‘Homeland’ – ‘Crossfire’: Take me out to the ballgame

Senior Television Writer
11.27.11 106 Comments

A review of tonight’s “Homeland” coming up just as soon as I find out what vitamin water is…

“Are we enemies now?” -Nazir

When last we left Nicholas Brody, we learned that what he had told Carrie about his time in captivity wasn’t entirely the truth. Some people were excited by this revelation, some were angry that the show had done such a quick reversal from the conversation in “The Weekend,” and some (like me) were concerned but willing to wait and see where the story went from here.

While Carrie spends her end of “Crossfire” trying to track down Tom Walker – and trying various methods to work the imam who might know how to find him – we spend the Brody half of things filling in many of the blanks that were left by last week’s revelation.

Now we know that he is acting of his own free will (more or less), rather than being turned into a modern-day Manchurian Candidate, and we’ve seen the circumstances under which he came around to Nazir’s way of thinking.

But is it believable?

I think it is, if you factor in the following: before Nazir took Brody into his home and made him into his son’s English tutor, Brody spent five years in horrible, inhumane captivity. He was tortured, and deprived, and had nothing to do but think, over and over and over, about the moment of weakness where he believed he beat his partner and friend Tom Walker to death. I can’t imagine what those five years must have been like. Almost no one can. But the psychological toll those years would have taken gives us a lot of leeway in terms of what his mindset must have been when he woke up in Nazir’s home, took a bath, got a shave and a haircut and a chance to live like a person again, and then was introduced to a young boy not unlike the son Brody believed he would never see again.

Just look at the expression on Brody’s face (so perfectly conveyed by Damian Lewis) in the moment where Nazir’s son, so proud at having read an entire book in English, wraps him in a big, affectionate hug. This is the kind of human contact I imagine Brody never expected to have again during his long time in the darkness. And for the boy who gave him that feeling again to be killed in a drone attack on Nazir? I’m sure the Brody who came to Iraq five years earlier would understand the idea of collateral damage, even as he’d feel bad that local kids got killed. But for this Brody, after this experience, that kid was everything, and I think “Crossfire” sold that he was, and that his death might send Brody down this path.

We still don’t know, however, how Tom Walker was turned – or, for that matter, whether Nazir took Brody into his home to try to turn him through less personally-devastating means. But we know now why Brody wants to kill the vice-president, and we also know that he has his own free will and can perhaps change his mind at some point.

I still worry that we may have another five or six “shocking” reveals and loyalty switcheroos before the season is out (Elizabeth Gaines seems an obvious candidate to be stealthily working for Nazir), but my overall concern level is much lower. Last week raised a bunch of questions, and this week gave what I found to be a satisfying, dramatically compelling answer.

What did everybody else think? Did you buy Brody’s conversion? 

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