Michael Mahin ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
“Q&A”, riding the wave of last week’s shock ending in which Carrie confronted Brody and had him arrested, is another stunning marriage of acting, writing, and directing coming together for an hour of near pure adrenaline. Suspenseful and moving in almost equal measure, this week’s Homeland was another winner.
The episode begins with Brody being taken into CIA custody and promptly interrogated by Quinn, who asks him of his relationship with Abu Nazir’s son and forces him to watch his own suicide video journal. Brody, resistant, refuses to break and Quinn, in a seeming moment of rage, stabs Brody’s hand. Quinn is promptly taken out of the interrogation room and is replaced by Carrie.
Carrie then turns off all of the video cameras in the room but leaves a hidden microphone on in hopes of developing Brody’s trust. Carrie confronts Brody on having essentially ruined her life. Carrie then asks Brody to be truthful, for once, and surprises him by claiming that she wishes he would leave his wife and children to be with her. She also claims that Brody is a good man deep down and that he is not a monster, like Abu Nazir, who kills innocent civilians. She repeatedly asks him of his plan to blow up the Vice President though he denies any such plan. Eventually, however, Brody breaks and admits that Abu Nazir is planning an attack on the U.S. though Brody says that he does not know what the plan is. He then gives up Roya Hammad and others as being involved with Abu Nazir. Carrie then tells Brody that he can either face trial and, most likely, life in prison, or he can help the CIA to stop an impending attack. He agrees to help the CIA.
Meanwhile, Dana, after having broken up with Xander, goes out on a date with Finn. In an attempt to get away from the Secret Service car following Finn, the two speed around the city and accidentally hit a woman crossing the street. Finn, fearful of how the incident will affect his future, tells Dana that they cannot call the police and they speed off.
Brody then finally returns home to Jessica who allows him to stay at the house if he agrees to begin telling the truth. He tells her that he is working with the CIA.
With endless surprises up their sleeves, the Homeland writers prove again and again that they are unafraid to take risks as evidenced by Brody’s admitting that he is, in fact, working with Abu Nazir. A lesser, more conventional series would have prolonged his insistence on not being involved for at least a few more episodes. Homeland, ever the game-changer, pulls the rug out from under its audience on a weekly basis, never allowing us to predict what direction its about to take. This week’s role reversal, in which Brody will now be working for the CIA, was a brilliant decision by writer Henry Bromell who has ensured Brody’s place within and essentially to the show’s very structure, now that he is no longer a terrorist under the guise of a congressman. The only element of this episode which felt contrived was Dana and Finn’s plot line which seemed dramatically unnecessary and out-of-place in an otherwise subtle television series.
Additionally, performances this week were phenomenal with some of the most complex and intimate scenes of the series playing out between Carrie and Brody in the interrogation room. Quietly heartbreaking and visibly tense, their extended interrogation scene is a stunner of a scene, commanding viewers’ tears and baited breath. Danes does wonderful work here, exploring the depths of Carrie’s pain and sorrow at not being able to be with Brody. However, special attention should be given to Lewis who delivered arguably his strongest performance in the series thus far. Crying, defeated, Lewis communicates Brody’s pain but also the weight of his terrible burden, performing the breakdown scene as a process of fear, rejection, resistance, admittance, and, ultimately, acceptance. It’s a deeply felt, and deeply moving, piece of acting which is sure to be on Emmy voters mind in the coming year.
Ever-changing and always thrilling, Homeland continues to shock and move with this week’s “Q&A” serving as no exception.