Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Vest - Homeland Episode Summary 1.11

The Vest Homeland episode
Synopsis: Carrie Mathison may only have suffered a concussion following the explosion that maimed and ended the life of others, but the tragic event appears to have also triggered her mental illness.  Nicholas Brody takes his family on a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and manages to keep from his family the true nature of their journey; he needed to fetch a vest rigged with explosives from a tailor in that area.

Episode Summaries: Both the president and vice president are on lockdown given the imminent threat from Tom Walker.  The C.I.A. has its hands full with catching Walker and the leak who they believe is one of their own.  C.I.A. Deputy David Estes wants all agents on the case including Carrie Mathison, who is still recuperating at the hospital.  Saul Berenson arrives at the hospital to fetch Carrie, but finds her mentally unstable.Continue reading...

Carrie frets at the hospital staff for not lending her a green pen then frantically apprises Saul of a realization about Abu Nazir.  She claims that Abu Nazir could not have planned his attack with only a single sniper to carry it out.  This strategy is unlike the terrorist’s modus operandi for he is known to make a show of his attacks, usually with a bomb exploding.  Carrie is convinced that the C.I.A.’s working theory of Abu Nazir enlisting Walker to assassinate the president is incorrect.  She believes that the sniper only plays a small role in Abu Nazir’s terrorist plot.  Although Carrie’s theory makes sense, her current mental state makes it dubious.  Her excitement over Saul’s green pen certified her madness. Carrie begins to speak about Abu Nazir’s plot in color codes claiming that the terrorist’s movements in green after a fallow yellow always creep towards purple.  Her ideas have become ridiculous that Saul, who has let Carrie ramble on, finally informs her that she is not herself.

Saul brings Carrie to her house and stays with her until Maggie comes.  Carrie continues with her color coding madness making Saul quite relieved when her sister arrives.  Saul learns that Carrie is bipolar, and is currently in a manic state.  Maggie reveals that Carrie has been on medication, and that her psychosis is nothing new.  Carrie acquiesces to taking clonazepam, but it will take days for her to return to normal.  Moreover, Maggie informs Saul that Carrie cannot be left alone at that state.  Maggie and Saul's only options are to have someone look after her or have her committed to a psychiatric facility.  The latter would mean the end of Carrie’s career at the C.I.A.  Saul agrees to keep watch at night and to keep silent about Carrie’s mental state.

Nicholas Brody plans a trip with his family to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania much to his daughter’s annoyance.  Jessica sees it as her husband’s attempt to spend one last weekend with his family before the campaign for Congress takes over their lives.  After a few attempts to avoid having to go to Gettysburg with her family, Dana has no other choice but to go.  Armed with a Hero camera, she makes the most out of the trip by making a documentary of it.  The Brodys arrive at Gettysburg, and after hours of traveling finds themselves in a viewing deck that looks out a plain.  What proved to be a disappointment for Chris clearly meant something for Brody, who they learn is very knowledgeable of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Brody tells his family of how General Lee brought the war to the North at a time when the South was winning.  Although outnumbered, the Northern General, General Meade gave instructions to his troops to defend the ridge especially Little Round Top, the most crucial part of it, at all costs.  Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a schoolteacher from Maine turned Union officer, instructed his men to charge down Little Round Top with only their bayonets.  This startling strategy proved successful in defending the ridge.  Brody commends Chamberlain for his courage to do what was necessary for a cause he believed in.  Later, Brody and Dana are left alone while Jessica and Chris check out the gift shop.  Dana becomes alarmed when her father speaks to her portentously of their future, and presses her to promise him that she will look after her mother.

Meanwhile, Maggie takes the day shift of looking after Carrie.  Having found nothing to eat at her sister’s place, Maggie with Carrie goes out to get some food when Carrie suddenly gets out of the car and almost gets run over as she runs to a fenced garden with newly planted shrubs.  Carrie begins to speak incomprehensibly about laying low before coming to life.  The Brodys make their way to a diner for lunch, but Brody excuses himself claiming to have forgotten to bring his toothbrush and therefore going to get one at one of the shops.  He enters a men’s store and goes directly to the back where a tailor greets him in Arabic.  The man fits Brody the vest he made wired with explosives.  The man shows Brody how to operate the vest, and advises him to wait until the last second before he opens it to avoid engaging the bomb until the appointed time.  Brody fully aware of his imminent fate speaks of his macabre death.  He then makes his way to his car, and hides the vest wrapped in brown paper in a compartment under the trunk of the Subaru.  Dana, who has been waiting for him, confronts him of his whereabouts and the package he had just hidden.  He makes an excuse of the package being a present he bought for Jessica, but Dana is unconvinced.  Father and daughter walk back to the diner.  A man who recognized him as the war hero running for office approaches Brody to tell him that he is going to vote for him.  Soon after, nearly everyone at the diner comes up to Brody to shake his hand.  Having witnessed the people’s confidence and their willingness to support Brody, Jessica regrets having rejected the idea of her husband running for office.  She is now convinced that her husband could do good things not only for his constituents, but also for his family.  Jessica has found happiness for the very first time since Brody returned, and spends the night together as normal loving couples do.

David meets with an annoyed Vice President William Walden frustrated at being kept in a bunker at a time when he needs to be highly visible.  Walden has plans of announcing his candidacy for the presidency, and the C.I.A.’s failure to capture Walker is hurting his candidacy before it even started.  David with ambitions of his own kowtows to the vice president’s wishes.  Meanwhile, Saul returns to the agency careful not to reveal Carrie’s current state.  Despite Carrie’s certified lunacy, Saul believes Carrie’s theories so much so that he shares them with David.  Saul arrives to relieve Maggie of the task of watching over Carrie, and learns that in spite of her mania, Carrie spent the day working.  Saul comes up to her bedroom conscious but sedated.  He feels responsible for Carrie’s mental state confessing to have had an inkling of it when she returned from Baghdad.  Carrie says nothing except that they do not have time, because it is high purple.  While Carrie is asleep, Saul picks up the work where Carrie had left, and suddenly the colors made sense.  Saul groups together the pieces of information Carrie had color coded, and puts them up on the wall.  He sits back and finds that Carrie’s notions are not crazy after all.

Carrie wakes up and finds Saul in her living room admiring the work she had feverishly put together during her bout of insanity.  Saul was able to put the pieces together and learned that Carrie had been making a timeline of Abu Nazir’s activities.  The most striking is the period Carrie refers to as the fallow yellow when Abu Nazir went quiet.  She and Saul go through possible reasons for his hibernation.  Carrie believes that the terrorist was mourning a tragedy at the time when he disappeared.  Revenge fueled his activities after his hibernation and at this time, Abu Nazir, has been planning to carry it out.  His current activities, which Carrie marked as purple, mark the time when his plan is in full swing.  In order to stop the terrorist, the Agency must figure out the tragedy that brought about his fury.  Carrie, however, must trust her colleagues to do the job for she must stay in the sidelines given her current mental state.

Carrie confesses to having heard Saul’s apology the previous night after believing that her ordeal in Baghdad was what brought her over the edge.  She, however, reveals to Saul that her mental condition began when she was still in college.  The arrival of her sister and father interrupted their conversation.  Her concerned family is relieved to see her in a normal state of mind, and that the work she had been hysterically doing the previous day had meaning.  However, the thought of having uncovered a portion of the mystery gave Carrie the need to be at work, and the feeling that she is the only one who can do something about it.  Her father who suffers the same mental illness as she is makes it clear to her that her illness is the cause of her delusion.  Carrie still feels the need to call Brody whom she believes knows the event that triggered Abu Nazir’s hibernation.  Her father warns her about her compulsions having experienced it himself.  He believes that their illness can cause them to act on impulses that in the moment of mania seemed right only to later find out that it was foolish.  Carrie goes against her father’s advice.

The package that her father had discreetly hidden in their Subaru continues to gnaw on Dana that she decides to see what is inside it.  Regrettably, her father catches her in the act denying her of the chance to see what it held.  Moreover, Brody is determined to keep the nature of the contents of the package to himself.  Brody receives a call from Carrie as soon as he and his family arrive home.  Carrie, who clearly is still not herself, struggles to make sense.  Numerous thoughts running through her mind muddy her attempt to extract from Brody the tragedy that fueled Abu Nazir’s fury.  Brody senses that the woman is not in her right mind, but suggests of coming to see her.  Meanwhile, Brody’s actions continue to trouble Dana.  She confides to Xander her concern, and shows him a time-lapsed video of her father staring blankly at the horizon for minutes on end.

Carrie dolls up in preparation for her meeting with Brody only to learn that the man had called David.  Brody had revealed his affair with Carrie and accused her of harassment citing the illegal surveillance she had set up at his house.  David has come to relieve her of her duties.  He and his team are alarmed to find confidential documents at Carrie’s house, and they begin to dismantle the timeline Saul and Carrie worked hard to piece together.  The act of taking down the timeline threw Carrie over the edge convincing David that the woman is insane.

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