Courtesy Showtime Networks Inc.
However Homeland ends its amazing second season next week, I’m already anticipating its real-life cliffhanger: How does President Obama react to Brody assassinating the vice president for killing scores of children by drone?
Homeland fans couldn’t help but half-recoil and half-cheer last week when Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody triggered a fatal heart attack in Vice President Walden by helping terrorists reprogram his pacemaker (a stretch, but possible). Obama, who says Homeland is one of his favorite TV shows, has ordered five times as many drone strikes as President Bush, many of which have killed innocent civilians, including children. If Obama hasn’t seen the shocking episode yet, he’ll likely catch it later on DVD. This is surreal. How exactly does Obama handle Homeland’s hitting so close to home?
A little background for those just tuning in: Brody is a POW turned terrorist turned sympathetic antihero. Although terrorist leader Abu Nazir held Brody captive and had him tortured for eight years in Afghanistan, Brody eventually becomes Nazir’s devotee and comes to love his young son, Issa, as his own. When a drone strike, secretly ordered by Walden, kills Issa and eighty-two other young students in his madrassa, Brody “turns.” At Nazir’s behest, Brody returns to the US to win Walden’s trust in order to destroy him and undermine America. In the name of Issa.
That much was in season one, which we know Obama saw. At a state dinner he told Damian Lewis, the British actor playing Brody, “While Michelle and the two girls go play tennis on Saturday afternoons, I go in the Oval Office, pretend I’m going to work, and then I switch on ‘Homeland.’ ”
This season, Brody is a congressman and is working with the CIA against Nazir. But Brody must off the veep or else Nazir will kill Carrie (Claire Danes), Brody’s CIA handler (in all senses). It’s not pretty watching Brody literally give Walden a heart attack, but the show encourages us to cut him some moral slack: When, moments earlier, he tells Walden he’s withdrawing his name from consideration as Walden’s future running mate “for my family,” the veep says, “Fuck your family.” If he’d say that to Brody, the show suggests, just think what he’d tell the survivors of drone-attack. Does Walden, as Brody contends, “deserve” to die? Last night’s episode made clear that Carrie can live with that.