That’s more like it. Comfortably the best episode of the second half of the season, and up there with anything from the first half, this was Homeland at its best. Carrie’s in hospital, off her meds, and manic; mind racing, she’s firing ideas out everywhere. There are some nuggets of gold in there, and it’s Saul who painstakingly pans for them, eventually putting together a magnificent Conspiracy Wall. Marks off for not having red string tying things together, but credit for colour-coding. And it was fortunate that Carrie’s tastes in interior decor included covering one of her walls in cork tiles, otherwise it all might have been a little harder to do.
Meantime Brody’s taken his family on a trip to Gettysburg, which fulfils several purposes: education for the kids, a touching reconciliation (and non-violent sex) with his wife; and collection of the vest he’s presumably going to use when he suicide-bombs the Vice President. In many ways the trip was an extended farewell, although his family might not realise it yet; perhaps, though, his daughter is starting to have suspicions.
What really lifted this episode into the exceptional was the acting: Claire Danes resisted the temptation to overact and infused Carrie’s mania with immense subtlety, and Damian Lewis located the human heart of a man preparing to do something gruesome because he believes it to be the honourable thing to do. Mandy Patinkin, too, showed the depths of Saul’s affection and respect for Carrie. Wonderful all round, and a terrific piece of TV.