Homeland Episode 11 “The Vest”
Carrie, Saul and the CIA thought they were finally getting somewhere with the turning of Mansour Al-Zahrani, believing he could lead them to Tom Walker. But somehow Walker was tipped off, and was able to send in a decoy to meet Al-Zahrani, before setting off a bomb in a crowded park, killing and injuring many, including Carrie.
Although she avoided serious injury, her stay in hospital has left her unable to take her medication, and when Saul goes to pick her up when she is due to be released, he finds her in a manic state, talking a mile a minute and barely making any sense. What she can relate to Saul is that she believes Abu Nazir wouldn’t just want to take out the president, but he’d want to do something larger and more extreme. Saul is shocked by Carrie’s behaviour, but also concerned, not knowing what is causing her to act this way.
Playing a bi-polar character having a meltdown is something that an actor can easily get carried away with, but Claire Danes is excellent in this episode, portraying Carrie as manic, but still trying to focus on her work. She’s been consistently great throughout the series, but her performance in this episode shows exactly why she won a Golden Globe for the role earlier this year, her second in a row after winning one for her lead role in HBO’s Temple Grandin.
Saul and a doctor eventually get Carrie to tell them that they need to call her sister, and she later arrives at Carrie’s home to find her working frantically on the floor, and tells Saul everything. Carrie reluctantly takes her medication, but is still anxious to keep working.
The Brody family are taking a trip to Pennsylvania to visit Gettysburg, but Brody doesn’t tell them the real reason why they are going there. After explaining the history of Gettysburg and the men who fought there to his family, he tells Dana that she will need to help her mother when he’s not around, and Dana starts to suspect that he doesn’t mean he won’t be around because of the time his new political career will take up. When the family head out for dinner, Brody makes an excuse to go off on his own, and he walks into a tailors. But he’s not there for a suit, and heads through to the back, where he is given an explosive vest, and told how to use it by the man who made it. The man tells Brody that suicide bombers sometimes get nervous before the end, but Brody seems determined and certain of what he has to do. Back in the diner with his family, their meal is interrupted by a man who wants to tell Brody that he’s interested in what he can do as a politician. Soon he is surrounded by people who want to talk to him, and it’s clear that people are ready to believe in him.
The vice president has been confined to an underground bunker while Tom Walker is on the loose, and he tells a visiting David Estes to find Walker now and to fire someone, anyone, to make a statement.
Saul returns to Carrie’s in the evening, and Maggie tells him that she’s upstairs resting. He goes up to talk to her, and explains that he feels responsible for her condition, that he knew she was damaged after what happened to her in Baghdad. Carrie is drowsy, but mentions that purple is important. Downstairs, Saul starts to sort through Carrie’s papers, which are scattered all over the floor. He finds a pattern, and starts to pin them up on the wall, with a colour scheme forming a time line of Abu Nazir’s life since 9/11. But there’s a gap, something the CIA are missing. Saul is staggered by Carrie’s work, and tells her so when she gets up the next morning.
Later, when her father is watching her, she makes a bad choice, despite her father warning her against it. She calls Brody to ask him about the time he spent with Nazir, and what happened to him, during that time. Brody is worried, and knows he has to do something. He tells Carrie that he will come to see her, but when she opens the door expecting to see him, it’s Estes. Brody has told him about the affair he had with Carrie, and it gives Estes the chance to fire someone. Carrie is stunned and desperately pleads with Estes, but her time line is ripped down.
It’s another compelling and brilliant episode of Homeland, with terrific performances from Damien Lewis and Danes, and leaves the story in a place that will make for a thrilling final episode.