Season Three’s thrilling plot twists, improbable surprises and gaping plot holes kept me riveted. As we approach the Season Four opener for Homeland, I have more than a few questions unanswered. Of course, none of us can be sure that the writers intend to give us any answers. But here’s what puzzles me most:
What happened to the encryption key Brody stole from Estes safe?
When Roya Hammad sent Brody to steal it, she said it was an encryption key to a database of potential targets. This doesn’t make sense. The coordinates of drone targets or instructions to a drone would be encrypted but it wouldn’t be kept in a database accessible through a lengthy encryption key (and don’t they just mean password, here?) that is kept on paper in a locked safe. The CIA has to move faster than this in pursuing targets. Or maybe it is a drone strike list and maybe it plays into the Season 4 drone debacle teased out in trailers. And maybe Brody held back this theft of that file during his post-flip debrief by Carrie.
Other bloggers have suggested that it an encrypted list of Nazir’s possible targets which fits with Brody’s follow up question. He asks Hammad if Nazir intends to hit one of these targets. So this is a secret list of secret Nazir targets that the CIA encrypts so that no one can read it and protect those targets. No, it makes less sense that the CIA would compile a list of terror targets and lock it away. What would it read: “Freedom Tower, Pentagon, U.S. embassies, naval carriers . . . .” I’d think the question of what Nazir will hit must be everywhere at the CIA. Hammad was lying and the encryption is to important CIA sources and methods.
Anyway, the list in Estes office certainly doesn’t sound like the blueprint for getting a car bomb from Lot C at Langley to the front steps undetected. But who knows? The writers haven’t told us and I want to know what happened to this information.
Did Brody even tell his handlers that he’d stolen the list? He does edit his revelations and omitted key information from Carrie and the team even after his rejoining Team USA.
We know that a debriefing of the turned again Brody takes place off screen between the brilliant “Q and A” episode and “A Gettysburgh Address” and that during that debrief Brody withheld his involvement in Bassel’s death. Carrie takes the fall for a poor debrief when an angry Quinn explodes (“The deal is full fucking disclosure not pick and choose what you say.”) That time period during which Brody withheld the Bassel death is about two weeks because as Roya says when Brody approaches her the next day: “FBI surveillance went in to the tailor shop. After sitting on it for two weeks, they finally went in today.” And Quinn says as he leads his team in to the tailor shop: “We should have been here weeks ago.”
What did Brody say about the encryption key during the debrief? And what did Nazir do with it?
Who is the mole?
There is a mole. The most notable example of the work of the mole is the warning given to Aileen Morgan as Faisel is being tailed home to the airport house. The mole either passed that information on to an operative who called Aileen or placed the call himself. Brody never had contact with Aileen Morgan or Professor Raqim Faisel. He doesn’t list them in “Q and A” as among the Nazir operatives with whom he’s had contact and even if he did, the voice on the phone wasn’t his and he didn’t have access to information about the CIA’s investigation. And the voice on the phone wasn’t Walker’s. Nor did Walker have CIA access.
But the signs point to the mole being inside the CIA — maybe even the same person who got the bomb onto the Langley campus and put it right at the front door. Could it even be the unfortunate individual whom Franklin gave an acid bath in “A Red Wheelbarrow.”
Who handed Brody’s car keys to the Langley bomber?
This is the tantalizing question raised by Majid Javadi– as he drives with Carrie to the plane in “Gerontion.”
Javadi: “Almost there. . . almost there and you still haven’t asked”
Javadi: “Who moved the bomb?”
Carrie: “You told Saul it was one of Abu Nazir’s guys?”
Javadi: “Yes I did.”
Carrie: “Which I already knew.”
Javadi: “And who handed him the keys? Don’t tell me you never wondered. I bet you wonder all the time. Brody escaped the blast. Did he know it was coming?
Carrie: “Maybe I already know the answer to that?
Javadi: “Maybe you don’t.”
Javadi dangles the possibility of Brody’s involvement perhaps to flush out Carrie’s romantic interest in Brody. He doesn’t answer it. He makes Carrie ask him herself about the possibility of a coconspirator handing over the SUV keys, as he boards the plane for parts East. He says he doesn’t have the answer but puts her on the trail – “
Javadi: “. . . if you want to talk to someone you can trust . . .who was there . . . you should know that the man who built the bomb and moved the SUV didn’t die in the explosion like they say.”
Was this a mind game for Carrie? Javadi didn’t mention the keys when Saul asks him about Brody. That exchange was more direct:
Saul: “I need to know something before you leave. I need to know – who was responsible for the bomb? . . . On that ground that day, who was responsible?”
After being pushed, Javadi finally replies:
“It wasn’t him. It was one of Abu Nazir’s guys. Who exactly, I didn’t want to know.”
That bit of information is important to Saul because he intends (at first without Carrie’s knowledge or assistance) to recruit Brody to assassinate General Danesh Akbari, the Iranian Intelligence Chief, described as Javadi’s boss and “the single greatest impediment to peace.” Saul needed Brody to be an innocent fugitive from the Langley bombing and not a two-time traitor to the USA. A two-time traitor couldn’t be trusted loose in Tehran. (Imagine, if Brody publicly sought asylum and condemned America on Farsi-language TV. )
And we know from interviews with show runners that Saul probably suspects that Brody was coerced by Nazir into killing the VP to save Carrie. So finding out that Brody had nothing to do with Nazir’s group bombing the CIA makes sense to Saul and allows him to move forward with his plan to use Brody as a weapon.
Perhaps it’s a mind game. But he gratuitously offers up the Langley bomber to Carrie as being tied to his lawyers and sends Carrie out to find the information.
Nazir’s questions point back to some deliberate camerawork in the Season 2 finale “The Choice.” We see Brody parking his car under a sign that reads “C.” We see Brody holding his keys in his right hand for several seconds as he pulls his jacket on. He is still holding them as he walks forward out of Lot C but then a quick cut takes him to the steps of the CIA where he reaches out to shake a soldier’s hand. No keys after that. Are they in his pocket? Did he pass them to general or someone else on the way from Lot C? Does the CIA valet have them? (What a terrible job that would be – six months of security clearances and constant lie detector tests to get bad tips from underpaid federal employees).
There is also Brody’s timely exit from the memorial service with Carrie and uncomfortable expression when Carrie tells him she is choosing him over the CIA and the blank way he notices his SUV out the window.
And there is Brody’s earlier curious behavior in “Two Hats” after being dropped off by Nazir. I don’t mean omitting from his debriefing with the CIA the fact that he and Nazir prayed together. I mean his writing something intently and quickly while leaning against the doorframe when he is talking to Carrie about moving his family. What was Brody writing in Two Hats? Whatever he is writing, it is important enough to multitask while arranging for his family’s safety. And Brody says he’ll call back in an hour to give the CIA time to move his family. He had time to do something with that note before being under surveillance again.
And we don’t know if Brody told the CIA everything about his involvement with Nazir’s network from the time he was flipped by Carrie in the thrilling episode “Q and A.” Brody lists for Carrie the members of Nazir’s network with whom he’s had contact since returning: the journalist Roya Hammad, Bassel something, the Gettysburgh tailor, Afzhal Hammid who killed himself with a razor blade after Brody’s visit, Al Zharani, the Saudi attaché who died in a bombing, and Tom Walker, killed by Brody in a tunnel.
We know he did tell the CIA about killing Walker because that theme resurfaces when his marine buddies try to prove that he did and Faber even checked Brody’s ammunition and the CIA stops them.
And we know, Brody omitted his murder of the tailor Bassel from his off screen ”debrief” by Carrie and the team which occurred sometime between “Q and A” and “A Gettysburgh Address” by which time Bassel’s shop was already under surveillance. Quinn tells Carrie that Brody is a pathological liar and Carrie blames herself for not pressing him at the debrief. Those material omissions are lies even if they are backward looking.
We don’t know for sure if he slipped Hammid the razor during his visit. He must have done so – unless the CIA has a mole with great access or the CIA really was stupid enough to let a terrorist keep any article of clothing that could contain a razor after a strip search. (Prison slippers not in the budget at Langley?)
But the writers have been telling us through the three seasons that Brody’s lies are ones of omission. And they tell us not to trust Brody because they also tell us Carrie doesn’t fully trust him. Carrie professes to have fallen in love with Brody during “The Weekend.” But Carrie knows that at the Lake, Brody gave her a carefully-tailored version of taking comfort from Nazir, loving Issa and killing Walker. As they part in “The Choice,” Brody tells her “you gave it up to me” and Carrie replies “completely.” Yet hours earlier Carrie pulled a gun on him after the Langley bombing and accused him of planting the Langley bomb just as she confronted him in his Congressional office after the Gettysburgh slaughter.
Yes, we should have our doubts about Brody and his actions. As Saul tells Carrie when he prods her to take a post as station chief he’s arranging with Estes, he’ll always be the “man who put on a suicide vest.”
But if the writers are trying to tell us that Brody had a part in the bombing, that is based on circumstantial nothings. It doesn’t fit any of the key facts as we know them.
It was actually Carrie who nodded to Brody at the Memorial Service that she wanted to leave the room where Issa’s killer was being lauded. And Carrie went to the service because Brody asked her to meet him there. He shook Finn’s hand before sitting down. Are we to believe he is really a child killer like Walden the man he despises? And that he brought Carrie into the danger zone.
Then there is Brody’s coercion by Nazir in “Broken Hearts” while Nazir had a gun to Carrie’s head. This couldn’t have been staged for her benefit because they kept speaking as she ran away out of ear shot. Of course, Brody could have given Nazir the serial number to the pacemaker without the taking of Carrie hostage. For that matter, Brody could have transposed one digit of the serial number to save Walden and still given Carrie time to run. But the opportunity was too tempting . . . Walden is a child-murdering monster to Brody and Nazir was threatening to run after Carrie. The murder of Walden still fits with Brody working with Carrie.
Finally, there is Brody’s spectacular ashtray assassination of the head of Iran’s Intelligence in “Big Man in Tehran” the penultimate episode of Season Three. In its aftermath, he struggles over the redemption the act offered and there is no trace of the doubt that he has been trying to walk the path Carrie has laid out for him.
No, it just doesn’t work that Brody was part of Nazir’s network during the Langley bombing. I’ve thought that maybe Nazir threatened to reveal his role in the VP’s death but when was there time? Nazir was dead soon after the death of the VP – perhaps one or two days later at the outside if we followed Carrie lack of sleep. It doesn’t even make sense that the memorial service for Walden could have been arranged in the time it took to do a Muslim burial for Nazir – let alone that a plan to bomb it was formed.
Brody has to be clear of the Langley bombing. I don’t think Brody is lying to Carrie anymore about who he is after she breaks him of “the lies that undo us” in “Q and A” although he does try to omit some of the worst details. And he was being honest with Dana in “The Choice” when he said to her: “I don’t want to lie to you.” When asked about Carrie’s accusations on the day he strapped on the vest, he tacitly admitted his crime without breaching his deal of silence with the CIA telling Dana “Carrie isn’t crazy.”
Brody tells Dana definitively that he wouldn’t do those things again. And Brody is many things. But he was someone trying to shed himself of the lies to go back to being a man like the President whom Brody describes in “The Clearing” as someone “who didn’t lose himself” after seeing the horrors of war.
So just who were the Langley coconspirators?