Must Be Nuts Homeland S1e1

Why must I be nuts? Two main reasons, 1st because it took me this long to begin watching Homeland, and 2nd, for better or for worse (I’m not exactly complimenting myself here) the certifiably crazy main character, amazingly played by Claire Danes, reminds me of myself.

So I’m aware that Homeland is well into its second season, so I’d like to be very clear here, NO SPOILERS in the comments. I knew I’d get to this show eventually, and so I kept myself as far from spoilers and info as I possibly could. Also, because I am aware that all of these recaps will for a time be outdated, I only plan on recapping Homeland on what I watch as I watch it. So, since I’m getting it via DVD through Netflix, if I watch 1 ep, I’ll blog 1 ep. If I watch 2, or 3, or 4 eps in a row, I’ll do a recap on that. My goal (as I juggle school and work and about a half dozen shows, all of which I’d love to write about), is to be relevant by the third season. My recaps may not be as thorough as I catch up, especially if they’re of multiple eps, but c’est la vie.

Disclaimers presented let’s get into this great show, starting with the only episode I’ve seen so far, the Pilot.

The episode starts with Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) being written instantly as a relatable, and likely likeable character. Why? Because despite being a female CIA interrogator in Baghdad, she’s dealing with lousy traffic, and on her cellphone with a difficult and unsupportive boss. She’s at this point, even as a member of the CIA, someone going through something the average Joe or Jane deals with.

So why is she stuck in traffic in Baghdad, yelling at her boss? Because she needs more time with a bomb maker about to be hung. This bomb maker has sat on what could be crucial information, that the Iraqi officials got tired of waiting for. So she gets to the prison and pays her way in. She promises to protect the man’s family if he gives up the info he’s been keeping to himself. He gives it up, as guards come in, and pull her out of there. We don’t hear what he says though, it’s not revealed until 10 months later (we know it’s 10 months later, because that’s what the screen tells us).

Ten months after Carrie caused an international incident, she and others at the CIA are at a briefing, where it is shown that the latest intel acted upon resulted in a successful attack on an Al Qaeda location, along with the discovery of an American POW. Everyone in the room is celebrating, except for Carrie, who looks both skeptical and frustrated as she leaves the room. Turns out her now dead source in  Baghdad told her that an American POW had been turned. We see her now confiding this to her boss Saul (Mandy Patinkin) , who is not ready to set up surveillance on Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis), the returning POW. He recommends that she get more proof that he may be turned before acting. She tells him she can’t do that from a desk.

So what does any headstrong character do? She gets an illegal surveillance team to set up cameras and mics in every room of the Brody household. A household which has done so-so in his 8 year absence. Allow me to explain “so-so” Brody’s wife, Jessica (Morena Baccarin) is sleeping with another man (insert The Walking Dead Lori defense here) and her kids are meh. By “meh” I mean that the youngest of the two children is a pretty okay son, trying to keep himself in line, whereas the older sister is your typical annoying teen, who has begun experimenting with pot and likes to challenge mom at every opportunity.

When Brody is brought back he (after vomiting) gives a short speech about what a lucky man he is in front of several news crews. He’s then informed that while he’s already had a debriefing, he needs to report to Langley for another. He agrees to go there tomorrow and get it over with.

That night Brody and his wife finally have some alone time, and I have to say that as his shirt is removed and his wife is brought to tears seeing his scars, I felt like the writers and Morena were flawless in the emotion they brought to life.

Carrie talks Saul into letting her into that debriefing, where she practically interrogates Brody, questioning him about who he saw there (mentioning a certain Abu Nazir, a high up terrorist), and why they let him live. Brody coolly answers her questions, denying any of her implications, as we see flashbacks of him meeting Nazir.

After Brody meets with the wife of his partner in Iraq (the partner we find out he killed) and they share a tender moment, which Carrie witnesses, thanks to her illegal surveillance team. Including the guy in charge (memo to me imdb him later), who confronts her about the anti-psychotics she hides in an aspirin bottle. So yeah she’s crazy, but I still like her.

That evening Brody has a mostly normal evening BBQ-ing with old friends, but it’s not so peachy for his wife, who’s in the kitchen talking with her now sort-of-ex-boyfriend (insert Shane and Lori arguments here), and it’s not so peachy for Carrie.

When Carrie gets home she finds Saul there, who found all of her monitors with all of the streaming Brody household. He tells her she’ll need to get a lawyer, because he’ll be reporting her in the morning. We watch her spend some time panicking before she dresses to go out (including putting on a wedding ring, which she later explains is on to help her avoid guys looking for a relationship) and meets a guy at a bar. Just at they are about to leave she notices something about the jazz band, and the way their hands look as they play their instruments. Like a code, she realized that each time Brody was on camera he was moving his fingers like playing an instrument, as though he were making contact with someone he expected to be watching. She takes that info to Saul, who says she may not need that lawyer, just yet anyway.

 

So more to come as I begin the next ep now 🙂

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