Homeland: “Redux” Season 4 Episode 7 Review

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I really try to be as eloquent as possible when writing reviews for this show, but after watching this week’s episode all I can say is, “holy f*cking sh*t.”

Homeland is excellent at doing two things: pulling the rug out from under us, and toying with our emotions. Sometimes, the latter is the result of the former. Often times, the consequences have been wholly negative. This week, however, was a different story.

In my last review, I mentioned that I was concerned for Saul’s safety after his capture by Haqqani. This week, all of my worries were focused toward Carrie. Don’t get me wrong, I know she’ll survive. The show can’t go on without her. Still, from the moment I saw the opening shot of the pills being made, I knew something very bad was going to happen. It did, and now I’m both terrified and excited to see how she’ll try and get out of it.

What’s so mesmerizing about the episode’s shocking final sequence, is how quickly I became enraged at what I thought was happening, only to discover it was all some twisted trick. Homeland has done a lot of solid work this season, but that still doesn’t mean I’d be surprised if they suddenly slipped back into their old habits. When Brody first walks down the staircase to meet an addled Carrie, my jaw dropped. Then I got really mad. “I’m alive Carrie, is that so hard to believe?” he asks. Uh, YES BECAUSE WE ALL SAW YOU HANG TO DEATH…is what I wanted her to shout back.

Then reality set in, and this scene became something else entirely. First of all, the fact that Carrie hallucinated Brody during her weakest moment proves that she’s still brought down by the past, despite her best efforts to move forward. In one truly tragic moment—that Claire Danes delivers perfectly—she asks if he’s come back to punish her because she let him die. I think these feelings of regret are what’s been so damaging to her all season, and the reason she’s been so willing to leave Franny, her one link to him, behind. She’s been beating herself up with the thought that Brody’s death is her fault.

Additionally, now that we know Carrie was actually crying into the arms of Aasar Khan (Smash‘s Raza Jaffrey), all my anger has been replaced by fear. We don’t really know much about Khan, and at this point it’s anyone’s guess as to whether he’s good or evil. On one hand, he did seem sincere in his efforts to help Carrie and in his concern when she began to unravel. On the other, he was the last person to meet with Saul before he was abducted, and is working in ISI with The Snake, so I don’t exactly consider him trustworthy. I guess it’s a good sign that he let Carrie stay in his mansion compound instead of the creepy cell she was initially taken to, but this could just be a tactic to get her guard down. Right now, I think Carrie is in some serious danger.

“Redux” is another episode that’s so much more than it’s eventful conclusion. The Homeland writers could’ve easily taken Carrie’s pill-switching plot and let it drift off into soap opera territory, but instead used it to build an exquisite amount of suspense. There’s a brief moment before Carrie takes her first pill, which we previously saw being replaced with a different drug by Dennis, where she pauses. I hoped she would stare at it and realize something was wrong. But why would Carrie ever suspect a betrayal from someone she barely interacts with, especially if that person is married the US Ambassador?

Carrie’s erratic behavior slowly crept up to the surface once she took the pill. Not only was she off her medication, but now she had an entirely new drug in her system. Danes did an excellent job of creating a steady escalation of insanity. We see small ticks during Lockhart’s meeting with the Pakistani  delegates, she nervously eyes The Snake on her phone, and keeps darting her head rapidly to whomever is speaking. Soon her speech speeds up, then, when she gets to the hospital to locate Aayan’s girlfriend, she has a full-on freakout. Everything from her screaming in the hospital to her hallucination of shooting the civilians is filmed with a spellbinding intensity; it’s impossible to look away.

Even in this state of extreme distress, the show still finds a way to subtly work the Carrie/Quinn angle for a quick moment. When Quinn tries to restrain her, she lashes out, asking him why he’s holding her back. “Why, because you care about me?” she says in an almost teasing tone. I know a lot of people are uninterested in this relationship, but I really have to commend the writers for doling it out in small doses, instead of making it a central focus. It adds another layer of complexity to this already complex season.

The subplot this week saw Saul traveling with Haqqani as his prisoner. The reason I stopped being so worried about him is because Haqqani made it clear that he plans to trade him with the CIA in exchange for the release of prisoners. That’s not to say that something bad still couldn’t happen, but it seems far less likely now. Anyway, the real reason this narrative was so fascinating is because of the way in humanized Haqqani. Much like how we saw a different side of Brody and Abu Nazir once we were introduced to Issa, here we see Haqqani’s wife and children. His love for them is pure, despite his complicated ideology.

Even more interesting is the conversation he has with Saul about whose religion is more dangerous. It can all be summed up by this brilliant exchange that occurs after Saul brings up the pain that Islam has caused:

Haqqani: If Christianity is to be judged by all the pain it’s caused humanity, who would ever want to be a Christian?
Saul: I’m a Jew.
Haqqani: Oh..well…okay…

The dialogue is almost humorous, but it gets at something that few politically inclined shows ever do. The US is always seen as a white knight, saving war-torn countries from themselves. While terrorists like Haqqani have certainly used their religion to do monstrous things, nothing is ever so black and white. We have our fair share of faults as well, and it’s refreshing to see an American TV series admit this.

This is easily the best episode in Homeland‘s fourth season so far, which I didn’t think would be possible after last week’s incredible outing. If the show continues to progress at this rate, we could be witnessing the return of one of the best shows on TV. Now somebody please get Carrie the right pills. Grade: A

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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