Homeland Season 2 Review “In Memoriam”

“Who the f*** are you?” –Saul Berenson

After Saul delivered my favorite line of the episode, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Just who the fudge are these people? In a show about spy games, double agents, and terrorist plots, is it possible to know any of these characters? How many of them really know themselves?

Rhetorical questions aside, matters of identity were sprinkled throughout tonight’s episode. We believe that we have a clear picture of Carrie, but it’s hard to say if Carrie has a clear picture of herself. For the longest time, she has identified herself with her tracking of Abu Nazir. It defined her as a person. You could certainly argue that she’s far more attached to Nazir than Brody ever was. After all, she nearly committed suicide when Nazir was no longer a part of her life. Watching Carrie react to the death of Nazir showed just how much catching the terrorist means to her character. Unfortunately, the chase proved far more rewarding than the actual catch. Now with Nazir gone, it seems like she’s trying to move on to her next obsession. Regardless of the outcome of this season, it’s abundantly clear that Carrie is a broken person who cannot make herself whole. Whether she’s filling herself with her work or Brody (Hi-Oh!), the only thing that keeps her from being a truly destructive person is her latest obsession. Carrie’s been a bit all over the place this season, but high-level field work and unbalanced lithium levels will do that to a person. Claire Danes hasn’t matched her performance from last year, but she was asked to play a far different role this year. Given the strong possibilities of the season ending with a show reset, it’s far more likely that we see the Danes from season one as opposed to the Danes from this season.

Though the CIA seems to have played their hand, the true motives of some of the particulars remain a mystery. Much like Saul, I’ve become leery of every single person in the CIA. Looking for the mole is a fruitless endeavor that will only distract you from the show, but it’s important to remember that there is one. At this point, there are certainly no shortages of candidates. All that’s left to consider is if the issue will be resolved this season or will it become a major plot line of season three. Furthermore, with so many people in the CIA working against Saul, Carrie, and Brody, how does the show resolve those issues in a way that keeps those characters around for season three. The bottom line is that we really don’t know these people. More importantly, the show wants to keep it that way.

The one man that we all feel comfortable about is Saul “Don’t Call Me Bear” Berenson. He’s a man who deserves far better than the hand he has been dealt to this point. He’s stuck with a mentee who can’t seem to control her lithium levels or her passion for a terrorist. He’s getting worked over by a man whose primary goal is to protect his own career. The man just wants to catch terrorists and eat his peanut butter crackers in peace. Instead, the most honest man on the show (and he’s got the polygraph to prove it!) seems to be no match for the dishonesty that surrounds him. It’s sad and riveting. Mandy Patinkin deserves some Emmy recognition for being the voice of sanity in the midst of all the craziness around him.

While we feel confident that we know Saul, the biggest mystery of the show remains Brody. Now free from his uber-petulant daughter and his over-bearing terrorist commander, Brody has the opportunity to remake himself anew. He may not have long left (Peter Quinn is lurking), but a full redemption is still a possibility. Those with rose-colored glasses may choose to believe in a Brody redemption. However, many others probably believe he still is the terrorist cell just waiting to be detonated. It was a relatively quiet episode for Damian Lewis and Brody. I’m guessing next week probably won’t be.

With only one week remaining, it’s safe to assume that all of the cards are about to get laid on the table. Even if you think you know these characters, it’s probably best to wait a week before rushing to judgment. It appears that Saul’s question will have to linger for another week.