'Homeland' - 'Q & A' recap: 'Are you sure you're not a monster, Brody?'

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damian-lewis-knife-705-homeland.jpg "Homeland's" Nicholas Brody ( Damian Lewis) is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

First he's duped by Carrie Mathison ( Claire Danes) and arrested for treason, then he is forced to watch his suicide video as his whole world collapses. But it gets worse: When Brody refuses to come clean and actually calls his hotheaded interrogator's bluff ("She's a very understanding woman" he says chillingly about his wife), Peter Quinn ( Rupert Friend) pins his hand to the table -- with a knife.

And we thought Carrie was unbalanced.

But Quinn later confirms Saul's ( Mandy Patinkin) suspicion that slamming his switchblade through the back of Brody's palm was "all theater" (the injured congressman would probably disagree), saying, "Every good cop needs a bad cop."

The good cop, of course, is Carrie, who takes over the interrogation and eventually elicits a confession from Brody.

The reinstated CIA operative deftly reminds him of their shared war experience -- and the need to conceal its horrors from their loved ones, even though the "lies undo us."

"Walden lied to the whole f***ing world about the drone strike," she acknowledges, adding, "but you're not him."

Or is he?

"Are you sure you're not a monster, Brody?" Carrie continues, reminding him that Abu Nazir ( Navid Negahban) "targets innocent civilians ... wives and children" but brainwashed him into believing his cause is just.

"I know you think he was kind to you, that he saved you, but the truth is that he systematically pulled you apart, piece by piece, until there was nothing left but pain," she says gently. "Then he relieved the pain and put you back together again as someone else. He gave you a boy to love, and then that other monster Walden took that boy away."

Carrie is a maestro of this interrogation, using herself as the instrument -- vulnerable and exposed -- in their duet. It's her declaration of love, and reminder that his daughter Dana ( Morgan Saylor) stopped him from detonating his suicide vest that finally prompts him to acknowledge Abu Nazir's plan to attack America: "The Brody who knows the difference between warfare and terrorism -- that's the Brody I fell in love with."

Completely broken, Brody identifies Roya Hammad, Bassel the Gettysburgh tailor, the Saudi attaché and Tom Walker, Saul directs him to call and reassure Jess he is coming home. When they finally release him from his shackles, he collapses to the floor -- and curls up in the fetal position he adopted as Abu Nazir's prisoner.

But this time he has a chance at real freedom -- with full immunity and no trial -- if he helps the CIA. Carrie drives him home, and they agree that their "affair" will be their cover with Roya. He grasps her hand with his injured one before returning home to his wife and family, whom Carrie vows to protect from Abu Nazir.
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Ironically, his ordeal and reconnection with Carrie enables Brody to finally tell Jessica ( Morena Baccarin) a believable version of the truth: that he is working for the CIA "on matters of national security." So Carrie returns to an empty house, her only solace a bottle of white wine, while the former (?) terrorist is welcomed home by his wife and kids.

Make that kid. Dana doesn't share her brother's enthusiasm about their father's return. We can't blame her though -- her new boyfriend, Vice President Walden's son, Finn, just ran over a woman and made Dana an accomplice to the hit-and-run.

The less said about this contrived storyline, the better. That this is "Homeland's" first real misstep only amplifies our disappointment. We get it -- Dana is now keeping her own terrible secret and has the power to destroy Walden, without terrorism -- but this subplot is uninspired, banal and -- worse, considering it's "Homeland" -- predictable.

Hopefully, the focus will shift again toward Dana's relationship with her father -- who is now playing a brand-new role in this virtually rebooted drama.
Photo/Video credit: Showtime