Review – Homeland 2.06 “A Gettysburg Address”

If you’ve been wondering when exactly Brody will be called into service for the CIA, the answer is … SPOILER ALERT … this Sunday.  After all, there is no time to waste when National Security is at risk on Homeland.

My biggest concern for Homeland was how they could possibly follow up the first season.  With all the well deserved awards and accolades, season one of Homeland could have very well come to a definitive end, and no one would have complained.  After all, the entire season was somewhat focused on arriving at a character defining moment for all involved.  How exactly do you follow up when you’ve already plumbed the depths of the characters and delivered a season long exercise in tension building?  It seems like a risk to extend a series beyond the moment it seemed designed to arrive at in the end.  Think Twin Peaks and the solving of Laura Palmer’s murder. Making it somehow into an anti-terrorism procedural would be the antithesis of everything that was great about season one.

I think one of the hardest parts of last week’s episode to swallow was the fact that Carrie allowed Brody back out into the wild.  From what we know about Brody, it’s most definitely possible that he will deliver on his promise to assist with the CIA, what should be giving us all pause is the fact that Brody’s conditioning to become a terrorist was much longer, much more brutal, and much more psychologically damaging then his short stint at the CIA.  So while he seems redeemed and cooperative in one sense, he is also still volatile.  Can he be trusted?

That seems to be at the core of “A Gettysburg Address”, as Brody gets his first assignment from the CIA.  The true weakness of the trust between Brody and his new handlers is laid out raw for us in several occasions. It is clear throughout the episode that Brody does not have the full trust of the CIA despite his compliance. Back to that in a moment.

If I have a complaint with the current state of the narrative it is that we viewers seem to have a sense of reassurance that Brody can be trusted.  We’ve seen him talk with operatives and assert his new position in the operation. It’s clear to us that he does not want to be involved.  This is somewhat a polar reversal from last season, when we knew that despite any reservations he might have he was dedicated to seeing things through.

Brody of season two seems very much like a man caught between two worlds and not even the slightest bit in control of his own destiny.  Carrie, on the other hand, also seems to be acting from a place of utter ambiguity.  Is her mission to avert a terrorist attack, or to somehow wash away the aspects of Brody that prevent him from being a man she can love completely.

“A Gettysburg Address” brings at least some of these concerns to an end for me, but it is mostly the Carrie aspect that begins to shift into a space of “questionable motives”.  It very well could be that this is the intention of the season, to cause us to question Carrie’s inner motivations.  In any case, during season one I felt powerfully drawn into what was going on inside of these characters;  until “A Gettysburg Address”  I felt Homeland had shifted to a more external, exposition based narrative where all of the cards are on the table.  Now, I’m definitely intrigued to see where Homeland is taking us, and beginning to feel that delectably urgent need to know what is going on inside the character’s heads once again.


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