Were you expecting that?! Homeland delivered one hell of a powerful episode with “The Weekend.”
Let’s go through the episode, starting at the top. My first notes were about how Carrie didn’t ask Brody anything like “hey boi, how did you beat that box, man?” right away, and he must have known she was wondering it. For that reason, I thought it was suspicious the way Carrie waited to ask him about this much later.
But at the same time, I suppose I can understand why she wanted to wait until she suspected she’d get a real answer out of Brody. I really felt on my toes, trying to figure out how much of Carrie’s performance was fake vs real. Sometimes you can see her calculated maneuvers i.e. picking a fight with the White Supremacists as a bonding act, the story of the waterfall to make him decide to stay at the cabin, sharing her story about her translator being hung from a bridge (was that exact story true?) and even that entire first night. Was she truly drunk or not? Inside the cabin, with the gun, she seemed fairly lucid. I wrote a note that said I couldn’t tell if she was drunk or not, but that Claire Danes plays drunk (or plays at pretending to be drunk) really well. Carrie definitely sold the “drunk” vibe to her sister, even. But it also seemed like being drunk was an easy way to make things progress with Brody.
Saul is also full of calculated maneuvers. His idea to drive Aileen was very smart. It’s unlikely that they would have broken her in a typical way. But Saul knew that a car ride while the idea of an expiring “deal” literally passed by her eyes would put pressure on her. He also knew how to tell her things he already knew, in order to get her to open up even more. Plus, he played to her sympathies by saying he understood her motivations, indicating that he truly could help her.
As a sidenote, I’ve never been to Graceland but now I want to google the “Jungle Room” and see if there’s an actual Heartbreak Hotel. Plus I want to see what it’s shaped like. (Crossing my fingers that there are heart shaped hot tubs.)
Saul had a great line in this episode, which was a comeback to Aileen’s defensive sneer of, “What do you know about it?” In return he said, “More than nothing.” Isn’t that a clever line? I think so. It has more impact than if he’d said “a little bit” or “more than you think.” It’s a fresh retort and it made Aileen curious about what kind of level of knowledge he had. When people say they can relate to you, often we shrug it off because it sounds so contrived. Saul found a way to beat that through the course of his 30 hour car trip. And really, what wouldn’t you tell Mandy Patinkin? His presence (no matter his character – Dead Like Me, Criminal Minds, etc) always has equal parts of intimidation and comforting paternal vibes.
Let’s go back to Carrie. When she had sex with Brody, sans drink, it established a new kind of intimacy between them. Again, this seems to have been a plot she executed for those very purposes.
The tea slip-up seemed genuine, though I doubt if her romantic feelings really are. As for that gun, did she want him to find it? She loaded it and put it in an obvious place… and left him alone tons of times, almost willing him to poke around.
When it comes to Jessica, I’m so glad her awful wig is gone. What kid (especially a teenage girl like Dana) let’s her Mom cut their hair? Was Jessica previously a hair stylist?
More importantly, do you blame Jessica or Brody more for their unfaithfulness? I really see why both did what they did, and find it hard to assign blame there.
Once Saul got Aileen to talk, it seemed like we were going to learn that Brody was the turned POW, so it was explosive when we realized that he wasn’t. But, not so fast. I’m still suspicious of Brody. He might be totally innocent, but he could still be working with Walker.
In the end, Saul was fired up, Brody was broken and Carrie was devastated. And I was left wondering why all TV shows (and movies) aren’t as good as this.
- Having the cabin was conveinint, but I bought it. And speaking of, that was a gorgeous lake house! I really wish I had one. The scenery there was amazing. Great location.
- “I’m all alone – I’m – meditating.” This line itself isn’t particularly quoteable, but when Danes delivered it, it was hilarious.
- I like the mention of the meds, even though we didn’t explore any of that in this episode.
- Carrie’s sister is so damn nice. Wow.
- What Dana says to Mike about how his presence leaves no room for her Dad was so accurate and true that you know he’s gonna stay away now.
- That was a really nice callback to what Brody did with his hands, and us learning he was Muslim and that movement was mimicking his prayer beads.
- When Brody says he loved Abu Nazir, I do wonder if he means romantically a little. Not because I want to jump to that, but because I think that’s a very interesting angle.
Rewatch: Yes, a key episode of the series. Loved the atmosphere and the tension. Smart storytelling. Claire Danes is lovely to watch. Her talent is boundless.
React: What did you think of this episode of Homeland? Do you think there’s a chance Brody knows Walker is alive? How do you think Walker made it back to the States as a dead guy? Was his corpse shipped over? And do you think he’s had any communication with his wife? Does this make you want to revisit the previous episode where they had a funeral to honor Walker?
Homeland airs Sundays on Showtime. It stars Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin.
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