Homeland recap: Sitting Duck

Carrie breaks down over Saul's betrayal, while Saul tries to follow the money trail behind the Langley bombing
Ep. 02 | Aired Oct 6, 2013

SORRY'S NOT GOING TO CUT IT, SAUL If only it were that easy. Saul's actions in the premiere have destroyed his relationship with Carrie, leaving her with nowhere to turn (and no one to turn to). He says it's all part of a plan, but how will the pieces fall into place?

Kent Smith/Showtime

Let's move on to the Brodys. I can already hear your collective groans, but bear with me: I actually think it's... interesting what they're doing with Dana. (Wait, stay! I'm not saying her plot's interesting.) To me, it looks like Homeland is forced to find excuses to continue showing the other Brodys because Brody himself will show up at some point this season, and seeing as Jessica's basically out of the picture (along with Mike) because Brody isn't present to play off of her, the next possible Brody for us to watch has to be Dana. Phew. Does that make sense?

And highlighting Dana isn't a bad idea. It's a fascinating choice, because her conflict has to do with her feeling trapped in her own home, with no control of what's going on around her. That's a feeling Carrie shares at this point in the series, and the two characters mirror each other, helping the show drive that theme home.

But I'm not saying that using Dana as the focal point for the Brodys works successfully. Without Brody, Dana seems to fit too uncomfortably with the rest of the drama.

To break it down, Dana and Jess continue their miscommunication-fueled struggle. "Dana thinks she's famous in a bad way," Jess tells Dana's psychiatrist. "The word is 'infamous,'" Dana mutters with an eye roll. The situation only gets worse when Dana runs away to meet her boy (a.k.a. Leo -- he finally gets a name!). "I just really needed to see you," she whimpers to him, and they end up sleeping together in the laundry room.

Okay, then.

I sort of get it. She needs to get away from Jess and the Brody house, he's someone she feels comfortable with, and while running away in the middle of the night doesn't help matters in any way, it helps Dana clear her head.  "We're not defective, you know?" she tells Leo the morning after. "We're not. It's everything out there." So she wants to stay with him. That part I get.

What I don't get is why the show is spending this much time on these scenes, when the next scene, with Dana's cathartic confession to Jessica that she feels alive when she's with the boy, explains it all. When Dana finally breaks, dragging her mother to the bathroom and explaining that she wants to live because of Leo -- "I was happy last night for the first time since I don't know when," she says -- the release is powerful. Dana's speech is a thousand times more effective than anything she's done in the past two episodes, so again, it makes me wonder why we had to sit through the dinner with the grandmother and tonight's romp with Leo. Plus, she adds, "Dad was crazy. He ruined our lives. It's the truth, but I am okay now," which ties her storyline back to Brody neatly and finally clarifies what's been running through her head.

Then again, I might be too harsh with her plot. The later scenes, with her looking through old family photos (including some showing a long-haired Brody, who must henceforth be known as "Carrot Top Brody") and borrowing Brody's prayer mat, pack quite a punch. I'm not clear on what they'll be doing with Dana down the line, but I'm glad the Jess vs. Dana storyline is seemingly closed, or at the very least, healed for the time being. Using Jessica as the receiving end of Dana's frustrations made Dana just sound petulant and unlikeable. And I'm definitely keeping an eye on Leo, because my wariness of his role has only increased with this episode.

NEXT: Follow the money trail

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