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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Marine One" threatens Homeland

     Turns out "Marine One" can refer to a person as well as a helicopter. In the hour and a half long first season finale of Showtime's Homeland, Brody (Damian Lewis) and Tom (Chris Chalk) carry out Abu Nazir's (Navid Negahban) plan. But there's a hitch. Brody's suicide vest malfunctions. And Carrie (Claire Danes), despite being drummed out of the CIA while off her meds, figures out what is really going on. Carrie gets Brody's daughter, Dana (Morgan Saylor) to call her dad, talking him out of blowing up a number of high ranking government officials. Except, neither Dana nor Carrie ever learn for sure if Brody is a terrorist, and he lives on to plot another day.

     With all of the twists and turns in Homeland's freshman year, expectations are high for "Marine One." The writers make the bold decision to reveal to the viewers that Brody is, in fact, working for the enemy. But they also let Lewis play the character close enough to the vest, with real signs of affection for his family, to keep everyone guessing what he might do. Sure, Brody swears to Nazir that he is loyal, and kills crazy Tom to do it. But Brody could easily justify Tom's murder as protecting himself and his family. And considering how he backs down before blowing up everyone, perhaps he won't stand tall for Nazir in the future, either. So while much is now known about Brody, what he will do remains as murky as ever.

     Which is pretty unfortunate for the CIA and the US of A, as only Carrie has the knowledge to put everything together. Right as she is about to undergo shock therapy, a side effect of which is short term memory loss, though it's usually temporary, she realizes why Brody might be motivated to act on Nazir's behalf. That knowledge is probably lost, for now. How long before she can remember it? And how can she stop Brody without any government resources and still maintaining the promise she made to stay away from Brody and his family, which, if she breaks it, will likely result in Brody having her arrested, blowing any slim credibility she has left? Not to mention, her consent to mess with her brain could damage her greatest weapon. Only Carrie's sister, Maggie (Amy Hargreaves), overhears Carrie's mumbling (and assorted medical staff, who don't count), but does Maggie have the knowledge of foresight to attribute anything legitimate to the words?

      Carrie's best bet will continue to be Saul (Mandy Patinkin). A genius in his own right, he stands by Carrie as a personal friend, even as she undergoes "treatment" for her condition. He also knows Carrie is right on a lot of things, including Nazir, so despite doubting her before, he may be inclined to look more closely at Brody if Carrie insists on it. The real question is, will he be in a position to do so? He now knows about the cover up perpetrated by David (David Harewood) and Vice President Walden (Jamey Sheridan), but can he use that information to make a change in leadership? David is correct in asserting that Saul isn't willing to hurt his country by leaking what he knows to the press. So what can Saul do now? Before David and Walden ruin Saul first, that is.

     Of course, if Dana comes forward, that might be a big help. It doesn't seem like she would intentionally betray her father, ever if she knew the entire truth.She loves him dearly. She certainly suspects something, being scared to discover Brody's conversion to Islam, and knowing that something isn't right during the phone conversation. And sixteen is old enough to look past family connections. But will she be motivated to do so, or just take her dad at face value because to learn anything sinister would be too hard on her emotionally? Dana could also accidentally let something slip to her mother, Jessica (Morena Baccarin), or even Mike (Diego Klattenhoff), who also care for Brody, but could be persuaded to tell Saul under the right conditions.

     Homeland leaves viewers with many, many more questions after "Marine One," and a lot of possibilities remain. Which solidifies it as one of the season's best new shows. Homeland will return to Showtime next year for a second season.

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