Homeland delivered another solid episode with an intriguing plot and dramatic performances by Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin.
One of the major plot points in “The Good Soldier” was holding a funeral for a soldier who served with Brody that he was able to confirm as dead. What did you think of that funeral service? Brody’s random call and answer session didn’t resonate with me since I know very little about the military. But I think it was supposed to illustrate the emptiness of that one solider.
The title of this episode (“The Good Soldier”) is worth some attention. Sgt. Tom Walker is certainly hailed as a good soldier. But so has Sgt. Brody, who we have reason to believe might have been the one who killed Walker.
Brody is a “good solider” because he’s become the poster boy for what the military wants him to be. He’s obeying orders, even though we learn that this doesn’t measure up to the standards he had for himself. He wasn’t pro-war once he got there, he just wanted to get home in one piece. By covering up these types of truths, he’s become a role model to future soldiers, but become a liar to his peers. And no matter how good Brody looks on paper, it doesn’t hide the fact that the audience is privy to the knowledge that he’s being investigated as a possible traitor.
Let’s switch gears and talk about Faisel and Aileen. As we saw, Faisel was shot to death by an unknown party. And before that, he was almost blown up by a so-called safe house. Aileen is a very curious person, and I’m sure we’re all wondering how became a terrorist. She mentioned that someone trained her – but who? Who do you think is after her and Faisel? If it’s not the CIA, then it must be someone on their side that wants to take them out to tie a loose end.
The polygraph test was meant to reveal something about Sgt. Brody but it ended up revealing truths about Saul and Carrie instead.
When Saul took the test the first time, he was so agitated that his answer indicated that he’d slipped a razor blade to Hamid. Which, we know is false. Of all the people on this show that I can trust, Saul is the one I trust the most. I think his polygraph was all over the place because he was agitated. And lie detectors don’t prove there’s a lie, they only prove you’ve had a spike in emotion – and it can be any emotion. (I know all of this from watching Lie to Me.)
Carrie’s test, itself, didn’t blow anything apart. Although it was curious that they asked her about drugs. I kept waiting for them to ask her about prescription medication. Getting at someone you mistrust by making them answer up to your accusations via a polygraph test is a classic maneuver. And we know there are some people who don’t trust Carrie.
But the bigger reveal about Carrie happened during Brody’s polygraph. She is aware that he’s lying, but does not speak up about how she knows to give this credibility. The problem seems to be that Carrie can’t reveal how she knows Brody was lying through the poly graph, but why not? She would lose her job? If she loves her job so much and carries about the job more than it being “hers” she would tell the truth. When she didn’t risk her job to tell Saul the 100% truth it showed a lot about her character.
And, hey, Crrie wasn’t faking drunk, huh? I thought for sure she was. This might be where some of her mental illness comes into play. She does impulsive things, and can be quite selfish.
Another odd thing is that she told Brody what the polygraph was going to be about. In this way, Brody could prepare for the question without being shocked (mentally, or even with a mild tranquilizer.) Do you think she realizes how much her own small mistakes matter? We hear in the voiceover of the show every week how she doesn’t want to miss anything, but has she already?
What did you guys think of this episode? How do you think Brody was beating the lie detector? Should Carrie have revealed how she knew he was lying?
Homeland “The Good Solider” was written by Henry Bromell. Directed by Brad Turner. It airs Sundays on Showtime.