Following a gut-wrenching episode that saw a high point in Damian Lewis' performance, this week's "Homeland" is filled with several misses almost offset by one big hit.
To start, the surveillance team switches targets from now-cooperative Brody to his Abu Nazir contact Roya Hammad. The crew drops the ball, unable to eavesdrop on her meeting with a mystery man and eventually losing track of him entirely. With no leads on the who the man is or what the meeting was regarding, Carrie calls in an equally clueless Brody for help. She sticks with her instincts, pressing Brody to meet with Roya and dangle some bait in hopes of learning something more about the clandestine meeting.
The awful subplot of Dana and Finn's ill-fated high speed race through the streets of downtown D.C. commandeers an unfortunate chunk of the episode. While Finn is insistent that the hit-and-run victim is surely fine after he mowed her down with his vehicle. First, the notion that all the pair needs to do is keep quiet and sweep the issue under the rug is ridiculous, especially since the collision would certainly leave some noticeable damage on Finn's car. This is curiously not addressed at all, with Dana's crisis of conscience taking center stage as she creeps the halls of a local hospital to track down the status of their victim (spoiler: it's not good). The whole subplot could potentially lead to something more intriguing down the line, but for now the arc comes off as embarrassingly contrived melodrama in an otherwise exceptional spy thriller.
Meanwhile, Mike and Lauder continue their amateur investigation into the strange death of sniper/terrorist Walker. Lauder's incredulousness over Walker's murder investigation being commandeered by the CIA is pretty laughable, especially as he sees it as direct evidence of Brody's involvement. Walker was involved in an assassination plot of a public figure, so it's hard to imagine the intelligence agency NOT taking over the investigation, cover up or not, and it's equally hard to imagine a military intelligence officer like Mike not realizing this.
Shockingly, the extremely secretive CIA won't share everything they know about Tom Walker's murder with Mike, respectfully requesting he drop his inquiry. Again, how is this evidence of Brody's involvement? Still, Mike can't help but continue to pull at the loose thread, rummaging through Brody's garage/prayer room and unearthing his 9mm handgun and ammo stash. Mike sees this as further evidence that Brody was behind everything, presenting a cumulative logical leap in this episode that would span the Grand Canyon. I seem to remember an episode where Brody fired off a couple of rounds in the woods behind the house to kill off some deer, so it's more peculiar that only one bullet is missing and not several.
Brody does come clean (somewhat) on the Gettysburg tailor, Bassel, admitting that he was killed during transport to a safe house. Quinn keeps up his bad cop facade (?), thrown into a rage fit upon learning that he's wasting surveillance resources on tracking a dead man and taking a crew to tear apart the tailor's shop. The shocking twist at the end is the episode's sole highlight, and serves to offset at least some of the otherwise below-par episode.
"A Gettysburg Address" has to be considered a low point for the series, and certainly the worst episode of an otherwise strong second season. While last week's development of Brody turning double agent seemed poised to lead to more intrigue, what viewers got was an hour of plot holes and poor characterization topped off with a killer ending.
Final Grade: C