Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn in Homeland (Season 2, Episode 6).
Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn in Homeland (Season 2, Episode 6). (Kent Smith/SHOWTIME)

Maybe Carrie's family is right about this job being too stressful. Beyond the psychological challenges of subterfuge and shifting loyalties, this week's episode of "Homeland" zeroes in on the broader, more tangible threat of violence.

Episode 6 of the show's second season yielded the first casualties of the year, as an investigation into Abu Nazir's U.S. network leaves a team of CIA agents with their backs to the wall in a shocking, bloody scene. This week's action also offered some payoff for awkward story lines and slow-moving action in some of the show's sub-plots and provided some new complexity in the relationship between Carrie and Brody.


If last week's interrogation scenes suggested that Carrie wielded some sexual power over her congressman/informant/terrorist/ex-boyfriend Brody, Episode 6 hinted the current had shifted. She's in his arms at the end of the episode, seeking consolation over her colleagues. Is she playing games to draw Brody in? Maybe, but it sure doesn't look that way.

As the episode begins, characters on all sides of the drama tail each other by foot and by car, sneaking around the garage, the ICU, and most fatefully, the tailor's shop. As the team tracks Roya, Brody's journalist/terrorist handler, we see her meet with a man who nobody recognizes. The quest to find out who he is forms the backbone of the episode's plot.

The only person who resisted the urge to snoop was Jessica, who waved away Brody's phone, somehow knowing that seeing "CIA" on the caller ID wouldn't really tell her anything she wanted to know.

At the Brody household, Jess shows that she is willing to give Brody another shot by offering him a Percoset (love!) for his busted hand. It would be easy to say that Brody had a rough night, but Dana is looking even worse. Facing the world as a potential accessory to manslaughter is rough.

Dana can't get past the image of the woman run down by the vice president's son, so she cuts class and heads to the hospital (the only hospital in D.C.?). There, she somehow figures out which patient is the accident victim and shows up just in time to watch her die. Dana appropriately freaks out, but gets no sympathy from her well-connected friend. After a few heinous dates, these two have our interest again!

Mike and his drunk friend are reconstructing a crime scene themselves -- visiting the creepy utility tunnel where Tom Walker was killed. They are looking for clues connecting Brody to the murder, and seem to be on to something before Mike gets an official cease-and-desist order from Saul and Estes. He takes his search to the Brodys' garage, where he discovers the smoking gun -- or rather, the missing bullet.

Convinced that this is the piece of evidence he's been looking for, Mike tries to warn Jess that Brody's up to no good. Unfortunately, Jess for some reason has decided to trust her husband again.

Meanwhile, Carrie is arranging special meetings with Brody. Despite Saul's and Quinn's admonitions, our paranoid heroine can't help but swoon in Brody's presence. Though Carrie insists the flirtation is all part of her game, she doesn't even seem to convince herself, much less her coworkers.

Called into Langley for more information, Brody (mostly) confesses the Bassel-the-tailor escapade to Carrie and Quinn, who wastes no time driving up to Gettysburg with a team of snoops to see what they can find in the now-abandoned shop. Carrie coaches Brody on baiting Roya with made-up information, which he reluctantly does. Roya reveals that Abu Nazir's people are watching the CIA team in Gettysburg, but at first it's not clear what she means by that.

Rifling through the tailor's collections of cigarette butts, menswear, and receipts, Quinn has some intuition that something may be about to go down. Before backup can arrive, masked men raid the store with tactical weapons, shooting the federal investigators and removing a giant black box from behind a hollow wall.

As they prepare to leave, one of them removes his mask and we see its the unidentifiable friend of Roya's from the first scene. Quinn, too, has spotted and perhaps recognized him, but will he survive to tell the tale?

One question:

So, what's in the box?