Homeland ‘Grace’ Review: The Price of Untreated Mental Illness| October 10, 2011 at 11:00 AM EDT
As I stated in my Homeland Pilot Review, the premise of this show intimidates me and the keywords of the premise aren’t up my alley. But as I’ve just finished watching Homeland episode 2 titled “Grace” (and am about to watch the next episode in my press packet) I can reveal that I’ve definitely become a fan of Showtime’s newest dramatic series.
If you’re looking for a Homeland review that’s written by a politically educated big brain… you won’t find it here. All I can do is approach the episode from who I am, and tell you my reactions. I enjoyed the episode, and there’s a few specific things I’d like to discuss.
I find the characters of Carrie and Brody both worthy of discussion. However, I find myself more interested in the damaged, determined and “pain-in-the-ass” (for her supervisors) leading lady that is Carrie.
For me to know that I legitimately like a show, I have to imagine if the roles were recast with less familiar names – would I still like this show if it didn’t have Claire Danes? The answer here is that yes, I would. Although I think Homeland was lucky to land this talented actress for the lead role.
This character is written as a fully realized human with a messy past, present and future. I’m not sure that I like her, but I know that I love her. The most interesting thing about her is how unapologetically ambitious and determined she is about her job. It’s because of her dedication to being right and being the best and not letting go of everything that everything else – health, family, etc – falls to the wayside. She’s scatterbrained and doesn’t take care of herself (there was that artful cutaway to seeing she had toenail polish on just one foot, and she had nothing but one expired yogurt in the fridge) not to mention that she’s alienated herself from friends and family.
It’s especially interesting to see that Carrie has a mental illness, but refuses to disclose it to her workplace and therefore cannot get any official therapy or medication. In the pilot she explained that she has a mood disorder, which Danes told USA Today is bipolar disorder. (This could explain her manic highs of overworking herself.) As someone interested in the mental health world, I think the commentary that Carrie can’t get help by admitting she needs it is a huge, huge problem. Rather than admit to the CIA that she needs help, she hides it. So instead of having an officer who is being treated, what is more likely is there are plenty of Carrie-type’s out there, hiding their problem and personally and professionally suffering for their lack of treatment. Places of employment that care about the mental status of their employee’s should find a way to encourage honesty instead of a new sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Ultimately, it’s harmful for both employee and the employer.
Speaking of harmful neglect, I am baffled that we have not seen Brody getting any sort of therapy or psychological help. He needs to talk about his experiences. And it’s understandable that he’d have a range of issues like depression and PTSD which would require medication. Instead, we saw him sitting in the corner for five hours. He’s unsupervised and unstable. You would think that more than just one semi-rogue agent would be aware of this.
Most of Brody’s actions in the episode were cloaked in mystery until the end. But the questions don’t stop there. I’m referring to the garage scene. Just because he may have switched religions doesn’t mean he’s been turned against America. For all we know, religion of any kind that he could practice helped him in his time over there. But it’s possible this is an indication that other things with him have changed. This is the ongoing mystery.How do you figure him out? You just have to watch.
Carrie is certain Brody’s been turned – or at least she refuses to dismiss the potential for it. But what do you think?
“It’s happening, just like you said. He’s out there playing the hero card.” – Carrie
Next week on Homeland:
“The truth. That would be interesting.” – Dana
“Me? No. I’m never done.” – Carrie
“Oh, it’s this video called Youtube.” – Brody
Homeland airs Sundays on Showtime @ 10 PM ET/PT. And catch Dexter on Showtime @9 PM ET/PT.
« Dexter Season 6 Episode 2 –... | The Good Wife Recap ‘Get A... »