Call me naive, but when it came to the episode title “The Vest” I first assumed they’d be talking about a bullet proof vest. Guess not.

Homeland Review “The Vest”

We got our first look of Carrie in a really manic state. Although I am familiar with what bipolar disorder is, I’ve never actually witnessed anyone who was manic. The show gave us what feels like a very honest portrayal of what this disease might be to watch. Claire Danes, as always, was damn near perfection. Don’t you just want to be her?

When Saul first saw Carrie in the hospital, she was very upset about not having a green pen. There were some lines and moments here from Carrie that played as very funny. (Which is not to say that the disorder is funny. But there can be humor in anything.) However, as the scene played out back in her hospital room it quickly went from the silly to the scary. Carrie was even scaring Saul, who was equal parts concerned and clueless.

As Carrie was finally told, by Saul (whom she probably respects more than anyone) that she was acting odd to him, she realizes that she’s having a manic moment and she looks completely heartbroken. It seems that one suffering from a manic period doesn’t actually even realize it until later.

I was really impressed that we saw the progression of how Carrie’s illness was being tempered with medication. There was a very gradual decline. On that last morning we saw her have a more lucid moment as she talks Saul. But it wasn’t like she was magically fixed. She had a difficult day. Her time on the phone to Brody was evidence that she was still feeling unstable. And what only exacerbated things was having the CIA show up to her house.

Even on her best of days, Carrie could never gracefully accept or deal with being fired. For that to happen to her while she was in this state… again I felt heartbreak for her. If only Saul was there to try to help!

Of course, it was pretty brilliant of Brody in how he played that, he eliminated the threat that was Carrie (and her knowledge) pretty easily. She’s totally discredited, and probably will only be more so when her bosses realize she was hiding a mental disorder. Which is really too bad, because she’s the only one who has had any breakthrough’s!

A final note about Carrie is that Saul was able to take all of her chaotic notes and find order in them. He used her super cool cork board wall (seriously, don’t you want one?) and put everything together. What was unclear was if Saul was simply hoping he’d be able to make sense of her craziness, or if he believed in her. Even though Carrie wasn’t making a ton of sense, she hadn’t lost her mind – she was perhaps even more able to tap into things and think in a non-linear way that resulted in figuring out the key to everything is knowing that tragedy Abu Nazir suffered in the “yellow part.” (Of course, we know that he lost his son.)

Onto Saul, it’s worth mentioning that it seems like he was going to keep Carrie’s secret (of having Bipolar disorder) for her. It wasn’t officially stated, but it was implied. And that’s a big deal because he hates breaking rules.

Back to Brody, we have to talk about Gettsyburg. The obvious idea is that a solider might find that battlefield a good history lesson or a symbol, or something. And, it’s true. Brody does see it as a symbol… in a way. Aside from needing to be in town to get his suicide bomb vest, he took time to take the family to Gettysburg and tell him a bit about how he thinks. He made a big deal about someone willing to do what’s necessary for a cause that they believe in. But he wasn’t backing America in this, or even necessarily talking about America during the Civil War. Instead, he wasw talking about himself. By this point, he already knew what he planned to do. And he likely hopes that his kids will remember what he said on this day, and be able to make sense of what he does with the suicide bomb.

Before they arrive at their destination, Brody’s daughter is filming the family in the car. She remarks that his scars have faded so much you can barely even see them anymore. The director was giving an intimate, close-up view of Brody. The line goes deeper than about his scars. Who Brody was before the war is so gone and far removed from what he is now, he can probably hardly even remember that man. He has his new mission and his new loyalties. And it’s not to America or his family. He’s going to do what he does in spite of his family.

See, in the midst of what seems like a really sweet family moment, there are much darker things going on. I feel bad for that whole family.

We got a glimpse of the Vice President (who plans to run as President) and he was a jackass. Because there is so much political stuff going on (from the elections on Glee to the real life politics in America) it does make me (someone who is not a fan of politics) think a bit more about them than I usually would. What I want in a President is someone who isn’t a jackass, I want them to be nice and not just when they’re on camera. But, in addition I do think it’s important to vote for someone who can be tough. I have no idea who I’ll be voting for in anything right now, but it does seem that personality and political stance are both very important when deciding who to vote for. When people say a personal life doesn’t matter, maybe it does to the extent that it exhibits their character. (Sorry, Bill Clinton!)

So, Brody ordered a milkshake and then strapped on a suicide bomb. But when does he plan to use it? That’s a big question. I’ll see you guys here next week with another Homeland review.

Homeland airs on Showtime.



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