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WashingTelevision: Homeland Recap, Season Two, Episode Three, “State of Independence”

Brody has an unfortunate escapade in the woods, Carrie cries (again), and Saul finally gets home.

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison and Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in Homeland. Photo by Kent Smith for Showtime.

The jazz is back, ladies and gentlemen. But here’s the real question: Did it ever really go away? Or was it simply stifled by a layer of lithium, organic vegetables, and regret?

In last week’s episode we got to see Carrie’s already frayed edges unravel a little further, taking her from sleepless in Cyprus to bawling in Beirut. And why? Because her unshakable faith in Brody’s guilt (and in her own instincts) had been proven wrong, leaving her with her little sense of which way is up and whom she could trust. Or so she thought… . In an incredible early-season reveal, Saul found the memory card with Brody’s “Why I Did It” video, which apparently ties Hezbollah to Abu Nazir in all kinds of nefarious and unlikely ways. If, like me, you started screaming at Saul to please God remember he’s a spy in the 21st century and e-mail it to Estes, pronto, you probably had something of a heart attack when Saul’s luggage was torn to pieces by a Hezbollah honcho masquerading as an airport security agent. Luckily, this wasn’t Saul’s first rodeo, and the card honcho-man found was just a dummy—the actual card was hidden inside the external lock on his briefcase. Don’t cry, Carrie! Redemption is coming your way via a red-eye from Lebanon (and, let’s face it, probably a lengthy stopover at Hartsfield-Jackson).

But just when we thought all was going to be resolved in episode three, Saul disappears, leaving Carrie tapping away on her laptop, writing an 18-page report on what happened in Beirut for a CIA debriefing. And jazz is blaring through her iPod headphones—which can only signal imminent doom. Her father comes in to hustle her off to bed, but Carrie’s super jazzed, literally, and begs for another hour or two to finish up. “I feel pretty great!,” she says, grinning. “Wired is what you are,” Dad replies.

Over at the Brody household, things are going through more ups and downs than a Six Flags ride. Jess, under the influence of her new BFF, Mrs. Walden (who, I just realized, is Talia Balsam of Mad Men and George Clooney’s first-and-only-wife fame), is still working on organizing a big fundraiser for veterans, and she steals a peek at Brody’s speech, only to be dismayed by the abject despondency with which he discusses captivity and his family. Of course, this leads to him discovering her and them making out furiously on a kitchen island. “Slow down,” Jess says, and he does, and it’s all extremely romantic until Dana comes home with her previously unseen boyfriend, Xander, trailing in her wake.

Let us be clear about Brody: He isn’t just a man, and a husband, and a father, and a marine, and a congressman, and a flawed hunk of ginger deliciousness, okay? He’s also apparently the only operative Abu Nazir has in his mysteriously underequipped East Coast team—well, in addition to Roya, whose English accent is so brittle it could shatter eardrums. The tailor—the same Gettysburg one who made Brody’s bomb vest back in season one—has apparently been implicated by some of the evidence Carrie discovered in Beirut, and the CIA is ON IT. So Brody has to jump in his car, ignore Jess’s perpetual bleating about the fundraiser, drive to Pennsylvania, and take the tailor to a safe house 60 miles away. Why, you might ask, couldn’t someone from the safe house pick him up instead? That is a question we will never have answered. Brody seems understandably reluctant to be Roya’s bitch, but she reminds him that the tailor is the one man who really knows of Brody’s almost-guilt, and so he jumps in his SUV and drives away. He picks up the tailor, who is moderately suspicious, then gets a flat tire and realizes Jess is one of those people who doesn’t feel the need to drive around with a jack in the trunk. (To be fair, she’s so hot, it’s probably never been much of an issue. There are probably fleets of men willing to help her at the first sign of car trouble.)

Carrie, meanwhile, is listening to jazz again and driving to Langley to attend what she assumes is a debriefing, even though it’s at 6 PM, which is way late. But when she gets there, 15 minutes early, the debriefing is almost over, and Estes is all, JK, you didn’t think this meant we wanted you back, did you? You’re still a liability, and this was just a courtesy meeting to say thank you. And Carrie’s all, Oh, God no, and then gets in the elevator and cries. Then she tells her dad she’s moving home, and we know no good can come of this (and we also want to know who’s been paying her rent, not to mention her medical bills, while she was locked up in the hospital).

Brody is now doing a moderately good impression of MacGyver, propping his car up on a log of wood, all while the tailor circles him with a rock in his hand, hoping to escape (this tailor is twitchy, y’all). The tailor asks Brody to go inside and get him some tobacco, and Brody does, because he apparently has no brains in that fiery red head of his. And by the time he gets back, the tailor has run away, and Jess continues to call Brody on his BlackBerry and ask him why he isn’t home yet, meaning Brody now has to chase the tailor through the woods, pick him up when he falls and inexplicably punctures his lung on a piece of metal, grip him in a deadlock, break his neck when he won’t stop yelling, bury him, and then rinse off the blood in a car wash. This is like an anti-terrorism PSA or something. Don’t fall for it kids, because dying and killing in the name of Allah isn’t half as easy as it looks.

Carrie is home again, and it’s just like last season—she’s drinking wine, putting on her fake wedding ring, freaking out in her closet, and applying mascara. (In other news, those Latisse ads really paid off.) But then she looks in the mirror and gets sad, so she puts all ten of her pills together and swallows them with two pints of wine, and then lies down to die, sadly. But we know it won’t work because this is only episode three and Claire Danes just won an Emmy, so she suddenly wakes up, makes herself puke, and then lies down again for a nap she’ll actually wake up from.

Jess is furious at Brody for missing her big event, but she gets up and makes a heartfelt speech herself about how hard it is for families when their battle-scarred veterans come home, and even Brody’s douchey Marine friend who’s always picking fights with him looks like he might cry. Mike drives her home, and she invites him in, because everyone seems to think the Brody house is a place for sex where people will never, ever be interrupted. And Mike is unwilling, but then Jess tells him about Brody and Carrie, and his morals suddenly fly out the window. But lo, as the two are heading inside, hand in hand, Brody comes home, none too thrilled to see his wife and her former paramour about to cuckold him once more in their marital bed. And there is a whole universe of hurt in Jess’s eyes when Brody says sneeringly that she’s “quite the hostess.” She yells at him for all the lies, and then even Dana slams the door in his face, which means Brody will probably be calling up Carrie soon enough, because we know he needs female attention more than Dana needs sarcasm.

Speaking of Carrie, her doorbell is ringing over and over and over, so she throws on a bathrobe, runs downstairs, hides the wine and pill bottles, and then lets in Saul. He came straight from the airport! “Before the Beirut trip, I really thought I’d found a way to live without the company,” she tells him, and she looks so sad it’s quite heartbreaking. But Saul has something to show her, and as she watches Brody fess up to his terrorist antics, her face flits from relief to joy to sadness, and back again. “I was right!” she tells Saul. “You were right,” he confirms.


1) Does Brody really only have one cell phone that he uses for family, government work, and terrorist activities? Because that seems like kind of a bad idea, security-wise. “Hey, Dad, can I borrow your phone?” “Sure, Dana. Just don’t check any of my messages or anything, because they’re all poorly encrypted, and those international roaming charges are hell on our family bundle package.”

2) Saul, I think you owe Carrie one enormous apology. And if you’re going to show up unannounced in the middle of the night, the least you could do is bring pizza.

3) Mike seemed pretty horrified to learn the truth about Brody and Carrie, which could mean he simply wants an excuse to get back with Jess, or could add more layers of nuance to all the secret meetings the Marines keep having. It would be quite something if Brody managed to escape the clutches of the CIA only to be busted by his fellow soldiers.

4) Who’s the mole? I really hope it isn’t Danny. I love him.

5) Does VP Walden know his wife’s also married to Roger Sterling? No contest.

6) How awesome was it when the Hezbollah guy asked Saul if he was Jewish and Saul said, “American”?

  • JBranch

    Your recaps are so fun that I wish I were watching the series. I haven't quite decided to spring for Showtime, because I already get HBO and don't always watch it regularly.

    How many premium channels should I be subsidizing? And does Brody really have only one cell phone? These are difficult conundrums.

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