Whilst Going For A Crap!Brody's spying strategy of sneaking into the VP's office whilst going for a dump is a bit silly, but maybe all Congressmen do it once as a rite of passage, who knows. Similarly, if you're someone who likes to squawk about plausibility, the part where Abu Nazir stops in a petrol station is odd too. I presume he's also taken out a mortgage in the states while he's here? Under his real name? And the Brody family didn't notice him appearing on the Sarge's phone in the middle of their hotel room?
But if you let the idiocy of some storylines bother you, this show would be unwatchable. No, I didn't need another scene of Finn/Dana angst, but I suppose letting it drop forever would've been poor craft. Suffice to say: Homeland is at least pushing for new territory with these final episodes, and now Brody's helped kill the VP, I don't have a clue where they'll go with him for a third season. (No, I still don't believe anyone who says he'll be killed off. It's as unlikely now as it was last year.)
It has to be said, Showtime (the US network who air this series) have a bad habit of spinning out their shows for a few years beyond the strong initial premise. Homeland has potential to be a good four or five year idea, pushed unwisely to seven or eight. For other examples of this phenomena, see Dexter or Weeds. For that reason, I half expect them to drag out this "Brody helps the CIA investigate Nazir" malarkey for a bit longer, despite still thinking Nazir should die in the season two finale. Sorry, but him giving the "We're not so different, you and I" villain speech to Carrie this week didn't change my mind on this. Decent acting, boring character.
But we'll see. Homeland have been blasting through the plot-twists beyond my expectations this year, so despite any reservations, I'm happy to wait and see. Maybe we'll have reached Brody becoming President by end of season? What do you reckon?
Homeland airs on Channel 4, 9PM Sundays. More info on the Channel 4 Official Site. Catch up with recent episodes on 4OD. May the odds be ever in your favour.