‘Homeland’ Review: “In Memoriam”
Following last week's abrupt cliffhanger, 'Homeland' keeps the momentum going this week, and it looks like Saul is in some hot water with the CIA -- you guys might actually really like him when he's angry.
The only thing more interesting than Claire Danes' cry face is her "I was wrong" crazy-face, which we get a taste of when Quinn and the infantry are unable to find Nazir hiding out in the warehouse, but damn it, she knows he's still in there. This show -- and Claire Danes -- has done such brilliant work illustrating the manic highs and lows of Carrie's mind that it's so easy to believe she's right when everyone doubts her, and so easy to believe she's wrong, too. And each time her instincts are right, we're still surprised and able to cheer her on, but there's an undercurrent of sadness there, too -- on a hunch she goes back to the warehouse to search yet again, and she finds Abu Nazir. The cavalry comes in right after she gets knocked out, and before Nazir can pull something out of his jacket, he's shot down and killed.
It's a moment that could easily deflate the series because Nazir has been an integral part of the plot, and without him, there would be no Brody. But Nazir's death raises questions about Brody's future on the show and where the relationship with Carrie and the CIA could possibly go from here. Without Nazir, the CIA no longer needs Brody, and living happily ever after with Carrie just doesn't seem like the kind of thing 'Homeland' is interested in exploring. Yet, even with Nazir dead, there's no real sense of closure, even as Brody is trying to find it with Jessica -- they both know the marriage is dead and was long before Nazir was killed. As if to throw up a white flag and surrender to the end, Brody tries to tell Jessica the truth about the day when Elizabeth Gaines was shot, but it's too late -- she deserved to hear it before, but she doesn't need to hear it now.
It's such a relief to see the Brody marriage disintegrate after a long, exhausting season of these two circling the inevitable, and while I was personally cheering on the dissolution of their marriage for plot's sake, there's still something very sad and unsatisfying about their conversation in the car this week.
"In Memoriam" is filled with interrogations, from Quinn questioning Carrie after she escapes Nazir, to Carrie's failed interrogation of Roya Hamad, to Estes putting Saul through a polygraph test to force his resignation, and finally, Dana questioning her own father.
With Roya, Carrie thinks she may be able to connect with her on an emotional level, but Roya's not interested in female bonding. And even though she refuses to give up any information, it's that failed interrogation that pushes Carrie to return to the warehouse and find Nazir, so even though she doesn't know it, Roya technically did aid in the capture and murder of the man she was trying so desperately to protect. And though Roya's been kind of mediocre, acting mostly as plot facilitator, she was incredibly engaging and intriguing in the interrogation room -- all the more so when she started shouting in Arabic.
But back to Saul's lie detector test (hosted delightfully by guest star James Urbaniak) -- it's always fantastic to see him so fired up, and the idea that the very agency he's given his life to is now pushing him out feels frustrating, even from a viewer standpoint. Saul is such an even-keeled guy with a genuinely kind heart, and watching David Estes (who has become something of a villain and slightly cartoonish) pummel the loyalty out of Saul is depressing. Now that Saul knows that Estes has hired Quinn to kill Brody, Estes is using the only ammo he has -- Aileen's death -- against Saul to force him into early retirement. It's sad enough that Saul is being forced out of his job, but even sadder that they're using Aileen's death against him, when the last thing he wanted was to facilitate her death -- or anyone's, for that matter. Saul is not the killing type, and he honestly believes that there is good in everyone, so when he's asked if Aileen was a terrorist, his response is telling: "She said she was."