Homeland: Episode 3 x 03 – Tower of David

So Homeland switched gears on us. Quinn, Saul, Dana, even the forensic financial wizard in the hijab, Farah, all had this, the 3rd episode off. It was all Carrie and all Brody.

Of course, Carrie was still in a locked psych wing, and Brody… somehow, he washes up in Caita La Mar, Venezuela, which is in reality quite far from the Columbian border with two fresh bullet wounds in his gut supposedly put there by the Columbians. Someone picks him up in a truck, then hands him off to some gang, and they ferry him overland to an unfinished and abandoned by the developers, apartment tower, in a nasty slum area, now occupied by squatters, and protected by armed gunmen.

There he is given medical aid. From anyone’s perspective, a standard MASH set up anywhere in Nam would have been a step up from where Brody was. Anyway, the medic extracted the two bullets, and had some pain suppressant cooked up to help Brody manage the pain (not too much – we don’t want to stop his heart).

Eventually he wakes up to the sound of a muezzin’s call to prayer. While that was familiar to him, he still had no idea where he was. He struggles to his feet and hobbles over to where a window should have been and looks out. It is a massive urban area. “Where am I” he asks.

Caracas is the answer.

I guess it is a small world. Not only is Brody in proximity to a mosque, but also the head of the gang, a dude called El Nino,  who has brought him back from a near death experience knows Carrie Mathison.

Not only that, they know he is a wanted international terrorist – alleged terrorist – and he has a $10,000,000 bounty on his head. But yet, they show no interest in turning him over to the Americans at the Embassy.

Guess they’re keeping him around as a trading chip for  the future. We aren’t told this, but I am making it my guess.

Meanwhile, back in Carrie-land, she is still trying to con the doctors, has bouts of anger, is taking her meds, but is still lapsing into states of depression and in one scene is actually harming herself by butting her head into a mirror.

Brody is in a hellish place that he ‘d love to leave, As is Carrie. But it isn’t happening for either one, at least not this week.

But it seems safe to conclude, that Caracas and Brody will soon be separate and distinct, as will Carrie and the locked psych ward.

But that is me forecasting and predicting based on something other than facts. For simplification, lets just say the story must move forward.

While it was refreshing to finally have eyes on Brody, played by Damian Lewis, he wasn’t really himself. He tries to escape into a mosque and it fails – just not the way you might have expected.

By the time the episode ends, Carrie is still in the mental hospital, curled up depressed in bed (the lithium is at work), and Brody, he’s in worse shape as he succumbs to using the drugs purposely left in his ‘cell’ to dull his senses and kill his desire to flee.

Summary: A very depressing episode, but I suppose they need to fill an episode with some marching in place, in order to set up the breakthroughs that are sure to follow.

Still it was a welcome respite from the travails of Dana Brody and the problems of Saul Berenson. The episode wasn’t quite as exciting as we would have liked, but still,  there was plenty of violence.

Yet placing Brody in proximity to a mosque was a nice touch. It made me remember waking to similar sounds in Batu Ferringhi Beach in Penang, Malaysia. Only I was in an air-conditioned penthouse suite rather than an unfinished apartment tower in Caracas. I had room service, and Brody had guards with AK-47’s.

Claire Danes was again at the top of her game as an actress, even if the writers put her in replay mode from last week. Yes there were some signs of her turning a page here and there, but she still has to get her legs under her before she can gallop again.

This episode was directed by Clark Johnson , who I am sure you remember from Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1999), and he also performed on the series called The Wire. The episode was written by Henry Bromell, who died earlier this year and was awarded a posthumous Emmy recently.

If you look beneath the surface, there’s much more to this story than the simple one we see. First, while we didn’t see Dana, we had a replacement for her – Esme, is the daughter of El Nino, the gang leader, and she’s been tasked as Brody’s caregiver. Which makes her, from a supportive angle, a fill-in for Dana.

Then we have the parallels of both the Brody and Carrie situations. They almost mirror each other. Cells, drugs, instability, and their desire to get out and be somewhere else.

I think that the love affair that Brody and Carrie had last year actually weakened the show. This year, if they can find the means to get together again, it might actually save the show, which has clearly drifted away from what made it so compelling in Season One.

I’d love to hear your reactions.

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One thought on “Homeland: Episode 3 x 03 – Tower of David

  1. I like your take on Esme as a Dana replacement. Before, in Iraq, Dana was one of the things that helped Brody hold on to a small part of his sanity, even though she wasn’t present. Maybe Issa was a Dana replacement there? I feel like all three essentially represent the same idea.

    I agree on Brody-Carrie weakening the show last year; it felt like the writers were so intent on creating that star-crossed lovers feel that they didn’t let the relationship develop organically. Having them reunite after hitting rock bottom should be an interesting storyline to explore.

    *Also, comments are closed on your Captain Phillips review, but I’d like to say that I agree with what you said. It really was a fantastic movie and a tour de force for Hanks (I’m thinking of bumping it up to an A-), and I believe it will be in contention come awards season.

    I’m thinking the best pic field will look something like:

    1. 12 Years A Slave
    2. Gravity
    3. Captain Phillips
    4. American Hustle
    5. Saving Mr. Banks
    6. Inside Llewyn Davis
    7. Monuments Men
    8. Lee Daniels’ The Butler
    9. August: Osage County
    10. Nebraska

    with Wolf of Wall Street factoring in if it airs this year

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