Homeland, Ep 1.11: “The Vest” is an explosion of character
Homeland, Season 1, Episode 11: “The Vest”
Written by Meredith Stiehm & Chip Johannessen
Directed by Clark Johnson
Airs Sundays at 10pm ET on Showtime
One thing about Homeland that should have been clear by now is that you have to expect the unexpected. This was supposed to be an explosive episode leading into an even more explosive finale. Of course, if the show has proven anything it’s that it will almost always choose character over action. This week there was an explosion, but this time the bomb was Carrie.
After being caught in the bomb blast last week and then being stuck in a hospital for days, Carrie has gone off her meds. Her bi-polar disorder has taken over, and it has manifested itself in manic fits over everything around her, including a lack of green pens. What’s interesting about her breakdown is how laser-focused she becomes. Carrie basically doesn’t live for anything other than her work, and when she succumbs to her illness that work is the only thing she can attach herself to. Claire Danes does great work showing all sides of manic and depressed in the episode. While her thoughts and ideas are quite sane, Carrie’s process has become effectively insane. Danes plays that perfectly. You can see the gears inside her head turning a mile a minute, and her mouth just trying to keep up.
Also delivering a great performance this week was Mandy Patinkin. Of course, Patinkin is amazing every week, but this week in particular was a stand out. His coming to terms with Carrie’s disorder was incredibly touching. Saul wonders whether he should have guessed at it sooner and done something about it. He feels responsible for Carrie, and when she’s too out of it he even sees fit to continue the project she was working on. Again, everything we need to know is right there on his face. Carrie is family to him, and this is especially important now that his wife has left.
Speaking of that project he helped finish. Carrie, in her manic state, pieced together a timeline of all of Nazir’s known history since 2001. The only gap in the intelligence timeline comes right around the time Nazir’s compound was struck by a drone missile and his son was killed. Carrie doesn’t know the details, but she correctly assumes that this moment in time had Nazir grieving a great loss. She sees this as a crucial bit of information in piecing together Nazir’s motivations and understanding what he might be plotting.
The Brody family, meanwhile, takes a trip to Gettysburg. Damien Lewis gives perhaps his best performance so far this season during this episode. His interactions with his daughter are particularly touching, while also quite menacing. Interestingly, his daughter picks up that menacing vibe. She senses that something isn’t right. And it isn’t Brody actually went to Gettysburg in order to meet a bomb maker and pick up a bomb vest. Brody’s daughter almost finds it an opens it, and maybe this will come back in the finale. Either way, it looks like Nazir’s plot is fully underway at this point, and so far Brody is going right along, contemplating hi forthcoming suicide attack.
Then there was the big twist of the episode, and amazingly it was a twist based purely on character. Carrie calls Brody to meet and discuss that blind spot in the timeline, Brody agrees, only when Carrie opens her front door to greet him she is met by Estes and some other CIA guys. Brody told them about the affair and about Carrie’s illegal surveillance and Estes is now raiding her house, taking away her work and firing her. It looks like Carrie is going to have to go rogue!
So what do you think will happen in next week’s finale? So much is up in the air. Do you think we’ll even get a satisfying ending to many of the threads, or are we looking at full on cliffhanger mode? Leave a comment below!