Homeland, Ep 1.09: “Crossfire” explains (almost) everything

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Homeland, Season 1, Episode 9: “Crossfire”
Written by Alexander Cary
Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Airs Sundays at 10pm ET on Showtime

This was a week where Homeland saw fit to move the pieces of the plot forward in a big way, but much like another great TV show, Lost, the writers decided to push things forward by flashing back. It takes a delicate balance to introduce flashbacks the way this episode did. If handled poorly, the whole thing can come off as a cheap ploy to sell bad exposition. Once again Homeland has proved itself to be above such easy mistakes. “Crossfire” delivered a lot of explanation, but also a lot of emotion.

The flashbacks start after Brody is beaten and kidnapped by two men in a grocery store parking garage. The story then shifts back three years to Brody waking up in Abu Nazir’s home. Nazir embraces Brody, lets him walk freely about his home and, most importantly, lets Brody spend a lot of time with his son. The two form a really tender relationship, and when Nazir’s son is killed in an American drone attack we finally see the moment where Brody was turned against his own country.

What Homeland did so successfully was to make the audience feel that stinging loss. Brody has always been a man with a great capacity to love, and his love of family is most important of all. Nazir may not be his real family, but he makes of it what he can. He finds love given to him and he gives it back, coming to care for Nazir’s son as though he was his own. This is especially poignant considering he was taken away from his real son before he ever got a chance to really know him. When that boy is killed, the panic and devastation is like a punch to the gut. Through Brody, and in the space of less than one episode, we have also come to care deeply about this father-son surrogate relationship. And when we see the American Vice President denying the accidental killing of many children in that attack, we sympathize with Brody’s new anti-American sentiments.

All of this cleverly connects back to Carrie’s story. She’s now left to deal with the aftermath of the FBI killing two innocent men in a mosque. The imam, despite being a kind, caring man, refuses to give up information about Tom Walker so long as the FBI continues to lie about what happened that morning tragic morning. Carrie tries to appeal to him, and even considers outing the FBI, but in the end she appeals to the imam’s wife. She secretly calls Carrie to come and meet her, and then gives her some crucial information. Walker came to the mosque several times to meet with a man, a man with diplomatic plates from Saudi Arabia.

Things are starting to come together. The endgame is taking shape. Brody was kidnapped to talk with Nazir via webcam. Nazir reminds him of why he turned in the first place, and reminds him of his mission. He apologizes for keeping him in the dark about Walker, and he relates some more information about what Brody’s mission actually is. The Vice President is looking to become President, and he’s going to want to use Brody. Brody’s immediate mission is to let that happen, and to agree to run for Congress when asked.

And now for some speculation. The game plan for this series seems to be more long-term than just one season. A lot of pieces are being put into place, and while it’s not entirely clear what the planned attack entails precisely, it appears that an assassination is only the tip of the iceberg. At the beginning of the series we saw Brody staring at the Capitol building. Is it possible that along with a presidential assassination, the plan also involves a Man Who Knew Too Much style bombing of Congress?

What do you guys think? Did you buy how Brody was turned? How expansive is this attack going to be? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

-Corey Atad

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