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Homeland

Homeland Review: You Got To Win It In The Fire

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Would you feel sympathy for an American traitor doing what he can to help the leader of a terrorist organization? I wouldn't think so, but Homeland pulled that emotion out of me during "Crossfire."

The end of last week's hour delivered yet another twist in the story, as we realized that Brody was in fact working with Abu Nazir. When it was revealed that he was indeed the individual sitting in that chair, I was a bit surprised - and excited - but after pondering it a bit more over the course of the week, I came into this episode hoping that it was the final turn in the who is/who isn't saga.

Carrie at a Mosque

Fortunately, we seem to be out of those metaphorical woods, as "Crossfire" focused mainly on Brody's thoughts and emotions now that the audience knows he is definitely helping Nazir. What exactly happened to him to make him want to turn against his beloved country? We learned that, too.

Like everything else that Homeland has done up to this point in the series, it was extremely captivating. As I noted above, it would seem difficult to feel for a man that is betraying his people, but with the way the show has built Brody as a character, and the number of layers they have given him, it was easy to do so here.

Isa was like a son to him. He lived with him every day, and there is no doubt that most people would soon start to feel a connection with the boy if put in a situation like that. They played, they learned, and, as was exemplified by that drawing and hug... they loved.

Americans come in and bomb the town, killing Isa in the process,and Brody is just supposed to live life the way he always had? I guess his answer to that question was no because apparently he signed right up to help Nazir with whatever he needed.

So back in present day, where Brody just finished telling that diplomat that he was "done," the good sergeant was convinced to stay the course. Watching the telecast of the Vice President explaining the bombing those few years ago was enough to get him back on board.

The other two stories weren't as in-depth, and frankly couldn't match Brody's for intrigue, but both helped move the plot along well enough.

Carrie continued her run of simultaneously being a nut bar who is extremely good at her job. Recording an off-the-record conversation between her and an upper-level FBI agent was both ridiculous and genius. You have to figure one of these days acts like this will get the best of her.

Meanwhile, Walker practiced shooting his sniper rifle on office supplies in the woods. It was too bad that Dan stumbled upon the event. I knew the hunter wasn't going to get out of the woods alive, but that doesn't mean I didn't jump when Walker's gun broke the truck window and killed the poor guy instantly.

"Crossfire" was a bit of a change of pace from what we have all called the best new series of the season, but that doesn't mean it wasn't just as good as the twist-a-minute action of the first half of the run.

If Homeland continues to give insight to these extremely complex and interesting characters, while following along as the terrorists attempt to harm America and the CIA tries to stop them, will definitely be pleased.

What did you all think?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (92 Votes)

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

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Maybe Abu Nazir's son wasn't really his son and it was all a plot to win Brody over...

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I think the complexities of torture and Brody's state of mind are too much for this space. However, he was broken long ago and it seems from his reaction to finding out he is alive, it was clearly something he feels broke him apart. I also think Isa was NOT Nasir 's son....didn't anyone notice how afraid of him he was? He feared for his life and Loed knows what Nashir was doing to him or had already done to his real family. He and Brody were really one in the same....remember Brody told Carrie that Nasir was kind to him? And this is exactly what happened with Nasir...Brody as we could see was a mess, but he got back some of his humanity, and naturally his attachment to Isa and vice versa was emotionally powerful, and twisted in a way that they were clinging to each other for survival and thus their bond. I mean Isa hugged Brody...that is powerful for both of them...love and a feeling of security. I think it was all part of Nashir's plan for Brody which apparently was more complex than walker who was turned to use his skills to his own people. I also would not doubt he even fed the US false intelligence to bomb that school and kill that poor child, and putting Brody right where he wanted him. I mean Brody has his own children and those feelings and thoughts about them never connected with his feelings for Isa. Brody has been remembering the truth and lying since day one. He also has sprinkled in truths as well, making him manipulative, but sad, and painful to see the destruction of a human being via torture, which is shown in a powerful and believable way on this show. Nashir is clearly a monster, and there is enough blame to go around...also another discussion.

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The show must include a convincing nexus between Brody and his conversion and allegiance to Nazir and co. Isa's death does not make the case. The premise of the show fails on this point. I need more cowbell!

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Still the best show on television today, period. The show is strongest when Brody and family are the focus. The storyline with Isa, the child, is fascinating and as has already been suggested by other comments, may be a ruse set up as part of Brody's brainwashing. I think the Carrie character is wearing a bit thin. We are not learning about her with this episode, and this makes her increasingly one-dimensional. Her affair with Brody is nonsensical and may be attributable to her psychosis. The Saul character and wife are not particularly interesting. The Estes character, as a bungling higher-up, is stereotypical. The Brodys -- wife's feelings for him and her affair with his best friend, Brody's relationships with his former military buddies, Brody's relationship with his daughter, Brody's conversion to Islam, his allegiance to Abu Nazir, his relationship with Isa --- continue to fascinate and remain at the core of why this show works. The rest is backdrop and supportive only. I can't wait for the next episode this weekend.

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I find it too hard to believe that a career hardened Marine sergeant would betray his country for the reasons suggested. I can accept that he would do what it took to survive while in captivity but once rescued his loyalty would prevail. Only a systematic 'brainwashing' (ala Manchurian Candidate) might
change him but there has been no indication of this in the series. Not working for me...yet.

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I believe that nazir's master plan is to have brody run for the presidency...I believe he will be elected into office after senator Richards resigns and that is when tom walker will kill the v.p...which will leave brody the war hero Americas choice to lead the country

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I still love this show, but I find it hard to believe that Nazir would entrust his son to Brody, a man who had been kept in a hole for 5 years after being beaten and tortured. I think that Brody never left that hole, that is why he is found there, and that Isa was his guard, just as he told Carrie on "The Week-end". I think this story that he taught Isa English was told to him after the child had been killed in the bombing. Nazir knew that it would be a way for Brody to turn, to think that a child he taught would have died by the Americans. I think it's just as easy to believe that they brainwashed Brody into believing that this experience happened. It seems too convenient that after getting drugs this is what he'd be thinking about. Especially when he told his daughter that he'd been thinking about her for the 8 years he was a POW. Why wouldn't he have shared this story with her about educating a young boy? No, I say Isa was his guard, and this story of Isa the young boy was told to Brody to get him to turn.

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.I started off really enjoying the series but there are some major character and plot holes that I can’t get over: 1 – Brody – The primary motivation for Brody to abandon his country is some kid that he taught to learn English that was killed in a drone strike? Throughout the series he is placing the memory of a terrorist’s son above his immediate family who he consistently shows emotion for. This is combined with the fact that his captors made him “kill� his best friend. I understand what Stockholm Syndrome is but there are literally no examples of cases such as this, let alone two occuring simultaneously as this show portrays. The series also shows Brody being gruesomely tortured with things such as barbed wire covered bats, this is not how captors would compromise someone permanently. If the argument is that he psychologically snapped then he would be displaying glaring evidence of this, not masterfully communicating with terrorists right under the eyes of the CIA through hand gestures and passing lie detector tests with ease. He also manages to reveal the key bits of evidence which will throw Carrie off of his trail without revealing too much. Has 5 years in a cell block and 1 year as an English tutor turned him into a master spy with James Bond like cunning?
2 – Tom Walker – Why would the terrorists have him begging for change and living as a homeless person? As a key figure in the plot to assasinate the VP you would think that they could afford to provide him some cover. He’s supposedly a terrorist but calls his wife every night. You could better make the argument that Tom Walker has snapped but isn’t it far more feasible to get sniper training for a sleeper agent than it is to count on an ex Marine with mental issues to do the assasinating? Marine snipers are well trained but I would guess that flying a 747 is more complex than firing a Barret 50 cal and the terrorists managed to pull that off and guns are readily available in Afghanistan/Iraq from what I understand.
3 – The converted American girl – In the plot to assasinate the VP the heads of Al Qaeda are trusting in a girl who is angy at her dad? Again seems low budget and stupid to trust the worlds largest assasination mission to someone who is a foreginer, a woman (Al Qaeda policy, not mine), and gives up key information within 5 hours of driving with an old man who bonds with her by showing her an old church.
4 – Carrie – Somehow a trained CIA agent with multiple years in the field decides to get drunk and sleep with a key terrorism suspect who she still suspects. Is this a symptom of her anti-psychotics withdrawal?

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This episode didn't work so well for me, mainly because it involved so much back story and explication of how Brody got to where he is. I have to think the folks in charge knew it would be a problem, so they tucked it in after two dramatically explosive episodes, hoping that would get the audience through to the next one. I'm certainly willing to wait, but eh, it was pretty static.

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A 'meh' episode bordering on the absurd/jumping the shark. That Abu Nazir lived in relative luxury in the Iraq of 2008 is really not believable. Nor is the video link with Brody: the NSA sniffs this stuff out of the ether for crying out loud. Why do we think bin Laden went completely dark with no electronics and relied only on manual couriers in the last years of his life? And how did the likes of Zarqawi and Al-Awlaki get nailed? Yet we're led to believe that an electronic video link to Nazir is practicable when in fact it is extremely poor tradecraft equivalent to painting a bullseye on one's back. The whole psychological ploy thing with Isa also comes across as too fantastic to be believed. As for the CIA and FBI, it depends on what you mean by "take over." The CIA has no domestic law enforcement remit -- which is why the Agency has thus far (in the show) relied on the FBI for its 'muscle,' e.g., escorting Aileen back from Mexico and attempting to capture Walker. But the CIA may spy domestically if the spying implicates "foreign intelligence" activities or "international terrorism." See Executive Order 12333, 46 Fed. Reg. 59941, at sec. 1.4(b) (Dec. 4, 1981) clarifying 50 U.S.C. 403–4A(d)(1) and noting that the "Intelligence Community" (i.e., the CIA or the NSA) may, in accordance with federal law, "collect information concerning, and conduct activities to protect against, international terrorism . . . and other hostile activities directed against the United States by foreign powers, organizations, persons, and their agents." In short, there's no bright line saying that the CIA can't conduct clandestine domestic intelligence activities.

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