Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Hope 'Homeland' Just Gave Us A Red Herring...

After tonight's episode of Homeland, we've been led to believe that Sergeant Brody (Damian Lewis) is [SPOILER]. But with a television season chock full of cliff-hanger episodes that prove to be more often misdirects than anything else, can we trust that what we learned really is the whole truth? Series executive producer Alex Gansa told the Hollywood Reporter yes, but I hope that, too, proves to be a misdirect. Here's why:

(The following contains spoilers for those of you who have not yet seen the Homeland episode entitled "The Weekend.")

The characters in Homeland are all complex and interesting on their own, but I'll admit that the majority of what sucked me into the series was the idea of playing with truth and reality, layers of deception and paranoia. I relished every little tick Brody would exhibit, deeply studying it to see if was just a post-traumatic stress related personality change or if he really was "turned," a new sociopath secretly trying to make contact with other terrorists and lying in weight for his time to move more greatly. But at the end of "The Weekend," Carrie (Claire Danes) gets a message that no, in fact Brody is innocent, and it is actually his presumed dead POW in crime who has infiltrated American soil with a cover no one should suspect (you know, a dead guy...).

I don't want to take that at face value. Maybe it's the "writer's room" mentality of always trying to stay three thoughts ahead so I know where a story is going and how I should most appropriately respond in my review, but I like twists and turns, especially this early into a season, especially knowing there's another season on the way. I'm all for delivering answers, and usually I get offended when television writers out-right lie to their fans (either in interviews or on-screen), but I would really love it if, in this scenario, Carrie gets led down a rabbit hole chasing Tom, leaving Brody to plot something without eyes boring into his back. Just because Aileen (Marin Ireland) picked Tom out of the photos as her contact doesn't mean she wasn't as good a liar as Brody. Please let her be as good a liar as Brody!

If the threat of Brody being a terrorist is removed from Homeland as a whole, his character loses a giant piece of what makes him interesting. If Carrie is not chasing him out of fear (even if it's an unfounded fear), but now some kind of sexual connection, it becomes much more of a melodrama. And it's one that lacks a severe amount of conflict-- at least on her part-- so it would eventually have to fizzle out. Personally, I much prefer the idea of her just getting a little too comfortable with Brody, thinking he's squeaky clean (if a bit damaged) and "miss something" again. That gives both actors a lot of layers to play, and it keeps Lewis around in general.

Besides, in this scenario, Homeland didn't lie to its audience by saying Brody was innocent because it came from a character who really believed it at the time. Characters can be wrong; characters can be misled and therefore mislead. Though it would call into question why these high-ranking government officials are hanging all of their intel on the word of an already admitted terrorist... But that, too, would just add another completely juicy layer to see play out!

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