Homeland: “Tower of David” Season 3 Episode 3 Review

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In a character-heavy episode, both Carrie and Brody try to escape from their own personal prisons.

Much like how last week showed the similarities between Carrie and Dana and their struggle with mental illness, this week focused on the similarities between Carrie and Brody and their hindering feelings of entrapment.

After two Brody-less episodes, we finally saw the return of the fallen Sargent this week.  He’s being held captive in an abandoned building in Caracas, Venezuela.  For those of your who are keeping track, this is the same city that Quinn touched down in during the premiere where he accidentally shot a terrorist leader’s son.  I have a feeling this location will have some sort of significance as the season goes on.

Brody is being held by a group of thugs led by El Nino, who’s only keeping him alive because he apparently knows Carrie.  There’s an interesting cast of characters in the makeshift living quarters where he’s staying.  Most notably, The Wire‘s Erik Dellums plays an unnamed doctor who treats Brody’s shot wounds.  He also tries to get Brody addicted to heroin so he’ll be more compliant.  Dellums is effectively eerie and will most likely play a big part in Brody’s fate in the upcoming episodes.

Half of the episode follows Brody as he becomes more aware of the hell he’s in, tries and fails to escape, and eventually succumbs to being a prisoner.  In a cruel bit of irony, the episode ends with him sitting in a dark, dank hole, similar to the place where he was originally found in Iraq.  After all his efforts to escape, he’s right back where he started.

The other half of the episode jumps back to DC, revealing Carrie’s time in the psych ward.  It was an incredibly smart choice for the writers to solely focus on the show’s two leads, making this episode more about where they are emotionally than where the story is headed.  Homeland backed itself into a corner last season, and it’s nice to see that it’s taking things slow this time around.  Still, there were a few pivotal scenes that suggest some serious trouble lies ahead.

Carrie is clearly miserable in the psych ward.  She seems to be doing better on her meds, but it soon becomes clear that she’s anxious to be released, and is only suppressing her erratic tendencies so as to seem healthier.  Claire Danes gives another knockout performance.  You can feel her sense of misery creeping in once she realizes just how closed off she is.

Though she hasn’t lost her paranoia, she seems to be getting her wits about her again.  One of Carrie’s strengths has always been her ability to see things that others miss, despite her mental illness.  When a mysterious lawyer comes talk with her about the possibility of getting her released, she’s immediately able to tell he’s propositioning her to be a double agent.  This scene worked well to give off some intrigue for the season’s endgame.  Who exactly is trying to get Carrie to be a double-crosser?  Is this related at all to Javadi? And, though she initially turned him down, will Carrie agree to do it?  It might seem a little preposterous that she would blatantly betray her country, but now that Saul has essentially turned on her she can’t be feeling especially patriotic.

This episode did a lot to continue setting up the framework for this season, and most of it was done very well.  I don’t have any problems with this episode per se, but there was a strong thought that remained on my mind throughout the hour.  Do we still care about Nicholas Brody?  One of the main faults I had with ending of season 2 was the show’s decision to keep him alive after everything that had happened.  I get that his romance with Carrie is a central storyline, but now that he’s basically burned every bridge to his old life, is there really anywhere else for his character to go?

There’s a scene at the end where the doctor tells Brody he’s a harbinger of death.  Everywhere he goes, people die all around him.  I’m intrigued by this idea, but have yet to see how it relates to everything going on back in DC.  If they can find a way to make him relevant again, without it being ridiculous of course, then I will welcome him back with open arms.  For now, I remain cautiously optimistic.  Grade: B+

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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