‘Homeland’ – ‘Grace’: Garage door opener

10.09.11 8 years ago 46 Comments

A review of tonight’s “Homeland” coming up just as soon as I have a waxing appointment…

“No one said becoming a terrorist was easy, Saul.” -Carrie

The early set-up in these “Homeland” episodes means there’s going to be no physical interaction between our two main characters, but “Grace” does a strong job of linking them up in other ways early and often. Not only does Carrie spend much of the episode simply watching Brody on the video feed, but the scenes are often set up in a way that draws visual connections between the two. We open with what seems like Brody’s nightmare, primed for the inevitable moment where we see him sit bolt upright in bed, only it’s Carrie who sits up. For a moment, it seems that she’s now having nightmares about her imaginings of his time in captivity – that she’s already gotten right inside his head – but then we see that Brody has just loudly woken up as well, and that she only woke up because he did. Still, the connection has been made, in the same way that we later see her curling up on her sofa to study him curled up on his.

They may – again, may – be working with different agendas, but they are also the same, the show tells us over and over. We know that Carrie is mentally ill, and that Brody has been through an experience that would crack even the healthiest mind wide open. (The various dream sequences and flashbacks make it seem like Brody is now unstuck in time like Billy Pilgrim, living every moment of his captivity at once.) Both are hiding their secrets from the world – Carrie with the pills she gets from her sister (opportunistically exploiting family to get drugs off the CIA radar), Brody with his apparent conversion to Islam (and maybe more) – but are holding up a tremendous emotional weight.

Brody setting up the garage so he can pray to Mecca without being observed would seem to be another strong sign that he was turned in captivity, but as with the hand signals and flashback last week, it could still be ambiguous. While my working assumption is that he turned (the show’s arguably more interesting that way), it could be that he simply needed a spiritual outlet during his long and horrific captivity and ultimately turned to the nearest available deity.

In the meantime, Carrie gets turned onto a new potential lead to Abu Nazir in the form of Lynn, the glorified (and well-compensated) harem girl for a Saudi prince. That kind of subplot is important for the show, allowing the writers to spread out this cat-and-mouse chase over a full season but not seeming like an unnecessary distraction in the way that, say, every “Dexter” subplot about Angel or Laguerta turns out to be.

The pilot was terrific. “Grace,” meanwhile, suggests it wasn’t just a flash in the pan, and that Gordon and Gansa are ready for at least the haul of this season. (We’ll see about this as a long-term series, obviously.)

What did everybody else think?

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