Entertainment Magazine

Review #3878: Homeland 2.11: “In Memoriam”

Posted on the 12 December 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Chip Johannessen
Directed by Jeremy Podeswa

I’m not entirely sure of what I’m supposed to feel about this episode after viewing it. On the one hand, it showed some really powerful moments, ones that were true to the characters on the show. On the other hand, there exists parts of the episode (and many of the storylines within it) that somehow defy logic. I made the comment to no one in particular that at times, it felt like the show was falling apart at the seams. That something like the death of Abu Nazir should be a big, public event where the CIA and FBI are too late to stop him from enacting his entire plan. Instead, he dies in an anonymous Virginia mill surrounded by armed agents.

Review #3878: Homeland 2.11: “In Memoriam”

It’s admittedly a bit of a letdown given how much time this show has devoted to characterizing Nazir as one of the most dangerous terrorists the country has ever seen. The quick (arguably necessary from a story standpoint) death of Nazir is counter-balanced by more mournful reactions from Carrie and Brody. The impact of his death is immediately clear, and this is missing from a large portion of the episode. The weight of characters’ actions should be present and acknowledged. The thriller parts should not be so thoroughly out-classed by the quieter scenes. The end of the season is here, and I still worry that the series hasn’t quite found the correct balance it needs to keep humming along.

I don’t know if all of Carrie’s actions in this episode track properly. She goes hunting after Nazir at the beginning, somehow loses him in the tunnels (we know why in the end), then ends up outside with a bunch of agents that were operating under Quinn’s orders. We know by now that Carrie doesn’t do things in any rational or logical way, and I personally admit that it’s getting a bit grating at this point. Her insistence in searching everywhere in the mill for Nazir makes some sense given the desperation she has in catching the guy. If he is so close, there may not be a better time to get him. The show insists, however, on playing things between Carrie and Nazir like a horror movie. It’s a dark, confined space with flickering lights and music stings at appropriate points when Nazir flashes into the frame where Carrie can’t see him.

While the dread is intensified when Carrie returns to the mill at the end with the lone, doomed FBI agent, it is because we don’t see what Nazir does to the guy, and so we don’t quite know what he’s going to do next. The show is plenty exciting and capable of winding its audience up in other ways than this. So yes, consider me underwhelmed by the way Nazir was dispatched from the show entirely. He’s dead, and his terrorist network is effectively disarmed. Roya is in custody, and will likely stay that way for a long time. She does get a really good lone scene in the interrogation by Carrie, but the patterns are pretty much expected to run that way. Nothing can top the interrogation by Carrie to Brody in “Q&A” (and this episode thankfully doesn’t try to do so with both Roya and Saul’s respective interrogations) so I like that Carrie essentially gets nothing out of it initially. Why she was doing the interrogation in the first place was left up to question, especially when Quinn was ordered to do so by Estes, but Carrie figures out the information that leads to finding Nazir in the mill.

The interrogation of Saul by Estes’ lackey wasn’t entirely fruitless, though. Estes set up a good way to keep Saul from interfering in the apparently ordered assassination of Brody. It proved so effective that I wondered if the finale was going to find some way to kill Estes instead of Brody or Quinn. Anyone might effectively be a target, although a lot of signs point directly to Brody as we head to the finale.

I think if the show really had some guts, a real indication that the writers were serious about the threats surrounding the characters, then they should go through with the assassination of Brody. While I think the death of Vice President Walden was essentially glossed over (you could make that argument with Nazir’s death as well), this would be a major shakeup for the show. Carrie and Saul are the de facto heroes so I don’t think they’re in much danger. The collateral damage from Brody’s death would be widespread. All of it connects the events in this episode. Dana basically loathes the sight of her father. Her tantrum over the family’s entrapment in the CIA safe house was petty, but did have some salient points. The rest of the family doesn’t seem to understand Brody, especially his reaction to the news that Nazir died. We understand the reaction because of the connection between the two men, but the family is not aware of that so it would look very puzzling from their perspective.

Brody and Jessica’s conversation in the car poignantly reveals that they both acknowledge the end of their marriage. Jessica has made her choice, and Brody has made his as well. She wants to be with Mike (which their kids would prefer over Brody anyway), and he will be with Carrie. No screaming, no fighting, just plenty of regrets and sadness. The final conversation between Jessica and Brody had a lot of power to it, which the show specializes in. So I think that’s my call for the finale: Quinn will most likely kill Brody, giving the show the gut punch it needs to jump into the next phase of the storyline.

Then again, the show might have more plot twists up its sleeve that none of us can call ahead of time. Brody could evolve into the main villain, ironically taking the place of the man who turned him during all those years of captivity. This could all be part of some long con that Brody has somehow masterfully pulled off with very little in terms of setbacks. It would seem very prepostorous, but again, that calls into question what the direction of the show will go in its future. Does Brody keep being this hero with the weight of the world on his shoulders, or is he the sleeper agent worthy of cold and brutal assassination?

Last season was very clear with the events leading up to the finale and also managed to throw in a juicy cliffhanger as an unexpected twist popped up at the very end. Nazir is gone, but that may give rise to someone who could take his place in the hierarchy of terrorist threats posed to the United States. The finale could validate every episode that has aired so far, yet there is also the potential for it to descend into an unqualified mess. There’s just no way to tell right now.

Score: 7/10

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog