A scene from Sunday night's episode of "Homeland."
Weapons abound in Homeland. Fighter jets, drones, semi-automatic guns, they’re all par for the course in the battles unfolding in the Middle East. But the most dangerous weapon has no bullets, no razor-sharp edges, as we come to learn in “Redux,” Sunday night’s ultra-stylized seventh episode in Season 4. The most dangerous weapon, as it turns out, is an out-of-control mind.
The episode could not have been more aptly titled. Carrie’s mental health struggles had been placed on the back burner in recent episodes, a virtual non-issue for the troubled CIA officer in season four. And Brody, once the lifeblood of the series, has drifted so far into the past of Homeland that we can barely make him out in the rearview mirror.
All of that, however, was flipped on its head in “Redux,” as Dennis Boyd secretly swaps out Carrie’s medication for something that begins to wreak havoc on her brain chemistry. The result is a series of events littered with emotionally traumatic hallucinations (directed in a mind-bending way by Carl Franklin), culminating with a shocking special appearance by Damian Lewis as Nick Brody in Carrie’s most painful moment of psychosis yet.
As Carrie falls down the mental rabbit hole, the CIA’s Islamabad station is faced with a central task: rescuing Saul from terrorist Haqqani, who understands the best offense is a good defense and has taken to using the former CIA head as a “human shield.”
During their long drives, Haqqani and Saul’s conversations show hints of a common humanity. And their dinner table arguments about religion’s role in the world’s horrors remind us of ideology’s place in highly-politicized international strife. But despite Haqqani’s civil gestures toward Saul — feeding him well, forcing his son to apologize for disrespecting Saul upon their arrival — Saul is nothing more than a pawn in Haqqani’s mission to use him in a prisoner exchange mission. Saul has already seen Haqqani kill his own nephew without any hesitation — he knows how swiftly Haqqani can turn violent.
Carrie believes one of the strongest leads the CIA has on Haqqani is knowledge of a health condition that required a hefty amount of drugs to help treat (drugs delivered to Haqqani by his now-deceased nephew, Aayan). Determined to find out what Haqqani’s health problem is, Carrie ventures to a Pakistani hospital only to become completely overtaken by her hallucinations, some including Quinn and flashbacks to Sandy Bachman’s death. She is apprehended by authorities, taken to a mental asylum, and finally dropped off at a lavish home with her psychosis still in full effect.
In a shocking twist, Brody appears in the home, assuring a panicked Carrie that he is indeed alive. Though convinced she’s hallucinating, Carrie tells Brody about one of her biggest and most buried pieces of guilt — “I was willing to let you die,” she says as Brody cups her face. Carrie’s willingness to allow Aayan and Saul be collateral damage for the mission at hand does make her feel “shitty”; but her inability to save Brody, to even “let” him die, pours out of Carrie in her weakened state, leaving her in a ball on Brody’s lap, until she finally accepts that he is not dead.
“Who is Brody?” we hear, only to pull back and find Carrie weeping like a child in the arms of a Pakistani officer, utterly disheveled. Humiliation aside, this is one of the most horrifying moments for Carrie thus far in Homeland, as we realize that the most menacing threat to Carrie is simply herself.
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