Where last week was like a demolition crew tearing down the status quo, "Homefront"'s latest was all about rebuilding in an intriguing new image.
Carrie is back on everyone's shitlist after blowing the surveillance operation on Brody. She's refused access to the interrogation proceedings, forced to take a backseat and watch it all play out over the monitors.
Quinn leads the interrogation of Brody, "setting the table with his lies" as Saul puts it, before playing back Brody's incriminating confession video. Damian Lewis' expression after playing the video back in its entirety is a deft mixture of brokenness and shock. Brody knows he's in deep, but then confesses only to that which is spelled out already in the video -- he denies wearing an explosive vest, claiming he was simply angry and in reality did nothing but make a video. He calls Quinn's bluff when he threatens to play the video to Jess, Dana, and Chris.
It's clear Quinn is frustrated that things aren't going his way, but it's not clear just how frustrated until he JAMS A KNIFE IN BRODY'S HAND. Saul later refers to it as "theater," setting up Carrie's good cop routine with his bad cop, but that was some pretty visceral theater. This perhaps sheds some light on how Carrie and Saul had never heard of Quinn up to this point, as he potentially worked in the 'enhanced interrogation techniques division' where tactics like this are the norm. Hopefully this is a thread that continues to get tugged at as the season continues.
Regardless of his reasoning, it's Carrie's turn to take the lead. Things get personal pretty swiftly; where Quinn was setting the table with Brody's lies, Carrie sets it with the damage he's done to her personal and professional life. She shuts off the security cameras, uncuffs Brody, makes the conversation all about the two of them, playing on his personal guilt and sympathies. She exposes Nazir's tactics of tearing Brody down and rebuilding him into a different man while essentially doing the same herself.
The writers and performers in this scene do a masterful job of exposing the characters of Brody and Carrie to their rawest of raw nerves. Every moment is honest and genuine while also simultaneously more painful than the knife wound in Brody's hand. Brody's meek "...yes" in responding to Abu Nazir's next move and the moments leading up to it is one of the most gut-wrenching sequences of the entire series. Lewis portrays the anguish the P.O.W. is going through as he pulls away from his indoctrination exceptionally well, collapsing emotionally and physically after finally surrendering the truth. While the last few weeks have featured some stellar performances from Danes, this week it was clearly Lewis' time to shine.
The homefront subplots understandably take a backseat this week. In order to divert questions about Brody's absence from Congress, Estes spreads around that the Congressman is helping the agency with a national security matter and will be incommunicado for a few days. He tells a communication aide to tell everyone Brody is sick with flu, a story that is quickly poked full of holes when Jess takes chicken noodle soup to the bed-ridden Congressman's hotel room.
Meanwhile, Jess and new boyfriend Finn go on their first official date. With the stresses of home weighing her down, Jess requests that the two of them have fun, which Finn takes to mean "speed through the busy streets of Washington D.C., ditch the Secret Service detail, and run over some poor woman." We'll see where it goes, but the scenes sure seemed devoid of any dramatic or emotional flair and was more darkly comical given its predictability, so I don't have the highest of hopes.
When Carrie blew the lid off of the surveillance last week, many presumed that this would lead to Double Agent Brody, and they were spot on. Brody agrees to help foil Nazir's next attack on America in return for full immunity, to return to his normal life and extract whatever information he can from his contacts. Might be difficult to explain the gaping knife wound in his hand, but the storyline should bear plenty of dramatic fruit, both with the intrigue of the terror plot and the development of Carrie and Brody's new deep cover relationship.
Truly an episode loaded with "For Your Consideration" Emmy clips, 'Q & A' did a fantastic job of setting up the new status quo while also shining a floodlight on the relationship between Carrie and Brody.
Final Grade: A