Homeland Review: The Lie Detector

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After many insightful theories in the comment section of last week's review, I came into "The Good Soldier" on board with the idea that Brody could still be innocent and Saul might in fact be the turned prisoner of war mentioned in the premiere.

Homeland changed my mind in regards to that theory, then changed it back, and then turned things around once more... all within the hour. That is what has been so good about this show thus far. You are never quite sure what to think about any situation, and I don't know about you, but I still could be convinced that either Brody or Saul have been turned, both have, or neither have. It is just THAT complicated.

Saul on Homeland

I began watching "The Good Soldier" on the prowl for clues that Saul was indeed the culprit in this whole mess. I came to terms with the fact that being in a prison camp, making things difficult for Carrie, and chatting with the terrorist - where he could have slipped him the razor blade - was enough to put him on our watch list.

The idea that Brody did what he could to survive while a prisoner, and then turned to Muslim prayer as a way of getting through such a tragic time of his life, started to make more sense.

But then during this episode, Saul seemed to be trying way too hard to help the CIA catch Professor Faisel and his blonde friend. I was back on Team Saul for a brief moment, that was, until his first polygraph test.

Every lie detector test that these individuals went through seemed to be just as difficult on us as it was on them, none more than Saul Berenson's. He seemed to have beaten the polygraph in the most textbook of manners, acting as nervous as possible throughout so that they can't get a good reading on your truths or your lies. When he answered the question about handing off a razor blade with no and the needle jumped all over the place, I was immediately back on board with the idea that he was guilty.

Oh the twists and turns were not over yet though. Brody finally made his way in to take his polygraph, and boy was that a joy to watch. The dude is as cool a customer as there is, and he absolutely murdered this lie detector test just like he murdered his buddy Tom Walker. What? Too soon?

Every answer he gave created no movements in the needle. Did you hand a razor blade to the terrorist? No. Carrie demands they ask the question over and over again.  No. No. No. She thought this was going to be it - her way of finally getting Brody.  So she asked a question she knew he would lie about, and that she knew the correct answer to.

Have you ever been unfaithful to you wife?  He stared right into the camera, as if he knew Carrie was looking straight back at him, answered with a calm No, and the needle did nothing. Brody knew he was lying, Carrie knew he was lying, and we knew he was lying - because we had to watch that awkward drunken sex scene from the night before - but nobody else knew.  Carrie couldn't say why she knew he was lying.

That seemed like a big EFF YOU to Carrie though right? It could have been that he has turned, is lying, and wants Carrie to know that he knows that she knows. Confusing, right? Or he could be innocent, could have been telling the truth during the entire polygraph, and then lied on the last one because he knew Carrie was coming after him. As if to say, you really think I'm a terrorist?

That is why this show has been so unbelievably good thus far. Sure, there have been fantastic performances by a number of actors in the cast, and there have been a multitude of interesting stories so far, but their ability to keep us guessing both within episodes and between episodes puts Homeland over the top as the best new show on television. "The Good Soldier" was a perfect example of what the series does best.

What did you think of this week's episode? What does Aileen do now that her friend was shot up in the hotel? What are Brody's intentions with Carrie after inviting her into his car? Who has been turned? And who hasn't? There are so many questions to ponder as we wait another week before heading down the back half of Homeland's first season.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (118 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Reading between the lines. Just a viewer's opinion here... I think Brody feels nothing, zero, zippo for his wife because while he was being held the terrorists showed him video surveillance of his wife with Mike. I think whomever the mole is in the CIA teamed up with the terrorist group and fed them information to torment Brody and help turn him. I think we'll see the harrowing abuse and how long it finally took to break him down and turn him, but turn he did. This is why I think he didn't react to the taunting until he saw his wife notice the argument. He had to get up and take action and show her his rage and jealousy, fake or not, and this gave him a chance to address the Mike issue and get it out of the way. Now he's saying he's going to "take a break" from family? Hmmm...odd. This will free him up to meet with people or somehow make contact with his terrorism connection. I think it's in this time when he's not at home playing soldier dad that he will make contact. Carrie, I think, is so focused on her job in the most unhealthy way that the woman who says F-this-shi** better than anybody I know, thinks nothing of having sex with Brody. So what? Who cares? It's just sex. It's just an action to get to the end. Anybody notice how the writers make the women the strongest characters on the show? I thought it was hilarious to watch both Saul and his boss prattling on about marriage woes, but when Carrie walks in she doesn't have the previous night's rank humping on her mind. She just wants to catch Brody. At ANY cost. Saul's wife is the stronger one, she has a plan and is moving on. I think we have more from her soon. She has a story to tell...hmmm.... The terrorist married lovebirds...the wife is the stronger one. She had the training. She knew the house was wired. She survived and is on the run. By the way, my guess is while she was in Saudi Arabia with her oil exec father, something terrible happened and she sided with the natives. Maybe she has major Daddy and big oil issues, but just like Carrie asked when she looked at her photo, "What did you see Aileen?" Great moment. I wonder if Aileen became friends with a CIA agent in the Middle East or while at Princeton or something and she manages to get info or is...I don't know, but something is up there. Had to stop that thought. It hurt my head. Oh, back to the strong woman thing. Even Carrie, in all of her dysfunction, is the strongest of the agents because she won't let go. She won't give up. She needs a lesson on waiting for at least the second date, but with her illness that ain't gonna happen. How much do you love Virgil? I miss him. "You're in it up to your f-ing neck!"....or better, Virgil: What are these Carrie? ---"Oh, so you think I'm crazy. Are you REALLY that surprised?" HAAAAA I love this show. LOVE IT. Anybody notice when Carrie was rewinding the video over and over that some guy put something on the table in the background? Maybe that was nothing, but you have to wonder. Totally missed the flag at Saul's house. Will have to check that out. Also, the writers have yet to pounce on any of their little hidden clues yet...it almost makes me think they are trying to make US, the viewers, paranoid! I love it.


Tom Walker is the terrorist. What better motivation to turn a POW than getting beat up by his partner? They kept Brody alive to serve as a decoy while Tom Walker is the real terrorist. He'll be back soon, maybe in Season 2 though.


Firstly, this ep raised the game b a ton. The polygraphs were so telling...Carrie and her drug problem...Saul and his marriage issues...David still sniping about his marriage and Brody using the test to send a message to Carrie. The key line was Carrie talking of beating the boys at chicken on the railroad tracks. Brody is now playing chicken with her. Wow!


Again, Aileen cannot be a POW. She grew up in Saudi Arabia -- a country not nominally at war with the United States in the years in question. Doesn't anybody have enough general knowledge to tell the realistic from the unrealistic anymore? (No wonder even purportedly 'serious' American TV gets away with lack of realism -- only The Wire avoided that fate and even then not entirely, but I digress.) Assuming the writers are trying to be as realistic as possible, Aileen is ruled out. Saul is (very likely) ruled out because a three month prison stint in a friendly Asian country with almost no jihadist sympathies won't turn a CIA officer who (realistically) has consular access to begin with; For him to be turned in such a short time entails government collusion in the torture of an American by a usually placid country in a relatively 'friendly' part of the world -- unrealistic. Assuming the writers stick with realism, the bombshell is probably that there's a third POW out there who was presumed dead but isn't -- or Tom Walker isn't dead after all, and was the POW that turned. (The show's Israeli precursor Hatufim had a similar storyline or a third POW who was thought dead but wasn't.)


My theory at this point is that the gal who brought in the water also passed on the razor blade and Aileen was held prisoner in the Middle East as a young child.


Saul wasn't a "POW" in Malaysia -- that country is not at war with the United States, isn't passive-aggressively hostile the way many Arab countries and Pakistan are, and has a government that harbors very little or no jihadist sympathies. And there's no chance an American would be denied consular access if taken into custody in Malaysia. State would raise hell and bring so much diplomatic pressure to bear they wouldn't be able to resist. Besides which, three weeks in a foreign prison in a relatively developed Asian locale isn't enough to turn a seasoned CIA officer.But back to the salient point: Saul was busted as a run-of-the-mill field agent, detained for a short time and questioned, and (presumably) declared persona non-grata and deported (as happens from time to time with Russian diplomats in the West). He wasn't a "POW." So it couldn't have been him, unless the writers are going to take huge liberties with terminology in a departure from realism -- something they have not done in the preceding episodes.


@Piecar - I think Carrie has mixed motives in her tryst with Brody. First, even if she has nothing specific in mind at this point, I think she thinks/hopes that by maintaining a connection with him she can keep her eye on him. Second, I do think there is some attraction. We already know she's a risk-taker, right? That no one could beat her in playing chicken with an oncoming train? Her tryst with Brody is like that -- playing chicken with an oncoming train.


I actually subscribed to Showtime just to watch "Homeland"... it is sooooo good!!!


I feel Carrie failing the lie detector test for answering "no" to illegal drug use while employed at agency will come back to haunt her. I mean that question (about drug use) was only focused towards Carrie, no one else was asked about that. I feel she will have to take a drug test and her anti-psychotic drugs will make her seem unreliable and psycho. Saul is becoming every more sketchy. He too was praying in Islamic language when on the phone with Carrie reporting about dead prisoner. Why was his initial polygraph not usable or reported if that was the "key" question? The relationship with the polygraph employee might benefit his case too. Very unsupervised test in my opinion at the federal level. But this is a television show and the drama is very evident. Good episode and will be watching next Sunday.


I thought the most telling moment of the night was when Brody started to fight Whatshisface only after noticing that the wife was coming over. It was a calculated effort. Very interesting, that. Lynn Dee is correct. Admitting he cheated in this venue would never get back to his wife. I wonder if his assignment is not to turn Carrie herself. That's why he's messing with her. Is Carrie trying to play Brody with this sex thing? I don't get it. The show is good, but this little tryst just seems too "TV" for me unless I get the motivation. I hope they didn't lose the "Due South" guy. I like him. The show clearly shows that Brody's got something going on...So it clearly can't be what we're being led to think it is.

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