After I concluded viewing Season One of Homeland, I came away feeling conflicted toward the show and its characters. The show is captivating although at times the story lines are far fetched, but overall after having completed Season One, I am eager to start Season Two. I am looking to find out how will Carrie will fare after receiving ECS treatment in an effort to lessen the effects of her bi-polar disorder. What will she do about Brody’s betrayal? How will she be able to continue to wage her war to stop terror attacks to America? Episode 12, in particular, had so many twists in it that I marvel at how the writers and creators of Homeland came up with this material.
I was also a little confused at some parts of the show. When did Carrie actually fall in love with Brody? I believed Carrie’s affair with Brody was not a romantic one but one that had an agenda to it (Carrie sleeping with Brody in an effort to extract information from him as she believes he is a terrorist working for Abu Nazir. Sure she seemed upset when he told her to f_ off after he learned of the surveillance she kept on him but I assumed the reason she was upset was because she had to tell him the truth. Speaking of Brody, how and when did his family know of the affair? Did I miss something?
Perhaps most importantly I feel conflicted as to who is the villain. When I started Homeland, I was prepared to think of Brody as the hero even though I knew his character would not be as cut and dry as that. However my feelings toward the character of Brody have completely changed. As we have learned, Brody nearly blew himself and high ranking cabinet members to smithereens, which would firmly plant him in the “villain” category. Not to mention the betrayal to Carrie and to his family. Abu Nazir, who the show portrays as a prime terror suspect and hence the “villain”, recently got more “humanized” by letting the views get to know his son Issa through Brody’s flashbacks prior to Issa getting killed. By illustrating the sweet and kind boy Issa was garnered the audience’s sympathy toward Abu Nazir, or at least made him not seem so sinister.
Besides feeling conflicted, I felt the overarching message in this final third of this season is one of loyalty. This notion of loyalty refers to both personal and professional loyalty. Anyone watching Homeland up to this point knows how loyal Carrie is to her work. Although Carrie’s character is central to this show, loyalty of the other characters is essential to maintaining the plot twists and turns that are clearly evident in the show’s first season.
Brody, for example, has demonstrated his loyalty to Abu Nazir by killing Tom Walker and was willing to kill top government officials. The show introduced Brody as a U.S. Marine who was captured and held prisoner for eight years. We are led to believe the catalyst in “turning” Brody was the death of Issa. We learned how Vice President Walden denounced the deaths of the 81 children, including Issa, who were killed in a drone strike that David Estes, Walden, and other high ranking government officials were involved in. While a failing suicide vest initially prevented Brody from following through with this act of terror, it was his loyalty to his daughter Dana that ultimately stopped him from using the vest after he fixed it (or more likely It was ill-fated timing?). Toward the end of Season One, viewers were able to piece together that it was Brody’s shared loyalty to Abu Nazir, Issa, and Islam that drove him to be willing to be a suicide terrorist and betray the loyalty he did have for his country.
Professional loyalty is often viewed as desirable trait especially in western societies. While this undoubtedly can be a positive attribute, it can also have negative implications. David Estes is a good example. He is ambitious and is wanting to ascend into an even higher position of power than what he currently is, as head of the CIA. However his professional loyalty has overshadowed anything else in his life. We have learned early on in Season One that he is divorced and barely sees his kids. Throughout Season One David has not been supportive of Carrie despite her being a stellar CIA agent (or so we have been led to believe thus far in the series). While this may have stemmed from an ill-fated love affair between the two, but can it be that David wants to keep Carrie from rising like the star she is in a male dominated field? When Saul uncovered information on the drone strike David was a part of, David sternly told him to pursue other important leads so that the potential bad press on this drone strike would not reflect poorly on the CIA, and ultimately him.
Other measures of loyalty of the characters of Homeland are plentiful in just this first season of the show. Undoubtedly the subject of loyalty will be repeated in the subsequent episodes. An article by Lindsay Steenberg and Yvonne Tasker does a great job at analyzing this, even though this article does provide spoiler alerts. Nonetheless Season One ended with such drama and fanfare, Season Two is bound to pack even more of a punch.