Homeland recap: The Beginning of The End

Carrie's hunt for Abu Nazir hits a series of dead-ends, and Jessica and Brody's marriage reaches a milestone
Ep. 11 | Aired Dec 9, 2012

BAD HAIR DAY IS NO BIG THING One thing to keep in mind watching Claire Danes run, crouch, cry, and scream in this week's episode: She's doing it while several months pregnant.

Kent Smith/SHOWTIME

By comparison to Carrie, Brody didn't do much of anything during this episode. Since no one at the CIA thought it any way suspicious that the man who had admitted to strapping on a suicide vest to kill the vice president was the only person present for the death of the vice president, Brody was sent back to the safe house to wait out the hunt for Abu Nazir. With all that sudden free time, he finally could confront what was left of his family, really for the first time. It started with Jessica, who pivoted from reminding Brody that Walden's death left behind a grieving family to pointing out that his death had also altered the trajectory of their lives. "It's all changed, hasn't it, now that Bill's gone," she said. "I keep asking myself how we even got here. Things just happened — opportunities, they seemed like. We just went along, one thing to the next. I think maybe this is a time to stop and think." She was speaking about Brody's political career, but she may as well have been talking about his secret life, first as a terrorist, and then a double agent — for so long, Brody had let his life be dictated by outside forces that he told himself he had no choice but to follow. For the first time since he'd left for Iraq, he was ostensibly his own master.

Brody sighed deeply. He seemed ready to tell Jessica everything. He was cut short, however, by Carrie's call from the factory. He took it, stepping out into the balcony. "All that matters to me right now," he told her, "is that you're safe." At that moment, Brody looked back at his beautiful, heartbroken wife staring at him, trapped behind a pane of soundproof glass, unable to reach him. In truth, it wasn't clear if Jessica could hear him or not, but that didn't really matter — she understood what he was saying either way.

The next morning, Dana was in a particularly foul mood. She was fed up with being stuck in their penthouse prison, and infuriated that no one could explain to her why her life had become such a stultifying purgatory. And they were out of milk. "I thought we were doing better," Brody said, apparently forgetting that his last meaningful experience with his daughter was denying her the chance to atone for participating in the death of another human being. Chris, overwhelmed by the exchange of actual emotions, retreated to do the only he seems to know how to do, play videogames. (Fan service #3: Dana, storming over to the controller: "I swear to God, if I have to listen to another second of Kuma War, I am going to kill someone.")

Just as Dana was reaching her boiling point, Jessica returned with milk, but it was icky leaking milk that was totally disgusting, you guys, so Dana exploded into a full blown tantrum. "Why are you even here," she screamed at her father. "Why do you not just go live with that crazy woman and leave us alone?!" Part of me wishes that the writers had found a less blunt way of confronting the core issue within the Brody family, but mostly I was just grateful that Dana was finally putting everything out on the table, even if it meant carpetbombing any lingering vestiges of likability in her character. "We're better off with Mike," she said. "All of us. He has been a better father to us than you ever were!" (I'm likely in the minority on this, but I thought Morgan Saylor's acting here was top notch — her off-kilter, overly dramatic line readings to me sounded exactly how a royally pissed off teenager would talk. Which is to say, I am unfortunately not old enough yet to forget when I was an overly dramatic, royally pissed off teenager, and I talked exactly like that.)

Jessica called a momentary truce, decreeing nothing about their family would be decided until they could all go home. Little did she know, they would get that opportunity that very day. Jessica, Dana, and Chris all came into the penthouse living room with their minder agent to tell Brody that Abu Nazir had been killed. Like Carrie, Brody's reaction wasn't a rush of exultant glee. Instead, for the first time he allowed his children a glimpse into the chasms of pain he'd kept from them since he'd returned, and barely let Jessica experience at all. It was heartbreaking to see Brody so suddenly consumed by such a powerful wave of emotions — grief, anger, relief — and none of his family even thought to offer him any comfort. He'd kept them at a distance for so long, they didn't know they could.

NEXT PAGE: "I don't want to fight any more. Even for something. I'm tired of fighting."


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