CliqueClack TV

Homeland – A hero or a traitor returns home….

An American soldier held captive by Al Qaeda for eight years is found and returns home, is he a hero or a traitor planted by terrorists?

- Season 1, Episode 1 - "Pilot"

Homeland is a complex new CIA drama on Showtime that takes an old cold-war-type theme and modernizes it for our current terrorism-focused intelligence program. Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is a CIA agent that uses questionable methods with good intentions to keep our country safe. This time, she goes over the line, due to her suspicions that newly discovered Al Qaeda hostage, Marine Sergent Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) has been turned against the United States while in captivity

Would it be possible for an American to be turned into a traitor by Al Qaeda? It really isn’t that far-fetched, as shown by recent news headlines. I cannot even begin to imagine the horrors a prisoner would endure over eight years of captivity and the psychological damage it would cause. The first sign of a problem should have been how “normal” Sergent Brody acted when he returned to the homeland.

I enjoyed watching the psychological issues of both Carrie and Brody unfold on screen and expect this to be a continued theme of the series. Carrie breaks the law but with good intentions. Brody was presumably a loyal American soldier who broke while held captive. Does that make them good or bad? Heroes or victims? I’m looking forward to seeing this dichotomy play out and see what shade of gray they each end up being.

After watching the episode I find myself struggling with the question of whether or not Sergent Brody is a villain already because he killed Thomas Walker. While probably not a popular opinion, I don’t think so. We don’t know the full circumstances surrounding Brody’s captivity or how he ended up hitting Walker to death, but at this point I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. Why? Brody hit Walker to death, he didn’t strangle him or shoot him in the head.

Assuming that Abu Nazir threatened Brody into action and he didn’t do it of his free will, it would be easier to be manipulated into hitting someone to death than putting a bullet in your friend’s head. What harm will one punch do to a strong military man? Not much. Unfortunately, the situation got out of Brody’s control and Walker ended up dead. What a brilliantly manipulative move by Nazir! Once Brody killed Walker, he was clearly guilt-stricken and who did he lean on … Nazir.

Eight years later … is Brody now loyal to Al Qaeda and Nazir, or his homeland, the United States? I’m looking forward to watching this mystery play out. Right now, it appears his loyalty is definitely in question. He lied during his debriefing about meeting Nazir and about how Walker died. But, were these lies to protect himself from shame or to protect the terrorists?

Oddly, it seems we know more about Brody at this point than we do about Carrie. She is taking a clozapine for some psychotic disorder. She likes to go pick up random men (how nasty was it at the beginning when she came home and wiped herself between her legs — ugh), while wearing a ring. She “ruined”  David Estes’s (David Harewood) life. Did they have an affair or was it something else? We do know that she will do whatever she needs to do in order to protect the country and we will have to decide if that makes it right or not.

Homeland is not going to be an easy show to watch, but that is why I’m hooked. I’m looking forward to experiencing the complex journey of these intriguing characters.

Quotes and Notes:

  •  “An American prisoner of war has been turned.” – Informant to Carrie
  • The free version of Homeland edited the nudity and noise during the sex scenes. The editing made it appear to be much more gratuitous than it actually was in the aired version. A marketing ploy?
  • Jessica Brody was upset that Walker’s wife moved on and remarried, but she ended up moving on herself with her husband’s friend, Mike (Diego Klattenhoff). What happens to their relationship now? And, how will Nicholas handle it when he inevitably finds out?
  • “I’m just making sure we don’t get hit again.” – Carrie
    “I missed something once before. I won’t … can’t let that happen again.” – Carrie
  • The episode ends with Brody looking at the Capitol. Foreshadowing something or just a scenic patriotic view?
Photo Credit: Showtime

2 Responses to “Homeland – A hero or a traitor returns home….”

October 3, 2011 at 12:34 AM

Obviously there’s something wrong with this world … Randal Flagg is VPOTUS.

With the Walking Dude sauntering around the White House, things can’t be looking up for the good guys.

October 5, 2011 at 6:55 AM

So funny, Ivey. I noticed Jamey Sheridan also and said to my husband “Holy Crap that’s Randall Flagg!”

We are already hooked on this show after only one episode. The cast is amazing… Mandy Patinkin is phenominal in anything he does, and although the show didn’t last long, Damian Lewis was great in the show Life, and I became a huge fan. The show is intelligent, and does not dumb itself down for the viewer, which I find quite refreshing.

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