Did we just get a glimpse of Homeland’s future? Right as the season 2 end game turned a definitive corner, we briefly met a brand new character whose storytelling reach could easily extend far beyond whatever explosive finish Nicholas Brody appears to be taking the show this season. Sure, Peter Quinn’s mysterious CIA minder/contact/svengali — who Saul said used to run “company missions we don’t talk about” — could vanish after an episode or two. But I don’t think so. One, upon looking at his photo, Saul acted as if he’d seen someone just about as shocking, and formidable, as Abu Nazir — he even said of the man, “That’s him, in the flesh.” Two, you don’t give a character as portentously peculiar a name as “Dar Adal” if he’s only around for an episode or two. And three, Adal is played by the Oscar-winning actor F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus, CBS’ The Good Wife), and you don’t hire an Oscar-winning actor with a first-name initial if you aren’t at least thinking long term.
More to the point, the introduction of Dar Adal was just one of several new complications orbiting Peter Quinn. I’ll cover them later on, but suffice to say, I would not exactly be surprised if next summer I start seeing bus stop benches with Claire Danes standing enigmatically next to Rupert Friend instead of Damien Lewis.
Part of my highly dubious Homeland clairvoyance stems from how this episode — the best in a month — began to send the frayed strands of Brody’s storyline on a descending trajectory. First, there was his family. After getting dumped in a random Baltimore warehouse by Abu Nazir, Brody’s very first act was to call Carrie and urgently request the CIA place his family in protective custody. Knowing it was too risky for the CIA to just show up at Brody’s home, Carrie instead had the brainstorm to make Mike Faber relevant to the central plotline for the first time this season and have him collect Jessica, Dana, and Chris Brody. Ever the dutiful soldier, Mike even went above and beyond by giving a particularly petulant Dana the verbal smackdown she’s been asking for all season: “Hey! You don’t talk to me like that! I’m here to help, and you damn well know it!” Parenting! Whodathunk?!
Mike deposited everyone in a palatial D.C. penthouse apartment with two massive aquariums and, as Chris pointed out, a big-screen TV in every room. (With his peerless ability to find the silver lining in any s—show scenario, I would not be surprised if Chris grew up to be a cable morning news pundit.) Our tax dollars hard at work on behalf of the Brodys, the posh new setting allowed Jessica the mental space to see how good Mike was with Dana, talking her through her feelings of deep resentment about how much her life had turned sour since her father had come home. Those feelings drove Dana to refuse to talk with her father on the phone for the first time since she bolted from the police station. But there was no specific mention of Dana’s hit-and-run; instead, it seemed we were setting up the next (final) act in Brody’s all-but-broken relationship with the one person who saved him from oblivion last season.
Jessica, meanwhile, strikes me as a woman who has made up her mind about the man she wants in her future. During their first night in the penthouse, she slipped away from her kids — the image of them sleeping next to her was unexpectedly comforting — and into Mike’s room. Wordlessly, she disrobed, and they made love. I don’t think it was an accident that this private, hushed, but still quite steamy sex scene was in stark contrast to Carrie and Brody’s raucous, quasi-public rutting last week. The next day, in that same phone conversation with Brody, Jessica could not have looked more disappointed when her husband promised, “It’s all going to be over real soon, then we’ll get back to the way we were.” And yet I’m beginning to think Brody’s words could prove to be more prophetic than he realizes: When it is all over, the Brody family will be right back to the way they were — with Nicholas Brody out of the picture, and Mike Faber in his place. (So much for Jessica’s early season flirtation with the trappings of political fame.)
NEXT PAGE: Brody resurfaces