You asked for less Dana, you got it, Homeland watchers.
In fact, you got zero Dana in “Tower of David,” along with zero Leo, zero Jessica, zero Chris (wait, was he even in the last episode?), zero Dar Adal, zero Quinn, and zero Saul. Poof, all gone.
Instead, you got a little bit of Carrie and whole lot of Brody, in a frustrating return for the soldier-turned-terrorist-turned-fugitive. (Welcome back, Damian Lewis!) And that whole lot of Brody was, well, interesting, for lack of a better word. So let’s discuss.
First off, it’s important to note that this hour was co-written by Henry Bromell and William Bromell. For avid Homeland watchers, that former name should ring a bell — the late Bromell posthumously won the Emmy last month for writing the second season’s stellar “Q&A.” And in this episode, his creative touches can be felt, with the intense dialogue for the show’s two central characters and the crafty mirroring of their situations.
But was that mirroring effective? To me, it did alright — until it started to feel like the show was bashing me over the head with it. See, Brody is saved while on the brink of death, while Carrie is pulled back just as she’s about to blow open the CIA’s secrets to a reporter. Brody finds himself trapped in the “Tower of David” in Caracas, Venezuela, while Carrie can’t leave the mental hospital. Brody almost makes his way out via a mosque, but gets violently dragged back to his “new home,” while Carrie holds out hope that Saul’s been visiting, but her plan shatters when it turns out a mysterious man is behind the visits. Mirroring upon mirroring.
Sure, it’s two simple arcs for both characters, but I argue it’s a lot for the viewer to take in, especially when one of the characters is making his long-awaited and highly anticipated return. Brody is undeniably important to Homeland, but I question whether we’re seeing too much of him already — and whether the show’s trying too hard to draw parallels between him and Carrie.
Let’s dive in.
We begin the episode in Caita La Mar, Venezuela (thanks, lower third!), where a critically injured (and bald) Brody is taken away by a group of men led by El Nino (Manny Perez) to an ominous-looking tower — the “Tower of David,” we later learn — in Caracas. There, bullet wounds in his abdomen are treated by an intriguing man played by Erik Dellums, who, as fans of The Wire might remember, can play the hell out of a small part with his unique soothing-but-a-tad-creepy vocal affectations. Here, he’s a doctor as well, though without a name (if anyone does pick up a name, let me know — I rewatched, but may have missed it again the second time around, and for now, I’m calling him “Dellums”).
“Are you a doctor?” Brody asks him. “Interesting question,” Dellums responds before checking his wounds and patching Brody back up under some annoyingly flickering lights.
By the time Brody wakes, he can barely move. El Nino’s daughter Esme (Martina Garcia) forces him to lie down and urges him to accept a dose of the drugs on the counter, but Brody, echoing Carrie, tells her “No more, I can’t think.” He painfully eases himself off the bed and looks out over the city, just as El Nino returns and explains what’s going on. “There’s a bounty on your head,” he tells Brody. “You’re never safe, not even with me.”
Brody, dubious, looks back and asks him why he would bother to help an American fugitive. “You know Carrie Mathison,” El Nino responds. “So do I.” All of this makes me instantly curious about why Carrie has contacts in Venezuela, which we’ll probably never find out. (And on that note, we’ve been spending quite some time in Venezuela recently — first Quinn, now Brody. Maybe I’m the one looking too closely for parallels.)
The segment ends with Brody realizing just where he is as we zoom out with smash cuts. He’s alone in a room, in a tower, in an unfamiliar city buzzing with potential enemies.
NEXT: ‘We’re here because this is the place that accepts us.’