‘Homeland’ recap: Season 3, Episode 3: ‘Tower of David’

Brody Homeland Season 3
Hey, it’s Bigfoot! Nope. It’s just Nicholas Brody for the first time this season. (Credit: Kent Smith/Showtime)

In our interview with Morgan Saylor a couple of weeks ago, she spoke about how it was fun to see her fellow “Homeland” actors Claire Danes and Damian Lewis at the Emmy Awards, because they don’t always have very many scenes together.

This episode really drove that point home. Drove that point “Homeland”? Nah, that doesn’t work.

Anyway, there was no Dana Brody, no Saul Berenson and no Peter Quinn whatsoever in this episode. You could say there was no Carrie Mathison either, because it was just Crazy Carrie again, with very little development happening in her psych ward plotline.

This was Nicholas Brody’s episode, to be sure. And as we saw during the Emmys, he’s got a close shave on his dome so he can be incognito. When most of the government is after you, the black market witness protection program can require a lot more of you than just a regular ol’ witness protection program.

We open up the episode with a bunch of dudes waiting by the coastline with guns. They see a car approaching. They raise their weapons, but it’s a dude who comes in peace. The dude who comes in peace has Brody with him, and he is seriously wounded and sporting the aforementioned shaved head. Blood is spurting all over the place from a thumb-sized-hole in his stomach. I can’t help but think of the titular pie in “American Pie.” I guess that would mean it’s at least slightly bigger than a thumb-sized-hole.

But alas, this is not America, so let’s drop that reference. Brody is in Venezuela. The dudes who were waiting by the coast dump him in the back of a truck and take him to a mysterious location and bring him to a witch doctor type guy who works in a dirty area where the lights are flickering. It’s kind of cliché, but at least the doctor guy (I say “doctor guy” because when Brody asks if he’s a doctor he only replies that this is an interesting question) complains about the flickering lights. For an anesthetic, the doctor guy’s assistant, a cute young Venezuelan girl named Esme, gives him heroin(!) while a little kid plugs up the hole with his thumb. Maybe I should have specified earlier that the wound was little-kid-thumb-sized.

So we have Brody becoming a junkie, not by his own choice. He’s in Venezuela and these dudes are looking out for him. He’s staying in a burned out tower that was made by some real estate developer named David, who had a huge ego. Thus we get the titular line where the tower is called the Tower of David for that very reason.

While Brody is recovering from his gunshot wound and his first dalliance with smack, we see some guy stealing his wallet, passport and watch. Brody later reports this to his guys and in the same conversation, he asks why they’re looking after him. The head honcho tells Brody it’s because they have a friend in common: Carrie Mathison.

Brody is grateful, but he wants to get the hell out of there. He hangs out with Esme in kind of a flirtatious and tutorial way. They help each other learn each other’s language and she helps him walk. The Tower of David is a real shit hole, by the way, but it’s a microcosm of … well, it’s got to be a microcosm of something, right?

The doctor guy takes pains to distinguish this Tower of David from anything holy though, so maybe not.

“This abscess beyond healing that we call home,” as the doctor guy calls it, is kind of a refuge for dangerous people. “We’re here because this is the place that accepts us.”

When he says this last part, he says it in an almost overly creepy way, to demonstrate that he is a guy who would be hard to accept. His hair is the awkward length of a man trying to grow out his hair, but looking like a cute girl, although his face is anything but cute. It’s sweaty and addled and almost too smart for its own good. Oh yeah, he also has puka bead necklace. He’s just GOT to be a creep then, right?

Brody sees graffiti artists and hookers and all the while he’s wearing these silly short-sleeved hoodies like he’s wearing in the photo above. Maybe that’s a microcosm of something too.

The problem with this episode is that you can see everything that happens coming from a mile away. Brody keeps saying, “I’ve gotta get outta here” and blah blah blah, so we know he’s going to eventually make a break for it, presumably with a short-sleeved hoodie pulled over his eyes.

We can also see that Esme and Brody have some sort of attraction.

Anyway, our head honcho guy gets Brody his passport, wallet and watch back. He asks Brody to identify the thief. He does, and the head honcho kills the thief right away.

Brody is in disbelief. He still has a conscience, people!

“You didn’t have to kill him,” he yells.

Brody then tries to leave the tower, but a bunch of guys with machine guns stop him. We see Brody alone in his room, hugging his knees, biding his time when the doctor guy says in a creepy voice that the little kid who helped plug up the Brody bullet hole thinks Brody is an ingrate. The little boy delivers a heroin kit, complete with a tourniquet, syringe, spoon and rock.

So at this point we’re 31 minutes into the episode and we see somebody from another storyline for the first time. It’s Carrie at the psych ward, and she’s in a therapy session. She’s trying to talk her way out of where she is too! Awww. Far away, but still so close!

Carrie says she just wants to see Saul, to tell him she’s OK. She makes a really great popsicle stick house, and upon receiving a compliment about it, she leaves to use the bathroom. But when she’s in there, she bangs her head on the mirror and draws blood. Uh-oh. Crazy Carrie!

That said, if I was in a psych ward and I made an awesome popsicle stick house and somebody complimented me, I might have to do the exact same thing.

Carrie shows a nurse that she’s actually OK, and the nurse agrees to let her see a visitor, although Carrie hasn’t earned visiting privileges yet. She’s pretty sure her visitor is Saul, but it’s some other dude. He says his name is Paul Franklin. He’s an associate at Bonaparte and Hamilton. Is that right? Napoleon has a law firm? Or did he say Bennett, Parr and Hamilton?

Paul Franklin wants to speak privately. He says one of his partners wants to talk to her. He says they can get Carrie out of there.

He tells Carrie, “I’m on your side.”

She then does the same “Gah” that she did when she watched Saul incriminate her in the hearing.

“I know what you’re doing,” she says. “I’m a case officer, I used to recruit assets for a living.”

Then she tells him to shove off. Yeah, Carrie!

But once back inside she’s starting to feel weird. “I need my meds,” she says in a panic.

Meanwhile, Esme helps Brody get out of the Tower of David, and he goes to a mosque. He speaks the same language as the man outside and they shake hands. He’s going to take Brody in! Yes!

No!

While Brody is in the shower, the dude called the cops.

Ruh-roh!

“You are not a Muslim,” snarls the guy. “You are a terrorist.”

But then! The head honcho and his dudes knock down the door, gun down the supposedly helpful Muslims AND the cops! More innocent blood on his conscience, and it’s back to the Tower of David for Brody.

The head honcho is pissed! Brody is now confined to a basement in the Tower of David.

“You will eat here, sleep here, shit here, die here,” says the head honcho.

The head honcho also tells him to stay away from his daughter. His daughter?! Oh shoot! Esme is the head honcho’s daughter.

Then of course, the creepy doctor guy comes in and says almost flirtatiously, “You’ve been a naughty boy.”

And then he gives him heroin. Of course!

Also, it’s worth noting that creepy doctor guy is holding the little boy’s hand, in almost a romantic way. Ewwww.

Brody ties up the tourniquet and shoots up as some terrifically eerie David Lynch-type music plays.

We then see Carrie in her room at lights-out time. She’s sitting on her floor, contemplating as the same terrifically eerie David Lynch type music plays.

We get it, people! You don’t have to bonk us over the head with it. Both Carrie and Brody are in separate places, and they both want to get out and they’re both enslaved to some mind-altering chemicals that are swimming around in their veins.

End of episode.

Grade: C+



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