The article below contains spoilers for “A Gettysburg Address,” the November 4th episode of “Homeland.”
“Homeland” likes to tease out its ongoing confidence games — Is Carrie (Claire Danes) in control? Does Brody (Damian Lewis) still want to blow people up? — but Sunday’s episode “A Gettysburg Address” brought the issue of trust, and how tiring constantly questioning it can get, to the forefront in all of its storylines. Directed by Guy Ferland and written by Chip Johannessen, this was a quieter installment than the last fiery, plot-burning few, though it showed us the first (and possibly last) foray into being an informant by the newly turned Brody and ended in a blaze of gunfire that left multiple people dead.
Despite being warned off by no less than Estes (David Harewood), Mike (Diego Klattenhoff) continued to dig deeper into his “freelance investigation” into his old pal Brody and his involvement with their fellow Marine Tom Walker’s (Chris Chalk) death, a quest that has more to do with his romantic past with Jessica (Morena Baccarin) than any clear motivation about what he hopes to find. Dana (Morgan Saylor) struggled with whether or not to keep the secret that her new boyfriend Finn (Timothee Chalamet), the Vice President’s son, hit someone with his car when they were out the other night, an accident that resulted in the woman’s eventual death in the hospital. Jessica decided to accept her husband’s story about working for the CIA (which is the truth) while getting lied to about his resumed contact with Carrie, with whom she knows Brody had an affair. Meanwhile, Quinn (Rupert Friend) questioned Carrie’s ability to deal with Brody — as did, in his quiet way, Saul (Mandy Patinkin).
But looming larger than any of these are Carrie and Brody and the text and subtext of their ever-tumultuous relationship. It was Carrie’s idea to bring Brody in for his initial round as an informant, hoping he’ll be able to identify the man his handler Roya (Zuleikha Robinson) met with out by that water fountain, a move that makes sense given their limited options but that also leads her colleagues to wonder if she just wants to see him again. And that’s surely some part of it, as much as she insisted she’s all business, complaining about how hard it is, “having everyone assume you’re at your worst,” and bristling about the way Quinn keeps telling her not to trust Brody (because she thought of not trusting him first). After breaking through to Brody and breaking him down in last week’s episode, she’s currently holding the power both emotionally and in terms of their deal, a situation that has to be gratifying for her on both a professional and personal level — this is the man who shattered her heart, her sense of sanity and her career.
That doesn’t mean Brody lets things be easy between them. As they sat in his car together and Carrie tried to coerce him into meeting with Roya, he called her out on every tool she had. “What is this? Sex? Understanding?” he said of her hand on his shoulder, suggesting that what comes next is the guilt trip and then the threat. He doesn’t let her pretend that they’re colleagues working together on something or that they’re friendly — she needs something from him and he’s participating as an exchange for not going to trial or having his family find out. It’s clearly not her preferred approach, and it’s one that rattles her a little given the rapport the pair have proven capable of in the past.
Despite Carrie’s high-strung behavior — you can sense how edgy working in that room full of monitoring equipment with her can be — she’s also very good at her job, and not just when it comes to metaphorically bleeding out on an interrogation table in order to get a confession from someone. In Roya’s comments indicating her awareness that the tailor’s storefront in Gettysburg was being searched, Carrie sensed something awry, and her instincts, as is often the case, turned out to be right on. Shortly after Quinn, going with her warning, called for backup, and just as he noticed a hollow wall in the back of the shop, he and his team were taken down by a group of men in combat gear wielding significant weaponry. Whatever was hidden in that case behind the wall had better be awfully important to have made it worth an improbably full-scale assault on government agents in a quiet Pennsylvania town — but the attack went off with only the slight hitch of Quinn surviving, the distress about possibly being wrong and being betrayed again driving a weeping Carrie into Brody’s arms.
Brody’s got various forces pressing in on him — there’s Mike and his certainty that something’s up, there’s Jessica and her curiosity about his newly revealed gig, and there’s the need to keep Roya and the people she represents close while dealing with the CIA and keeping up a political career. Here’s hoping the show ties in Dana’s so far free-floating storyline soon, with its implications of more vulnerability to their family. Even with manslaughter on the table, the kids’ arc feels like a distraction compared to the huge stakes of the grown-up one. It’s hard to invest in teen misbehavior, however deadly, when it takes you away from a potentially developing domestic attack. But if Dana’s secret becomes either a weapon for Brody to use against Walden (Jamey Sheridan) or one that can be used against him by his enemies, it’ll all seem worthwhile.