WashingTelevision: Homeland Recap, Season Two, Episode Four, “New Car Smell”

Not to give anything away, but wow.
Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and the extraordinarily handsome Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) in their super-spy setup. Photograph by Kent Smith for Showtime.
Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and the extraordinarily handsome Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) in their super-spy setup. Photograph by Kent Smith for Showtime.

Remember last season, when we were all ambivalent about Sergeant Nicholas Brody and
whether he was a redheaded sex god with PTSD or a thoroughly nasty and mendacious
terrorist who possibly shouldn’t have access to firearms? And then we followed the
Saudi Arabian diplomat into his house, thinking he’d been robbed, only to see Brody
almost throttle him while sporting a look of pure evil?

Let’s call that an “aha moment.” And let’s call the closing moments of last night’s
episode, when Brody was hustled out of the Ashford Hotel with a hood over his head
after being thoroughly scolded by Carrie, an “ahahahahahahaha moment.” Retribution
is sweet, and to see the world’s most destructive redhead since Lindsey Lohan get
his is a moment that, as viewers, we’ve all earned.

That said, I did have a few nitpicky issues with last night’s episode, starting with
Saul and Estes discussing top-secret national security issues in Estes’s back yard
(in full view of his neighbors’ wall), and ending with the world’s second most chintzy
hotel. (The first, you may remember, is where poor Raqim Faisel was gunned down last
season, adding “blood spatters” to the long list of what was wrong with that room.)
But we’ll get to them later. First, if you had “Saul being challenged by a miniature
Darth Vader” on your
Homeland drinking game, congratulations—you’re officially either psychic or on the writing
team.

The episode started with Saul going to Estes’s beautiful suburban home to tell him
that NBD, but a suicide bomber almost blew up the Vice President while he and his
cronies were all assembled in a bunker. Estes, being a chronic narcissist, points
out that he was one of those cronies, then puts his head in his hands while watching
Brody’s black-and-white video manifesto. Estes seems to figure out pretty early on
that this video puts him in a lose-lose situation. Either he tells the VP that he’s
“palling around with a jihadist” and loses the chance to stop a future attack on the
US, or he alienates the possible future President forever. Goodbye, golden parachute.
Farewell, cushy memoir deal. Adios, Billecart-Salmon at the Naval Observatory.

Brody, meanwhile, is trying to appease Jessica by bringing her an espresso in bed
(if you needed any further evidence that this man hates America, here you go). Only
Jessica isn’t buying any of it, because she doesn’t trust him anymore, and if he can’t
tell her one honest thing, he needs to pack a bag. Dana seems to sense through her
surly haze that something is wrong, but her boyfriend’s offer of a consolation doobie
doesn’t do much for her gloomy state. Oh, Xander. Methinks thou hast been supplanted
by a cocky rich kid with a Secret Service protection unit and a Paul Ryan-baggy school
uniform.

Dana points out that Brody’s car smells like smoke, which means he rushes off to the
auto shop and our collective hearts sink when we see the poor Middle Eastern car guy
offering him interior car smells like Key lime pie, because you know Saul’s going
to break that “code” in five seconds flat. Speaking of Saul, he and Estes have assembled
a very small team with lots of computers to monitor Brody 24/7, and Virgil and Max
are in it. “Well, well, well. Carrie Mathison was right about the redheaded menace,”
says Virgil, in as poetic a statement as his namesake ever uttered. Also on the crack
team: Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), the third English actor pretending to be American on the show, and another cog
in
Homeland’s Six Degrees of Separation game. (Because he once dated Keira Knightley. And this
is as good a chance as any for us to mention that Brody’s married to Narcissa Malfoy
in real life.)

Peter is handsome, cocky, and mysterious, making him a perfect new love interest for
Carrie. He’s also kind of a heel. He sets Carrie up as a honey trap, sending her to
Langley to make Brody nervous. Brody, naturally, shows up in a cab, because cabs just
pull up at Langley all the time. There’s also a sculpture outside that looks like
an approximation of “Kryptos.” As
Homeland giveth with the authenticity,
Homeland taketh away. Carrie and Brody’s interaction, given that he was so awfully awful to
her last time they met, are pretty civil. They even shake hands and say “peace” to
each other.

There are lots of side plots in which Lauder the conspiracy theorist shows up drunk
at Jess’s house and burbles that he knows the truth about Brody, sparking Mike’s one
brain cell to sit up and take notice. Finn Walden wants to take Dana on a date to
Monticello, because girls who smoke weed and wear disdain like eyeliner just love
that kind of thing. The pair give each other pet names: TJ and Sally after Thomas
Jefferson and his mistress, which is as weird as it is adorable, and then Finn somehow
breaks into the Washington Monument and takes Dana all the way to the top so the pair
can look out over the city and he can kiss her (if you aren’t rolling your eyes at
this, you aren’t human). Where are the park police? Why are two 16-year-olds allowed
to climb a building that’s closed because it’s unsafe? Where’s the scaffolding? Where’s
Dana’s bong?

Over at Peter Quinn’s house of surveillance, the team is monitoring Brody’s every
move, including his interactions with anyone whose skin is slightly tanned. That’s
not racial profiling, says Saul—it’s “actual profiling.” So the poor paranoid Sudanese
cabbie and the carwash guy are up on the wall as suspects, and so is Roya, although
less prominently. Speaking of Roya, they see her chatting with Brody in the Rayburn
building, but they can’t hear what’s going on, so they have no idea she’s telling
him she cleaned up that whole mess with the dead bomb-making tailor of Gettysburg.

Brody checks into the Ashford Hotel, which has a nice bar but lots of frilly floral
decor going on, and proceeds to drink heavily while Peter grills Carrie about whether
she was doing Brody for love or work. Then Brody calls her because he wants to “bury
the hatchet,” which, believe it or not, isn’t a euphemism. Carrie goes, and Virgil
follows, and the two have an exchange in which he apologizes for calling Estes and
throwing her under the bus and also asks her what the ECT was like. How does he know
this? Who told him? Carrie’s face shows a flicker of rage, and somehow he deduces
that she knows he’s a spy and he’s being watched. Carrie wants to go in immediately,
but Saul and Peter tell her to come home, since once again they choose to doubt her
spidey-spy sense against all odds and historical precedent.

But Carrie, being Carrie, goes rogue, and goes up to his hotel room. At first she’s
pretending to be all sexy and seductive, but then her face shifts an infinitesimal
amount, and suddenly she’s Grendel’s mother and calling him a “demented ex-soldier.”
Harsh! He’ll always be a soldier. Brody moves in as if to hurt her, and says “I seem
to be good at this, if nothing else.” “Get AWAY FROM HER,” growls Saul, endearingly.
Then Virgil and his goons rush in, and Carrie gets her moment of revenge. “You’re
a disgrace to your nation, Sergeant Nicholas Brody,” she says. “You’re a traitor and
a terrorist, and now it’s time you pay for that.” And then someone shoves a hood over
Brody’s head and hustles him away.

Questions:

1) What kind of an establishment is the Ashford, that people can be removed with black
hoods over their heads and no one cares?

2) Who’s guessing that Peter Quinn is yet another baddie for Carrie to fall in love
with?

3) Who didn’t say, “awwwww,” when Max told Carrie he’d believed her all along?

4) Who’s the mole?

5) Who is Roya going to boss around now? This is very bad news for the furtive Al
Qaeda cell in Pennsylvania.

6) Why do people in films and TV always use whole names when they’re yelling at other
people? I’ve been yelled at trillions of times in my life, but no one has ever said,
“You’re a sloppy drunk, Sophie Grace Gilbert, and it’s high time you put down the
wine opener and picked up a book.” Just saying.

What did you think of last night’s episode? Let us know in the comments.

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