“Tower of David:” Homeland catches up to Brody

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Jay: Episode 3 was a strange beast. You’d think that, after two Brody-less episodes, I’d be thrilled to finally get one in which he’s onscreen for most of the hour. (Even more so considering the utter absence of his family, which I think everyone can agree was a pleasant development.)

And yet at times his scenes seemed to drag on (a notable achievement given the clear –and successful — attempt at eye candy with the inclusion of Martina García as Esme), without any clear sense of direction. I suppose it was inevitable that a substantial amount of time would be required to reestablish Brody in the viewing audience’s consciousness. But something about his interactions with the doctor, as well as with Esme’s father, left me feeling slightly disengaged by about 30 minutes in.

Fortunately, the duller moments were broken up by some truly spectacular vistas of downtown Caracas, including a breathtaking view of the Tower of David itself from the outside. But phenomenal cinematography aside, I was still left with a lot of questions. For example, how did Brody end up in Colombia in the first place, before getting shot and making his lucky way into Venezuela? And who, exactly, was the guy that visited Carrie in the mental hospital? (And why did he call her — at least, it sounded like he did — Franklin when he first saw her?) And who, or what, is really keeping Carrie in the institution? Is it really Saul, or is it simply the doctor out of concern for her condition?

Some of these questions, I believe, are supposed to be deliberately opaque. Others, however, simply just don’t make a lot of sense — to me, that is. That said, in looking back over what I’ve written so far, I think I may sound more negative than I actually felt about the episode, which was decently enjoyable. It was certainly a nice change from Dana’s boy troubles.

What did you make of Episode 3?

Sam: You know, you bring up a lot of points I thought about, too, as I was watching the episode. Namely, I noted to myself how long the scenes with Brody seemed to drag. From the get-go, the scene where he’s on the creepy doctor dude’s table seemed overly extended.

All that aside, though, I actually rather enjoyed this episode. Perhaps it’s because I was ready for a refreshing jolt of energy in this slow-to-start season that I didn’t care too much that this episode honestly had very little of substance, that the episode’s dual focus on Brody’s life in “captivity” and Carrie’s life in the psych ward didn’t seem to have many deep points, or that the episode offered little indication of where things are going next. What have you done to me, The Americans?!

I do wonder whether the Esme character will have an extended life beyond just this one episode. I couldn’t help feeling like this poor girl is going to get caught in a Brody-Carrie love triangle. The whole connection with her father and Carrie seemed really out of thin air, though. At multiple points, that storyline could’ve gone deeper as Brody probed the man, but each time, the response was essentially, “It doesn’t matter.”

You are right about the beauty of the scenes of Caracas, too. I am curious how Brody got to South America, though. Hopefully, the next few episodes give us more context into what’s happened. Since I started with the winners and losers thing last week, let me try it again this week:

Winner: Inconclusive. Everyone seems to have some depressing feature in their lives in this episode.

Loser: Multiple candidates for this, but I’ll give it to the watch thief. His brief appearance on camera ended with an inglorious shove off the tower. Enough said.

Do you have any predictions on what’s coming up next?

Jay: It’s hard to say, exactly, what’s likely to follow this episode. On a basic level, it seems probable that Brody’s storyline — what’s he been up to for these past couple months? how’d he end up in Colombia? and why did he get shot (twice)? — will begin to emerge, if a bit slowly. I’m also reminded of the trailers for Season 3, which appeared to show a hooded Brody reappearing in Carrie’s house. This implies that both Carrie and Brody will eventually escape from their current prisons. Of course, that’s not a surprise in and of itself. But as some reviewers have brought up, it does raise some questions about how plausible the next few wrinkles in the storyline will be — how will Carrie get out? how will Brody?

As for the latter question, I think the likeliest scenario is one in which his current landlords get raided (by a rival gang, the government, or maybe even someone on behalf of the US government) and he somehow escapes. What happens beyond that is anyone’s guess.

What do you see in your crystal ball?

Sam: It’s inevitable that Carrie and Brody end up crossing paths again. I wonder whether Carrie will get reinstated at the CIA (again), but of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

I think Brody makes a break for it again with the help of Esme. She can’t just be a one episode character, right? I wonder, too, if Quinn might end up helping Brody and Carrie in some way. Perhaps after he’s quit the CIA?

Overall, there are certain general trends I can imagine (like the ones you pointed out), but as for any major happening, I really don’t know. And based on previous major plot twists, I’d rather not know. Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out!

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About Samson X. Lim

Samson Lim is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Scholarship Junkies, a Seattle-based scholarship resource organization that works to help students make higher education more affordable. Sam spent the 2010-11 academic year in Berlin, Germany, as a U.S. Student Fulbright Scholar and is currently pursuing his Master of Arts in Education Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. When he’s not buried in grad school reading, Sam emerges every once in a while to highlight higher education and financial aid issues in 140 characters or less at @samsonxlim.

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