Homeland: 111 “The Vest” Review
“The Vest” (Season 1 | Episode 11)
The penultimate episode of this fantastic new show was one that once again slowly simmered to a boil as Carrie’s mental state flicked up and down in the search for Nazir’s whereabouts during the “yellow” period of his life. Meanwhile, Brody spent most of the episode on the road, using the cover of a family vacation to hide his collection of a devastating package, which he intends to sacrifice himself with. The climax has hopefully given us a taste of the excitement and tension that is sure to be in the finale next week, although, we’re still pretty much in the dark as to what exactly is going to happen on Sunday.
So first to Carrie, after only just avoiding the suicide bomber at the fountain it seems she’s completely out of kilter, cut off from her work, her medication and possibly her love of Brody. Her illustrious search for a green pen at first felt distracting and slight corny as a way of showing the audience how out of balance she was when not on her meds. We’ve not really seen her like this since the first episode when she went out on the pick up for random guys. It seems Brody has brought some sort of calm to her life and now that he’s cut himself off she’s got no anchor point to centre herself on, leaving her bouncing from one extreme to another.
What I thought was particularly brilliant here, was how this wasn’t just a quick turn for Carrie but the whole episode saw her struggling to stay in control. Her condition has become so unmanageable that even Saul struggled to find the Carrie he knew behind those crazed, humongous eyes. The pay off to all this, when Saul does put into play her wild theories and colour coordinated paper trail, was amazing, it feels genuine how her work somehow kept her on the rails. When Estes showed up with his stooges to strip her wall, this then went back the opposite way, taking the brakes off her mood and letting her completely derail in front of her boss and family, an excellent piece of boomerang psychology to destroy Carrie’s sanity.
Claire Danes deserves a lot of credit for this because she was relentless in her performance, her eyes, her faces (good god were they horrific), she held nothing back. One of the best signs of an honest performance is when actors have the confidence to just let go and immerse themselves in the moment – exactly what Danes did here, she held nothing back and it made the frustration and tension of the final scene flow straight into our living rooms, truly amazing work. When the show first began some doubted her credentials in a drama of this calibre, now she’s not only proven those sceptics wrong but also show that nobody else could play Carrie Mathison quite this way.
Brody on the other hand had a much calmer episode, taking time out with the family before the storm that is sure to be coming next week. The picture is pretty clear now, his target has been set and he’s been given the suicide bomber’s vest to complete his task with. It’s clear to see he’s still not prepared; the realisation of his mission at hand is not easy to digest, if he gets himself in position, will he have what it takes to flick the switch?
His moment with Dana and that package has certainly got her spooked, she’s a bright kid and I’d guess that she’s only a couple of steps away from figuring out what might be going on. The framework is set for the big finale, will we see the death of Brody or will Dana/Carrie or someone else intervene?
Scene of the Episode | Take It Down – As if getting nearly blown up by Walker and dumped by Brody wasn’t enough, the new face on Capitol Hill decides to cost Carrie her job as well. This was the perfect way to end the episode going into the finale next week, Estes has a lot of questions to answer, his involvement has made him for the mole amongst fans and at the moment it’s looking like they might be right.
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.