‘Homeland’ Recap: Leaving Lebanon


ALTRemember last week when I mentioned that a lot of Homeland’s thematic material delves into the issue of trust? Welp, this week, on everyone’s favorite cable series about a lunatic ex-CIA agent and a secret quasi-terrorist, trusted the audience not to majorly lose their s**t and trust this show. The episodes opens with our final little segment in Beirut, as Saul is ready to jet back to the United States with his beautiful video discovery. When Saul is stopped by the military while passing through security (I hope many of you saw, or are planning to see, Argo if we’re going to talk about airport security), and the video file is confiscated with a “never come back to Lebanon” warning, I was about to throw my television out the window – was this show really going to delve into cougar trap theatrics à la 24 to keep Brody’s secret alive? Alas, I did not have faith. I did not trust Saul and the extra copy of the video file he hid in his carry-on. God is good.

Back in DC, Carrie is jamming to some jazz music at 3:20am and writing her report on the Lebanese mission. I mean, CARRIE, this is not college! You are not allowed to stay up till 3:20am on your laptop! Papa Mathison and I are in the same school of thought, and I think I just realized this week James Cromwell and Carrie’s father are not the same person at all (especially as Mr. Cromwell will soon be seen killing baby pigs and eating brains or something as weird as possible in the new season of American Horror Story). That’ll do, pig. Don’t say “here piggy pig pig” into your bathroom mirror. Okay, I’m done with pigs. Carrie hands over her finished 18-page report the next morning, and she’s informed that she’ll get a call about the exact details regarding the 6pm debriefing. Carrie needs to take a step back paired with 927 deep breaths.

Meanwhile, at the Brody house, Brody is organizing his notes for the big fundraiser speech and Jessica is reminding me that I’m not really on her side this season at all; that whole explosive anti-Muslim tirade in the garage was a lot frightening. Also, why does Jessica always call her own husband Brody? That’s just weird. Regardless, the two finally decide to do the dirty after months of Brody feeling emotionally unable to engage in skin-on-skin with his wife. However, Dana enters the house and Brody sends the next five minutes awkwardly hiding his… well, yes, his you know. This entire scene was so bizarrely funny and crazy uncomfortable, which is always very nice on a show that usually hits so hard all the time. Also, Dana is the anti-Jessica and that pleases me to no end.

As Mission Brody Boner Hiding winds down, Roya gives Brody a call, claiming that the CIA is closing in on The Tailor, more affectionately known as the bomb dude from Gettysburg. The Gettysburg episode (it included Carrie’s giant colored timeline, titled “The Vest”) was my favorite from the first season, and I kind of wish I could go back and redo my eighth grade fieldtrip to Gettysburg with the knowledge I now carry from Homeland — this show is based on true events, right? Roya alerts Brody that he needs to move The Tailor because The Tailor knows/trusts Brody. Brody needs to make it back to DC for the whole fundraiser thing or Jessica will gun down every human being on the planet. Yikes. In Gettysburg, Brody wears a really inconspicuous bright red hat and grabs The Tailor. They must run, as Brody is suspicious of being followed. They escape alleged followers. Double yikes.

I feel like we (the royal audience we, obviously) should have been clued in on the information that the CIA was ready to nab The Tailor, but maybe I am just expecting to know a smidge more than Brody. Like, can we trust Roya? What’s her deal? Her accent is suspicious, and I feel like she is more of an enemy to the country than Brody himself. Am I making sense here? I really hope so. Regardless, after escaping or “escaping,” Brody pops a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. Literally, there is nothing around except swampy woods. Jessica calls during this whole ordeal, reminding us all about Brody’s speech at the fundraiser, and Brody just has to spin a more intricate web of lies to his wife. Brody makes a jack out of random logs (the jack is missing from the car’s trunk, naturally), proving that he is Davy Crockett. The Tailor, who tells us that his real name is Bassel or Bashal or Marshall or Bashful or Whatever, attempts to maybe run over Brody’s head or maybe bash Brody over the head with a rock, proving that he is human. Murder tension!

Carrie is doing a horrendous job teaching her ESL class, as she’s distracted over never hearing back from the CIA about the 6pm meeting. Maybe the last thing you should do ever is tell a mentally unstable woman that you will call to confirm a meeting and then never actually make said call? I feel like you should never even do that a sane person, but this is a new level of not good. Carrie decides the smartest thing to do is just show up at Langley and hang out in David’s waiting room. Again, we get an excruciating scene of Carrie sitting down, waiting around, just… waiting. Carrie announces she’s “going to the bathroom,” which obviously means she is going to sneak around her old office without an escort. These CIA people sure are dumb! Carrie wanders her way into the middle of the debriefing room, and realizes what’s happened – she’s been shut out of her own mission. David pulls Carrie into the hallways, and executes some hollow real talk – “You didn’t come here today expecting to be reinstated did you, Carrie?” Nope. Instead, Carrie chokes out a few sobs in the elevator ride back to her car. While I do think Carrie needs a bigger break from the world that destroyed her, I think it is really not smart to lie to Carrie and then not let her present her own mission. One final mission, one final goodbye. C’mon, CIA bigwigs.

ALTBack in BrodyWorld, Brody leaves Bassel/The Tailor unattended at a gas station, and Bassel naturally runs for his life — finally, someone on this show that understands the ramifications of his actions and therefore where his life is headed. Running away from a Marine into a swampy forest might not be the brightest idea, but at least Bassel understood that he needed to make some sort of attempt at a bolt. Brody chases after the man, and it comes startlingly clear that this entire thing will end in disaster. Once Brody tackles Bassel down, Brody makes the man fall on a knife or something else incredibly sharp that grows in swampy forests– blood comes gushing from Bassel’s abdomen. Oopsie. Bassel is doomed. It is so weird what Homeland will make me feel for characters that constructed terrorist attack bombs on American soil. As Brody tries to deal with the blood, and keep Bassel alive, Jessica calls. Again. Jessica is freaking out, as the fundraiser begins in roughly three minutes and Brody is way off grid. Bassel is making a lot of noise and struggling a lot, so Brody snaps his neck. Just like that. Goodbye, Bassel. Jessica is still confused and still super pissed. Brody is very deep in this whole s**tshow.

We get to the biggest scene of this week’s episode – Carrie returning home from the CIA emodisaster. Carrie returns to her actual home, deciding that she needs to get out of her father’s home and move on with her life. Carrie is so desperately upset that she can’t even keep her voice level. Carrie arrives home… to more empty time. Time on time on time on time for our poor, lost Carrie. These scenes are terribly excruciating, especially after we’ve spent so much time with Carrie racing around the globe. This episode is the perfect follow-up to last week’s zany Beirut adrenaline rush, because we’re also experiencing the crash. Carrie decides to get all glammed up, a hot dress with heels and heavy make-up. Is our girl going clubbing? What the what? Carrie looks like a scary overdone plastic version of herself, far different from the brilliant woman we know. And then, the moment these three episode have been pointing towards. Carrie downs all of her pills with a giant glass of wine (the first season of Nip/Tuck taught me that you’re supposed to drink milk with your overdose, but Carrie plays by her own dangerous rules), and stumbles up to her bed. She closes her eyes, her breathing deep and slow. The camera holds on her still body, for far too long.

Carrie’s eyes finally slam open, and she runs to the bathroom, forcing her hand down her throat. Carrie holding her own hair, vomming into her own toilet, is one of the most pitiful things I’ve ever seen on television. The strong, confident Carrie Mathison from the beginning of Homeland’s first season reduced to… this. The woman needs serious help, and the show handled the entire sequence with such brilliant pacing and explosive emotion. As you may have guessed, I’m still crying. Obviously. I mean, there’s no way Homeland would kill Carrie like this — she’s the heart and soul of this show. But shot in such a convincing manner, my heart was exploding.

While Carrie is hitting her lowest of lows, Brody is in the middle of a swamp in the pouring rain trying to hide Bassel’s body and deal with Jessica’s cellphone anger. That’s basically enough to kill a man slash make his brain implode. Brody hoses himself down in the middle of a car wash while he finally nears civilization, and Jessica is left to give her own rousingly emotional impromptu speech at the fundraiser; Jessica proposes funding a halfway house of sorts for military families hoping to start fresh after returning home, and shows that her beautiful face/ugly hairdo combo might make her perfect for her own little political entanglements. Jessica works the room, and this certainly isn’t the end of her standing behind a podium — the beauty of power! After the shindig, Jessica gets a ride home from Mike, and we can all remember that they liked to have sex together and pretending to make family while Brody was “dead.” Jessica freaks out over Brody’s lies and his weird absence from the fundraise; Jessica thinks Brody is with Carrie, as “he was f**king that bitch for a full weekend.” Wow. Jessica has a lot of feelings she’s hiding behind that calm smile. Mike decides he wants to come in with Jessica and have a nightcap… until Brody appears. Brody comments that his wife is “quite the hostess.” Hot damn! As Mike storms off, Jessica confronts her husband – “You’re hiding something. I can see it in your eyes.” Jessica questions the stability of their marriage. Dana and Brody share a look. I had to include all of these quotes because the Homeland writing staff is really killing it when it comes to the zingers Brody and Jessica exchange when things get heated. Whew.

Carrie is still recovering when there’s a frantic knock on the door; before opening up to her surprise late night guest, she throws on a robe and hides the evidence that she, you know, wanted to die. Naturally, Saul is at the door. And Saul wants to show Carrie a video before bringing his work from Beirut to the office. We watch Carrie’s face as Brody speaks to her through his top-secret speech. The look on Carrie’s face is priceless, and perfect – “I was right.” It looks like Brody wasn’t able to deliver the speech he had planned for a room packed of respectful veterans, but he certainly had a knockout set of words to deliver to Carrie and Saul. Obviously, the question again comes to what Saul, and now Carrie, will do with the video and this truly electrifying information — will David believe the evidence? Will the CIA keep the information secret and play Brody for all he’s worth? What does this mean for Carrie’s career? What does this mean for Carrie’s brain? Was Carrie’s close call with death one of the most harrowingly filmed suicide sequences on television? Will aliens blow up the White House? The last 20 minutes of this episode demonstrated the kind of power Homeland executes so well. I’m seeing Fiona Apple in concert on Tuesday night, so I don’t even have to wait a full week for more crazy eyeballs! Please follow your doctor’s orders when taking your bipolar meds. Stay safe. She was right.

[Image Credits: Showtime]More:

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