Sunday, 8 April 2012

Homeland: Well that'll teach her to take her men-folk back to the country cabin, won't it

Although a brief and information-seeking fling between CIA-spy Carrie and the returning war hero and suspected potential terrorist Brody was perhaps inevitable plot-wise, what was less predictable is how, now mid-way through its 12 episode season, Homeland has only got more gripping, not less.

Some series can sag a bit in the middle - padding, it's often called by those in the know, possibly - but Homeland's as taut as that scene near the end of episode 7 in the remote log cabin when Carrie let slip a crucial detail about Brody's home life.

They both knew the only way she would know he likes Yorkshire Gold tea is because she's had his home under constant secret surveillance - and bang goes their budding relationship.

Although if tv-ooh was Brody we'd be more worried about Carrie having seen him do the sex with his missus, or him shooting that innocent deer that wandered into his garden the other week.

What was thrilling - and that's not a word to be bandied about lightly, is thrilling - was that for that moment of discovery, no-one, not the audience, not Carrie, not tv-ooh, had any idea how Brody would react, and then he revealed the loaded gun she'd hidden away as a back up. Eek.

Would he go mental? Would he shoot her down as she fled? Or would he say he'd actually be fine with PG Tips if that's all she had?

As it turned out, Carrie took the opportunity to get some answers to some important questions for her and us - for example, we now know he converted to Islam, that he didn't give terror suspect Afzal Hamid the blade he used to kill himself, and how he had been trained to beat the lie detector. Most importantly, Brody said he wasn't the American soldier who had been turned.

Then, at that same moment, Carrie received a phone call from her superior - Mandy Patinkin's CIA officer Saul Berenson finally getting a bigger chunk of plot, even if he's basically just doing a lot of driving -confirming what she'd just heard from Brody: that he isn't, in fact, the double agent they had been hunting.

And then we get the ace card - the man they want is actually Brody's colleague Walker - who Brody thinks he killed, and everyone else thinks they've just buried.

So whether Brody and Carrie reconcile or decide they're not going to talk to each other in a sulky stand-off situation remains to be seen, but of course it's likely Carrie will do her best to get Brody back on side to help catch Walker - not least because that first option there wouldn't make for very good television.

And even though these are characters who we're still not sure we know very well or even if we can trust them, one fact is clear: Carrie, whatever you do, just don't take Walker back to that country log cabin.

It'll only end in tears. Or you dead.

Related stories:
- Homeland episode 1: It's all in the finger tapping, probably
- Homeland episode 2: Who can we trust, and is that Lynne doomed or what?
- Homeland: Key points from an interview with its writers and creators Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa
- Homeland: Well that'll teach her to take her men-folk back to the country cabin, won't it

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