Damian Lewis as Nicholas "Nick" Brody and Jamey Sheridan as… (Kent Smith / Showtime )
The beginning of Season 2 of "Homeland" has all the information needed to catch Sgt. Brody intact but scattered about, guarded by people who aren’t likely to talk to one another. It’s a jigsaw with the pieces kept in different rooms — part of watching "Homeland" is that old longing to jump through the screen, grab someone by the lapels and tell them what they’re missing. This week, it’s finally coming together, and it means that Carrie can get some well-earned congratulations for saving the world from a terrorist strike, as well as, hopefully, get her job back.
After escaping her would-be captors last week, Carrie goes to meet the source, Fatima, at morning prayers. The Hezbollah commander’s wife has a precious piece of information for her, one that she’s willing to give up for $5 million and a ticket to Detroit: Tomorrow, Abu Nazir is meeting with her husband. “You can kill them both,” she tells Carrie.
It’s an explosive tip, but the trouble is with Carrie’s reputation. When she arrives in the safe house, she finds Saul unwilling to jump in on a hunch, even if its one with as much potential payoff as this. Estes worries that it’s a trap, Saul can’t verify how reliable Fatima is, and, most importantly, he doesn’t trust Carrie’s judgment anymore.
Claire Dane’s performance in this episode was rich, nuanced and sly. Her crying scene was one of the most effective on television — her self-doubt, her struggle with feeling absolutely confident and unbelievably untrustworthy was heartbreaking. She knows she’s right. She knows how important is to be right, to not lead them into, as Estes mentions, a “Black Hawk Down” situation. But she can’t be sure of her own judgment anymore. “It’s not lost on me why people don’t trust my judgment,” she sobs to Saul, but, of course, we know that Carrie’s right, and that they absolutely should. “Every time I think I see something clear now, it just disappears,” she continues.
Saul green-lights the operation, but it’s not based on Carrie’s word. It’s on her track record as an excellent field agent, which is unimpeachable, despite her illness. And she turns out to be correct.
Abu Nazir and his strongmen step out on the ground with all the CIA snipers trained on his turban. Unfortunately for Carrie, Vice President Walden pulled Brody into the war chambers at the last minute. Brody texts “May 1” to Nazir, his hand shaking visibly. Nazir escapes a bullet, but barely, and it’s clearer than ever that he has someone on the inside feeding him information.
Brody keeps flirting with getting caught, but it’s not until this episode that you feel convinced he actually might go away for what he’s doing.
Brody’s political life is going full steam ahead, but the more entangled he gets in it, the more he’s becoming the thing that he hates. The vice president tells Brody about the president’s refusal to use bunker busters on a remaining target in Iran, sneering at his reluctance to rid himself of some Arabs. Brody noticeably curdles at the remark, but he can’t say anything.
Jessica is getting closer with “the junta that actually runs DC,” and Dana seems destined to abandon Zander for the veep’s cute and sassy son. Brody’s congressional ambitions have gotten him in deep with the enemy.
Claire, vindicated, returns home, but not before doing an incredibly dangerous last-minute search of her source’s home. She grabs a handful of papers that turn out to be worthless, but in the lining of the bag she takes there’s an SD card. It contains, as Saul finds out, Sgt. Brody’s video message, the one he made for viewing after his suicide bombing attack. At long last, Claire has actual, physical proof. But she doesn’t know it yet. She returns to her sister’s house empty, crushed, reminded of how good she is at her old job and how thoroughly she screwed it up.
It’s breathtakingly unfair, but her vindication is just on the horizon.