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Homeland Recap, Season Two, Episode Six, “A Gettysburg Address”

Puns aside, Pennsylvania is not exactly proving lucky for anyone in this show right now.

Jessica Brody (Morena Baccarin) tells Dana (Morgan Saylor) that a guilty conscience over a hit-and-run is no excuse to not go to school. Photograph by Kent Smith for Showtime.

I know I’m going to get some flak for saying this since our nation is collectively experiencing spasms of ecstasy every Sunday night at 10, and even my mom called from England to say she hasn’t looked forward to a show this much since The Jewel in the Crown, which means absolutely nothing to anyone under the age of 50. But is it possible that Homeland is starting to become just a teensy bit ridiculous?

I realize it was ridiculous at the beginning of last season, too, back when we had Saudi princes coming to DC (not LA, not Miami) to furnish their harems of beautiful women, and all you had to do was look askance at Jessica Brody to get her to remove all her clothes in one fell swoop. But then Homeland seemed to forget it was broadcast on Showtime, home to (among others) soft-core porn reality show Polyamory, and focused on becoming a thoughtful, clever, gripping spy drama.

Now it’s a show in which Abu Nazir, despite having armies of all-black Stormtroopers who can bust in and execute six spies at a moment’s notice, has to send a vice presidential candidate to Gettysburg to act as a chauffeur. And his most senior operative (at least as far as we can tell) doubles as a political reporter, which, no doubt, interferes with her primary career as a terrorist just a smidge. Informal poll: Political reporters, do you think you’d have a lot of free time during a campaign year to organize a terror plot against the United States? Not so much?

Please leave your excoriating comments below and tell me why I’m wrong. But here’s where we stand as of last night’s episode: Seven people are dead. That’s six spies, including Galvez, I’m assuming, and the woman Finn hit with his car, whose daughter is possibly now just a little suspicious of the girl who comforted her by her mother’s bedside. What I am also assuming, however, is that Homeland would not bring on the incredible Ellis Carver from The Wire (real name Seth Gilliam), to be a Gettysburg spook if he were going to be coldly assassinated later with not even enough lines to qualify him for Equity membership. So I think it’s fair to say that Ellis, a.k.a. “Chapman,” will be back, and judging from his cold and unfriendly demeanor, he might just be the one who got all the CIA agents shot.

The episode opens with Roya doing a sterling job of looking at her reflection in a bus stop for tails behind her, before meeting her new muscle in a spot by a fountain where the CIA can’t make out a single word. (As we found out in Fake Farragut Square last season, fountains bring nothing but doom in Homeland.) Thanks to Max, who was still dozing, and Virgil, who somehow lost the new guy when he headed into a fake Metro station, the CIA now have no idea who the guy is or what’s going on (although they do know he got out at Meridian Hill Station, which doesn’t exist)—and once again, nobody wants to listen to Carrie when she suggests sending Brody in to pump Roya for information. (No, not that way. This isn’t Polyamory.)

Brody, now sleeping in the guest room, wakes up to Jess and a fistful of painkillers, which we can safely say will be the highlight of his day. Dana’s lying in bed ridden with guilt about the woman Finn hit with his car, but unforgiving Jess pulls the covers off her and sends her to school with Brody with a piece of toast and grape jelly. “There’s something going on with her, Brody,” Jess says, ever astute. “I don’t like it.” Dana tries to confront Finn about what happened, but, weasel that he is, he runs away to his AP History test, leaving Dana to skip school and head to the hospital to try to find the woman from the accident.

Brody gets summoned to the CIA, where he and Peter circle each other like two rabid dogs fighting over a chew toy. PQ notices that Brody gives the Board of Terror a lingering look, and calls him out on it. Then Brody confesses that the tailor, who’s on their list of suspects, is actually dead, and it was at his hands, even though it was an accident. He and PQ yell at each other a lot, and it’s up to Carrie to intervene. “This guy is a pathological liar,” says Peter, which is actually true. They argue about each other’s tactics: stabbing someone in the hand versus telling them you want them to leave their spouse, or the lesser-known “knife vs. wife” page in the CIA playbook. “Don’t worry about my objectivity,” says Carrie. “Worry about your own.” At least now the CIA folks who’ve been sitting outside the tailor’s shop for weeks can actually go inside.

Part of the episode’s descent into full-on crazy (let’s call it green versus fallow yellow) involves Mike and Lauder deciding to make like the Hardy Boys and investigate the death of Tom Walker themselves. Sporting their Marine uniforms, they persuade a random cop to show them where it all went down, in the dank and rainy tunnel where Brody shot Walker, proving (and this might be important) that Abu Nazir has no loyalty to anyone.

Lauder is determined that no one would come to this gross place unless they were with someone they trusted, and he compels Mike to go to the CIA and ask his “friend” there why the agency swooped in and took over the investigation. So Mike does, but he’s met by Saul and Estes instead of his random contact, who tell him in no uncertain terms to leave it all alone. But Mike goes to Brody’s house and snoops around, finding the non-smoking gun—Brody’s weapon and one missing 9-millimeter bullet. He tells Jess that he’s almost certain Brody killed Tom Walker, and Jess doesn’t actually look all that surprised.

Dana goes to the hospital, because, you know, there’s only one in DC, and it’s totally easy to find it and figure out not just where the ICU ward is, but also which random bundle of gray clothes from the street is the woman your new boyfriend hit with his car. The woman’s daughter stands outside, watching her mom, who’s all hooked up on tubes. For some reason Dana tells the woman whose mom is about to die that she didn’t know her dad when she was little, and the woman tells Dana that the nurse has told her to call the family’s priest. Then Dana gets spooked and runs away, and doesn’t at all look obviously guilty jamming the automatic door button over and over again.

Brody finally remembers he, too, has a day job, and arrives at the House to do congressman-like things, but really to talk to Roya in a hallway. He tells her some yarn about how he’s having sex with Carrie, and at her house last night he heard her discussing some guy who just flew in from Hezbollah. There’s a long silence. Roya tells him that after weeks of waiting, FBI forensics have raided the tailor’s shop (see—even she knows that the FBI, not the CIA investigates domestic terrorism!). “Might they find anything?” Brody asks. “They might,” Roya says, mysterious as ever.

Peter has arrived in Gettysburg to sweep the tailor’s shop, and Ellis/Chapman is there to greet him, looking very surly and giving Peter something of a stinkeye. Peter tells him it’s a small town and he should pretend he’s doing a tax audit. Then Carrie calls to tell him what went down with Roya, and that there’s something there. Peter looks around and suddenly seems to be very suspicious, and asks Galvez to call for backup, despite mocking Carrie’s hunches. Ellis/Chapman looks shady. But it’s too late, because a bunch of stormtroopers sweep in and shoot all the CIA agents, seemingly fatally. The strormtroopers, one of whom is the man who met with Roya this morning (damn you, Virgil!), remove a large black box. And when they’re gone, Peter coughs up blood and reveals he was just pretending to play dead after all, while sleepy Gettysburg goes about its business like massive gun fights by black-clad rogue agents are no big deal.

Carrie busts into Brody’s office all furious and demands to know if he knew, because she has seven casualties and she’s really, really upset. Brody tells her he had no idea, and since we know what a good liar he is, we have no idea whether to believe him. He reaches for her hand, and she sobs into his shoulder.


1) Is Ellis/Chapman dead? Did he plan the whole thing? Or are times just really tough for former Wire cast members? Snoop’s in jail and Omar’s in Boardwalk Empire, so maybe.

2) We’ve known Jessica Brody for a good long time now, and we have no idea where she goes when she gets all dressed up for work. What is her job, exactly?

3) Who’s the mole? I thought last season it might be Galvez, and it technically could still be, since Abu Nazir has no feelings. But I don’t think so.

4) How does Brody figure out when he’s lying and when he’s not? It must get very confusing after a while.

5) How does Hezbollah feel about all this bad press?

6) My mom also pointed out on the phone last night that when Roya was first mentioned by Brody, Estes never said a word about their dinner date at Cafe Milano. Why not?

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

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  • Culture Bloggers

    I agree that the Dana sub-plot is ridiculous and that if you think too deeply about each episode, you can come up with a few gaping holes, but you can't escape that the show is exciting drama, well acted, topical, addictive, the list goes on. I am certainly one of the nation's majority who tunes in every Sunday night in high anticipation, even sometimes looking forward to it all weekend!!

  • Julian Dayal

    That was damn good writing! The piece I mean, not the episode, which was not.

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