Actress Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in a scene from the second season… (Ronen Akerman / AP Photo…)
"Homeland" is a show that requires a lot of faith from its fans. It can stray into the absurd quickly, straining the believability of the fictional CIA and the terrorist operation it's fighting. As with the hit-and-run arc this episode, some plot lines just seem like loose ends. But faith in the writers is often rewarded.
This week, Mike, who often just seemed like a target for Brody’s seething rage last season, turns out to be a role model for Dana. It’s a fascinating turn for him, from the betraying best friend to pillar of morality. When Dana asks him about how difficult it was to disappear from their lives when Brody returned, he admits, with a lump in his throat, that is was hard, but the right thing to do.
Dana’s looking everywhere for some adult figure that she can trust, who jives with her sense of reason and justice. It’s Mike, not Brody, who drives her over to Columbia Heights to apologize to her victim’s family. It’s Mike who comforts Dana after the meeting blows up and Dana runs back to the car, baffled by news of the hush money the victim received. It’s touching and deeply sad, and again points to Dana as the keystone in this whole mess. She knows what’s right, and she’ll do it, even if it’s painful.
Brody, meanwhile, is stuck between Roya’s demands and the CIA’s, and can’t figure out how to explain to his daughter why he couldn’t bring her to the police without seeming like a coward or a terrorist. The pressures of the double agent life are making him crack until, finally, he yells at Roya that he’s out of the whole game. The CIA team, frantic, assumes that the jig is up. But Carrie has a different plan. She tracks down the rogue Brody and brings him to a hotel room to stake out.
What follows is perhaps the most awkward scene of the whole series: Saul, stone-faced, listening in via surveillance equipment to Carrie and Brody having loud sex, Quinn getting increasingly riled up. Saul’s forced to defend Carrie’s actions even as his doubt is written all over his face. Does she know what she’s doing? Or is this just another Brody fling? How much of Carrie’s emotions are a cover, and how much is real? When Saul confronts her about “getting too close,” Carrie storms off in a huff.
Carrie convinces Brody to call Roya and renew their deal. But Roya doesn’t seem to be convinced. She has Brody pick her up in a car, and they speed into the middle of nowhere, a CIA van trailing them. They pull over to the side of the road, where Roya and the man we saw at Gettysburg hustle Brody into a clearing. Carrie watches in despair as a helicopter whisks all three away. Is the jig up for Brody?
The safe guess is yes: The episode ends with Brody hustled into a nondescript parking lot, where a man in dark glasses steps out of a car. And then we hear the low accented whisper of the man who captured and turned Brody. Abu Nazir? In the States? With a helicopter? It seems a little bizarre. But you should probably take this one on faith.