Something You Can't Have
by HELEN SCHUMACHER
creator Gideon Rath
The body count of last week’s episode of Homeland was high after Abu Nazir’s well-armed men opened fire on the Gettysburg tailor shop being searched by the CIA’s forensic team and recovered the trunk of explosives hidden there. This week, the show focused on the psychic costs of battle — on injuries sustained and sustaining that are left on the ledger after the initial fight is over. As shown in the lessons the Waldens and the Brodys tried to pass down to Finn and Dana respectively, it is a balance sometimes repaid by the next generation. The episode was a somber fit for its Veteran’s Day air date.
In the opening scene, the odious journalist Roya Hammad intercepts Brody, dressed in Lululemon, during his morning jog to let him know the Big Terrorist Plot is going to start moving very quickly. Until then he needs to keep Vice President Walden happy during an upcoming fundraiser.
Meanwhile, Saul pays a visit to one of the few known members of Nazir’s network still alive, Aileen Morgan, the fugitive who surrendered to him in Mexico during the last season and is now being held in solitary confinement at a supermax prison in Pennsylvania. She hasn’t taken to her incarceration well.
Back in D.C., the vice president’s motorcade makes its way to the big fundraiser. In the backseat of one limo Dana guilts Finn into agreeing to confess to their hit-and-run manslaughter, while in another Brody confronts Jess about Mike’s last visit to their house. Unfortunately for Brody, the visit was an attempt to expose his role in the death of Tom Walker and win back the heart of Jess, who makes her weekly plea for the truth from Brody. He cops to it — but as an order from the CIA, not Abu Nazir. “Tom lost his way,” says Brody, obviously talking about himself. “He just went through too many things and he couldn’t get right again.” And in turn, Carrie tells Mike to stop his amateur investigation into Walker’s death while also letting him know the CIA is wise to his former affair with Jess. “It’s hard wanting something or someone that you just can’t have,” says Carrie, obviously talking about her feelings for Brody.
In this episode especially, stories parallelled each other. Aileen in the Waynesburg penitentiary was a correlative to Brody as a prisoner of war, with Saul playing the sympathetic provider role that Abu Nazir acted out during his mind games with Brody. His visit grants her respite from her underground cell and a day with natural sunlight. Aileen agrees to share what she knows about the Gettysburg murder-squad mystery man Roya met with if Saul can get her room with a view.
While waiting for her request to be granted, the pair indulge in reminiscence of their cross-country roadtrip over bread, cheese, and Argentinian wine. Aileen gives a name and Newark address, too bad it belongs to a music studies grad student. While Saul rushes out to give the info to Quinn, Aileen uses a pair of reading glasses left in the room to slit her wrists. Saul and Aileen may have been using each other, but their interaction attests to a subtle tenderness not usually found between opposing sides at war.
Back at the fundraiser (which has me wishing the writers would have taken the opportunity presented by the episode’s country-estate setting to really go all in with a Rules of the Game homage), Brody sees the man he could have been in Rex Henning, the Vietnam vet hosting the event. The two knowingly scarred men have a heart-to-heart, after which Carrie calls requesting a rendezvous in the clearing behind the stables. Reminded of the last time they were alone in the woods together, they make-out. It all seems very sincere and self-destructive. Dana and a drunk Finn interrupt the ladies’ croquet game with their big reveal. Cynthia Walden tries to explain to the naive Brody household how things are done inside the Beltway. No one is saying anything and Estes is assigned to tie-up any loose ends.
Worried his wife's warning may not be heeded, Veep Walden pulls Brody — who, like the injured stable horse Amelia, has just taken a rehabilitating swim in the cobalt waters of the manor’s pool — aside after the fundraiser’s big toast insisting he follow his lead in the old Potomac two-step. Brody gives his best ”I’m sorry, Mr. Vice President, I don't dance" retort and hightails it to the police station with daughter in tow. Their mission to get Dana arrested is thwarted when Carrie shows up to remind Brody that if he doesn't play stoolie and get them Nazir, he's going to prison for treason. Brody’s morality was reinvigorated by his poolside baptism, but it looks like for now his legacy is still one of murder and deceit.
Well done, Homeland!
Helen Schumacher is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. She tumbls here and here. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. You can find an archive of her Homeland reviews here.
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