After two episodes of dealing with the fallout from Brody’s escape from America, “Homeland” finally reveals what Brody has been up to in “Tower of David.” It doesn’t tell us where he’s been, which could become important later, but it effectively tunes us in to Brody’s emotional state, which can be summed up as completely wrecked.
“Tower of David” is the most bleak episode of “Homeland” ever. Brody, suffering two bullet wounds, is held in the titular “Tower of David” (a half built apartment complex filled with squatters) under the care of some mysterious mercenaries with some sort of connection to Carrie. Unfortunately for Brody care equals captivity as he is forced to stay inside the tower, and is kept on a steady supply of heroin. Back in Washington Carrie is in a similar situation, imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital where we last saw her in “Uh.Oh.Aw.“
“He’ll live. He’s a strong one.”
For the first half hour of “Tower of David” it seems like it will be an all Brody episode, which I wouldn’t have minded. Though he may have exhausted his story potential in Washington now that the cat and mouse game between him and Carrie is over, Brody is still an interesting enough character that I will follow anywhere. At this point we know a lot about Brody but he is still an enigma. All he’s ever done is lie, so there’s no reason to believe that his claims of innocence and declaration of love to Carrie are true. “Homeland” is still a show about treachery and spies, so there must be something more to Brody, some larger plot.
Around the thirty minute mark the episode cuts to Carrie in the psych ward, a move that I initially didn’t like. I know Carrie has mental health issues, I know she’s in a bad place, and I don’t need to be reminded of that at every turn. Thankfully the first few times the episode cuts to her were quite beautiful, illustrating how connected Carrie and Brody are even though their thousands of miles apart. They’re both under care/captivity, they are both being fueled purely by resolve, and they both need to escape. It’s not the most inventive or original parallel I’ve ever seen, but the first few cuts between the two were masterful, and the last one, panning up from Brody alone in his cell shooting up, to Carrie sitting in the corner of her room (which is essentially a cell), both illuminated by the moon, was fantastic. However, in the last fifteen minutes or so the episode cuts back and forth at random, which definitely soured the last quarter of the episode for me.
“Don’t we all need to get our strength back?”
All in all this is a very calculated episode. Brody has never really been a weak character, so here we see him shot and becoming addicted to heroin, walking around in just his boxers for his first few scenes. With his newly shaved head he kinda looks like a naked mole rat, which is more than enough to generate sympathy.
Another moment that is very calculated is when Brody escapes the Tower of David and flees to a mosque, assuming that since he’s a Muslim the imam will take him in. Instead the imam calls the police since Brody is a terrorist. “Homeland” has had a difficult relationship with various Muslim groups, since pretty much every bad guy is a Muslim. Between the imam doing what is right and introducing Fara as a major player in “Uh.Oh.Aw.”, the writers are clearly in damage control mode and are trying to show that “Homeland” isn’t the anti-Muslim propaganda that it has sometimes been made out to be.
“You are not a Muslim. You are a terrorist.”
“Tower of David” is where “Homeland” really needs to commit to this season, and make a statement as to what sort of year it’s going to be. I don’t think doing such an isolated episode was a good idea. I like everything that happened, and I certainly feel more sympathy for Brody than I ever have, but it kills the momentum of the season. Right now, unless there are a lot of clues in this episode that will be picked up later, I’m viewing “Tower of David” as a depressing, but overall unimportant episode.