Homeland recap: The New Normal

Brody and Carrie both struggle adjusting to their new roles, while Mike's investigation runs afoul of the CIA
Ep. 06 | Aired Nov 4, 2012

QUIT ASKING ME ABOUT POETRY, KID, I'M THINKING Mike Faber (Diego Klattenhoff) takes his Tom Walker investigation to Brody's garage, which Chris (Jackson Pace) says their mother calls "The Wreck of the Hesperus," after the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem about a ship's captain who brings his young daughter on a voyage even though it looks like a hurricane is approaching. SPOILER ALERT: They both die. Way to bring things down, Chris. Go play more Xbox.

Kent Smith/Showtime

Part of my meh attitude about this episode, I think, is because its other two subplots — Mike Faber's investigation of Tom Walker's death, and Dana Brody's moral crisis over the death of the woman Finn hit with his car — didn't really work for me. Let's start with Mike. He and Lauder paid a visit to Walker's murder site, with Lauder typically spouting off his paranoid theories about Brody, sounding more and more like a broken record. The cop told them the single shell-casing they found was 9mm, and the CIA swept in to take over the investigation — both pieces of information Mike and Lauder would have likely known already since they'd read the official report on Walker's death, and knew large sections of it were redacted and classified. Lauder did at least have one moment of insight: Walker wouldn't have met with anyone in that dark, secluded space unless it was with someone he knew and trusted. Like Brody.

Next, Mike paid a visit to a contact at the CIA, but his inquiry caught Saul and Estes' attention, and they hauled him in to Estes' office to make clear Mike was to drop his "unauthorized, freelance investigation into a matter of national security." (This scene, by the way, is why you hire Mandy Patinkin; he could have handled that line perfunctorily, but instead he gave it a glint of amusement, since an "unauthorized, freelance investigation into a matter of national security" is exactly what he and Carrie were doing in season 1.) Mike, naturally, dropped nothing, and instead dropped by the Brody household to take a look at Brody's ammo count, which was missing a single, 9mm bullet.

Setting aside for a moment that Brody also killed a deer with his gun in season 1 — and so should probably be missing two bullets, not one — Mike decided that was evidence enough of Brody's guilt, and he told Jessica. She, in turn, was so happy that Brody was finally telling her what was going on with him that she didn't want to hear anything that could spoil it. Besides, Brody said himself he was working for the CIA. "It's not that simple," said Mike. "Whatever he said, there's gotta be some kind of cover up." And that, ladies and gentleman, gets the sad trombone award for the hoariest line of the season so far. Wah wah waaaaaaah.

Beyond the cheesy writing, Mike Faber just isn't an interesting enough character to counteract the fact that there is nothing that he's uncovered so far that we haven't known for weeks, if not months, already. If he doesn't discover some element of Walker's death that we hadn't known before — or cause Saul or Estes to take action more drastic than a stern talking to in the principal's office — then I can only hope this plotline comes to as swift and sudden an end as Tom Walker did.

As for Dana Brody, she has become one of the most complicated and compelling characters on this show — more so than her mother, in fact. Actress Morgan Saylor totally nailed her scenes; when Dana visited the hospital ICU and spoke with the hit-and-run victim's daughter, she was at once vulnerable and sickened and even a little numb. Finn's warning that he would rather die than have his dad discover his crime certainly raised the stakes, too. But, in the end, it all still felt like a really well-acted ABC afterschool special: My Boyfriend Ran Over A Woman, and His Dad's the Vice President.

In the coming weeks, both these storylines could end up leading right back to the main story. Finn's crime could be just as damaging to Brody's career as the vice president's, for one thing, and as Carrie and Brody grow closer, so could Jessica and Mike. But now that Homeland has demonstrated its ability to keep the story moving at a break-neck pace, I'm conditioned to expect these plot strands to tangle together much, much sooner rather than later.

Your turn! What did you make of "A Gettysburg Address"? Were you as ambivalent about this episode as I was? Do you think Brody knew about the ambush? Will you miss Danny? What do you think was in that giant case?

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