Homeland: “Beirut Is Back” (Episode 2.02)

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Homeland: “Beirut Is Back” (Episode 2.02)

“My name is Nicholas Brody and I’m a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I have a wife and two kids, who I love. By the time you’ve watched this, you’ll have read a lot of things about me—about what I’ve done. And so I wanted to explain myself—so that you’ll know the truth.”

During the first few minutes of “Beirut Is Back,” I couldn’t help but think: What happened to the video Brody recorded for his family—the one that reveals the person he became during his time M.I.A.? Well, it has been found, and by no other than Carrie Mathison. It’s clever how the writers have diverted our attention to forget about such a critical piece to the puzzle of Brody.

Before we dissect how the video was discovered, let’s take a step back and talk about Nicholas Brody. Despite everything he has done, I am still drawn to the good of this man, focusing on how good of a father he is and his desire to fit into a family that had moved on without him. Imagine where the mind goes after being a prisoner for over eight years: to feel abandoned by your country or forgotten by your family, to picture your wife with another man or your children recognizing another individual as their father. How about seeing the holes in your country’s political decision-making or watching the killing of innocent children only to see it covered up by your own Vice President? Yes, Brody has been turned, but that doesn’t exactly frame the situation appropriately, now does it?

Throughout this week’s episode, we notice that Brody is still actively helping Abu Nazir by carrying out tasks from the “handler.” She seems to always know the right thing to say to reel an agitated Brody back in. We could say the same about the Vice President, who enters and exits each scene like a snake. At times, he seems harmless, just passing through, but other times he’s ready to strike if you’re not standing squarely on his side.

Let’s get back to how the video of Brody was discovered. Carrie meets her informant during Friday prayers. There’s some initial resistance from the source, but it’s only because Carrie shows up without an arranged meeting. After just a few questions, the informant delivers the inside scoop—Abu Nazir will be in Beirut the day after to meet with her husband. The issue, of course, is that Carrie meets the woman without Saul, who was to assess her credibility. This sparks a heated exchange between David Estes and Saul. She’s not wanted in Beirut, not even by Saul, and the decision on the mission is complicated because of Carrie’s negligence. It’s heart-breaking seeing how just one setback borders on throwing her into a downward spiral.

Carrie is convincing enough that Saul makes the call on the operation—it’s a go. What they didn’t expect is that Nazir would be tipped off at the last second via text message, “May 1” by a frenzied Brody. Because of the message, the operation target is missed, and now all those involved need to flee Beirut. Saul and Carrie scramble to pick up the informant. The problem is that when they arrive at the destination, Carrie flees the vehicle towards the apartment, refusing to leave without additional information. Carrie is intuitive but extremely reckless. She grabs random mail and discs and stuffs it into the first bag she finds. Moments later, Carrie is able to rendezvous with the team, but not after nearly getting herself killed. How Saul doesn’t take the strap from the bag and strangle the life out of Carrie is beyond me.

Later that evening, Saul gets a moment alone and searches the bag for its contents. In a hidden compartment that was sewn shut he discovers a flash drive and immediately thrusts it into his laptop. The Brody video starts, and the episode abruptly ends.

If you feel anything like me, your mouth may still be open. An episode like “Beirut Is Back” reminds us exactly why Homeland was so recognized at the Emmys. If you enjoyed the shock value, well, I hope you’re speechless. If you despise cliffhangers, well, the countdown to next Sunday evening starts now!

Here are a few questions that should stimulate conversation:

-Did you notice the comment Brody made to his wife Jessica at the political banquet? He said, “You know who’s hosting this party, Jess? They make bombs. You really want to help veterans? You take out everyone in this room here.” Up until this point, Brody has been adamant about separating his two identities.

-Do you think Saul will have issues transporting the video back home?

– Are the Marines able to accept Brody’s information surrounding Tom Walker’s death?

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