Homeland Review: “State Of Independence” (Season 2, Episode 3)

Coming from an impossibly groundbreaking moment, all eyes were on the follow-up episode of Saul’s discovery of Brody’s video. From the previews last week, it was hinted that the episode would focus on the whole scenario at hand, but after watching this week’s episode, it was the furthest thing away from that.

In fact, the only scenes that addressed Brody’s video were the beginning and end with over 40 minutes of the episode being devoted to character development. Were this not Homeland, this would be an episode to complain about, but since it is Homeland, the character development was well worth the watch.

The episode starts with Saul making his way back to the United States when he is stopped and taken into questioning. His briefcase is opened and much to Saul’s chagrin, the memory card with Brody’s video is discovered and taken away. After being let go, Saul is shown on the plane with the briefcase on his lap. He checks something on the buckle of the briefcase and out comes the real memory card, safe and sound.

With so much riding on this opening sequence, I was screaming at my television when Saul was brought in for questioning. To me, I had always thought Homeland was better than other television shows because it usually cuts all the extra “conveniences” so that the story does not drag on. When I saw Saul fiddling with the buckle, I screamed yet again, disappointed that I would ever think poorly about my beloved Homeland. This show once again knows how to mess with our minds. And Saul? We underestimate him at times, but this was a redeemer to his skill as an agent of the CIA.

Much of this episode focused on Brody’s relationship with Jessica and the pains of trying to live two lives. Upon reading the speech Brody had prepared for her fundraiser, Jessica realizes how much pain he had been through during his years in captivity. The two begin to get intimate until Dana comes home interrupting them. Brody then receives a call from Roya warning him that the CIA has found information regarding Gettysburg, which might lead to the CIA discovering the tailor who made Brody’s bomb vest in season 1. Brody tries to tell Roya that he cannot do it as he has a speech that night, but she insists that he can make it back on time.

Roya is like the little devil on Brody’s shoulder reminding him that his life is only a fabrication of his true goals. She is the main source of the more complicated schemes in Brody’s character, which could have been extremely annoying, but thankfully it isn’t. She isn’t there enough to cause any sort of hindrance to the show; instead, she serves as a connecting character to make Brody’s story more consistent. However, I fully expect her to not live past this season.

Brody finds the tailor and forces him to come to the safehouse. During their car ride, the tailor is increasingly suspicious of this “saving” and is seen contemplating running away or even harming Brody in order to escape – after all, we know what a safehouse really is from season 1. These scenes are mixed in with Jessica at the fundraiser, growing more and more impatient that her husband is not yet there. The tailor escapes as Brody chases after him, only to tackle the tailor on top of a sharp object protruding from the ground. As the tailor lays on the floor dying, Jessica calls Brody and in a struggle to keep the tailor silent, Brody kills him. Jessica is left to make the speech on her own with Mike looking on in the wings as she receives a standing ovation for her heartfelt confession. Brody finally returns home to an upset Jessica, who tells him she cannot take his lies anymore.

In every episode, there is always a point of suspense that borders on adventure. In the last two episodes, Carrie’s runs through Beirut took the crown and for this episode, Brody stepped up to the plate. If the viewers weren’t sure of Brody’s fragile position in leading a double-life, this episode was made for securing that belief. We see him living the always irritating have-to-get-home-on-time-while-living-your-other-life thing that is so popular among these types of films and shows. Of course, Homeland does it in a way that makes you feel sympathy for not only Jessica, but for Brody, who is in a position to not receive any sympathy at all. His shower in the gas station showed him desperately washing away all the stress, the disappointment, and the sin of being trapped and used. Something that never gets old.

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