Don't you just hate it when you're trying to lie your way out of a dinner party and the only way you can get the guy you just stabbed to shut up is by snapping his neck? Nicholas Brody's been there.
Brody's bad day, at the center of this week's "Homeland" installment, showed him growing increasingly desperate as he loses control of both halves of his double life. Trying to satisfy his obligations to his family, his political allies and his terrorist bosses, he fails all of them.
Carrie is attempting to walk a thin line of her own in Episode 3 of Season 2, between crippling mental illness and idiosyncratic obsession with work. Shut out of a CIA meeting after her victory in Lebanon, she makes an aborted attempt to commit suicide, then is redeemed in a big way as Saul shows her a video that seems to prove she was right about Brody all along.
This is the second straight episode that concludes with the video of Brody explaining his sympathies, and we'll almost definitely see it again next week. But the most important development of this episode is Brody meltdown. He's supposed to be at a fundraiser for wounded soldiers with his wife and the Vice President Walden, but at the last minute he's ordered by Abu Nazir's people to drive up to Gettysburg and pick up an ally who's being watched by the CIA.
This great friendship sadly lasts just a few minutes, but the duo makes their time together count. A scene fixing a flat tire reveals, first subtly, that the fellow, Bassel, would like to kill Brody. It looks like he plans to hit him over the head with a tire iron, but then passes up an opportunity to run him over with a truck. (By the way, the logs as tire jack routine was amazing. Is that a real thing that can happen?)
Bassel eventually escapes into the woods, there's a fight and then Brody takes him down. We'll all just get back in the car and everything will be ... oh, he landed stomach-down on a sliver of a fence post. Brody tries to save the man, but won't go to the hospital. And of course he must take a call from his wife, who knows he's not shooting straight. And the neck snaps as he continues the faltering conversation.
Back in civilization, Jessica Brody continued her transformation into beltway matron complete with a gravity-defying coif and a dress in Ann Romney-red. Unfortunately for Jess, she's just playing dress-up and knows it. Her connection to the D.C. world of power fundraising is fully mediated by her husband, who is more interested in burying evidence than delivering a keynote address. Mike, offering his arm on the dark front lawn, looks more the war-hero-turned-politician sort than the disheveled, secretive Brody. Backlit by Brody's oncoming headlight, Mike and Jess make a handsome couple.
The Carrie-Brody plotlines ran so neatly parallel to one another that even small details of their predicaments, such as whether to pull up to an emergency room in a moment of crisis, echoed elegantly from scene to scene. By two-thirds of the way through the episode, both had hit their limits in a big way. Brody, in a shot evoking his years of torture in captivity, aimed a cold jet of water straight at his own head in a dark self-serve carwash. And Carrie slipped on her fake engagement ring and reflected her despair in the mirror.
Estes' refusal to include Carrie in the post-Beirut debriefing looked cruel at first; but then, anyone who reacts to being kicked out of a meeting by attempting suicide really probably shouldn't be in the meeting. As she drove around listening to manic Charlie Parker horns, it was as hard as ever to read her mental state and general ability to reason within the same three dimensions as those around her.
Three glasses of wine and two bottles of pills deep, Carrie decides to pull the plug on the suicide plan. The ensuing bathroom vomiting scene was very dark, but let's just say it did not have the same level of anatomical correctness that Brody's brief encounter with Jess did. That was gratuitous.
-How did the Brody video get in the bag that Carrie stole? Remember there was some suspicion about her source in that case. Could this be a setup? It's too early in the season for Brody to be shot down completely.
-Mike and Jess are back as a plotline. Can Brody deal with the strain?