Thursday, November 24, 2011

HOMELAND (Showtime, Sundays, 10pm ET): Episode 2 Scene By Scene And Character Dissection

For some reason, people actually clicked on my episode 1 dissection of Homeland.  No one made any comments, positive or negative, so I guess it is safe to continue on to the next episode.  I have seen episode 8, and there was no incredibly groundbreaking information shared, that has made me re-think writing these.  Each week could bring a development that will make me want to stop, but I'll go ahead and do the dissection of episode 2, in hopes that nothing dramatic will happen in episode 9.

This post is likely to include a lot of spoilers, for episodes that are after this one, so if you don't want your viewing experience ruined, I suggest you stop reading now.  If you would like to read the episode 1 dissection, you can see it here.

HOMELAND (Showtime, Sundays, 10pm ET): Episode 1 Scene By Scene And Character Dissection

I warn you, these posts are going to be very long, due to how in depth I am making these dissections.  If lots of words scare you, these posts are probably not for you.  I hope episode 2 proves to be a fruitful journey on the way to discovering what this series is really all about.

Scene 1-Presumably Afghanistan Brody flashback

In the last episode, we were told that Brody was transferred to Afghanistan during some point of his captivity, so I am placing the location as Afghanistan, even though it is not stated overtly.

We begin the scene with a relatively clean shaven Brody apparently digging a grave wherever he is captured.  We are shown that Brody has dried blood on his hands, and he is singing "Marines' Hymn" under his breath, while digging.  Brody takes a brief break from digging, and points his eyes toward Corporal Tom Walker being dragged by two men, toward him.  Brody begins breathing extremely deep and heavily.  The dead Tom Walker is dumped into the grave, and Brody is removed from the grave by his captors.  As the captors turn him around to look at the grave, a gun is revealed, and is pointed at the back of Brody's neck.  He, defiantly, begins to sing "Marines' Hymn", again.  Eventually, the gun is fired (not seen), into the back of Brody's head, and we cut to a shot of Carrie jumping awake, in front of her surveillance.  Brody has also jumped awake.

As it was a dream, it's very hard to interpret what is real and what is not.  We can probably assume that Brody did have to dig Walker's grave, but that is probably the only real thing that happened.  It also serves the purpose of letting us know that Brody definitely has PTSD.

Scene 2-The Brody house/Carrie's home surveillance

The scene begins with Brody awakening from a night terror, in the daytime, to only him in the bed.  Carrie watches Brody, as he begins to sort through his dream.  Brody breaks down into tears, while Carrie is watching.

Scene 3-The Brody house/Carrie home surveillance

Jessica is in the kitchen making breakfast.  Brody appears at the frame of the kitchen, and is staring at Jessica, who doesn't notice him there, right away.  She looks slightly startled, as she notices him, and asks him if he wants coffee.  Jessica then yells at the kids to come get their breakfast, and that they're going to be late.  We also see Carrie watching this scene.  Brody walks up behind Jessica, and she is visibly disturbed at his touch.  He tells her to slow down, but she continues to move at a fast pace.  Brody stares down at her, thinking about what to say, and says, "It happened again, didn't it?"  Jessica tells him that, at around 4am, he was yelling something, outside, in Arabic, over and over again, and that he grabbed her arm, really hard, and wouldn't let go.  We then see Carrie rewinding the surveillance footage, and are shown Brody grabbing Jessica's arm via surveillance footage.  Brody asks her to show him, and she lifts the sleeve of her shirt to reveal some really nasty bruises.  Brody looks remorseful, and Chris comes into the scene, saying hi to his parents.

Chris then remarks that the throng of reporters, outside, has been there all night.  Brody goes to look out the window.  Dana appears in the scene, calls Chris a name, and is admonished about her language.  The phone rings, and Brody emphatically asks for it not to be answered.  It is too late, as Dana has already picked up the phone.  Dana says that it's CBS News, and Jessica says that it's the third time this week.  Brody then tells Dana to tell CBS News that he's not there.  Dana looks at Brody and says, "He says he's not here.", and hangs up the phone.  Brody looks aggravated, and Jessica has a kind of confused look on her face.  There is an awkward pause, and Brody reminds Jessica that he thought she didn't want to be late.  As Brody walks by Dana, Jessica tells him that maybe she should take another day off.  Brody tells her that after all the years on his own, he thinks he can handle one more day, smirks at her, and tells her to leave.  Brody and Jessica kiss, her and the kids leave, and Brody watches out the window as the reporters follow Jessica and the kids to the car.  We see Carrie watching Brody, as he stands there.  Brody has an expression on his face that looks like he is about to cry.

The important thing in this scene is that Brody is having PTSD night terrors.  He violently lashes out in his sleep, and has hurt Jessica's arm.  We are also told that he has been outside screaming things in Arabic.  The look on Brody's face, at the end of the scene, makes me think that he feels he has gone from one prison to another, because of the reporters.

Scene 4-Brody's prison cell flashback

Brody, again relatively clean shaven, is marching, in his tiny cell, with a limp.  He hears ghostly voices appearing to chant in Arabic, and starts saying, "Hello? Hello?"  He limps over to the door of his cell, and begins screaming "HELLO".  We then cut back to Brody, with the same look on his face that was at the end of scene 3.

That scene just probably illustrates what I said I think he felt, about the reporters causing him to feel like he is still in prison, in that moment. 

Scene 5-Outside the Brody house

We hear the thud of something hitting the house.  Brody storms across the living room, and opens the front door.  Reporters immediately begin to ask questions, and we see that someone had thrown a newspaper at the front door.  Brody stands outside, seemingly shocked at the scene, and we see Max standing behind the reporters.  Brody turns around, and goes back inside the house.  He pauses at the door, in an obviously bad state, and leaves the room. 

Scene 6-The Brody bedroom

If I am not clear, during this entire set of events, Carrie has been watching the surveillance cameras.  She begins to write something down, when Brody leaves the room.  We see Brody standing behind a door in his bedroom.  The second shot becomes the first Dutch Angle of the series, and we hear the phone ring.  He is about to have a PTSD episode.  While Brody is contemplating what to do, with a disturbed look on his face, Carrie continues to watch. Brody moves an ottoman out of the corner, and stands pressed up against the corner, with his eyes closed, while the phone continues to ring.

We cut back to Carrie writing on her notepad.  Much of it is out of focus, but here's what I can definitely read that she has written about what has gone on in this sequence of events.

Carrie's notepad:

Alone in house
Ignores phone call
Ignores phone call
Shame? Fear? Tortured

As we cut back to Brody, he slumps to the floor, and we see another flashback.

We have now had our first true appearance of a PTSD episode, and it is clear that Brody is definitely suffering.

Scene 7-Brody's prison cell flashback

We begin the scene with Brody slumped into a corner, closely matching the pose of the previous scene.  A huge difference in this scene is that Brody has a shaggy beard.  The beard is apparently more important than I originally thought, as I seem to remember that Brody was relatively clean shaven in the scenes where he was beating Walker to death.  We should now assume that Brody beat Walker to death relatively early in Brody's captivity.

There are multiple intercuts with Brody in flashback and the present.  I don't know much about PTSD, but my assumption is that he is trying to find his "happy place", to be able to deal with what he's feeling.  If I am right, his "happy place" (as happy as he can get, at this time) was at a time where he had a beard.  Also, the cell he's in does not appear to have any comforts, but it is definitely larger than the first cell they showed him in. 

Scene 8-Saul in a private club

The scene begins with Saul on the phone with the Crypto team leader, Pittman. Saul is told that there is no apparent pattern to Brody's finger tapping, and that Pittman has no basis with which to try to decipher anything.  Pittman tells Saul that he will keep trying as long as he needs, but that there is nothing definitive one way or the other, yet.  Saul says, "Keep looking.  I wanna leave no stone unturned on this."

We notice Saul has been looking at a painting.  A man walks in and asks him what he thinks, to which Saul replies that it is definitely an original.  I don't know much about art, but I believe it is a Rembrandt painting.  Here's a transcription of the conversation about the painting.

Saul:  Oh, definitely an original.  By one of the preeminent Dutch painters of his time.
Man:  Relatively recent acquisition, if I'm not mistaken.
Saul:  By an artist, who as it turns out, was not only Dutch, but also Jewish.
Man:  In a club with no Jewish members.  (The man gets a snide look on his face)  And that was your point, wasn't it?

Both men proceed to sit down, without shaking hands.

Man (offering Saul coffee):  How do you take it?
Saul:  Your Honor, I'm not asking for anything that hasn't been granted many thousands of times over, in the last ten years.
Judge (will refer to him as this, since we now know who he is):  Surveillance warrant, on an unspecified subject, on American soil.  If this were a standard request, you'd go through standard procedure, Saul.
Saul:  Well, in this case, I don't have time for a government lawyer to petition the court.
Judge:  So, you're asking me to issue a FISA Warrant directly, then? (laughing)  What is it, exactly, you do at Langley these days?
Saul:  Among other things, pay house calls to those I'd prefer not to have to--
Judge:  Strong arm?
Saul (pausing):  Disturb.
Judge (after awkward pause):  Are you ever going to let me off your hook, Saul?
Saul (laughing):  We both know you're far too fine a judge for that, Jeffrey.
Judge:  Can we at least act like this is about the law, rather than a brief moment of weakness, in my past?
Saul:  This is absolutely about the law, Your Honor.
Judge (sarcastically laughs):  Hmm.

The Judge then passes Saul an envelope, which Saul proceeds to open.

What we've learned from this scene is that Saul also has ways of getting people to do what he wants.  In this case, he knows embarrassing information about the Judge, which allows Saul to continue to go to him, when he has a need.  The other important thing about this scene is that Carrie is now legally off the hook for her illegal surveillance, as nothing of use has been found, yet, that could get thrown out of court, due to the illegal nature of the previous surveillance.  Something you should also pay attention to is Saul's use of language.  He is a master wordsmith, and is likely in charge of writing every press release that comes out of Langley.  As I said in the dissection of episode 1, make sure to pay very close attention to every time Saul is on the screen.  I am hoping to pick up most of my clues about what's going on through him. 

Scene 9-Carrie's bathroom/home

We see Carrie in her bathroom, after a shower, and we realize that she only has one Clozapine pill left.  She calls someone named Maggie (later revealed to be her sister), and leaves a message asking to see her family the next night.  We then see Brody, still sitting in the corner, on the surveillance monitor.  Carrie is painting her toenails.  While Carrie is painting her toenails, she is visibly frightened to hear the footsteps of someone entering her home.  Saul appears at the opening to her living room, and Carrie reminds him that she has a doorbell.  Saul asks her if she really thinks she has a right to privacy with all of her surveillance gear set up.  He then tells Carrie that her doorbell is broken.  He is holding the envelope he received from the Judge, and Carrie asks him what it is.  Here is a transcription of the conversation.

Carrie:  What's that?
Saul (holding up the envelope):  This gives you four weeks.
Carrie:  You got a warrant?  A FISA warrant?  We're legal now?
Saul:  Legal-ish.  But far from official.  And certainly not Estes-proof. (Carrie tries to grab the envelope, which Saul pulls away).  Be very careful not to mistake this for a stamp of approval.  Or a sanction from me for you to wage some sort of personal war.
Carrie:  Eyes on Brody makes complete sense.  It's exactly what you'd have done in my shoes, Saul.
Saul:  No, it is not.

There is an extremely awkward, long pause between the two of them.

Saul:  You lied to me about it, Carrie.  And right here in this room, when I called you on it.
Carrie:  I know what I did, and I know it was wrong...and insulting.
Saul (disdainfully):  Insulting...  That barely scratches the surface of what that was.  Four weeks, Carrie, not a second longer.

She then tells Saul she wants to show him something.  She proceeds to tell him about the nightmares Brody has, where he is repeatedly begging someone to kill him, in Arabic.  She says that Brody either has too much shame, is too scared, or both, to face the press, outside his house, or answer phone calls from the TV news, so he just sat in the corner of the bedroom.  She then says that he's been there, without moving, for over five hours.  Saul tells her this is perfectly normal behavior for someone who has spent 8 years in captivity.  She thinks it might be more than that.  Then, Saul tells her this perfect gem, that I will transcribe for you.  If you have seen all of the episodes, you will remember what happened not too long from now.

Saul (thinking):  If Brody had really been turned, as you say, you know what he'd more likely be doing by now?  Talking to the press outside his house, doing TV interviews, playing the hero card for every penny it's worth.
Carrie:  Maybe it's not that simple for him?
Saul (getting up to leave):  Get some sleep, Carrie.
Carrie:  No one said becoming a terrorist was easy, Saul.  (Saul pauses and turns around)  If you'd been taken prisoner, tortured for God knows how long, and somehow finally been turned.  Then one day you come home, and suddenly it's real, it's on.
Saul:  Well, that's one interpretation.  But that's all it is, at the moment.  Clean your apartment, and eat some real food.

Saul leaves, and Carrie looks down at her unfinished toenails.  While we are waiting to see the transition to the next scene, we hear some of a The Game influenced piano cue.  I believe this is a motif, and is a blurring of the reality lines, in the series, as Saul appears to think Carrie is blurring actual reality by over thinking the situation.  Saul intimates this could be a side effect of her not having had enough sleep and a poor diet.

There are a bunch of important things in this scene.  First, Carrie is nearly out of her anti-psychotic medication, and makes a call that leads us to believe she's going to get a refill from the person, Maggie (who we later find out is her sister).  Second, Saul has just as many problems with boundaries, as Carrie, as this is now the second time he has broken into her home.  Third, Carrie has a FISA warrant, but it's not exactly legal, what they're doing.  Fourth, Estes can certainly find out about it, if someone decides to tell him.  Fifth, she has exactly four weeks to conduct her investigation, and not a moment longer.  The implication is that Saul will tell what she's done, if she doesn't close up shop, after that time period has expired (provided no new information is discovered).  Sixth, they discuss what the actions would be of someone who had really turned.  Those, who are already caught up on the series, know what will eventually happen, in regards to this.  Finally, Saul basically tells her that she's thinking too much, that she needs to get some sleep, and eat real food, so that she can think clearly.  He's not exactly buying what she's selling.  Saul also appears to have first hand information about how a captive would react, upon arriving home, after being away for so long.  He also has a distinct pause, when she says that "No one said becoming a terrorist was easy, Saul."  That pause could mean nothing, or it could mean a lot.  Again, always keep your eyes on Saul, when he's in a scene.

Scene 10-A high end hotel

Important Character Introductions (a reminder is that all character bios are furnished by either Wikipedia or imdb):

Lynne Reed-Former member of Prince Farid Bin Abbud's harem
Stacy Morton-Prospective new member of Prince Farid's harem
Latif Bin Walid-Majordomo to Prince Farid, who is a Royal Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

We begin the scene with a bunch of beautiful women holding head shots.  A man walks into another room, where a woman is standing topless, and in her underwear, while being videotaped and interviewed by another woman.  The woman introduces the person being interviewed as Stacy Morton, and that the man is Latif Bin Walid, Majordomo for His Highness Prince Farid Bin Abbud.  Stacy is asked about her personality, and Latif appears to be very interested in the way she looks.  Dissatisfied with Stacy's answers, the interviewer tells her that the job she is interviewing for will pay her more in two years, than most people in the U.S. will earn in 20.  She then goes on to say that if she gets the job, she will be required to appear "self-possessed, confident, modest, and reticent, all at the same time".  She is told to stop asking what the interviewer means, and to start answering for herself.  Once the interview resumes, the first question the interviewer asks is "Do you enjoy anal sex?"  Stacy says "Excuse me?", and the interviewer stands up, and then asks her if she enjoys other women.  Stacy then says, "Sure, both".  When asked if she had ever dated anyone famous, Stacy replies that it is none of the interviewer's business.  The interviewer then proceeds to touch Stacy's crotch, and tells her that hair down there is not an option, for His Highness, and that she needs to wax it.  The interviewer turns to Latif, who nods in approval.  Stacy is told that she has made it through the final interview, will be contacted next week, and that she can get dressed.

Once the interview is over, the interviewer begins to place a phone call.  Latif suspiciously asks her who she is calling.  The interviewer says that she is also in need of a wax job, prior to Prince Farid's arrival, and offers the phone to Latif, if he wants to book the appointment himself.  He takes the phone from her, and hears music.  She convinces him to give her back the phone, and asks him to select the next woman to come in.  While Latif is away, the interviewer is nervously hoping someone will pick up.  Here are her exact words.

The interviewer:  Hi, this is Lynne Reed, two e's, I was referred by one of your clients, Carrie.  Yes, that's her.  I need to book a Brazilian wax for noon, tomorrow.  Right.  No, that's the only time I can do it.

We then cut to the person who is on the phone with Lynne Reed, and it is a Duty Officer at the CIA.  After the phone call ends, the Duty Officer calls Carrie, and tells her that she has an asset in from the cold wanting treatment at the Euro Spa, in Georgetown, tomorrow.  Carrie then asks if it is Lynne Reed.  The Duty Officer confirms that it is, and when told that the appointment made is for noon, Carrie gets a worried expression on her face, and double checks the time with the Duty Officer.  Upon confirmation, she hangs up and paces the room with a worried expression on her face.

This scene is mostly important for character introductions.  However, we do learn that Prince Farid has a voracious, and fetish filled sexual appetite.  We also learn that the interviewer, Lynne Reed, is one of Carrie's assets, in the field.  Latif is essentially Prince Farid's right hand man, and his character will have some very important business to transact in the not too distant future.

Scene 11-Carrie's home surveillance/The Brody house

Carrie hears a door shut on the surveillance camera, and begins watching.  Jessica has arrived home, and Chris is watching TV.  Jessica asks if Dad is home, and Chris responds that he doesn't know.  Immediately after that, we cut to Brody, still sitting in the corner of the bedroom.  After hearing Jessica's voice, Brody stands up, puts the ottoman back in the corner, and goes to meet Jessica.  She arrives in the bedroom before he can come out, and Jessica asks him how his day was.  Brody turns on a light, smiles (with a peaceful, vacant expression on his face), and says, "Great!"  We return to Carrie, and she has a rather appalled look on her face about his apparent hyperbole, about his day, since we know he has spent all day cowering in a corner.

I think the most important thing about this scene is that Brody has not moved from his position, of the morning, all day.  This gives us the idea that he has been in this position for at least 10 hours.  Then, with the flip of a switch, his personality becomes sunny.  This is a strange thing he will do a bunch of times in the series.  His personality seems to go on and off like a light switch.  The irony of him turning on a light, and then turning on the light of his personality made me laugh, this time around. 

Scene 12-The Pentagon

We see Captain Mike Faber walking down the hall, after an establishing shot of The Pentagon.  Mike goes into his office, where he finds Estes and Major Foster.  Foster has helped himself to Mike's booze, and hopes that Mike doesn't mind.  Mike is very annoyed during this scene, and his sarcasm and discomfort is apparent throughout the scene.

As Mike enters the room, he gives two looks to Estes (one upon entering and one before walking across the room).  This could be classified as a "knowing" glance, though we do not know what their connection is, at this point.  It almost seemed like a look of dislike, due to something that has happened previously.  Major Foster tells Mike that he thought they would stop by for a Situation Report on Sergeant Brody, and hands Mike a drink.  Here is a transcription of the Situation Report scene.

Mike:  The Situation Report on Brody is this.  He's been back three days, and it's going to take a little more time until he is willing to come out of his shell, let alone his house.
Major Foster:  The man represents a significant victory in the War On Terror, thanks to our friends at the CIA.  Now, putting aside for the moment that Sergeant Brody owes them his life, these are the facts.  Bin Laden's dead, and America thinks, or wants to think that this war is drawing to an end.  Politicians are pushing for wholesale withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Estes:  But, as we all know, Captain, the terrorists are still out there, after blood.  We need Brody in the public eye, reminding America that this is far from over.
Mike:  What if he's not up for it?  Psychologically?
Major Foster:  F*** it.  Drive on.  Isn't that what you Marines say?
Mike:  In combat.  Where we also s*** in Saran Wrap, and shoot to kill.  You want Brody to do that, too?
Major Foster:  Don't take that tone with me, Captain.
Mike:  Career pencil pusher with his brown nose in my Scotch saying, "F*** it.  Drive on."
Major Foster:  You're a Captain, in the United States Marines.  You mean to tell me you can't give a Sergeant a direct order?  Is that what you want me to report up the chain?
Estes (standing up):  Look, Mike, I get it.  You and Brody are friends, right?  And, by the way, how's his wife, Jennifer, doing?
Mike:  Jessica.

Estes gives him a look that says, "No s***".  After this look, Mike, realizing what's going on, gets a look of shame, and looks down.

Estes (finally picking up his drink):  If not for us, Brody should at least do it for her, for their kids.  And I'm sure you're more than familiar with their current financial problems.
Major Foster:  DOD is offering a very generous re-enlistment package, plus a promotion, that could pull his family out of the s***ter.
Estes:  Give your friend the correct advice, Captain.  Make it happen.

This scene is very interesting in a few ways.  First, and foremost, we have just learned that Brody is meant to be part of a propaganda mission.  We don't know who Major Foster is, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that he is probably part of the P.R. Department, much like what I feel Trujillo was.  The line about "career pencil pusher" tells you he was not a soldier.  One of the other important aspects of this scene is how rank was treated.  In multiple lines, Brody is referred to as Sergeant Brody.  Mike is referred to as Captain.  They are setting up a clear delineation in rank, and want to make sure you are aware of it.  Then, towards the end of the scene, Estes refers to Captain Faber as Mike.  I haven't talked all that much about it, but I'm pretty sure Estes referring to him as "Mike" means that he knows him on a more personal level.  We also find out in this scene that the Brodys are in deep financial trouble.  If Brody is willing to play along, this would fix all of the family's financial problems.

The overall implication of the scene is that if Brody doesn't re-enlist, there may not be a better way to "sell" the War On Terror, and that if he doesn't re-enlist, his family's financial problems will likely be devastating (damned if he does, damned if he doesn't).  Regardless of where the series goes from here, we had it directly spelled out for us that the desire is for Brody to be used as a tool of propaganda, to promote staying in the Middle East, at the very least.  We also get the inkling that Mike still has a healthy distrust of authority, in this scene, as evidenced by his willingness to show up someone with a higher rank than him.  However, as of this scene, I don't believe we have had any more in depth professional character reveals, about Mike, through episode 8.  Just keep in your head that Mike is in Military Intelligence.  I believe what he does is very important to the overall story, but I don't know why, yet.

Scene 13-The Brody house

I'm going to take a moment to talk about the American flag, in this series.  On most of the houses of the characters, in the show, an American flag is displayed.  I do not know whether this is a visual clue (I'm going to begin looking more closely at it, if I can remember), but it's something I'm going to note, every time we see one.  I believe Saul's house has one, as well.

The scene begins with a throng of reporters outside of the Brody house, in the early morning.  Right before that, the transition began with a shot of the American flag on the outside of the Brody house.  Inside, Chris is playing a video game, and Brody is attempting to make breakfast.  Chris pauses his video game, and asks Brody what it's like to kill somebody.  During a long pause, while Brody is deciding how to answer, we cut to Carrie watching him.  Just as Brody is about to answer, he looks out the window and notices a photographer trying to get a shot of him.

Brody goes outside to confront the guy, who wants to ask him a couple of questions.  Brody tells him that he has 10 seconds to get off of his property.  The photographer tells Brody that he is technically standing on an easement, to which Brody responds, "5 seconds."  Brody begins to walk away, and the photographer says, "Come on, Nick", and starts chasing after Brody attempting to ask him a question.  Brody snaps, and delivers and open handed blow to the photographer's throat.  Immediately after doing this, Brody lifts his head, and closes his eyes, with a "what have I done?" expression on his face.  Carrie is shocked when she witnesses this (as it cuts to Carrie, in a zoom, in the music, we hear something that sounds very similar to "Cuckoo", like from a Cuckoo Clock, twice).  When the camera cuts back to Brody, he is shot in a very disjointed way, which probably is meant to tell the audience he is about to have, or is having, another PTSD moment.  Brody looks as if he does not know what to do, and then notices Chris standing outside, looking at him.  Brody turns back toward the terrified photographer, and walks into the woods behind his property.  Carrie is very upset that she just lost surveillance on Brody, after this critical, extremely violent break.  As the scene transitions, we hear what appears to be Middle Eastern musical accents in the music cue.

While we were hoping to get Brody's thoughts on killing someone, the photographer ended up providing two pieces of information.  The first is that Brody is capable of snapping in wildly inappropriate, and extremely violent ways (this was also evidenced with the bruising on Jessica's arm).  The second is that Brody actually does go somewhere, when things aren't going his way.  His son saw his brutal violence, and this will not be the last time that Brody does something that will scare Chris.

Scene 14-Carrie surveillance/Brody leaves the property into the woods/The Brody house

Upon losing Brody, Carrie calls Max and tells him where to go to try to find Brody.  She tells him to call her once he has located him.  Right after this, Jessica comes out of the bedroom, in her robe, notices Brody's breakfast burning, and that no one is in the house.  Jessica asks who left the pan on the stove, and finds a very disturbed Chris standing by the patio door.  Jessica asks where Brody is, and Chris just looks shocked.  We then cut to Brody exiting the woods, and crossing a busy street.  We see that Max now has eyes on Brody.  Max follows Brody into a mall, but runs into a woman, and appears to at least temporarily lose Brody.

Scene 15-Surveillance shift changeover with Carrie and Virgil

Virgil enters, and tells Carrie that a big part of why he left the Company, to become freelance, was so that he could have a life.  He also tells her that Carrie is quickly becoming his wife's least favorite person.  She tells Virgil that she has to go meet with someone she recruited in Bahrain a few years ago, a professional girlfriend of a Saudi Prince.  He asks what the girlfriend has, to which Carrie responds that she'll find out when she meets her.  Virgil, picking up a carton of what appears to be day old Chinese takeout, asks if Carrie has any food.  She goes to her refrigerator, and says that she has a yogurt.  Virgil has a disgusted look on his face, and throws the carton of takeout onto the table.

This scene appears to mostly be a throwaway.  However, she did tell Virgil where she was going, and who she was seeing.  Just because Carrie trusts him, doesn't necessarily mean she SHOULD trust him.  After all, he made a point of saying he still works freelance.  He's not retired.  Generally, I would think that means he works for the highest bidder, no matter what side they might be on.  Due to that, I feel her lips really should not be as loose as they are regarding Agency business, with him, that is not directly related to the Brody surveillance he is involved in.  He's not part of the Company anymore, and the kind of stuff she is about to go do should be classified, due to the imminent danger the asset could be in by talking to her.  We also learn that Carrie completely neglects herself, once she becomes engrossed in a mission. 

Scene 16-Carrie meeting with Lynne Reed

Lynne Reed meets Carrie in the spa, at noon.  A noon meeting is a code red.  When Reed arrives, she nervously checks behind her, as she enters the room where Carrie is sitting.  Carrie asks Reed why she's in D.C., and Reed tells Carrie that she's pre-screening more girls for Prince Farid's harem, prior to his arrival in the morning.  Carrie asks why it is a code red meeting.  Reed tells her that five days ago, in Cypress, while aboard the Prince and his yacht, that Latif Bin Walid told the Prince he had a surprise visitor.  Carrie asks who the visitor was, and Reed responds to Carrie saying, "You know that they stone women like me, to death, if we get caught doing anything that we're not supposed to?"  After a brief pause, she then hands her cell phone to Carrie, and shows that the visitor was Abu Nazir.  In the cell phone footage, Prince Farid is shown speaking with Abu Nazir.  Carrie gets an orgasmic look on her face, upon seeing Abu Nazir.  Right after this, Lynne tells Carrie that she wants out.  She is terrified about what she has witnessed, that Farid's people are going to suspect something, and that she just wants to stop providing information, now.  Carrie tells her that all she needs to do is keep her eyes and ears open for the rest of her contract.  Reed tells Carrie that's what she said when Carrie recruited her in Bahrain, but that, when she agreed to do it, she never thought she would end up 8 feet away from the most dangerous terrorist, in the world.  Here is the rest of their conversation.

Carrie:  You are the only Agency asset to have had eyes on Nazir, in seven years.
Lynne:  Asset? I am just some girl, from Sandusky, Ohio, you talked into helping out our country.
Carrie:  And I won't let anything happen to you.  Don't quit on me now, please.  You can't.  Don't think I don't appreciate what it took for you to do this, Lynne.

Without saying another word, Carrie leaves.

The main point of this scene is exposition.  Even though we have always assumed Abu Nazir is alive, we have now found out that he has apparently been in some form of hiding.  No Agency asset has had eyes on Nazir, for seven years.  The other aspects of this scene are character related.  In the case of Reed, she really had no idea what she signed up for, when becoming the Prince's professional girlfriend.  She also had no idea what she was getting into, when she agreed to be an asset for Carrie.  This shows that she is very naive, and does not rationally think before acting.  As for Carrie, when confronted with the idea that Reed feels she is in mortal danger, spying on the Prince, Carrie tells her that she will protect her.  This is an empty promise, as we know that Carrie leaves collateral damage in her wake, and there is no way she can really protect Reed from afar.  Carrie now has crucial information, and that kind of information leads to the type of steamrolling she usually does that hurts people.  The fact that Carrie leaves without getting an answer from Reed tells the audience that she won't take no for an answer.  Another key point is that Carrie doesn't look at Reed as a person, she looks at her as an asset.  She looks at people like they are pieces on a chessboard, to be used how she feels, and completely ignores their feelings, regardless of the risks the people are taking.  This will be a recurring theme, in future episodes. 

Scene 17-Carrie leaves meeting with Lynne Reed

As Carrie is leaving, she immediately calls Saul, and this is their conversation.

Carrie:  Alert the group, Saul.  Inform Estes, this is a game changer.
Saul:  Can you be more specific?
Carrie:  I don't want to talk on an open line.
Saul:  Source protection?
Carrie:  It's way past source protection, Saul. (after a brief pause)  I've got a visual confirm on the Sandman.
Saul:  What?
Carrie:  You heard me.  Actual eyes on.
Saul:  How far away are you?
Carrie:  20 minutes.
Saul:  I'll assemble the group.

There are three things I want to note, here.  First, Carrie, you sure have some loose lips.  You tell Saul that you don't want to talk on an open line, yet you are so excited, about the news, that you, nearly immediately, tell him what you didn't want to say on an open line.  This is bad news if anyone is tapping into her phone conversation.  The second thing is that Saul looks outside of his office, as he's on the phone with Carrie.  That's probably unimportant, but I am noting everything that could be noted.  The final thing, again visual, is that Saul immediately dials a phone number that has at least 7 digits, in it, after getting off the phone with Carrie.  If he's gathering the group, why would his first call be to an external number?  In my opinion, if it weren't important, they would have cut before he pressed a fourth number.  I think it means something, but there's no telling what it is, right now.  Stuff like that is extreme analysis, and there is at least some possibility that it means nothing in the overall story. 

Scene 18-The Brody house 

The reporters are still outside the Brody house, as they always are.  Mike knocks on the front door, and Jessica asks why he's there.  Mike tells her that he has to talk to Brody.  Chris appears, and Mike says "What's up?" to him.  Chris reveals that Brody beat the crap out of somebody.  This visibly disturbs Jessica, and she yells at Dana that she asked her to watch TV with Chris.  Chris tells Jessica that Dana went to her room.  Mike asks who Brody beat the crap out of, and Jessica asks Chris to go watch TV for awhile, because she needs to talk to "Uncle Mike".  Chris agrees, and leaves.

Jessica invites Mike in, and he asks why the kids aren't in school.  This is their exchange.

Jessica:  You don't know?  Isn't that why you are here?
Mike:  Know what?  Hey, are you okay?
Jessica:  Brody hit a reporter, and then he took off into the woods.  Chris saw the whole thing.
Mike:  You need to take a breath, Jess, come here.

At this point, we visibly see Jessica pull away and put her hand up to stop Mike from touching her.  We then cut to a shot of Virgil watching the surveillance.  Virgil apparently feels this reaction is enough to write down on his notepad.

Mike asks how long ago it happened, as is told it was around an hour ago, maybe more.  Mike asks why she didn't call him right away, and then notices her nasty bruises.  He is visibly shocked.  Jessica tells him that Brody has nightmares, or flashbacks.  After this, we cut back to Virgil, narrating the scene, and preparing to eat a yogurt.  We hear Jessica saying that she has to make things work with Brody.  Virgil, mockingly, says, "This is where he tells you everything is going to be oookay."  Mike then says, "It's going to be okay, Jess."  She says, "Is it really?  Do you honestly think so?" and we cut back to Virgil taking his first bite of yogurt, and then spitting it out, because it's disgusting.

Of minor note, in this scene, is that Jessica is holding a phone, the entire time.  Nothing is made of it, so I won't read anything major into it, but it's there, and worth noting.  Brody's attack on the reporter has been made public (unless the reporter is an idiot), and Brody's attack on Jessica has also been made public (to Mike).  Someone outside the family has now been told that Brody has had a meltdown and PTSD symptoms, and that he is currently missing.  We also see that Mike and Jessica's relationship has already fractured, and that it will have no hope of continuing.  Jessica tells him that she has to make it work, with Brody.  This is the official end to their romantic relationship, as the unofficial end came when Brody was found to be alive.  The other part of the scene was mostly meant for "comedy".  Virgil says what Mike is thinking, and then we notice that even the yogurt in Carrie's fridge is bad.  Again, we are told that Carrie does not take care of herself, at all.

Scene 19-CIA

Saul does a walk and talk with Carrie.  Here is their interaction.

Carrie:  This is the first confirmed sighting of Abu Nazir in seven years.
Saul:  And very much to your credit, nobody is arguing with that.  But it's not enough to authorize a task force.
Carrie:  I'm not asking for that.  All I need is a few more bodies on Sergeant Brody.
Saul (slightly frustrated):  Look, the circle's small.  We keep it that way, til you have more than just a theory linking Brody and Abu Nazir.
Carrie:  So, Abu Nazir's re-surfacing just as Brody has miraculously returned home means nothing?  Is just a coincidence?
Saul:  The dots are there Carrie, but you haven't connected them, yet.
Carrie:  Saul, I understand that you're still furious with me, but, give me something, here, please.
Saul (exhaling with frustration):  I'm not telling you to stop.  I'm telling you to slow down.  FISA warrant, that gives you four weeks.  Use it...carefully, methodically.  Look, like it or not, you work for Deputy Director David Estes, who has career stakes in Brody, whom he and his department brought home to great fanfare.  Wanna challenge that?  You better be damn sure you got your ducks, in a row, first.

Right after this, Carrie calls Max to ask him where Brody is.  Max, while walking in the mall, tells her he doesn't know where he is.  She reminds him that if Brody can even get 15 seconds, to have a meeting, that will be enough, and that she's not going to miss that.  She emphatically tells Max to find him, and find him fast.  She ends with telling him to call her back.  Again, Carrie's excellent people skills are on display, in this conversation.

Carrie feels she has been given viable, actionable information about Abu Nazir, and the possible link between him and Brody.  Saul, however, stonewalls her thoughts.  He tells her to not get ahead of herself, and to be EXTREMELY careful about how she goes about her business, due to the ramifications of Brody's return to Estes's and others' career aspirations.  If this goes wrong, or she is wrong, she will be buried.  Saul is playing the part of Ezekiel, telling her that if she doesn't watch out, she's going to get burned.  If Saul didn't tell her these things, her blood would be on his hands.  Now that he's told her, her own blood will be on her own hands.  She has been warned.  This is the first real idea that Saul is going to begin throwing obstacles into Carrie's path, and that a real distance is beginning to develop between them.  Whether that means anything to the greater overall story is something that is still being determined.  These obstacles will begin to come up much more frequently, in future episodes.

Scene 20-Carrie conversation with Estes

Estes is holding a briefing, and sees Carrie outside the door.  He walks outside and congratulates her on the Abu Nazir find.  He tells her that everything on her desk needs to go on the back burner, and that he wants Carrie's asset on Prince Farid "like white on rice".  Carrie seems frustrated by the whole conversation.  He then tells Carrie that the first thing he wants the asset to do is upload the data on the Prince's Blackberry.  Carrie then tells Estes that the asset is scared out of her mind.  Here's that conversation.

Carrie:  I need to be able to guarantee her protection.  Backup.
Estes:  Would a four man fire team do it?
Carrie (surprised expression on her face):  Great! (relieved expression)
Estes (sarcastically):  For an escort you recruited in Bahrain?
Carrie:  Don't be a prick, David.
Estes:  You know damn well if we put a quick reaction team, on the girl, in this short time frame, we have no idea of who's watching.  If Abu Nazir even smells one on the Prince, he'll vanish...into thin air, again.
Carrie:  It's the QRT's job not to be detected.  You're saying you can't trust those guys to protect an asset in danger?
Estes:  It's my job to make the tough calls, Carrie.  The answer is no.  Your job is to control your asset.  She needs backup, you're it.  Get it done (hands her what looks like a thumb type drive).
Carrie:  Yes, sir.

Saul looks into the hallway, at Carrie, as she walks away.

From this scene, we learn that Estes is happy to have eyes on Nazir, and really wants to begin to exploit the asset (Lynne Reed).  He is, however, less than impressed at who Carrie's asset is.  Estes is willing to put the asset in extreme danger, just to attempt to get the information that he wants.  He appears to think of the asset as a piece of garbage than can be discarded, once she has served his purpose.  I think it's worth noting that Estes shares a lot of the same character traits as Carrie.  He will run people over to serve his purpose, as has been demonstrated in multiple scenes in the series, already (Trujillo asking for a delay, railroading Mike into forcing Brody to re-enlist, and not caring whether the asset's life is in danger).  He is motivated to succeed in whatever it is he is trying to accomplish, and it is clear that collateral damage means nothing to him, as well.  We also see the notion of rank coming into play.  Carrie is given a direct order, and responds with "Yes, sir." 

Scene 21-Brody in a hardware section, at the mall

We finally catch up with Brody, after his disappearance.  He is walking down the aisle of a hardware section in a store.  We also see that Max has now found him, and that he calls Carrie.  Max tells her that Brody is looking at everything, lumber, nails, screws, electrical wiring, power tools, you name it.  Carrie asks him if Brody is taking notes, or anything, and Max responds that "whatever he's doing. It looks like he's doing it all in his head."  Max tells Carrie that Brody is on the move, and tells her he will call her back.  As Max turns around a Security Guard stops him, and forces him to go another direction.  Brody continues on, with a disturbed, vacant, and weepy look on his face.  Here are the items that we see Brody pick up, and/or test during the scene.

1.  A light switch
2.  Welcome mats and floor rugs, in the rug aisle

This scene is pure misdirection.  The idea behind it is that Brody is looking at supplies he would need for whatever it is he is doing that falls into Carrie's feelings about him.  Max is following Brody, but is so bad at his job, that he is noticed by Security. 

Scene 22-Surveillance shift changeover/The Brody house

On the surveillance monitor, we see that the Brodys have been delaying dinner until Brody returns home.  They give up, as we see Virgil watching, and decide to eat.  We see and hear that Mike is there, presumably still waiting to talk to Brody.  Carrie returns home to relieve Virgil.  Carrie asks Virgil if there are any new developments.  He tells Carrie that he believes that Mike is really wishing Brody doesn't return so he can keep doing the wife.  Carrie makes a joke about breaking up being hard to do.  In the most significant development of the series, so far, Carrie has returned home with groceries!  Virgil asks if she has any popcorn in her groceries.  He is still really happy when she reveals that she has pretzels, and he quickly opens them.

As Virgil and Carrie continue to watch the surveillance, we transition into the scene at the Brody house.  Chris asks "Uncle Mike" if, since he's a Captain, if that means he's Brody's boss.  Mike gets a very annoyed look on his face, and ignores Chris's pecking at him, about this.  Then, Dana speaks up and says, "It's Irish Stew.  Dad's favorite, right Mom?", while appearing to give a disapproving look to "Uncle Mike".  Chris then asks if his dad is in trouble.  Mike says no, and we see Brody appear outside, at the door of his garage.  Mike continues on saying that the reporter should be in trouble, not Brody.  Brody notices that Mike is there, pauses for a moment, and then enters the garage, holding a bag, while being watched by Carrie and Virgil.

Carrie then asks why there isn't a camera in the garage.  Virgil tells her that, on her budget, he had to prioritize.  She becomes livid that there are no eyes and ears in there, and that they now have a "blind spot", where he just put a bag containing who knows what.

As we cut back to the Brody house, both Mike and Jessica notice the silhouette of a person in the garage, and Jessica goes outside to see what is going on.  Before Jessica can arrive at the garage, Brody comes out, and meets her in the driveway.  Angrily, Carrie asks where the sound is.  Virgil laughs, and says, "Not that you deserve it, but", and turns it up.  Carrie actually says, "Thank you."  Here is the conversation between Brody and Jessica.

Jessica:  Where have you been?
Brody (with peaceful look on his face):  I was out walking. (The look on his face is very similar to when he said "Great!", after sitting in a corner all day)
Jessica:  All day?
Brody:  Didn't know that wasn't allowed.
Jessica:  Please don't do that.  (Brody looks away, with the peaceful look on his face, and there is a significant pause)  You know the last 8 years haven't exactly been a picnic for me and the kids, either. (Brody, peacefully, nods).  One way or another, we've all changed.  We just have to find a way to start over.  (Comfort resumes between them)  You punched a reporter.
Brody:  Oh, he'll live.
Jessica:  In front of Chris.
Brody:  He'll live, too.

An awkward pause ensues, where Brody looks away, and Jessica looks kind of surprised.

Jessica:  That's it?  He'll live?
Brody (peaceful look on his face):  Dinner smells good.

Jessica looks at Brody like she doesn't know who he is, and it almost seems like she's scared of this.  They go into the house.  Brody notices that Mike and the kids are playing a card game.  He asks what it is, and Mike tells him that it is Hearts.  Brody, establishing rapport with the kids, says to not be fooled and that Mike used to double his paycheck, playing that game.  Mike winks at the kids.  Right after this, Dana uses a very vulgar phrase when referring to what Marines call the game.  She is again admonished, for language, by her mom.

We cut back to the surveillance, and Virgil jokingly says to Carrie, "Maybe the daughter's the terrorist."  They both laugh (Carrie half-heartedly), and Carrie says, "F*** you, Virgil."  They say goodnight, and we cut back to the Brody house.  Brody asks if it's his mom's Irish Stew, and looks very happy.  Then, something very important happens.  Here is the conversation.

Jessica:  Should we say Grace?
Brody:  We say Grace now? (everyone at the table gets uncomfortable looks on their faces)
Jessica:  When we have things we are especially thankful for.  Right guys?
Chris:  Can I do it, please?
Jessica:  Go ahead, sweetie.
Chris:  Dear God.  Thank you for bringing my dad back.  Please make him a Captain, too, just like Mike. (Mike winces and opens his eyes at hearing this)
Jessica:  What about the food, Chris?
Chris:  Oh yeah.  And thanks for the food.
Mike:  Amen.
Jessica:  Amen.

At the end of the scene, Brody casts a mistrusting glance at Mike, and, after Brody looks away, Mike shoots him a nervous glance.  Mike definitely appears to be worried that Brody knows what has happened between him and Jessica.

I'd like to talk about this portion of the scene, first.  One of my working theories about Brody is that he was an atheist before going off to war.  If he were involved in some deep undercover operation, it is best that the person believes in nothing, rather than believe in something that can be torn down.  Whether Brody's pre-war belief system will eventually fully be revealed is unknown, at this time.

When Chris begins to say Grace, Dana, Jessica, and Brody all have their eyes open, which would not be normal in a prayer, no matter how light the prayer is.  Having eyes open would generally mean disdain for praying.  It at least appears that Mike has his eyes closed initially.  When the prayer is ended, Mike says "Amen", and Jessica follows.  This appears to be a major plot point, in that it appears that Mike is likely a religious man.  Brody probably gathers that the only way his previously not religious household would have been introduced to praying is through Mike.  It's just another log on the fire of suspicion building for Brody about Mike.  It also appears that Brody gives Mike a pretty icy look, when Chris mentions promoting his dad to Captain.

The overall scene was very long, and drawn out.  On Carrie's end, the most important things are that there is a blind spot in the surveillance package, and that Brody has placed a bag of something in the blind spot.  This is officially the place where Brody can go to do things, undetected.

As for the dinner, it seems pretty obvious that Dana knows Mike has a thing with her mom.  She makes a subtle dig at him, in regards Irish Stew being her dad's favorite.  My guess is that Dana has a great dislike for Mike, and that Chris likes him a lot.

In the part of the scene where Jessica confronts Brody outside, the main thing we glean from this is that Brody is detached from reality, in some way.  He doesn't really understand the overall ramifications of his actions, and he really doesn't care, not even about the effect his actions have on his own son.  This scares Jessica, and is just another thing she needs to be mindful of.  He also just completely changes the subject, when she presses him further about the effect of his actions on his son.  Also, keep in mind that Brody had the peaceful, vacant look on his face, during this entire conversation.  We'll keep an eye out for when we see this look.  So far, if I haven't missed any, we had it when he turned the light on, after sitting in the corner all day, and here, when he was talking about walking all day.  I'm sure it will have more significance as the story progresses. 

Scene 23-Brody and Mike talk outside the Brody house

Brody and Mike go outside, and Mike offers Brody a cigar, which Brody declines.  Here is their exchange.

Brody:  Do you always come over here in uniform?  (the next part is said sarcastically, as a needle) Once a Marine, always a Marine.  Does it start something like that?
Mike:  Look, I'm not gonna bulls*** you.  You can't keep doing this Brody.

(We cut to Carrie realizing this might be important)

Brody:  Doing what?
Mike:  Come on, you know it's f***in' win-win.  Talk to the press.  Take that call from CBS News.  I mean, do an interview.
Brody:  Whoa, whoa!  Stop right there, Mike.
Mike:  They're gonna give you a promotion.  I mean Hollywood's going to do a f***in movie about you.  In the process, you get to provide for Jess and the kids (Jessica walks outside and hears this last line).
Brody:  I said stop!  The brass sent you over here to turn me into some f***in poster boy for their bulls*** war. (Mike gets a disappointed look, and looks down)  You know what?  You can go right back there and tell them the days I take orders from the United States Military, or the Government, are over.  Done.  (Jessica is still observing, and Brody has another long pause) You know what I really need, Mike?  (Brody steps in closer to Mike) I need the last 8 years back. (Mike clenches his jaw)  Where I get to take care of my wife and kids.  Where I don't get asked to go over there, and fight their F***IN war!  Where I'm not taken prisoner, not left out there to rot, never tortured, none of it.  (Mike clenches his jaw, again)  Can you do that for me?  Or is it too much to ask?  There's the door...(knowing sarcastic expression on Brody's face) "Uncle Mike".

And finally the action amps up.  This is what is called dramatic tension.  Brody went through hell and back, and now Mike is strong arming him to do what the brass wants, not even caring what Brody actually wants to do.  He also even goes so far as to talk about the Brodys' financial problems.  He is telling Brody that he needs to suck it up, do what the brass wants, and make a bunch of money in the process.  It is at this point that we find Brody is very bitter about his experience.  We find out that he thinks the war was bulls***, and he clearly understands that the brass is attempting to use him as a poster boy to prop up the "bulls*** war".  He's offended by this notion, and tells Mike to basically tell them to f-off.  All Brody wants to do is have his life be what it used to be, but no one can offer him that.  His life has changed, forever.  This is also another scene where we get the implication that Brody never believed in the war to begin with, and that he is exasperated to find that they want to use him to prop up a war that he didn't even believe in.  Brody's crack, at the beginning of the scene, about the uniform, also gives you an indication about his thoughts on the Military.  Finally, at the end of the scene, with Jessica watching, Brody sarcastically calls him "Uncle Mike".  If we were unsure about whether Brody knows something is up, this should make it very clear to the audience that he doesn't trust Mike anymore.  Trust me when I tell you this is going to be a very long, slow burn until it is officially revealed.

Scene 24-Chris's bedroom

The scene begins with Chris lying in his bed, writing in what appears to be a journal.  Brody appears at the door, and goes and sits on Chris's bed.  Here's what he says.

Brody:  There are times when you have to stand up for yourself, and what you believe in.  I wish you hadn't seen what you saw, today, but you did, and I'm sorry.  You gonna be okay?

Chris nods and smiles, Brody grabs his nose, and leaves.  We then cut back to Chris, still looking conflicted.

In direct contrast to the previous scene, with Jessica, where Brody appears not to care at all about his son's feelings, he does go in and apologize to Chris, for what he saw, although not for what he did.  He does appear to care, based on this scene.  The problem is that Chris doesn't appear to believe him (Chris lies convincingly to Brody's face, with his facial expression), and he still shows the same level of emotion he had when he witnessed his dad punching the reporter.  This scene also gives us the idea that Brody is two faced.  He is able to show emotion when it comes to his son, but he definitely appears to have put some kind of wall between him and Jessica. 

Scene 25-Carrie surveillance/The Brody house

We begin the scene with the sound of a college basketball game, through the surveillance, and Carrie enters the room, brushing her teeth.  We cut to Brody, who, looking weepy, and vacant, is watching the game.  Jessica comes into the living room and sits in front of the couch, looking at Brody.  Brody ignores her.  Eventually, Jessica, begins talking, and here is what she says, while Brody still ignores her.

Jessica:  You know, everyone just wants to thank you for your service.  (Jessica goes to hold Brody's hand, and Brody does not reciprocate, or even appear to notice that Jessica is there)  Your sacrifice.  Maybe they want to thank all of us, you, me, and the kids.  (Brody takes his hand from her, and put his hands behind his head)  Fine.  One day you're gonna want to talk about all of this.

They continue to sit in silence, and we see Carrie continuing to watch.

If we look at this scene on its base level, Brody appears to be completely detached from his wife.  When put in context with his actions of the scene with his son, and the earlier scene, with Jessica, it definitely appears that he has already begun putting up an emotional wall, between him and Jessica.  Jessica comes to him, and her words make it appear that some of this is self-serving.  This really detaches Brody, as, right now, his emotions are that he is being used, or screwed over, by everyone around him.  No one cares about how Brody feels about all of this.  They all want something out of what HE went through.

Scene 26-Washington, D.C. high end hotel

We see Latif Bin Walid walking with Lynne Reed, who he tells to take His Highness upstairs, to settle him in.  Reed asks how long until his next appointment.  Walid tells her, "Long enough".  As they continue walking, we see Virgil talking on a phone, and he runs into Reed, spilling his tea on her.  Virgil apologizes to her, and Latif tells him that's it's okay, and that accidents happen.  Latif tells Reed to go clean it off, in the bathroom, that she has less than three minutes, and that he will wait there.

As she enters the bathroom, Carrie comes out of somewhere inside there, and startles Reed.  Carrie hands her a compact, and this is what she says.

Carrie:  Under the sponge of this compact, there's a plug in device that will fit in the Prince's Blackberry.  It will need 45 seconds to upload all of his data.
Lynne Reed:  And let's suppose that I get that far?
Carrie:  You call the spa, again, and you hand it off to me in person.
Reed:  What if the device doesn't fit?
Carrie:  It will.
Reed:  You said before that you would never let anything happen to me.
Carrie:  And I meant it.  There's a team protecting you 24/7.
Reed:  Where are they?
Carrie:  Aside from the man who spilled tea on you, just now, who you won't see again, they're right under your nose.  But if you can see them, or know who they are, that's a problem.

Carrie then switches Reed's compact, and Reed walks out of the bathroom, with an expression that seems to say "you better be right, about this".  After Reed leaves, Carrie looks at herself in the mirror, and the audience is left to wonder whether she likes what she sees.

This scene is important mostly because of the transfer of equipment to the asset, and the explaining of the mission.  It is also important, because, again, Carrie lies right to her asset's face, about her protection.  It's beginning to appear that whenever Carrie feels like she is in control of someone, that it is remarkably easy for her to convincingly lie to them.  Pay attention to that idea, because her "ability" to lie will become a detriment to her character, as the series progresses.

Scene 27-Prince Farid Bin Abbud's arrival at the high end hotel

The scene begins with Prince Farid talking on his Blackberry, exiting a limo.  Reed goes out to greet him, and we see Carrie leaving the hotel from another direction.  Prince Farid appears to be happy to see Reed. 

Scene 28-Carrie's car/Maggie's house

We enter the scene with Carrie sitting in her car.  She appears to be conflicted about getting out.  She finally unbuckles her seat belt, and we find she is in a residential neighborhood.  There are two girls on the porch, and when they see her, they run to her screaming "Auntie Carrie!"  We now know, for certain, that Maggie is Carrie's sister.

Important Character Introductions:

Maggie Mathison-Carrie's sister, who is also apparently a Psychologist or Psychiatrist
Ruby Mathison-Maggie's oldest daughter
Josie Mathison-Maggie's youngest daughter

We find that there is still someone out there who has not been trampled by Carrie's self-serving ways...her nieces.  In every scene they're in, they show immense amounts of affection toward Carrie.  They even forgive her for forgetting about Ruby's birthday.  It turns out Carrie didn't forget Ruby's birthday, and she produces a present for her.  She then tells Ruby that she had to work last Saturday, and that's the only reason she wasn't there.  Directly after this exchange, Maggie appears on the porch, and Josie says to look what Carrie got Ruby for her birthday.  Maggie remarks how cool it is and reminds Ruby to say thank you.  She then asks them to go inside and do their homework, and that they can see Carrie after they're done.  Carrie is amazed that the kids are so well-behaved, and Maggie jokingly says, "I beat them.  Don't tell the neighbors.  Come on in."

Once inside, Carrie is sitting on the couch, and this exchange happens between her and Maggie.

Maggie:  Staying for dinnner?
Carrie:  I can't I'd--
Maggie:  love to, but you're slammed as usual?
Carrie:  Maggie
Maggie:  No, doll, you don't have to explain.  We worry about you, Dad and I.
Carrie:  Yeah.  How's he doin'?
Maggie:  Considering he has the same illness you have?  Well, now he's under my roof, he goes for regular therapy and treatment.  That's the deal.  So um, he's good.
Carrie:  Are you finished?  Come on, Maggie.  Ease up a bit.  Just once, give me a break.

Maggie passes Carrie a bottle of the blue pills.

Carrie:  Only seven this time?
Maggie:  Raiding my samples cupboard not only enables you, it jeopardizes my license.  So, uh, seven pills.  And we talk again in a week, not a month.  Or you could just deal with the problem like any normal person would, and go see a Psychiatrist.
Carrie:  I keep telling you to work where I work--
Maggie:  You can't disclose your illness, or they'll pull your security clearance?  I understand, Carrie.
Carrie:  I'm really good at what I do, Maggie.
Maggie:  And I'm not just a quack.

Without speaking, Carrie looks slightly embarrassed, and we get the idea that Carrie thanks Maggie for the pills.

Maggie:  Dad will be pissed he missed you.
Carrie:  Where is he?
Maggie:  Bill took the day off, and they went golfing.  You said you were coming tonight.  It's not even 6, yet.

Carrie goes over to Maggie and gives her a co-dependent hug (patting), says next time, and says she is going to go say bye to the girls.

This scene lets us know that Carrie is, in fact, ill, and that her sister is supplying her drugs.  We also find out that this illness runs in the family.  Carrie has been keeping her illness a secret, to retain her security clearance.  Our guess is that someone with her illness would be prone to paranoid delusions, which is certainly not an asset in her line of work.  We also find out that her nieces have unconditional love for Carrie, and the relationships with her nieces appear to be the only good and healthy ones Carrie has in her life. 

Scene 29-The Brody house bed/Flashback

We see Brody's face, as he is lying in bed, with his eyes open.  We cut to a bearded and long haired Brody, in flashback, saying "Hello?"  He says, "Please answer", and pushes on his cell door, which opens, though a chain is attached to it.  Brody grabs the chain, and it comes off the door.  He appears to be free from his captivity.

We cut back to Brody lying in bed.  As the shot zooms out, we realize that Brody is not lying in bed, he is lying on the floor.  He seems surprised by this.  He stands up, looks at Jessica, and then leaves the room.  We cut to Carrie lying, on her couch, watching the surveillance.  Brody walks down the hall, and we return to the flashback of him escaping his cell, and walking down the hall of where he is being held.  He walks with a slight limp.  Toward the end of the hall of where Brody is being held, he is showered in sunlight, that is too bright for his eyes.  We then cut back to Brody walking down the hallway of his house.  He leaves the house, and we see that Carrie sees him walk into the garage.  We cut back to Brody, as he turns on the light of his garage.  We cut back to Carrie, and see that she gets angry at Virgil, again, for his lack of camera coverage in the Brody garage.

While in the garage, we see Brody move some stuff, sweep out an area of the floor, and he begins messing with what appears to be the mechanism for the garage door opener.  He goes over to a workspace, picks something up, and then presses a button.  He raises the garage door, slightly, with the opener, and sunlight peeks through the bottom of it.  We return to the flashback, and at the end of the hallway is a door.  As Brody opens the door, the sun is extraordinarily bright.  It is so bright that he can't go outside.  We hear faint Arabic prayer chanting, and Brody turns to his right.  He sees people engaging in morning prayer.  A lone man looks at Brody (my guess is that this man will probably become important, in Brody's captive life, later).  The worship continues, and Brody continues to stare into the room.  We then cut back to Brody, washing his hands, in the garage sink.  After washing his hands, Brody goes to the bag he brought into the garage, the night before.  He pulls out a maroon carpet, unfurls it, and begins to pray, in Arabic, facing the light coming in underneath the garage door.  Brody then lays his hands out face up, as if he is holding something.  He appears to be missing only one thing in his re-creation of his true "happy place".  Brody is a Muslim.

Brody walks back to the bedroom, and Jessica is still sleeping.  Jessica wakes up as Brody walks in and this exchange happens.

Jessica:  Couldn't sleep?
Brody:  I was cleaning out the garage.  (Brody turns the light switch on, in the bathroom) Oh, yeah, I fixed the door.  (Brody's peaceful, vacant look returns in full force)

Brody closes the door to the bathroom, and Jessica looks almost happy at his mood.  Through surveillance, we see Brody, wearing his uniform, approaching the front door.  Carrie sees him walk outside, and stand on his front porch, waiting for the press to come to him.  As everyone notices what is going on, they all scramble to his porch.  Here is what happens next.

Brody:  You people ready?

Reporters begin to ask questions, and Carrie gets on the phone with Saul, telling him to turn on his TV.  Here is what she says.

Carrie:  Saul, turn on your TV.  It's happening.  Exactly what you said.  He's out there playing the hero card.

Carrie looks both excited, and extremely sad, at the same time.  The end credits begin.

This is arguably the most important scene in the series, so far.  It is full of symbolism.  It's very difficult to tell what is real, and what is not.  Since returning home, Brody has basically been in prison.  The press is outside his house, every day, waiting for answers.  He has tried to adjust, but has been failing.  If you paid close attention to the scene in the mall, Brody was looking for floor covering.  He also was trying to fix the light switch, and the garage door opener.  In other words, all of the time he spent at the store was to buy stuff that would help him carve out a private space, for himself, in the house (the garage).  We realize there was nothing sinister about what he bought.

There is also tremendous religious symbolism in that flashback scene.  Brody is walking toward an extremely bright light.  Upon finally seeing this light up close, he hears Arabic prayers.  He looks to his right, and sees people worshiping.  This brings him comfort, though it is hard to see, at first.  He has "seen the light", as it were.  He fixes everything up in the garage, and we ultimately see him set up a place to pray, with the culmination being that he is praying in Arabic.  He is now a confirmed Muslim, even though there were a few clues along the way, to point us in that direction, to begin with.  Prayer is what has been missing, from his life, since his return home, and once he goes back to praying, the symbolism of his home prison is lifted.  This is because it is the only way he can find true peace with what he has done, and what he is going to do.  The light switch goes on (remember the peaceful, vacant expression, always shows up after a light switch type moment), and Brody is ready to play the hero card.  I'll take a second to do some wild speculation, that could be true.  In the above scene, Brody sees an extraordinarily bright light, and associates it with prayer.  I'm willing to take a stab and say that I believe darkness to light could be producing a Pavlov's dog type response in Brody.  The first time I noted the peaceful, vacant look on Brody's face, in this episode, was after Brody had been sitting in the dark, for an extremely long period of time.  Shortly after turning on the light switch, flooding him with bright light, Brody's expression became peaceful and vacant.  At the end of the episode, once Brody turns on the light, in the darkened bathroom, the peaceful, vacant look returns.  Is this a definitive reason, for Brody's disposition changes?  I don't know, but it's something I'm definitely willing to throw out there for you to think about.

As for the rest of the scene, Carrie thinks Brody is playing the hero card just because that is what he would do, if he were an actual terrorist.  We know, based on what we saw (that Carrie didn't), that he has come to a full peace, by using prayer.  He re-created something that made him feel comfortable, and now he is ready to face the world.  Carrie has now been misdirected, because the behavior is exactly what Saul said would happen if he really were a terrorist.  It sets a very interesting stage for the coming episodes.

Wow, that was another exhausting, extremely time consuming dissection.  It is going to take every bit of energy I have to do these things.  I can't see myself doing more than one of these per week, just due to the sheer length of time they take, and how drained I am after finishing them.  No matter what, I am only writing these through episode 7, because that is where the important plot twist, in the series, occurs.  Everything else can just be what it is.  My purpose, for these dissections, is to find out if the plot twist that happened at the end of episode 7 was even plausible.  I have no agenda.  I am just going where the story takes me, no matter what that happens to be.

With that said, I am now going to reveal the plot twist, that happened in episode 7, so that you can continue watching the show, as I am, with that plot twist always in mind.  If you have not seen that episode, DO NOT read further, unless you don't mind it being spoiled for you.  What I am about to write will spoil it for you.  You have been warned.  I will make a few extra spaces in the blog, so you don't accidentally have it on your page, while reading this sentence.  I will also make the type really small, so you have to exert effort to read what I write.  I will make another huge bold typed statement, below (similar to the one directly below this sentence), when it is okay to return to reading, again, without huge spoilers.


HUGE SPOILER BELOW!!!! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT THE EPISODE 7 PLOT TWIST REVEALED, YET!!!!







































Corporal Tom Walker is alive.  Brody did not beat him to death.  This means there is now a 50/50 chance that Brody or Walker could have been the "turned" American POW Hasan told Carrie about.  If the plot twist is where the show is ultimately going, then we will have basically wasted nearly seven episodes developing the Brody as a bad guy premise.  If there is no longer overall plan, involving Brody, then we have no reason to understand why we have focused on him, so much up to that point.  After giving it a significant amount of thought, I have come to the conclusion that Walker is being used as nothing more than a decoy (almost a MacGuffin) to whatever larger plan/plot is going on.








Now that I have given you that spoiler, let's tie in what we saw, in this episode, knowing that Tom Walker is alive.  At the beginning of the episode, Brody is digging a grave for both Walker, and himself.  The "dead" Walker is dumped into the grave, and Brody, while singing "Marines' Hymn", has a gun pointed at his head.  It is intimated that Brody is going to be killed, as well.  Of course, we find out this was only a dream.  Since there is no chance anyone was killing Brody (he's still alive), we have no idea how much of his dream was real, and how much of it was made up.  Does he wish he could have been buried with Walker, as opposed to digging his grave?  That's impossible to know, at this point.  The main thing is that we have been provided no indisputable proof that Walker is dead, even though his eyes glazed up in his head, as if he were dead, at the end of the beating sequence.  We also have no idea what time period the beating took place over.  One thing is certain, though.  It happened early in Brody's captivity, because he does not have a beard.  That is, of course, if the beating even happened, at all.  In episode 8, we are shown Walker, and he has no evidence of scarring on his face.  If he was really beaten as badly as he appeared to be, in Brody's flashback, it seems there would be no way that his face wouldn't at least have some visible scarring.  After putting that idea in context with the dream, I am at least willing to entertain the idea that the beating never happened, at all.  It stands to reason that there would have also been tremendous scarring on Brody's hands, from such a beating.  There's so much going on, in the series, that I can't even remember how many times the beating is referred to.  It will definitely be interesting to see how this storyline develops, over the next five episodes.  I will now do a wrap up below the large bold type, about what we saw in episode 2.  You can scroll down for that now.


























































FUTURE EPISODE SPOILERS ENDED, YOU CAN RETURN TO READING, FOR MY FINAL THOUGHTS ON EPISODE 2. 

To wrap up, here are what I feel are the important storylines in episode 2.  I'll list them below, some may be slightly out of proper context order.

1.  Brody is having night terrors, and is suffering from severe PTSD, that has caused him to injure Jessica during his sleep.
2.  Saul gets Carrie a FISA warrant from a Judge that he has "in his pocket".
3.  Carrie is revealed to have an asset that is a professional girlfriend of Saudi Prince Farid Bin Abbud.
4.  Carrie's asset is the first asset to have seen Abu Nazir in seven years, and is asked to perform an operation to steal the data from Prince Farid's Blackberry.
5.  Captain Mike Faber is told by Estes and Major Foster that he needs to get Brody on board the propaganda boat they are creating around him.
6.  Brody punches a reporter in the throat, and disappears.
7.  There is extreme tension in the Brody love triangle of Brody, Jessica, and Mike.
8.  Carrie is warned by Saul to tread carefully with her newly obtained information, and to make sure all her ducks are in a row, before officially trying to link Brody to Abu Nazir.
9.  Brody shops for a laundry list of home improvement related stuff, or for something else.
10.  Mike tells Brody to get in gear, to do what the brass wants, and Brody responds that he doesn't want to prop up their bulls*** war.
11.  Jessica tries to convince Brody to play the hero card, and this drives Brody further away from her.
12.  We meet Carrie's sister, Maggie, who is supplying Carrie's Clozapine.
13.  There is a blind spot in Carrie's surveillance, due to budget constraints, and the blind spot is the garage.  Brody does something in the garage that Carrie can't see.  The thing Brody is doing that is unseen, by Carrie, is Brody engaging in early morning Muslim prayers, in Arabic.
14.  Brody meets the press.

It's amazing that I can even write down 14 storylines, for a single hour long episode of television.  This series is ridiculously layered, but it's not particularly convoluted.  However, there is still so much going on, that it is easy to get lost.  My final thoughts on the episode are these.  The plot twist of episode 7 can still make sense, based on what we saw in this episode.  What we are about to see from Brody may have nothing to do with whether he is a terrorist.  It is easy to make the case that his prayer session led him to being at peace with the decision to ultimately come out of the shell he has been living in.  This was another exposition heavy episode, but with the big reveals that happened at the end (Brody's a Muslim, and Brody meets the press), the story will now begin moving forward, in a big way, in the next episode.  To me, the blind spot is very important, as it hides important clues that could guide Carrie's surveillance investigation.  As Saul said, the dots are there, but we haven't connected them, yet.  Pretty soon, we should be able to begin connecting the dots of different theories.  In this dissection, I tried to break everything down as best I could.  I hope it wasn't too confusing to read, and I hope you got something out of it.  If you made it this far, I applaud you.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More "Cancellations"

Late yesterday, ABC came out with their mid-season schedule.  It comes as no surprise that Pan Am was not on it.  This means it has basically been canceled, even though one more episode of the season was ordered.  That means that 14 episodes will air before it drifts off into the moonlight.  Man Up! also suffered the same fate, though that should have come as no surprise to anyone who follows ABC sitcom ratings.  I haven't even posted on my blog about it, because I figured it would be dead on arrival.  All 13 episodes are in the can, and it looks like ABC is planning on airing all of them, if you are into that show.

For a little bit more on this, and the ABC mid-season schedule here are a couple of TV by the Numbers articles:

ABC Mid-Season Premieres

ABC Mid-Season Schedule Fallout

For those keeping count, here are the cancellations, so far:

1. The Playboy Club (NBC)
2. Free Agents (NBC)
3. Charlie's Angels (ABC)
4. How To Be A Gentleman (CBS)
5. Prime Suspect (NBC)
6. Pan Am (ABC, effectively canceled)
7. Man Up! (ABC, effectively canceled)

That means NBC and ABC are neck and neck for most cancellations, this season.  I don't have any other NBC or ABC shows pegged for immediate cancellation, so nothing should change until the first week's numbers of the mid-season (when Harry's Law moves to Sunday).

Outside of Man Up!, which I predicted to be DOA, before even one episode aired, I'm pretty sure I've gotten the order correct for cancellations, so far, this season*.  With this announcement, I am officially putting A Gifted Man (CBS) on the clock to go next.

*Yes, I know I have been flip-flopping on Pan Am and Prime Suspect, but the events went down almost as I expected, but in reverse.  My original prediction was that Prime Suspect was going to get canceled first.  However, NBC just held it and held it and held it, then skipped airing a new episode, and then did a huge week of promotion to try to prop it up.  Because of NBC's refusal to see the writing on the wall, I switched the cancellation order to be Pan Am and then Prime Suspect.  Then, ABC, in the face of terrible ratings, every week, never said a word about Pan Am.  Even though I never wrote it down officially, I always felt that Prime Suspect should have been gone first, once each series went a few more weeks.  At any rate, Prime Suspect was canceled on Tuesday, and Pan Am was effectively canceled yesterday.  I always figured both would be canceled in the same week, so there's probably really no harm no foul going on here.  If you want to beat me up about it, that's okay, but I have been screaming for the cancellation of Prime Suspect since October 14, when Charlie's Angels was canceled.  Unfortunately for us, we have to endure the burn off of the terrible series.  Whether I make it to the end is the big question.  I hated the episode "Wednesday's Child", and contemplated canceling the series from my viewing.  If last week's episode isn't any good, I'm done with it.  Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 18, 2011

HOMELAND (Showtime, Sundays, 10pm ET): Episode 1 Scene By Scene And Character Dissection

I am giving you fair warning that this blog post is likely to include a vast number of spoilers up to episode 7, which aired on November 13, 2011.  If you have not seen that episode, and do not want your experience spoiled, I suggest you stop reading this blog post, now. 

As I stated in my Coming Soon blog post about Homeland, I am going to attempt to dissect each of the first seven episodes in regards to how they play into the pretty terrible plot twist that happened at the end of episode 7.  I have no idea how this will go, at the writing of these words, but I hope it proves to be an informative read, and hope it provides strong insight to the things I feel about the show, rightly or wrongly.  With a show like this, there’s a good chance I could be wrong about what I think, but I’m willing to put it out there, as of right now. 

Starting from the beginning of the series, through episode 6, you can begin to form conclusions about what’s going on.  However, episode 7 threw in a relatively ridiculous plot twist that calls into question nearly everything we have seen in the Homeland universe, so far.  My goal with these seven dissections is to try to figure out what might really be going on, based on what we now know with the plot twist, at the end of episode 7.  By starting from the first episode, I will hopefully begin to see whether they have framed this sort of thing properly, as part of something bigger, or if it will just turn into a chase show.  I’m hoping the idea of a long con will prove fruitful, or I will end up being extremely disappointed.

I’m going to dissect each scene, and everything each character does, and then try to provide final thoughts about how what we saw, in each episode, fits into the big picture of the first seven episodes.  I hope you enjoy what I write.  It will likely be an immense amount of work.  Some info, such as full character names and titles were lifted from Wikipedia or imdb.

Scene 1-Baghdad, Iraq

Important Characters:

Carrie Mathison-CIA Operations Officer assigned to the Counterterrorism Center
David Estes-Carrie’s boss, who is Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center
Hasan Ibrahim-Carrie’s asset, who has been in an Iraqi prison for a year, but just had a "trial" and death sentence pronounced over the period of one day. 

We begin the series with Carrie Mathison trying to get David Estes on the phone, amidst a chaotic scene in Baghdad, that is also showing the preparations for an execution.  Upon Carrie reaching Estes, we learn that the character referred to as Hasan was convicted of blowing up 129 civilians in a marketplace in Ramadi, Iraq.  Carrie knows what he did, but doesn’t care, because she believes he is holding valuable intel about an imminent attack on U.S. soil.  Estes tells her that Hasan has been dangling that information for three months.  Carrie is trying to get his sentence commuted, because she wants whatever information he can give, and feels that since he is at the end of the line that he will be more willing to talk.  She appeals her case to Estes, who says that he has no say in what the Iraqis do with him, as it is their country.  She then responds that Hasan is Abu Nazir’s bomb maker, and that, if he is executed, every piece of information he knows about the organization will be lost forever.  Estes tells her that she had her shot at him, but that it is now over.  She continues to beg Estes for intervention, but he angrily tells her to shut it down. 

Carrie continues on to the prison where Hasan is being held, in direct defiance of Estes's orders, and meets a man outside.  She tells him that Estes didn’t go for it, and that she knew he wouldn’t.  She then hands him an envelope that is full of American currency.  Carrie then refers to a man who can apparently get her into the prison to see Hasan.  The man to whom Carrie gave the money says that he doesn’t think they can trust him.  Carrie’s only interest is in seeing Hasan, so she doesn’t care whether he can be trusted.

A guard leads Carrie into the prison to see Hasan, and adamantly tells her that she has only two minutes with him, talking through a hole in his cell door.  Carrie tells Hasan that the CIA would not intervene, to which he responds that he then has nothing to say to her.  Carrie then tells Hasan that she knows his family is in hiding, afraid for their lives, and tells him that she can guarantee they get to safety in Amman, Jordan, as long as he tells her what he knows.  Hasan asks her why he should believe what she says, at which point Carrie is interrupted by her inside guard, who tells her that they have to go.  She responds that he said two minutes, even though less time than that has elapsed.  The guard seems very scared, and leaves without Carrie, prior to an onslaught of guards coming down to the cell.  She then asks Hasan why she should believe him, that he claimed to be an important man, and that he had information about an attack by Abu Nazir.  He says he does have information, and Carrie tells him to prove it, or she won’t protect his family.  Right after this, while Hasan is thinking for a moment, at least four guards break into the area to detain Carrie.  Hasan rushes to the cell door and whispers something in Carrie’s ear.  While Carrie is being detained, Hasan yells at Carrie to “promise to protect them”.

This is the first sign we get that Carrie has a major problem with authority, and is likely to do whatever she feels is necessary to do what she feels she needs to do, regardless of the collateral damage it may cause.

Scene 2 (Ten months later)-Washington, D.C., Carrie’s home

We are shown a home office, in a living room, that has a chart of the various people in Abu Nazir’s organization, including a picture of him, and we are shown various pictures and posters relating to jazz music on Carrie’s walls.  Carrie enters from an apparent out all-nighter, and proceeds to do a very rudimentary hygienic cleanse prior to heading to the office.  We see her remove a blue pill from her aspirin bottle, and take it.  Since the blue pill is in another bottle of medicine, we should assume that this was obtained illegally, or that she doesn’t want anyone to know she is taking this drug.  As she is about to leave, she takes off a “wedding” ring, and throws it into an empty bowl.

Here is where some real spoilers about the future begin.  I won’t spoil the pill until later in this episode, but I will spoil the personality trait they are showing in regards to her behavior.  Apparently, Carrie is likely a very hard drinker, and engages in a lot of reckless behavior (as evidenced by going into the prison with a man that cannot be trusted).  We will learn the purpose of her wearing of the "wedding" ring later in this episode.

Scene 3-Carrie driving to the CIA

While driving, Carrie shakes her head as if she is extremely tired.  Based on the events of the previous scene, it is now clear that she has been out all night.  Based on her attire, in the previous scene, she was likely not working all night.  Due to that, we should assume she was out all night for pleasure.

Scene 4-CIA

Estes is leading a briefing, and Carrie walks in, obviously late.  Carrie’s lateness is pointed out by Estes, and he asks her why she is the only analyst in that section that can’t get to a briefing on time.  He then tells her that he wanted the whole group to hear what he has to say.  In the briefing, Estes proceeds to say that, on a Delta Force mission, an American prisoner of war had been found, Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody, who was MIA since early 2003, and was presumed dead.  Carrie asks what happened to his partner, Corporal Thomas Walker, as snipers work in pairs, who also went missing that day.  Estes responds that Brody said Walker was killed during their captivity.  Estes proceeds to tell everyone that it was a job well done, and that, because of them, an American hero is coming home.  While everyone is applauding, Carrie has a very disturbed look on her face, and ominous piano based music begins to play.  It is at this point that I would like to point out the similarity of the music from this series to a movie.  That movie is The Game, a fantastic David Fincher movie, from 1997, starring Michael Douglas.  I believe the underscore, that has piano in it, plays an important role in the series, and that the series shows some flashes that are very similar to that movie’s blurring of what is real, and what is not.  I have no idea whether it is an intentional homage, but it is something I plan on pointing out, every time we see or hear something that reminds me of that movie.  Carrie then exits the briefing, without being dismissed, and Estes has a rather disappointed look on his face.

An important thing to take from this scene is that while Carrie is late, she is obviously hyper-prepared.  She seems to remember the names of two people who went missing 8 years ago.  Either she is an unbelievable fountain of knowledge, or there is a reason she knows who these particular POWs were, off the top of her head.

Scene 5-Location unknown

Important Character Introduction:

Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody-see character description in Scene 4

We see a very pale, long haired, long bearded, Brody, who has recently showered, based on the steam on the mirror he is looking into.  In this brief scene, we see him clipping the longer hairs off of his beard with scissors.

Scene 6-In a mall at the CIA

Important Character Introduction:

Saul Berenson-CIA Middle-East Division Chief, who is also Carrie’s old boss, and mentor

I know it is unorthodox to refer to people by their first names, so I want to explain my usage of first or last names.  For anyone in high authority (such as David Estes), or the military, I will use last names, but for people we are meant to identify with, on a day to day level, I will use first names.  I hope that’s not too confusing. 

At the beginning of this scene, Saul asks Carrie exactly what words were used that she heard from Hasan.  She says, “An American prisoner of war has been turned.”  Saul asks her if Hasan said this in English.  She tells him that he did, after which Saul questions the use of the word “turned”.  Carrie replies that “turned” meant that the POW was working for Abu Nazir.  Saul then asks Carrie why he is just hearing about this now, 10 months after she was told.  She tells him that, until ten minutes ago, she didn’t know there were any POWs alive in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Saul begins to say something about Abu Nazir, when two people walk by.  He immediately stops talking, and waits until they pass.  Saul then asks Carrie if she is suggesting that Abu Nazir planted intelligence on his own safe house, just so the CIA could recover Sergeant Brody.  She says that she realizes that is a reach, to which Saul agrees, by saying “to say the least”.  Saul proceeds to give better scenarios for ways to do the same thing, without sacrificing 13 trained fighters.  Carrie then says that the reason Abu Nazir would be doing this is for the “long game”, and that no one will suspect a thing.  Saul replies, “Except you.”  Carrie says yes, and then proceeds to try to talk Saul into authorizing a surveillance package on Brody, as he is returning from Germany in 22 hours.  Saul tells her that Estes will never authorize that.  Carrie replies, "Of course he won’t", saying that the White House needs a poster boy for the war, and that Estes just served Brody up on a platter.  She tells Saul that is why she is coming to him.  Saul tells her that he’s not going to go over Estes’s head, not on a hunch.  Carrie proceeds to tell him that if she’s right, and he is a terrorist, they need to have eyes and ears on him from the minute he steps off the plane.  Saul, rather angrily, tells her this is out of the question.  Carrie then asks what she has to do to make it happen.  Saul tells her that she needs to give him some kind of proof, or to give him a reason to at least doubt its authenticity.  She tells him that she is in the “penalty box”, that she is 5000 miles away from her contacts, and that she can’t collect intelligence from behind a desk.  Saul tells her to find a way.  She gives him a disappointed look, to which Saul says, “Don’t look at me that way.  We’re all fighting the same enemy here.”  After a frustrated look from Carrie, the scene ends.

This is a very important scene in the progression of the Carrie character.  We have already established that she has a problem with authority, she’s late to briefings, and she is willing to do pretty much anything to get what she wants.  With the introduction of Saul, we find that Carrie apparently has a confidant.  He knows that Carrie is somewhat of a loose cannon, and he is tasked with making sure she doesn’t get out of line.  He also appears to genuinely like Carrie, and appears to want her to succeed.  This relationship, as the series progresses, gets tested frequently, and will ultimately lead to a very large fracture.  It’s obvious that Carrie is very good at her job, or her flaws would have gotten her kicked out of the CIA.  Trying to go over Estes’s head, to get what she wants, is a very telling portrait of her character.

Scene 7-Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany

Brody is getting prepared for his de-brief, with a haircut and shave.  When he is informed that they are ready for his de-brief, Brody replies that he wants to call his wife first.

Scene 8-U.S. Marine Captain Mike Faber’s bedroom

Important Character Introductions:

Jessica Brody-Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody’s wife
U.S. Marine Captain Mike Faber-Brody’s Commanding Officer and best friend

Right after Brody says that he wants to call his wife, we immediately cut to a scene that has Brody’s wife having sex with his best friend (this is a spoiler, because his name is never mentioned in this scene).  Luckily, they finish before Jessica receives the call from her husband.  She is obviously shocked at the hearing of her husband’s voice, since she presumed he was dead.  As Faber and Jessica are getting dressed, Faber asks Jessica to talk to her, and to tell him that she is okay.  Jessica tells him that she is a long way from okay, touches him on the shoulder, and leaves.

A large part of the overall dramatic conflict, in the first seven episodes of the series, comes from this relationship, and the re-entering of Brody back into both of their lives.  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize how wrong it is that Jessica and Faber end up in a relationship.  The stark realization has come to both of them that it is eventually going to be found out that Jessica has been sleeping with her husband’s best friend.  There will be a long, slow, burn with this plot point, even though it’s pretty clear Brody knew what was going on fairly quickly.

Scene 9-The Brody house

Important Character Introductions:

Chris Brody-Sergeant Brody's son
Dana Brody-Sergeant Brody's daughter

With the stark realization that her life is about to be turned upside down, Jessica returns home, and her 12 year old son, Chris, is in the living room, playing a war based video game.   Chris is surprised to see her, and says, "I thought you were at the movies with Joey".  That's an important piece of information, since we never got the name of the person Jessica was in bed with, in the previous scene.  A concerned Chris is dragged to his sister's bedroom, by Jessica.  It is there that we find (16 year old?) Dana smoking a bong with Xander, one of her stoner friends, and that Chris knew she was doing this.

Jessica ejects him from the house, and takes Xander's bong.  Dana asks why her mom is making such a big deal about this, and Jessica replies, "Gee, Dana, I don't know.  It's either the lying or the drugs.  You're supposed to be looking after your brother."  Dana retorts that he didn't burn down the house, and Jessica asks Dana why she can't ever do what she says she's going to do.  During this fight, Chris interrupts Jessica, and reminds her that she had something important to tell them.  We then cut to a shot of a private jet.

There are a few important things to note here. Jessica has not told her kids that she is having a relationship with Brody's best friend.  Dana has major authority problems, in addition to what appears to be at least the beginnings of a substance abuse problem.  She also has a lack of boundaries and a lack of respect for her mom (doing drugs in the house is an insane touch).  In future episodes, you will find out that Dana knew Jessica was sleeping with Brody's best friend, and that part of her maladjustment is likely coming from feeling like her dad was forgotten by her mom.  Chris was probably too young to remember his dad, so he doesn't really understand anything about what's going on.  I almost missed that there was an important piece of business in the establishing shot of Jessica driving to the house.  There is no yellow ribbon tied around the tree in the front yard.

Scene 10-Private jet

In this short scene Major General Tony Trujillo tells Brody what he can expect when they land in about two hours.  His life, once he is introduced to the Vice President, is about to become a media circus, though he will be allowed to spend a little time with his family, first.

Scene 11-Brody house

It is here that we learn Chris does not really remember his dad, during the preparation for the going to meet Brody scene.  Everyone is a bit uncomfortable with this, and Jessica even goes so far as to practice her re-introduction to Brody, in the mirror.  Dana walks in, and says that they need to go, and also asks her mom if she is really going to "wear that dress".  While walking to the car, Chris remarks that Jessica looks pretty.

It's a minor scene, but there are two points worth noting.  The first is that Dana is, in a way, playing the mom, by being responsible for time.  When coupled with her introduction, where she was again "playing a mom", we get the idea that Jessica is more absent than present, in this family.  We are also told that this is not the attire that Jessica has typically worn since giving up hope that Brody will return home alive. 

Scene 12-Jessica's car leaves

As we see Jessica's family leaving, she passes a Ballard Home Communications van, with a man standing at the back of the van's open door.  Once Jessica's car is out of view, the man says, "Let's go", to his partner.  As we are watching them walk toward the Brody house, we have a brief camera pause on the tree outside of the Brody house.  There is now a yellow ribbon around it.  The implication is that there was once a yellow ribbon, but through the passing of time, it had been taken down.  For those reading this who are not from the United States, this is a symbol of showing support for the troops. 

The men break into the house, and disable the alarm, with a code they were provided.  They begin to set up a surveillance operation.  At this point, we see Carrie standing outside the back door.  She is let in by the man who told his partner that it was time to begin, at the van.  She tells him they have 30 minutes, to which he replies, "Good to see you, too, Carrie".  When Carrie enters the living room, she notices his partner, and is very upset to see him.  The man tells her to relax, and says that he is his brother, Max.  She asks what happened to Nick and Eddie.  The man tells her they are out of her price range, and that he told her for a grand a day that it was going to be bare bones.  She looks upset, and trades mistrusting glances with Max.  The man says if she's got a bad feeling about this, that they can just stop, right now, before they get started.  After thinking a moment, Carrie tells him "eyes and ears in every room, then it's back to my place to set up the monitors".

This scene is extremely important, because Carrie has been told, in no uncertain terms, by Saul, that she must not do unauthorized surveillance on Brody.  Proving that Carrie just does what she wants, she actually decides to pay for the surveillance of Brody out of her own pocket.  She also enlists others who could be looking at long prison sentences, if this is ever found out, and treats them like crap, despite the massive risk they are undertaking.

Scene 13-Private jet/Edwards Air Force Base

We are treated to a shot of Brody vomiting over the airplane toilet.  We then cut to the outside of the door, where Trujillo is listening.  Immediately after, Trujillo is on the phone with Estes, asking if the ceremony can be delayed, to which Estes replies, "not without looking like a complete asshole", because, as Trujillo says, Brody was currently "in the head, puking his guts out".  Estes tells Trujillo that he thought the Army docs gave Brody a complete psych evaluation.  Trujillo tells him they did, and Estes asks him what the problem is.  Trujillo replies, "I don't know, David, maybe 8 years at the bottom of a hole had something to do with it."  Estes tells Trujillo that the Vice President is arriving as they speak, and that he needs Brody smiling and waving like he's a hero, like it's the Macy's Day Parade.  After he says a much saltier version of what I just wrote, he hangs up without waiting for a response.  We return to a shot of Brody finishing up "puking his guts out", and then it cuts from the scene.

I find a few things in this scene to be worth talking about.  The first is that we find out that Brody had gone through a complete psych eval, with the Army doctors.  Is the psych eval in preparation for him coming home, or is it for something else?  I also find it interesting that Trujillo refers to Estes as "David".  This shows that they have some kind of prior history, together.  The last thing to note is that Estes uses these exact words, "like a hero".  I find that word choice fascinating, because you would think he would perceive Brody to be a hero, not "like a hero".  There seems to be a much larger undercurrent to this scene when put into the larger context of the first seven episodes.

Scene 14-Brody's arrival at Edwards Air Force Base (the terminal)

We begin the scene with a shot of Jessica watching the TV that is displaying the news about Brody's arrival.  She looks very nervous, and the framing of the wide shot suggests that the family is on an island, for what is about to happen.  It is probably also worth noting that Dana appears to be trying to be sitting as far away from her mom, as possible, while still being in the chair next to her.  She does not like her mom, if the other scenes weren't enough of an indication.

After this, there is a brief walk and talk between the Vice President and Estes.  The Vice President tells Estes that the President asked the Vice President to thank him, personally, and says that he thinks the short list for the CIA Directorship just got a lot shorter.  Estes tells the Vice President that he appreciates the consideration, not that he's pushing for it.  The Vice President says, "Sure you are".

We cut back to Jessica nervously pacing, waiting for Brody's arrival.  Trujillo then enters with Brody, and the family stands up to greet him, but no one rushes to meet each other.  After a very long, awkward, pause between all of the people, Jessica finally rushes over and hugs Brody.  The kids slowly move over to where Jessica and Brody are.  Dana is the first tell her dad hi.  She asks how his trip was, to which he replies, "Look at how beautiful you are".  She smiles, and they hug.  Brody then acknowledges Chris, who extends his hand for a handshake.  They shake hands, and Dana awkwardly tells Chris to hug him.  Brody then asks where his mom is.  No words are needed for Brody to deduce that she has passed (4 years ago).  After this brief meeting, Trujillo interrupts, and tells Brody that the Vice President is there.

The Vice President enters and greets Sergeant Brody, telling him it is an honor.  Brody has a difficult time looking into the Vice President's eyes.  The scene ends.

The most important thing to note in this scene is that Estes is now near the top of a short list for a huge promotion.  This means that he obviously has a lot at stake with Brody (however you want to take that).  He tries to act humble at the suggestion he could get the position, but the Vice President knows he is ambitious, and likely power hungry.  The interaction with the family is likely relatively accurate, as it is really hard to know how someone will react to someone re-entering their lives in such dramatic fashion, 8 years later.  It gives us the idea that there are probably going to be some bumps adjusting to their new lives. 

Scene 15-The Ceremony

While Brody is walking to the podium, we see three distinct emotions.  The first is likely confusion about what is going on, the second is him basically comfortably winking at someone he passes, and the third is that he has a PTSD moment, when a camera flashes near him.  Jessica asks him if he is okay, and he replies that he is.  The Vice President begins the ceremony, and we see a brief shot of Faber, looking bummed.

I'm not sure it's worth noting, but as Brody is walking to the podium, there is a brief shot of Trujillo beginning to lean over to talk to Estes, with a "you sure about this" look on his face.  The most important part of this scene is that it is Brody's first re-adjustment to his new life.  The second is that Jessica's unnamed boyfriend, at this point, knows that his relationship with her has been altered forever.

Scene 16-Carrie's home/The Ceremony

We enter the scene with Carrie watching Brody's homecoming on TV.  There are multiple intercuts between Carrie watching, from home, and the actual ceremony.  Brody gives a standard speech, but nearly everything important in this scene is going on visually, or through audio.

I'm not sure what it means, but while Carrie is watching Brody, she gets a concerned look on her face, and the audio begins to get smaller, and has echo added to it.  This effect only lasts for a moment.  When Brody mentions how appreciative he is of his family's strength in his absence, Jessica gets an embarrassed look on her face, as we know what she's been up to.  After that shot, they cut to a disappointed Faber.  As Brody says the words "undying faith that this day would come", we realize how wrong this statement is.  Jessica waited, until it was convenient not to wait any longer.  I believe we get distinct expressions of shame from both Jessica and Faber, when Brody says this.  He finishes his speech by saying he is a lucky man, which produces more looks of shame from Jessica.

At the end of the scene, the unnamed surveillance guy passes Carrie, and says, "Guy's got game".  Carrie nods.

Scene 17-Surveillance set up at Carrie's home

At the beginning of the scene, Carrie grabs her laptop and walks out of the room.  She asks the unnamed surveillance guy how long it will be until he's set up.  He tells her that everything should be set up by the time Brody gets home.  As she's walking away, she nearly runs into Max, and casts him yet another mistrusting glance.  After she walks away, Max asks his brother how long he's known Carrie.  I'll put down the exact dialog from the scene, to give it maximum impact.

Max: So, uh, you and Carrie, how long you guys known each other?
Max's brother:  Long enough.
Max: I'd kind of feel a lot better if I had a clear picture about who we're dealing with.  We are breaking like 12 federal laws.
Max's brother: Oh you would, would you?  Clearer picture?  Why don't you shut the f**k up, and get back to work, okay?
(Max turns to walk away)
Max's brother: Hey. I'm sorry.  Um, Let's just say that she's a little intense.
Max: Yeah?
Max's brother:  Yeah.

At that point, Max produces a blue pill, and says that it's what Carrie hides in her aspirin bottle, instead of aspirin.  Max says that he felt a migraine coming on, just in case there was any suspicion for why he would be going into Carrie's aspirin bottle.

That scene gave us more ammunition that Carrie does not play nice with people.  She is paranoid, and she is hard to work with.  With the production of the pill, we learn that drugs could play some role in her personality defects.  We also got the basic exposition that what they are doing, in regards to this unauthorized surveillance, is breaking 12 federal laws.  This is a big deal.  This is now officially a rogue operation, if we were ever unclear about it.  The law breaking has already happened.  There is no turning back, now. 

Scene 18-After the ceremony

We see Jessica's boyfriend sitting in a car as the family walks out of the building, and Brody says he wants to drive.  Jessica tries to talk him out of it, but Dana talks her in to giving him the keys.  It is at this point that Jessica's boyfriend greets Brody.  Brody greets him as "Mike", and it's clear that they have a strong friendship, based on the hug they have.  Brody says to Faber (while pointing at his rank), "Is this for real? You stayed in?"  Faber says, "Military Intelligence (Brody gives him a look).  I know, right?  Me of all people, huh?"  Brody asks about Faber's wife, who we learn has divorced him.  We see another embarrassed look from Jessica, and Faber lets Brody know that he is also there, unfortunately, for business purposes.  Langley wants him to come in for a follow up to his de-brief in Germany.  When told this, Brody gets a vacant look on his face, though it is treated as nothing special in the shooting.  Jessica asks when, and is pretty upset when she is told it is tomorrow, since Brody has just gotten home.  Faber explains that "this guy Estes" wants it done sooner rather than later.  Brody tells Jessica it is okay, that he would rather just get it over with.  As Brody says this, he grasps Jessica's hand.  Faber is clearly uncomfortable with seeing that display of affection, since just a few short days ago, he was Jessica's boyfriend.  Faber and Brody get really friendly, again, and it's obvious these guys were once really close friends.  By the end of the scene, you can see more awkwardness from Jessica, and Brody smiles at her.  The scene ends.

I didn't realize how important this scene potentially is, until watching it this time.  We learned that Faber is in Military Intelligence, which is something I was unaware of from my previous viewings of the series.  You'll have to stay tuned for my thoughts on that.  As a bigger picture thing, the most important thing is that we actually find out the identity of Jessica's boyfriend.  To find out that he was once a close friend, and possibly best friend, of Brody, is a major plot development.  This is officially a love triangle, and we are only seeing the beginnings of the brutal dance all three are going to be doing with each other.  I find the words "me of all people" to also be fascinating.  This gives us one of two ideas.  The first is that Faber was not a career military man, and that him staying in for another stretch is unorthodox.  The second is that it is ironic that he ended up in Military Intelligence, as it probably doesn't reconcile with the belief system that Brody knows he has.  It's too early to tell, even after seven episodes, what the answer is.  However, based on what we've learned about Brody, in the first seven episodes, I am leaning toward Military Intelligence not reconciling with the belief system Brody feels Faber has.

Scene 19-Brody drives home/Carrie's home

As Brody arrives home, there is a throng of people waiting outside.  This is the first moment that Dana realizes they are famous.  We then cut to Carrie watching the broadcast of Brody arriving home.  She angrily tells Max's brother that he told her it would be ready by the time Brody arrived home.  He tells her that it is a minor glitch, and to give him a minute.  Upon arriving at home, Brody says that they painted the house.  Chris says that Mike's brother did it, which leads to a slightly shocked expression on Brody's face, and a slightly scared expression on Jessica's face.  Jessica quickly cleans it up by saying that Mike's brother is a contractor, and that he gave them a really great rate.

Just so there is no more confusion, from this point forward, I am going to refer to Faber as Mike, as that is how he is mostly referred to, in the series.

Once they pull up to the house, everyone gets out of the car except Brody.  It could be due to the limelight he's about to be facing, or it could be because he realizes that his wife has been up to something with Mike.  I'm going with the latter.  As they are walking to the front door, a photographer asks if he can get a group shot of them by the yellow ribbon.  The family agrees, and they take a photo next to the tree that did not have a yellow ribbon on it, the other night.

After the photo opportunity, we cut to Carrie on the phone with Saul.  Carrie says that she's having trouble collecting the intel he said she needs, and asks him to get her into the Brody de-brief.  Saul asks her what good can come from that, to which she responds that she is a trained interrogator, and she wants to ask him a few questions, to poke around his story a little.  Saul tells her that Estes was very specific that the de-brief would include Principals only.  At this point, Carrie says that Estes is just punishing her (Max's brother has a look of surprise and interest on his face upon hearing this), and not only for what happened in Baghdad.  Saul asks her if she blames him, and she tells him that she doesn't, but that it shouldn't be personal.  She proceeds to say that she belongs in that room.  Saul asks her if she will behave herself.  At that point, some of the surveillance equipment goes online, and causes audible feedback on the line, distracting Carrie.  Saul asks Carrie to promise she will raise no eyebrows in the meeting, and Carrie eventually promises that.  After a long pause, Saul says she can have her face time with Sergeant Brody.  They hang up, and Saul walks away saying, "Aw Christ!"  This is the first indication that Saul knows Carrie is up to something, and he is upset about it.

After the phone call is over, all of the surveillance goes online, as we see Brody enter the house.  Carrie quickly becomes engrossed in the scene, and Max's brother has to ask her twice when she wants him to return.  She tells him that she needs to be in the office at 9, so he should be there at 8.

Carrie continues watching the surveillance for hours, as is shown by a time passage to night.

Key things to mention about that long scene are these.  First, Brody at least has some kind of inkling that Jessica has been up to something with Mike.  He's not ready to admit it, yet, but he is certainly suspicious.  Saul appears to be very concerned about Carrie screwing up, and rocking the boat in regards to the new "hero", Brody.  He probably finds it at least a little suspicious that she needs to be in that meeting, to try to gather the intel she would need to get an authorized surveillance going.  It was really handled subtly, in the scene, but Saul's a very smart guy, and seemed to get that the feedback he heard was related to potential surveillance that he absolutely forbade her from doing.  His realization of this probably makes him understand how much his head is on the line, by backing Carrie up, which would explain his reaction.  I also feel there is a certain amount of manipulation of Carrie that he is doing.  He scolds her, like a child, and makes her promise to play nice in the de-brief.  By him saying that, it almost seems like he is encouraging her to not play nice.  Knowing what's gone on in the first seven episodes, I find it highly likely that he was hoping she would go in and make noise in the de-brief.  Finally, it's also a bizarre touch that Carrie becomes so thoroughly engrossed in things that are so mundane, during the surveillance.

Scene 20-Carrie's night surveillance/The Brodys have sex

Carrie is doing surveillance, and sees that Jessica is preparing to have sex with Brody.  Jessica is in lingerie, and again practices how the interaction will go, while Brody is in the shower.  The phone rings, and no one says anything on the other end, eventually hanging up.  Upon getting out of the shower, Brody (fully dressed), asks who was on the phone.  Jessica says that he scared her, which immediately makes Brody suspicious.  When she gathers her composure, she tells him that it was nobody, and that they hung up.  His suspicion subsides, and he comments on how beautiful she looks.  She acts flattered, and offers him some wine.  He then realizes that she is attempting to seduce him, and says a few mildly humorous things.  He can't stop staring at Jessica, and remarks how he likes her in her nightgown.  She responds that her mother wore a nightgown, this is a negligee.  He proceeds to stare at her more, embarrassing her slightly, and she again offers him wine.  He agrees to have a drink.  He goes to the wine bottle, stares at it, breathes heavy, and Jessica comes over to take a tag off of his pajama bottoms.  He is startled by her coming up on him like that, and is visibly disturbed by it.

After calming Brody down, Jessica attempts to steer Brody toward what she wants to happen.  As they are beginning to get hot and heavy, there is a cut that shows Carrie is watching them prepare to have sex.  Jessica goes to remove Brody's shirt and he tries to stop her.  It is too late, and she sees the numerous scars he has from being tortured for 8 years.  She is, understandably, very disturbed by this, and Brody tries to calm her down, after her bad reaction.  This has obviously ruined the mood, and Jessica says, "I'm sorry" multiple times.  Based on what we already know, there are many meanings to what she is sorry about, and they all apply, in this scene.  After Brody puts her at ease, she immediately starts trying to amp up the action, again.  Brody's facial expression is hard to comprehend.  It looks somewhere between disturbed and disgusted that he is doing this with her.  Again, we cut back to Carrie watching all of this (highly inappropriate for her to do this).  There is a jump cut montage, showing Jessica and Brody making out.  In about half of the shots, it appears that Brody is pulling away from Jessica kissing him.  He eventually puts her on the bed, and begins to have sex with her.  Unfortunately, for Jessica, what he does is not acceptable.  He is extremely rough, and appears to be bordering on raping her.  There is no love in the act, for Brody.  Carrie, still watching, finds what is going on to be very disturbing, and appears to want to stop watching.  She takes off her headphones, and briefly looks away.  After less than a moment, she begins watching again, and puts her headphones back on.  Brody "finishes", and you can see Jessica crying from what has just happened, probably both out of pain and shock for what she just experienced.  Brody closes his eyes, like he wishes this whole situation would go away.  Neither of them looks at each other, and Jessica breaks down into tears.

For a "love" scene, this scene had a lot going on in it that ties into future episodes.  Get your spoiler hat on, because I'm going to begin ruining a lot of the future episodes for you.  Something that is very important to note is that Jessica is "acting" when she's around Brody.  We notice this three times.  The first is when she was practicing meeting him for the first time.  The second is the dress she was wearing to meet him.  The third is that she was practicing how she wanted to set up their first intimate encounter, since his return.  Jessica is trying hard to get things back to what they were before Brody was captured, but her mind is always going to return to Mike.  This is the large problem in the Brody marriage.  The right thing for Jessica to have done would have been to tell Brody about her and Mike.  You can't imagine he would be happy about it, but there would be a certain amount of understanding (minus that it was his best friend).  Each day she waits to tell him is a day that their marriage will devolve into a film noir.

There are two things that happen during Carrie's surveillance.  The first is that a phone rings.  That's important, and becomes even more important when no one says anything.  The identity of this caller is possibly important.  The second thing that happens is that Carrie is watching.  There's no real reason why she should be watching two people getting intimate with each other.  Her reactions were almost that she knows him.  It's strange, to say the least.  You will notice Carrie being a voyeur in other inappropriate ways, as the series goes on.

For Brody, the most interesting aspect of the scene is that he did not really want to drink wine.  People who devoutly practice Islam do not drink alcohol.  I noticed the conflict over the wine in my first viewing of the show.  It is the first sign that Brody is now a Muslim.  What I don't understand is Brody's treatment of his wife during the sex scene.  It quickly devolves into something more similar to rape, and he apparently has major issues with getting intimate with Jessica, as shown with the kissing scene.  We don't know, yet, whether this has to do with his suspicions about her and Mike, or if it is something else.

Scene 21-Surveillance shift change

Max's brother wakes up a sleeping Carrie.  She asks what time it is, and when he tells her 8:15, she freaks out that she is late for the de-brief.  She tells Max's brother that there were two calls, and that both were hang ups.  Max's brother asks if the number showed up on the tracer, and she said the numbers were blocked, and asks if there is a way to get them.  Max's brother replies, "No, not without a subpoena."  At this moment, we find out Max's brother's name.  It is Virgil.  She tells Virgil that if someone tries to contact Brody, it will only happen once.  He reminds her that they have it covered, and that they'll be there, when it happens.  As Carrie goes to get ready, we see her take another one of the blue pills from the aspirin bottle.

Scene 22-De-Brief follow up of Brody at the CIA

Estes thanks Brody for his service, and tells him that many of the people in the room were involved in the operation that resulted in his rescue, and that they take an extra measure of pride in welcoming him there.  Estes tells him that they have all read the de-brief in Germany, and that they just have a few more questions that might help them in their ongoing fight against Al-Qaeda.  This de-brief follow up is being recorded on videotape.  Various people are introduced, and ask Brody questions, in montage.  We eventually get to Carrie, who says she worked as a Case Officer in Iraq.  She tells him that his picture was on their MIA wall, that she saw it every day for 5 years, that it is good to meet him in person, and apologizes for not finding him sooner.

Carrie proceeds to grill Brody about what he was interrogated about, to which Brody responds that he had excellent SEER training, and did not give up any of the information they interrogated him about.  She then asks whether Corporal Walker gave up any information.  Brody is taken aback by this question, and he tells her that they were never interrogated at the same time, so he doesn't know.  Carrie asks him if he ever wondered about whether Walker gave up any information after he learned of Walker's death.  At that point, Estes interrupts Carrie and says that he is assuming there is a point to all of this.  Carrie says there is, and talks about how the first 72 hours a prisoner of war is interrogated can lead to devastating consequences, if the prisoner is broken.  Her reason for the line of questioning is that Brody stopped being a source of actionable intelligence relatively quickly, but that Brody was kept alive for almost 8 years.  Her point is that she wants to ask him if he knows why.  Brody responds that he often wondered that himself.  Carrie then asks him who his interrogator was, and he tells her that it was an Al-Qaeda Commander named Zayyadi (sp?), at least that's what he said his name was.  Both Carrie and Estes seem surprised that Brody would use this name.  Carrie then passes Brody a file, and asks if the man in the photos inside is him.  Brody looks at the photos, and says no.  Carrie asks him if he knows who he is.  Brody says he knows who it is, because all Marines were briefed on high value targets.  Carrie asks if he ever met him.  Brody says, "Abu Nazir?"  Carrie immediately asks Brody if Abu Nazir was ever present at any of his interrogations.  Brody replies that he wasn't.  Carrie asks him to look again.

At this point, we are led into a flashback where Brody is hung by his wrists naked.  He is let down to the ground, and we see that Abu Nazir offers him water to drink.  This is the first overt moment where Brody is shown to be a liar.  After the flashback, Brody sits silently, when asked again by Carrie whether he had met Abu Nazir.  He pops out of his trance like state, and says that he never met him.  Carrie is extremely confused by this, and asks him if Walker ever mentioned Abu Nazir.  Brody says he did not.  Carrie asks him again, if he is sure.  Estes then interrupts her, asking how many times the man has to answer the question.  Carrie says she is surprised that he never met Abu Nazir, because he was in charge of conducting attacks against Coalition forces, at the time, and she can't understand why he wouldn't want to meet the only two American POWs in custody.  Estes responds that apparently he didn't.  Carrie looks perturbed, and Brody has a very vacant look on his face.  Estes asks if there are any other questions, and a flustered Carrie says no.  The de-brief continues with Carrie staring confusedly at Brody, while he has a vacant look on his face.

The important things about this scene are that Carrie did, in fact, rock the boat in the de-brief follow up, as Saul instructed her not to, and that Brody is a liar.  Of secondary importance is that both Carrie and Estes were very surprised at the mention of the name Zayyadi (sp?). 

Scene 23-The Brody house

Dana and Chris arrive home from school, and Jessica asks for their help in prepping for a barbecue for Brody's unit.  Dana asks her mom if she has to be there.  Her mom asks her why everything has to be a problem with her, to which Dana replies that she was just asking a question.  Jessica then says to Dana that she knows things haven't always been easy between her and Dana, but that they all have to find a way to be there for each other, now.  Dana agrees, a phone rings, and Jessica tells Dana to clean the grill.

On the other end of the phone is Brody.  Brody is in a limousine, and Jessica asks how the de-brief follow up went.  He tells her that he is still at Langley, and she asks how long it will be.  He tells her that it will only be an hour or two.

The idea of acting comes up, again, in this scene.  Jessica is clearly not happy, but she is doing what she can to try to save the marriage.  She wants all the petty b.s. between her and Dana to end, and Dana actually appears to understand why.  The second aspect of the scene is that Brody calls her, and overtly lies, again.  That's twice over the period of two scenes.  Again, we are being led to believe that Brody is up to something.  Virgil hears this conversation in the surveillance (whether he knows about Brody's lie, about his location, is another unresolved issue), and takes off his headphones.

Scene 24-Phone conversation between Carrie and Virgil

Carrie is watching footage of Brody, at the welcome ceremony, when Virgil calls her.  She asks if he has anything, and he tells her that Brody just lied to his wife.  Max alerted Virgil, who was tailing Brody's limo, that he had left Langley, but that Brody told the driver to drop him off at Bluemont Park.  From that, Virgil deduced that Brody lied to his wife.  Carrie thinks this is the moment of contact, and leaves the office. 

Scene 25-Estes and Saul walk and talk

Estes sees Saul, and begins to talk to him.  Saul says that he is late for a meeting off-campus.  Estes proceeds to ask Saul about Carrie being in the de-brief follow up.  He asks Saul if it was his idea or Carrie's idea.  He responds that it was Carrie's idea, and that he's surprised Estes didn't want her there himself, since she was the only person in the section who had actually been to Iraq.  Estes tells Saul that he doesn't have a problem with her resume, he has a problem with her temperament.  Saul asks Estes what happened, and Estes tells him that she turned a routine follow up into a cross-examination, and tried to connect Brody to Abu Nazir.  Estes repeats that it is always about Abu Nazir with her.  Here's a direct transcription of the next part of their conversation.

Saul:  I won't deny, she can be a little obsessive on the subject.
Estes:  Is there something I should know, Saul?
Saul:  Not that I'm aware of.
Estes:  Because the last time I heard it like this, she bribed her way into an Iraqi prison, caused an international crisis.
Saul:  I appreciate your concern.  Carrie has learned her lesson, and we both know how good she is.
Estes:  What did I tell you, when I agreed to give her one more chance?
Saul:  You said only if I agreed to do the babysitting.
Estes:  I said it would end badly.  For both of you.  You've got a big blind spot where she's concerned.  Trust me, I did, too.  Now, my wife lives in Palm Beach, and I only see my kids twice a year.

Wow, that was a lot of plot dropped in that scene.  We learn that Carrie is officially on probation, and was on the verge of being kicked out of the Agency.  Saul thinks she has high value to the Agency, so he agreed to babysit her.  Estes predicted that it would end badly for both of them, if Saul agreed to chaperone her.  As we can already see, from the ways she has already begun to undermine Saul, Estes is probably right.  In this scene, we also learn that Saul is prone to being manipulated by Carrie, and that Estes was, too.  We also have a full understanding that Estes had an affair with Carrie, that resulted in his divorce.  The most important piece of information in the scene is that Estes suspects Carrie could be on a clandestine operation, based on her past history in Iraq, and that if she is, Saul knows about it.  Saul may have suspicions that she is doing her own thing (such as the feedback in the phone call), but has no proof, yet.  I suspect his "meeting" that he is late for has to do with investigating what Carrie's up to.

Scene 26-Bluemont Park

Important Character Introduction:

Helen Walker-Corporal Thomas Walker's wife

Brody sits on a bench in the middle of the park.  We see the Ballard Home Communications van, and we cut inside to Carrie watching Brody, with Max.  Virgil was out attempting to fix an audio problem.  Shortly after Virgil joins them, we have a sighting of someone approaching Brody.

Brody asks the woman why she had to contact him through Mike, and why she didn't just contact him directly.  She says that she did, twice, but hung up, both times.  We now know this was the unknown caller.  When asked why she hung up, she tells Brody that Jessica hates her because she remarried, and that she took it like it was a personal insult, like Helen had publicly given up hope that Brody and her husband (Corporal Walker) were still alive.  Upon hearing this, everyone in the van realizes this isn't a contact, but Carrie tells them to keep recording.  Evidently the Marines reported that both Brody and Walker were dead, but are now refusing to give her any information about what happened to her husband.  Brody asks her what she wants to know.  She tells Brody that she wants to know how Tom died.  Brody tells her that he is gone, and asks her if it really matters how it happened.  She tells him that it does, to her.

We then cut to a flashback, with a very bloodied Walker being restrained.  After that shot, Brody tells her that Walker was beaten to death.  Helen asks Brody if he was there.  Brody gets a vacant look on his face, and we return to flashback.  We hear the impact of punches, but do not see who is throwing them.  We see Brody standing in the room, looking at Walker.  In the shot of him, Brody's body is shaking, but he otherwise does not appear to be moving.  After we return from flashback, he pauses briefly, and tells her that he was not there.  Here we have the third instance, in the third scene in a row, of Brody overtly lying.  I already know what really happened, but my initial gut instinct told me that Brody was throwing the punches that killed Walker, in my initial viewing.  Helen thanks Brody for telling her, and we cut back to the van.

Realizing there is nothing here, Carrie says she is going home, but Virgil stops her to talk.  Virgil asks Max to step out of the van, and he obliges, when asked a second time.  Once Max steps out of the van, Virgil produces one of Carrie's blue pills, and tells her that he didn't think it was any of his business.  However, upon finding out what it is (Clozapine), he decided it was his business.  Carrie is shocked by this, and here is a transcription of their conversation.

Carrie:  (sarcastically) I'm sorry.  Was I supposed to say something?
Virgil:  Just tell me I'm not out here risking Federal Prison on behalf of a crazy person.
Carrie:  I am crazy.
Virgil:  It's not funny.  If anybody at the Agency finds out about this.
Carrie:  I've got a mood disorder, okay?
Virgil:  I looked it up, Carrie!  Clozapine's an anti-psychotic!
Carrie:  I'm dealing with it.  I've been dealing with it since I was 22.
Virgil:  Does Saul know?
Carrie:  (laughs with kind of a crazy look on her face) No, nobody does.  Don't act so shocked, I mean it can't come as a complete surprise.
Virgil:  You know I love you Carrie, but I gotta be honest, none of this is making me feel any better.
Carrie:  What are you saying?  That I'm making this sh*t up? (Virgil looks at her to basically say maybe with his facial expression)
Carrie:  Well, maybe I am.  You know, maybe it is all in my head.  But you're in it now, Virgil, up to your f****ing neck!  And so is your weird little brother, so don't even think about bailing on me!

This is an extremely important scene about the demons that Carrie is facing.  So far, everything they have learned while doing illegal surveillance on Brody is...nothing.  Nothing at all seems out of the ordinary, with him, from a surveillance standpoint, so far.  With Virgil bringing up Clozapine to Carrie, he is beginning to cast doubt on everything they are doing.  He is beginning to believe it's possible that all of this is in Carrie's head, due to the lack of evidence they've gotten that Brody is involved, and that Carrie is on medication that is generally prescribed to schizophrenics as a last resort.  If anyone in the CIA knew she was on this drug, she would be bounced from there really quickly.  Virgil apparently wants out of the operation, but Carrie manages to blackmail him by reminding him that they've broken a lot of laws.  For her, if she's going down, because he attempts to bail on the illegal operation, they're going down with her.

Scene 27-Carrie's home

Carrie walks in and finds Saul sitting on her couch, in front of her surveillance monitors.  He has discovered her illegal surveillance set up.  He asks her if she thinks there is any way she thinks she is going to get away with this.  She tells him that she thought once she had some proof.  He interrupts her and says, "Do you have any?  Anything?  Even suggesting Sergeant Brody is what you think he is?"  She tells him no, and Saul tells her to bring a lawyer with her, because she's going to need one when she reports to the IG first thing in the morning.  She tries to stop him, and tells him that she just doesn't want us to get hit, again.  Saul mockingly tells her that he's glad someone's looking out for the country.  She then says that she missed something once, and she can't let that happen, again.  Saul tells her it was 10 years ago, everyone missed something that day.  She tells him that "everyone's not me".  He tells her that he understands, but he doubts a Grand Jury will.  She tells him that she can't understand how he can do this to her.  She tells him that he trained her, and that he put her in the field.  She bites her lip, asks him what she can do to make it right, and then swoops in to try "seduce" him.  Saul looks astonished at her behavior and says, perhaps the best line in the series, "What the f**k are you doing?"  Carrie backs off, ashamed, and Saul tells Carrie goodbye.

Carrie's bad deeds have begun to get the best of her.  She was berated by her illegal surveillance partner, and now Saul has discovered what she's up to, and is going to get her arrested.  Carrie thinks her only way out of the situation is to try to provide sexual favors for Saul.  He is astonished and disgusted, by this behavior, and leaves.  This is the first huge fracture in their relationship.  It happened for two reasons.  The first is that she lied to Saul about what she was doing, and the second is that she tried to bribe him to keep quiet.  Carrie has a use them up, and spit them out, personality.  As Estes said earlier, it's likely that whatever Carrie's into will end badly, probably for both Saul and Carrie.  Based on this scene, alone, we should be expecting Carrie to turn herself in to face a lot of charges.

Scene 28-Carrie's bathroom/bedroom

Carrie moves into full freakout mode, and we see her take another Clozapine pill.  We then see her on her bed listening to jazz music on her iPod, and writhing, or whatever it is she's doing.  She jumps up, grabs her "wedding" ring, tries on a bunch of different clothes meant for partying, and we assume she leaves her home. 

Scene 29-Barbecue at the Brody home

The main purpose behind this scene is to get Mike and Jessica to talk about the situation they're in.  Mike feels Jessica has been ducking him, and she assures him she hasn't.  He tells her that he understands she's trying to do the right thing, but he has feelings, too.  She basically tells him to back off, while still admitting that she has feelings for him.  After they finish talking, Brody, while standing at the backyard grill, notices them in the kitchen, together.  Chris reminds Brody about the hamburgers, and Brody rhetorically asks Chris if Mike's been a big help to his mom.  Chris tells him he's there whenever Mom needs him.  Brody asks Chris if he likes him, and Chris says that he's cool.  Brody burns his thumb on the grill, and then notices Jessica and Mike in the window, again.

The love triangle is in full force, in this scene, and Brody is definitely starting to see that something has happened between Mike and Jessica.  If Chris didn't have such a big mouth, it's unlikely Brody would have started to become wise to it.  Chris is almost like a Freudian slip, but he's just a kid, he doesn't know any better.

Scene 30-Carrie in a jazz bar

Here, we finally get to find out what Carrie does at night.  Brody is even dominating the news cycle on the TV at the bar.  A man she is talking to is talking about how someone's probably out there thinking Brody could have political prospects.  He then asks to ask her a personal question, to which she asks him, "Don't you want to get a couple more drinks in me first?"  He tells her she's married, and she looks at her ring, and says no, that it weeds out the guys looking for a relationship.  He tells her that he's never heard it put so bluntly.  She said she just finds it easier not to screw things up with people she doesn't know.  He tells her that she can't be that bad.  Here's a transcription of what she says next:

Carrie:  What if I told you I betrayed my only true friend, in the world, today?  Just played him for a fool, put his 35 year career at risk?
Random guy at bar:  I would say that, in this town, you're in good company.

She orders another drink, and looks up at Brody, again, on the TV.  The guy she's with asks if she wants to get a table, and Carrie tells him that she would prefer to get out of there.  As she is waiting for the guy to get her coat, she watches the jazz band for a minute.  We get shots of a piano player's fingers, a trumpet player's fingers, a double bass player's fingers, and back to the trumpeter's fingers.  Carrie gets a thinking look on her face, and looks back at the TV.  It is then that she notices Brody has a finger tic, while at the welcome ceremony, that is on TV.  She gets a smile on her face, and it is intimated that she does not go out with the guy she was talking to.

This scene gives us more personality clues about Carrie.  We now definitely know that Carrie is a confirmed partier.  She is a heavy drinker, and she likes to leave bars with total strangers.  Carrie is an extremely reckless person, if that wasn't evident, already.  Obviously, the most important thing is that she found something that Brody is doing (finger movements) that could help her illegal surveillance situation with Saul.  He told her, in the previous scene, that all he needs is something that even suggests that Brody is what she thinks he is.  In her mind, what she just saw was definitely a suggestion.

Scene 31-Saul's house

Carrie wakes Saul up, to show him what she found.  This is also the first instance we see Carrie drinking and driving, something that will happen multiple times in the series (more reckless behavior).  Saul wants to know what he's looking at, and Carrie tells him to look at Brody's right hand.  Saul looks and says that he's just nervous.  Carrie says, "No! No! Look again.  It's a pattern, like a musical phrase."  Saul grimaces, while Carrie presents her case.  He notices the second pattern, and tells her that it is hardly definitive.  She then gets ready to pull out more evidence, which causes Saul to grimace, again.  With the next batch of evidence, she convinces Saul that he might be sending some kind of code, because he does this anytime he is on camera.  Saul looks long and hard at the footage, tells her that they should explore this further, and recommends they get a Crypto team on it.  She says that Pittman's team is the best, and that he knows how to keep it discreet.  Once Saul becomes interested, Carrie gets a big smile on her face.  She asks Saul if she's still going to jail.  He replies, "Not just yet."  The look on her face tells us that she is still really concerned about her future.

Scene 32-Brody house in the bedroom

Jessica wakes up, in the early morning, to find Brody not in the bed.  We then cut to a scene of Brody jogging very fast, and breathing very heavily.  While Brody is jogging, we find out the truth behind his lies.  While hearing Helen Walker's voice asking if Brody was at Corporal Walker's killing, and him responding, no, we see Brody beating Walker to death, in flashback.  We also hear Carrie's voice asking if he had ever met Abu Nazir, with him responding no.  Then, right after that, while he is punching Walker, Abu Nazir is near Brody, and tells Brody to hit him harder.  Brody punches Walker over and over until we see Walker's eyes glaze over.  Brody breaks down in tears, and appears to be comforted by Abu Nazir.  As Brody takes a break from his jogging, we see him looking sinisterly across the way.  The camera does a full 180 to reveal that Brody is looking at the Capitol Building.  The end credits begin.

What an amazingly long undertaking writing this has been.  I came away with a bigger appreciation for what's going on the series.  There really aren't any major plot holes, yet.  I've also decided it's too early for me to give you the plot twist that happened in episode 7.  Based on what I saw here, it still seems incredibly unlikely for it to have been possible.  However, what we don't know is how long the event we saw went on.  If it happened over a period of time, there is no reason to believe that some of it wasn't staged.  Those of you who have seen all of the episodes will know exactly what I am talking about here.

Based on what we saw in most of episode 1, it's a real stretch to believe that Brody has anything weird going on.  The only thing that casts a lot of doubt on him is his propensity to lie, that is until the end of the episode.  At the end of the episode, we see that he has beaten a man to death, since that's how he said Tom Walker died, to his wife.  We also see that he at least was working in some kind of tandem with Abu Nazir.

As for Carrie, she's a loose cannon.  She doesn't care who she hurts to get what she wants, and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.  She is not only self-destructive, but also has a tendency to destroy anyone who comes in contact with her.  Of all the characters on the show, she is, by far, the most truly dangerous.  I think there is at least some possibility that she could be in on some plot, due to her anti-authoritarian ways, and her very strange apparent attachment to Brody.  I think the scene where she said she missed something 10 years ago was important.  I don't know if she lost someone, or what, but there's more to that than meets the eye.

We don't really know what's up with Saul.  I can tell, pretty early on, that he's a master manipulator, who is also able to be manipulated by Carrie.  There's no way, based on Carrie's history, that he doesn't know what she's capable of.  I think he secretly enjoys her anti-authority ways, but only when he's not affected by them.  When Saul discovered Carrie's illegal surveillance operation, he easily could have busted Carrie, right then and there, if he had any intentions of really doing that.  However, he gave her the night to try to figure something out.  This will be a recurring pattern with him.  He puts Carrie under pressure to find answers, and seems to think that only when the pressure is on can he get her to really find something.  In future episodes, you will find that there is much more to Saul than meets the eye.  For now, my only suggestion is to pay extremely close attention, every time he is on screen.

The true dramatic conflict in the show comes from what I've referred to as the "love triangle".  The situation with Brody's family will come to a head, but it will be a slow burn.

Here's my initial feeling about where the show is going.  I feel that Brody is some kind of military plant to infiltrate the organization.  I believe he was super deep undercover.  There are definite parallels with The Manchurian Candidate, but we won't see those plot lines develop for at least a few more episodes.  If I am right about this being a covert operation, I think that just about everyone Carrie is dealing with is in on it, especially Estes and Saul (the Estes/Trujillo interactions and even Mike being in Military Intelligence are even minor clues, to me).  If I am right, they have been trying to push her away from the truth, and are hoping that she doesn't screw up the operation.  Even though Saul is definitely appearing to push her away from investigating this, I think there are some parts of him that want her to do this.  This is still for reasons unknown.  Up until the end of episode 7, there is absolutely no reason for me to think I am wrong about my initial assessment, due to a number of things that happen.  However, the end of episode 7 cast that entire storyline into doubt, and now I am extremely concerned that this is going to become a chase show.  Based on what I've seen in episode 1, especially with how detailed it is, I just think there's no way the twist is anything more than a decoy.  In future episodes I'll talk about another thing this show loves to do, make you think one thing, and then immediately turn it around and make you think something else.  I call that misdirection and re-direction.

This took me absolutely forever to write, so, if you made it this far, I really appreciate it.  Due to how long these are likely going to take me to write, I'm thinking I probably won't be done with them until after the last episode of season 1 has aired.  I'll try to keep things grounded at the episode 7 plot twist, but things could totally change by the end of Sunday's episode.  If you think this whole blog post wasn't any good, please let me know, and I won't write any other ones about this.  Thanks for reading.
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