Homeland: 102 “Grace” Review
“Grace” (Series 1 | Episode 2)
WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
How good is Damian Lewis’ Arabic? His American accent is so good that some of the actors who worked alongside him on Band of Brothers thought he was from the States. If it weren’t for the pale skin and ginger hair, actors on the set of Homeland would think he was fresh out of the Middle East, with Arabic pronounced that effortlessly.
Linguistic skills aside, Lewis character Brody was tormented by flashbacks of his captivity. These sequences played a huge part in his mental state and influenced his actions greatly. At the start of the episode his nightmare about digging a hole for Walker’s body before kneeling down and being executed, dictates his mood for the rest of the day. Jessica’s bruises show that he’s been deeply scarred by his incarceration, regardless of where his true loyalties may lie. Furthermore, he spent the whole day sat in the corner, reenacting the time he spent in an Iraqi prison cell. What surprised both Mathison and the audience was when Jessica returned home to find him smiling, saying that he’d had a ‘great’ day.
One of the big elements to this episode was the huge presence of the media in Brody and his family’s life. Setting up camp on the front lawn, hounding the family as they leave for work and school and cold calling throughout the day, it seems Brody’s not going to be able to relax anytime soon. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the eager photographer who took a fierce shot in the neck; he was pretty disrespectful taking photos from the back yard but didn’t deserve to have his windpipe almost crushed. This scene gave us an impression of how deadly Brody is, most likely cause by Chris’ question about “what’s it like to kill somebody?’’. I was really intrigued as to what he’d do next, whether he would apologize and try to redeem himself with the journalist as not to cause attention or return inside. Instead though he walks to the nearest mall and picks up a prayer rug.
Now we know that he’s at least been converted to Islam, there was a big hint to this at the meal table when his family said grace, but the confirmation came when he prayed on the rug in the garage. This was quite tense because he didn’t seem to be making too much of an effort to cover his tracks. Jessica could have walked in at any moment wondering why he was up so early, or another keen photographer could have noticed the door slightly open.
The most significant moment came right at the end of the episode when Brody, fresh from his morning Islamic prayer, strutted out to his front step dressed in his finest military uniform ready for questioning. This change of attitude after yelling at Mike about the war the night before gives a huge indication that despite his lapses in stability, he seems to be following a plan.
Mathison meanwhile was busy with her undercover escort-turned-informant Lynne, who’s managed to get some footage of Abu Nazir with Prince Abudd. Alongside this, we also found out that her psychotic condition is hereditary and in order to avoid losing her CIA status she gets her meds from sister Maggie. This was an interesting discovery because we didn’t learn of the roots of her condition last week and know that Virgil knows this could become a factor down the line.
Virgil’s partner Max, or Captain Bluetooth as I’d prefer to call him, couldn’t have looked more obvious when following Brody in the mall. Given Brody’s special forces training, surely he must have known someone was following him, but yet he still bought the rug.
Is he playing a game with Mathison’s guys? Does he know the house is bugged, which is why he chose to pray in the garage? And what will Mathison do next after Brody’s impromptu press conference? There’s plenty of things to think about till next week. This show has only just begun but already it feels like it’s going to be one that you cannot afford to miss.
Scene of the Episode | The Prayer – This week’s big reveal was executed brilliantly. Brody wasn’t just go through the motions; he swept the floor, laid out the rug and opened the door like it was a ritual, as if he’d been doing it for years. Lewis’ performance and authentic accent made this a defining moment in building up this character’s unique persona.
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.