Lost in the world

Homeland – “Uh… Oh… Ah…”

Carrie Mathison and Dana Brody have both peered into the abyss. Both were walked to the edge by Nicholas Brody, but as they stared, he disappeared. And now, the walk back has become a painful journey, one that is consuming both women. Both are lost in a world where things are just a few degrees off, unable to see the same “big picture” as those around them. Both are struggling to find something to hold onto.

It’s interesting that, at this juncture, Homeland is drawing these parallels between Carrie and Dana. Obviously, the bombing at Langley and Brody’s subsequent disappearance have affected both deeply, but it’s the differences that are key. Dana felt betrayed, and when unable to cope with the turbulence surrounding her family, tried to take her own life. The only person she feels a connection with anymore is Leo, the boy from the institution, so it’s him she runs to in the middle of the night for laundry-room romance. He understands her, she insists, but we know what can happen when two potentially unstable people begin to understand each other. Jessica has no idea how to handle this new complication to their lives, and though she claims Dana has her attention, as we learn in the bathroom–the same one once so soiled with blood that Jessica was forced to replace the tiles and grout–she can’t see the world like Dana does right now. All Jessica wants to do is help, but Dana refuses to accept it.

And while Dana has just left one institution, Carrie finds herself inside another. After her last confrontation with Saul, Carrie decides to take her story, her full story, to the press, the same press that marked her just days before, but Adal makes certain it won’t happen. Carrie is taken into psychiatric detainment and set for a commitment hearing. The information she has is dangerous, Adal insists, and the easiest way to block the truth is to label it insanity. And Carrie, despite being right about most everything so far, is so far down her own spiral that she’s lost the ability to remain calm, lashing out at any and all who defy her in even the slightest. Even Quinn, who, like Jessica, only wants to help, is pushed away when he can’t provide the immediate results Carrie wants. When Carrie’s sister and father arrive to her hearing with her medication, Carrie only sees another slight. And when the judge attempts to begin the hearing, feeling more alone than ever before, Carrie flees, fighting at the orderlies containing her, once again on the cusp of losing everything.

At Langley, Saul and Quinn have had little luck finding the incriminating information they need in the files and computer Quinn took from Javadi’s compound. A financial analysis is brought in, a young Persian woman, new to the CIA, named Fara (Nazanin Boniadi), whose headscarf raises the eyebrows of many in Langley, including Saul. Fara fails to find the specific evidence they need, but she does find suspicious wire transfer records, which lead her and Saul to an interrogation with the bankers responsible. When they attempt to dance around answers, Fara steps up, and for a brief moment, Saul sees Carrie in her, a young woman he can mentor, one with ambition and a moral compass, one he hopes can fight against the evils of the world. Peter Quinn, on the other hand, is becoming unhinged. After the accidental murder of Javadi’s son, Quinn has become less tolerant of Saul’s cavalier methods, saying outright that he doesn’t support the treatment of Carrie and plans to leave the CIA once the bombing investigation is through. He seeks out one of the non-compliant bankers, threatening him into releasing the information they wanted, and it’s there that Fara finds both the biggest clue and the biggest mystery: almost $45 million that vanished during the transactions. Saul is certain that money is the key, and it becomes their top priority.

And we come back to Carrie and Dana, both in drastically different scenarios of distress, both seeking some sort of comfort. For Carrie, it comes in the worst way, the unwanted Thorazine injection from her doctor, which numbs her, but not enough to keep her from letting out one final “fuck you” to Saul. For Dana, it comes from her father’s prayer rug, tucked away in the garage beneath family photos. As she crouches on the rug, the sunlight filtering through the dust, it doesn’t matter whether or not she’s actually praying. The rug itself means so much more than any prayer could.

“Uh… Oh… Ah…” is a stupidly named episode of television, but one that’s more assured than “Tin Man is Down,” the season’s premiere. The plot continues to click along, though it feels much slower due to the small nature of many of the episode’s scenes. I was right that Dana’s storyline is raising ire, but when Morgan Saylor delivers scenes like her monologue in the bathroom, I can’t even care. And now that the show has played a bit of its hand, showing us the parallels between her and Carrie, she feels more essential to the show than ever. Rupert Friend and Morena Baccarin continue to orbit on the outer edges, but both are slowly being drawn into the heart of the plot by their similar connections to Carrie and Dana, respectively. And F. Murray Abraham continues to deliver more and more menace, pushing Saul to take down Carrie, then retreating to the shadows to let Saul take all the blame. Sure, it’d be nice to see him for more than a scene or two an episode, but his presence is still there. With “Uh… Oh… Ah…,” Homeland continues its push into a great unknown, hurtling as many characters as possible toward complete and total breakdowns.

Stray Observations:

  • I just noticed in this episode that Henry Bromell is still credited as executive producer, which is a nice way to honor his memory.
  • Chris Brody Watch: Chris tries to help Jessica deal with Dana and does some homework.
  • Claire Danes does some superb chin-acting in this episode, culminating in that commitment hearing.
  • The shot of Dana on the prayer rug (see top) was absolutely gorgeous.
  • Honestly, I was taken aback by Saul’s line to Fara about wearing her headscarf into Langley. I rationalized it as Saul trying to push her to deliver results, but Patinkin’s delivery was scathing, giving hateful words even greater bite.

One thought on “Lost in the world

  1. Excellent observations.

    In my own recap – I stated that I was unable to wrap my head or my arms around Dana. I actually called it teenage wasteland – from Baba ORiley. I hadn’t made the jump to the similarities and downward arcs of both Carrie and Dana paralleling each other. In another sense – I think that Carrie has to hit bottom before recovering. Now she’s a step from drooling and under the heavy influence of Thorazine.

    How will the situation be turned around? By the retuirn of Nicholas Brody which should cut into the time spent on Dana,Jess, and Chris. Formerly Nick;s family was the nexus to allow him and we viewers to accept Brody. He had to readjust to living in freedom rather than captivity, and even with his perceptions altered mightily by the machinations of Nazir – we still found room in our hearts for him, and this I believe was because of his family.

    But when he returns, he won’t be able to simply walk into the Brody house and resume life as it was. This will mean – more Brody, and less Jess, Chris, and Dana. Whis has to be better for the show. IMHO.

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