“Homeland,” are you trying to give us a heart attack?
The psychological thriller turned the dial all the way up on the suspense in Season 2’s third episode, “State of Independence.”
The tension builds from the opening scene at the Beirut airport. When security officials illegally confiscate a memory chip from Saul’s (Mandy Patinkin) briefcase, it seems Carrie (Claire Danes) will never see Brody’s suicide video. His bait-and-switch makes us smile — but only for a moment, because back in D.C., the CIA is ripping out Carrie’s heart and stomping on it for good measure. After she basically saves America and serves up the world’s greatest terrorist, Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban), the agency shuts her out of the debriefing for the successful mission.
Meanwhile, just hours before Brody (Damian Lewis) is scheduled to make an important speech at his wife’s (Morena Baccarin) fundraising event, that irksome Roya (Zuleikha Robinson) informs the congressman that Bassel (Nasser Faris), the tailor who made his suicide vest, has landed on a terrorist watch list. Then she orders him to drive up to Gettysburg immediately and personally escort him to a safe house. We knew this wouldn’t end well, and on another show the misadventures that follow could be amusing.
Instead we were terrified as Brody is forced to chase Bassel down, elude their pursuers, change a flat tire using a log (there’s no jack in the car), fend off an attack by Bassel, try to save the tailor after he’s accidentally impaled, and then manually break his neck to silence him while he’s on the phone with a furious Jess trying to explain why he’s late to the fundraiser.
Mrs. Brody astonishes everyone by giving a heartfelt, impromptu speech herself, rallying support for returning vets’ families. If her husband wasn’t a terrorist — and a that very moment digging a grave with his bare hands in the pouring rain for the man he just murdered — Jess might have a future in political office herself.
It almost seems a shame that after his really rotten day, Brody is attacked by his wife — suspecting him of another infidelity — when he returns home. Even his unwavering ally, daughter Dana, seems to turn against him.
But no one had a worse day than Carrie, who packed up and moved back home. Recalling “Homeland’s” very first episode, she selected her best one-night-stand ensemble and prepared for a night of drunk, meaningless sex. At the last minute, she decided instead to swallow all her meds and chase them with a bottle of wine. We repeat: Carrie tried to commit suicide! Damn you, David Estes.
Did anyone not cry along with Carrie as she watched Brody’s video and said, “I was right”?
So about our therapy, Showtime: Where should we send the bill?