homeland recapping: pilot

Showtime’s new political thriller Homeland starts us in Baghdad following Special Agent Carrie Anderson (Claire Danes) as she is on her way to meet with a prisoner. The prisoner has vital information for a case but he is scheduled to be executed. She bribes a guard to let her speak with the prisoner to get the information. After being stubborn initially the prisoner inaudibly tells Carrie the information as prison guards take her away.

10 Months Later

Carrie is late for a briefing in which she finds out that a presumed dead Marine POW, Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), has been found at an Iraqi stronghold. He had been missing for eight years. Anderson immediately feels that something isn’t right about the situation. Sgt. Brody is scheduled to return home the following day. His wife Jessica (Ashley Greene Morena Baccarin) is involved in a rather intimate relationship Mike Faber (Diego Klattenhoff), another marine. Sgt. Brody calls Jess’ cell phone after the new couple are…uh…finished? and surprises her with the news that he is still alive. She leaves Mike immediately.

Carrie’s prisoner contact told her that a captured American soldier had been “turned”. Since Brody is the only POW returning alive she thinks he is the one that her contact was referring to ten months ago. Carrie has Brody’s house illegally bugged with microphones and cameras as the family is away to reunite with him. Sgt. Brody returns home with much fanfare and publicity. Meeting the Vice President and holding a press conference as soon as he lands. His family waits anxiously to reunite with him. After the conference Brody and his family head home. Carrie talks to her old boss/mentor, and CIA Middle-East Division Chief, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patikin) and convinces him to get her in Sgt. Brody’s debriefing the following day. Jess tries to welcome her husband back in a romantic setting: wine, sexy “negligee”, dimmed lights…ya know. As she waits for Nicholas the phone rings but no one speaks then they hang up. As things begin to heat up with the couple she is shocked by the bruises and scars that are on his body, but they continue.

At the debriefing Brody seemingly answers all the questions posed to him rather easily until Carrie puts the pressure on him. She asks Brody why he was kept alive for eight years and had he ever met or spoken with Abu Nazir, a high-ranking member of Al-Qaeda. Brody outwardly denies such a meeting ever happened but his flashbacks tell a completely different story. After pressing Brody to hard, according to her boss David Estes (David Harewood), the interrogation/debriefing is over. Jessica calls her husband after the debriefing to ask how long he is going to be out and he lies and tells her he is still at the debriefing when in reality he is going to meet up with a fellow Marine’s widow. Carrie and her team follow Brody to the rendezvous point. Carrie is confronted by her partner Virgil about her taking Clozapine, a drug used to treat schizophrenia. She says that she has been battling it for years and that even though she has the disease she isn’t making up any of the information about Brody. During the meeting the Marine’s widow mainly just wants to know how her husband died while they were being held captive and Brody tells her he was beaten to death. She asks was Brody there when it happened, he tells her no and his flashbacks again show us the opposite.

When Carrie gets home Saul is there and confronts her about the illegal bugs she has set up around Sgt. Brody’s house. He says that she is taking her hunch too far and that she is going to get arrested. After a failed attempt to change Saul’s outlook through (one can assume) sexual favors, Saul leaves. A clearly flustered Carrie decides to go out to and find a companion for the night. She finds a suitors at bar, but as they are about to leave she finds something intriguing about a nervous “twitch” Brody has whenever he is on camera. She goes to Saul’s house and shows him the pattern he makes with his hands and determines that he is making contact with someone via coded hand signals. Saul tells Carrie that they should dig deeper.

We then go to Brody as he is jogging. He is having flashback from his captivity and we can see that he is conversing with Abu Nazir and that he sees himself beating his fellow Marine to death with his own hands.


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