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Headscratchers: Homeland
  • In the first episode of Season 2, Dana accidentally tells her class that Brody is a Muslim. Okay..., but the way Mrs. Brody freaks out is ridiculous! Okay, he didnt tell her, but the fact that he converted to Islam is enough to make her royally freak out? I'm offended, and i'm not even Islamic.
    • They're a right wing family. What surprises me is she never just says "I was speaking hypothetically".
    • The reaction isn't unreasonable at all. While people commonly marry outside their faith, that is discussed beforehand. Converting (even between Catholicism and Protestantism, much less from Christianity to Islam) without telling one's spouse...that would be a big deal for a member of a couple who are even somewhat religious. Then add in that Brody converted to the religion of those who were imprisoning him (and his wife had lots of time to develop a hatred of the whole religion for it), and it's not at all surprising that she freaked out.
    • Brody's converted to Islam, yet he's drinking beer and champagne, and even frying bacon (although I'm unsure if he ever eats it). He's very strict about the other tenets of the faith, yet this he disregards? Might be to avoid blowing his cover, but surely he could come up with some excuse not to drink?
      • Basically he has to maintain his cover, and apparantly (in that I've heard this from the "Obama is a secret muslium <whatever group the speaker doesn't like>" camp) there is an allowance for that sort of thing if the situation is important enough. Considering the stakes he's playing for he probably prays for forgiveness before and afterwards. The non-social situations where he drinks he's going through a rough emotional spot in his life and is drowning his sorrows away, and then probably regrets it when he sobers up.
      • More likely, Brody isn't that devout a Muslim. There are many Muslims who just don't practice their religion.
      • Brody certainly finds it important enough to him to practice his religion, despite having to do it in secret, that he converts the garage into a place for him to worship and presumably goes there every night. All religions have non-practicing or barely-practicing members, but I don't think that's accurate regarding Brody.
      • There is also the Taqiyya, which allows for a Muslim to hide his faith if the person feels there is danger in openly practising their faith.

  • In Season 2, was Carrie ever formally re-hired by the CIA?
    • One has to assume it happened off camera after she was proven right about Brody.
      • I don't think she ever officially was, it was her mental state and actions that got her fired, not being right or wrong about Brody, being vindicated about that doesn't change the other factors that led to her security clearance being pulled. It always seemed to this troper that she was never truly rehired, just a member of the off the books team Saul put together, much the same way Carrie used the other two guys in the team in season 1. She certainly seemed to get more information and access than someone in her position should be getting, but that just goes against the fact the team is run by her mentor. If you notice throughout the second season she wears a visitors pass whenever she visits Langley not an agents badge like all the confirmed CIA character have. Confirmed in Season 3 Episode 2 when Carrie's father states she was rehired after the explosion
      • Seems you're right, from some dialogue in Season 3. (Plus, good catch that she was wearing a visitors pass throughout Season 2. I hadn't caught that.) I do think a lot of her losing her job was because they thought she was wrongly stalking Brody. After she was proven right (but apparently hadn't been rehired), who knows what security clearance she had, but she seemed privy to everything she'd have been privy to if she had been rehired.

  • How did Jess know Brody was sleeping with Carrie? It's one thing for her to guess that he was having an affair, but she'd never met Carrie, nor had Brody ever mentioned her. There's not a single moment on screen that show's Jess would be aware of Carrie's existence.
    • It's not shown on screen, but Brody told Jess about the weekend he spent with Carrie. One of their first conversations after that episode references it.
    • Then it still doesn't make sense. When Brody talks to Jess about becoming a politician she announces that the press will find out about "That CIA Agent you fucked" leaving Brody looking dumbfounded as if he had no idea she knew. I suspect they were planning a scene where Jess meets Carrie but it either never got shot or it got left on the cutting room floor.
      • Well she saw Carrie outside of their house when she came to tell Brody that Walker was still alive, Brody would have had to have said something to explain why he got out of bed at the crack of dawn to talk to a strange woman on the lawn, and put two and two together. Carrie was also at Walker's funeral and could have been seen there too.
      • What episode was that? I just read over the synopsis of the episode where they find out Walker's alive and it doesn't mention them meeting on the lawn or Jess watching. Are you sure you're not confusing this with a different scene?
      • "Achilles Heel"

  • Why would Abu Nazir insist that Brody shoot Walker. Walker's the second most valuable assett he has. I know it makes a good bad-ass moment to have Brody shoot someone on command, but it strikes me as a poor decision strategically?
    • Walker's not that valuable. He's wanted so he can't move undetected and their sniper plot went south. You could tell that he was about ready to kill Brody for failing the plot, the two would never work together again.

  • Why isn't Walker all zombie-like and glossy like Brody? Can we be sure he's turned?
    • Because he's far more ruthless.

  • If Brody plans to suicide bomb pretty shortly after getting back to the country, why does he care about reconciling with his wife, bonding with his kids, or going to support groups for PTSD veterans?
    • To Maintain his cover. Their plan hinges on him becoming a public figure so he can get close to the vice president.
    • He still loves his family and doesn't want to die still estranged from them. Going to support groups seems to be simply expected of him.

  • Isn't the invisibility of the President becoming a bit too implausible? The VP having the executive powers / prominence of a White House Chief Staff works fine from a narrative POV, but the President being ausent from the funeral of his own VP is a little too much, sounds far-fetched and almost insulting to his memory and family... even the Secretaries are there. Not sharing acts for security reasons may be acceptable, but it should be stated in so many words.
    • It's not a funeral; it's a memorial, and it's for Walden as a former CIA director, not as a dead VP.
    • The whole Invisible President thing is a real flaw in the series. I'm sure they want to maintain No Celebrities Were Harmed, so make it clear it isn't Obama by casting a white president. It's clear it isn't Bush because Bin Laden was killed before the series started, and it's clear it wasn't someone before Bush because 9/11 occurred before the series started.

  • In the first season, Carrie has significiant issues obtaining clozapine, to the point where her sister supplies her. It's explained that she can't go to a doctor on account of her security clearance, but why not buy it under a pseudonym from an online "pharmacy?" That's something college students in the real world can do, let alone a fictional superspy.
    • Besides everything else on her plate, I'd imagine that hiding the paper trail of something like that is much harder than just getting them under the table from a relative.

  • It's never explained why Sergeant/Gunnery Sergeant Brody (a non-commissioned officer) is allowed to refer to Captain Mike Faber (a commissioned officer) so informally and by his first name, a pretty serious breach of protocol in the military. By the second season, it's a moot point as Brody isn't in the military any longer.
    • Because they're best friends. Do you honestly think that Mike gives a flying fuck that his best friend calls him by his first name, or that the military cares that their new poster boy is informal with his friend? By that point Brody is essentially only apart of the military by paper, as his role in season one is a motivational speaker and propaganda symbol (plus he can always pull out the "I spent 8 years a POW for this country" card). Considering some of the slack that invaluable members of the military can get (the military consultants for Stargate SG-1 commented that people of the {{=O'Neil's=}} rank routinely got away with worse than anything he did on the show because they were that damn important it wasn't worth wasting time with comparatively pety protocols) I'd be suprised if any one member of the military took a look at that situation and thought it serious enough to get involved with.

  • Why in the middle batch of Season 2 does the VP and the other guy in the horse stable insist that Brody run for VP if he's indicating he doesn't want to do it? It's an extremely rigourous process and not for the weak-willed nor is it for anyone who doesn't fully and completely covet the role. If Brody is not voluntarily wanting the position or even showing a whiff of hesitancy, that would go a long way towards taking him out of the running
    • With Walden it's because Brody is trying to stay close to him to try and steer him in a direction he wants (and later because that's what Nasir wants). With the other guy it's not that Brody is saying "I don't want to run," it's that Brody is denying being any kind of hero and not deserving of the praise that is being given to him. Both assume that he's acting out of modesty and will feel obligated to go for the VP position when it comes time.

  • Brody's converted to Islam, yet he's drinking beer and champagne, and even frying bacon (although I'm unsure if he ever eats it). He's very strict about the other tenets of the faith, yet this he disregards? Might be to avoid blowing his cover, but surely he could come up with some excuse not to drink?
    • Basically he has to maintain his cover, and apparantly (in that I've heard this from the "Obama is a secret muslium <whatever group the speaker doesn't like>" camp) there is an allowance for that sort of thing if the situation is important enough. Considering the stakes he's playing for he probably prays for forgiveness before and afterwards. The non-social situations where he drinks he's going through a rough emotional spot in his life and is drowning his sorrows away, and then probably regrets it when he sobers up.
    • A lot of people pick and choose aspects of their faith that they follow. There are plenty of devout Catholics who have safe sex before marriage.
  • In Season 3, a big deal is made of the new analyst girl who comes in wearing a headscarf. She gets some odds looks, even from Saul and Quinn, before Saul eventually comes right out and tells her that her wearing a headscarf is like a giant 'fuck you' to everyone who died at the CIA building shortly before. Now, I can imagine the CIA has its share of bigots who can't tell the difference between Al-Qaeda and a young woman wearing a headscarf...but of all the people to fail on that account, Saul? He's the Middle East division chief at the start of the series, right? He has consistently been presented as a voice of reason and cool-headedness. He must have any number of Muslim contacts, have worked with any number of Muslim agents for their Arabic or Farsi language skills, have a pretty solid understanding of Middle Eastern culture and (probably) languages. That this speech was put into his mouth, and that he never apologizes for it or acknowledges he was wrong in any way, seems just plain bizarre, far more frustrating than Jessica Brody's anti-Muslim rant in Season 2, because in her case we can at least provide the excuse of ignorance.
    • It is very strange. I thought it was a way of showing us that the Langley bombing had caused Saul to, at the least Take Several Levels In Jerk-Ass before the reveal that Carrie wasn't being thrown under the bus in any way she didn't agree to be. Now that it's been revealed that Saul's morality is still at least 90% intact (maybe 100%), the scene only makes sense to me as a Red Herring scene, as until the end of Season 3's 4th episode they wanted us to be wary of Saul. In-Universe, it's hard to justify.
      • What makes it especially bad is there are any number of things he could call out a rookie analyst for, if he needed to vent his frustration and show the audience his Jerk Ass side: shoddy work and not performing up to his expectations would be at the top of the list. Yelling at her for wearing a symbol of her faith as if it were a sign of allegiance to terrorism just makes it look like, beneath the surface, he was a bigot all along, like the guy who resorts to crass racial slurs and remarks in the heat of the moment. Even if he apologizes later, that moment of peering into his true character is never really going to go away.
      • Also, there is another problem with his insulting Fara's headscarf. Saul's (fake) beef is with Carrie, not with anyone else. There is really no need for him to insult Fara.
      • Further Unfortunate Implications: Saul is a Jew.

  • In Season 1, I'm starting to understand that Carrie walked into the veteran's recovery meeting to bait Brody on purpose. How did Carrie know it would have any measurable effect to walk into the meeting with Brody?
    • Because she had been spying on him for a month and got a good understanding of his personality. She didn't know that it would have a measurable effect but had a basis to make that decision. Plus, desperate to keep the investigation going.

  • In the 2nd season episode "Q&A", when Carrie is interrogating Brody, she tells him that they know Brody was teaching Issa English and bonded with him. How exactly did she figure out all that? Okay, she knew that Brody had some emotional connection to Issa, because Brody was repeating his name in his nightmares, but how could she deduce the rest of the story from that, including the fact that Brody was Issa's teacher?
    • Working backwards, Brody had an emotional connection to Issa, which could only come about if Abu Nazir expressly intended it. So there had to be a reason for Nazir to have Brody and Issa together for such a long period for the two to form a bond, since Nazir would never just bring Brody to his home and have any form of interaction with his son without there being some kind of reason. That drastically limits the amount of possibilities as to why Nazir would want Brody close to his son; couldn't be just to break him further since he had already done that pretty well, couldn't be to have Brody act as a babysitter, so that only really leaves a teacher role. Brody doesn't really know a whole lot of things that he could teach to another person, just English (from a native speaker, presumably to pick up all the little details), the American society, and fighting. Nazir wouldn't want a pro-Western view being taught to his son, and Brody's way of fighting is incompatible with Nazir's, so that only leaves the language angle.
      • That's still hell of a chain of deduction to make, yet Carrie states it as if it's a fact she already knows, without even trying to probe Brody first to see if she's close to the truth. And why couldn't Brody have been Issa's babysitter? Or, since he was presumably turned to Abu Nazir's cause before he became close to Issa (otherwise Abu Nazir wouldn't probably have let him near to his son in the first place), maybe he could've been working as a bodyguard to Issa and Abu Nazir's family? Also, there's no way Carrie could say for certain Abu Nazir intended Issa and Brody to become so close. Since Abu Nazir presumably has to spend a lot of time outside his home to plan his terrorist acts, maybe Brody and Issa could've connected while he was away, without him ever having planned for that? The point is, there are loads of different scenarios how Issa and Bordy could have become close, and Carrie just happened to pick the right one, with no explanation how.
      • Going through the list, he couldn't have been a babysitter because Nazir would already have had one considering how often he's out crusading, long before he picked Brody up in Iraq. Nazir is a man who doesn't just do things without a reason behind them, nor is he one to waste an opportunity. By that point he would already have a trusted babysitter, and breaking a US Marine just to have him watch over your kid is not his style, . Ditto bodyguard; Nazir has an entire terror cell at his disposal, with his greatest defence being him not drawing attention to himself; something having a red-headed white guy in Pakistan would do the opposite of. And yes, there is no way to say for certain that Nazir intended for it to happen, the same way that there was no way for Carrie to say for certain Brody had a suicide vest or that he was a terrorist or anything, it's called an educated guess by a woman who has picked apart Nazir's methods for a decade. She was able to figure out that he had suffered a great loss in 2004 and worked back through his entire catalogue of actions to figure out just what he was thinking and building up to. There is no way he couldn't have foreseen that putting Brody and Issa together wouldn't have resulted in a bond forming. So yes, there are lots of different scenarios that could explain how they come close, but the "English Teacher" one is the most credible, simply because it's the only role that Brody could fill that Nazir wouldn't have had an alternative (a native English speaker who could pass on some of the minor details someone else wouldn't have picked up on).
  • During season 2, there are two occasions when the CIA team watches a conversation through a surveillance camera, but can't hear any audio: when Roya Hamad is talking with Brody in the Congress, and when she is meeting her terrorist contact in the park. In both cases the CIA folks curse the fact that they don't know what the conversation is about due to lack of audio. Why can't the CIA hire a lip reader to go through those tapes?
    • Because lip reading isn't a reliable method, it wouldn't hold up in a court, accents would get in the way, and it probably wouldn't pass whatever quality tests the CIA uses. Plus, you don't just "hire" someone to work for the CIA, they have to go through an extensive vetting process that in the real world can take upwards of six months to years in order to qualify for a security clearance that would allow them to see what was being talked about.
      • They're not building a court case there, they're just trying to gather whatever information they can in order to stop a terrorist attack. Even if lip reading isn't always reliable, especially in the latter case the CIA is desperate to get any little piece of evidence possible on the man Roya Hammad is meeting, so you'd think they would try all the methods they can think of. And the CIA should've already vetted some lip reading experts they can use in a case like this, it seems quite unlikely that this is the first time ever they've needed to find out what is said on a videotape with no audio. If you google the words "CIA" and "lip reading", the very first result is a Washington post article which confirms that in the real world the FBI and CIA do indeed use lip readers "to review surveillance tapes".
      • And if they get a lip reader who fucks up it's even worse. But accepting that yes, they may have a lip reader on staff, the whole point of the operation is to keep the team as small as possible to keep it secret that they're investigating a congressman. Everyone on the team already knows each other (except for Quinn who was a mandate from Estes), but none of them know a lip-reader. Bringing one in would increase the risk of the operation being discovered, which would get Estes fired (as he himself admits when Saul gives him the proof that Brody was the traitor) and probably Saul as well, with Carrie getting thrown to the wayside.
  • A man bombs the CIA, killing a good proportion of its leaders and impacting the United States as almost a second 9/11. Unlike the actual 9/11, however, the remnants of the CIA trace it back clearly and completely to another sovereign state (Iran) with amazing speed, and the events of Season 3 make that involvement go beyond any doubt well before the end. By the second to last episode, Iran is even openly protecting Brody (believed to be the bomber) and hailing him on national TV as a hero. Even amidst general war exhaustion, how does this chain of events not lead to an American declaration of war on Iran once Iran's involvement becomes common knowledge?
    • Because only the CIA know of the Iranian connection, which amounted to one man providing funds. The only ones who know of the link have a good reason to be opposed to going to war, and that's assuming that Javadi wasn't acting alone, and that he provided more than just money. Even if the US President didn't sign off on the plan which would be ruined by declaring war, you don't declare war on an entire country just over a single man. The US would never get UN support since Russia and China would both use their vetoes on any proposal, and without that the number of nations who would follow the US into war after the cluster fuck that was Iraq would be very low. The consequences of the war would be terrible, the US would lose even more of it's standing, it would be caught in yet another long drawn out quagmire that would claim thousands of soldiers lives, give Islamic terrorists more ammunition to use for recruitment and include significant blowback against any US ally in the region. All of which is a moot point as the Iranian connection to the bombing is never commonly knowledge, so the US lacks justification to start a war so it would never even pass congress. For the record, the real 9/11 had people from the Saudi government involved as mentioned by two US senators who got to read the unredacted version and war was never even put on the table.
      • Except, again, Brody spends much of the second to last episode of Season 3 as celebrated through the streets of Tehran, interviewed by Iranian journalists, shown on TV as a national hero against the evil American imperialists. By that point, it isn't a CIA matter anymore; everybody knows Iran is either responsible or at the very least supportive of it because Iran seems to be taking no trouble to hide it. No would have wanted a Saudi-American war in the aftermath of 9/11 either...but if Saudi Arabia had openly celebrated the people responsible as heroes, paraded the people who planned it through the streets, protected them from American attempts to put them on trial and otherwise made no secret that they both supported the attacks and were complicit in their occurrence, then such a war would have been inevitable regardless. An attack that big is an act of war, even in the aftermath of the clusterfuck of Iraq.
      • First off, you never start a war over one man. The precedent that would set would haunt the US for decades to come, on top of the whole "you got thousands of civilians killed over one man" that would tank the US' reputation for just as long. The only people who actually know that someone in the Iranian government played a part are all apart of a plan that requires Iran to be uninvaded, that includes the only man in the US who can authorise a war. As far as everyone else knows Brody was working alone, and Iran is currently harbouring him. Plenty of reason to lay sanctions at Iran's feet, but war is an incredibly costly endeavour in both resources and human lives hence why North Korea can openly attack the South and not get invaded; the projected death toll from a war would reach the millions. You don't ever start a war over a single man, you send a couple of assassins in to kill him to prove a point which was exactly what the CIA did.
      • Actually, the previous point is well taken, when I think about it. You do start a war over one man: We went into Afghanistan mainly over their harboring Osama bin Laden, and that was not even controversial among mainstream Americans, was joined by NATO, and was not protested even by nations like Russia or China. The American government would have had to demand that Brody be turned over or declare war against Iran. The only thing stopping it in the Homeland universe was possibly that those in key positions (the president, especially) knew at that point that Brody wasn't the real 12/12 bomber. I don't know how one sells not attacking Iran (if not a ground war, at least major bombing) to the public under those circumstances.
      • Let's compare the differences between the two; Afghanistan was already run down before 2001 with no real military might or allies, and the US had all the goodwill after 9/11 that saw all but two nations on the entire planet give them support, even if some of it amounted to "go get 'em." The Iraq war blew all of that goodwill away, and they wouldn't get even half of that if they tried it today. Russia and China were not allies with Afghanistan but they are allies with Iran, hence Security Council Veto is in effect as well as arming the regime. Iran itself is no slouch in the military department; they would still inevitable lose if push came to shove, but they would put up a better fight than Iraq did, not to mention that if the US declares war on Iran then Iran declares war on Israel and then you have a rather interesting clusterfuck of a situation there. As for selling not attacking Iran, the 12/12 attacks were on the CIA headquarters, not a civilian target, so there's less outrage there. Two, 200 people died, compared to the 3000 in 9/11. Three, the US doesn't have the resources to launch a war against Iran. Four, after only just winding down two very long, costly and unpopular wars very few Americans would really want to go through yet another decade-long engagement. Six, Brody's "defection" lasts all of one week before he gets hanged for assassinating a high-profile Iranian official, that would take the bite out of the war monger's case. Seven, look at Osama's history; he was not some random who just popped up out of the blue and did 9/11, he had a long history of attacking US targets. It was only after committing one unprecidently heinous attack did the US decide "fuck it, we'll just take the whole damn country." Brody is more of a blow to the US' ego than anything else. Eight, using the last time the US went to war over one man, they utterly failed to catch Osama, Al Qaidia still kept trucking, and they got left fighting the Taliban for a decade. All-in-all a rather big failure to resolve the key driver for the war to begin with. Nine, even limiting actions to bombing is going to get civilians killed, which is going to keep prolonging Iran's hostility to the west. And finally ten, the whole point of the operation was to keep Javadi in play and thaw out the US-Iran diplomatic channels, signed off on by the US president who also happens to be the only person who matters when it comes down to it. If he says "we're not going to war" there is nothing Congress can do but sit there and pout.

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