Halfway through the second season of Homeland, It doesn’t take a CIA agent to detect the love triangle brewing.
While Carrie’s recent vindication brought her back into the scorching orbit of Brody, it also brought a new Agent into the fold: CIA agent Peter Quinn, played by Rupert Friend, the show’s first official hottie. I know, I know—Carrie and Brody’s chemistry could power a small country. But as mentioned in Tara Gelsomino’s post Shipping When You Shouldn’t: Homeland’s Carrie and Brody, this came as somewhat of surprise to the show’s producers—who then, wisely, decided to run with it. With Quinn, they clearly weren’t sitting around waiting for lightning to strike twice: This guy is love-interest casting if I ever saw it. (Rupert Friend might be known to some viewers from the films Pride & Predjudice and The Young Victoria, or his former real-life role as Keira Knightly’s boyfriend.)
We first meet Quinn in episode four, when Carrie walks into new surveillance center for tracking Brody. A dark-haired guy with chiseled good-looks and a cocky demeanor asks, “Who are these guys?”
Carrie’s back is immediately up. “Um, the same guys who already watched Brody for 300 hours. Who are you?”
“I’m the guy running things.”
“Is that right?” She grills him on his credentials.
Before she can challenge him any further, Quinn has the idea to “go for Brody’s Achilles heel,” a plan which actually gives Carrie exactly what she wants: face-time with Brody, whom she hasn’t seen since he had her thrown out of the CIA.
Carrie accidentally-on-purpose runs into Brody at CIA headquarters, and he is freaked out to see her. Though the encounter is planned and she is simply playing him, her eyes betray something more complicated.
Back at surveillance headquarters, they watch Brody on the multiple screens. Quinn says, “You were fucking him.” Carrie counters with. “Who are you fucking?”
“An ER nurse. And I’m not that into her,” he deadpans.
Quinn might be a bit of a jerk—but he’s the kind of jerk women go for.
“You’re pretty mouthy for an anaylyst,” she says.
Is it me, or is it getting hot in here?
That night, Carrie and Quinn man the surveillance alone. “Like Indian food?” he asks her.
“Greek?” she suggests.
It’s a date, CIA style. But their newfound rhythm is interrupted when Carrie gets a call from—you guessed it—Brody. She is clearly thrilled to hear from him, even as she maintains her professionalism. She and Quinn quickly discuss how to play it. She admits to him, “I’m nervous.”
“I’m not,” he says. “You’re good.” He smiles at her, and if she’s not falling for him just a little in that moment, most female viewers probably are.
Carrie meets Brody at the bar of the hotel where is staying. He tells her, by the way, this isn’t a booty call. She’s like, I get it—never even crossed my mind. Yeah, right.
They banter, both playing each other. Then, just for a few seconds, she becomes emotionally transparent: the pain, the anger, the betrayal—it’s all there. She is upset, certain that he’s figured out her game. She goes up to Brody’s room, and he is wary. Still, there’s the sense he’d sleep with her again just to regain the upper hand or at least figure out what she’s up to. But before he can make that play, she tells him he’s busted. Brody— scared? stalling?—says, “I liked you.”
“I loved you,” Carrie retorts.
And there it is.
Seconds later, a S.W.A.T team bursts in and take him to the ground. She bends down, and says to him “If only the circumstances had been wildly different.” And though it’s delivered as a snarky comment, you know from the emotion on her face that she means it from the bottom of her heart.
Episode five opens with Brody in Quinn’s custody and under interrogation. When Carrie takes over the questioning, it’s clear that her strategy is to get emotionally intimate. When she says, “Look me in the eye, and tell me you felt nothing up in that cabin,” you have to wonder how much is for the interrogation, and how much is for herself.
“We were playing each other,” Brody says.
She says that she wasn’t, “Not the whole time. I remember thinking that I was exactly where I belonged.”
It’s a heart-wrenching moment because it is an exquisite articulation of love. Brody looks at her with distrust. They talk about the war, and she says “no one survives intact.” They are two broken people, and it is their damage that bonds them. She says, “Wouldn’t it be a relief to stop lying? For instance, if I stopped lying, I could say to you, ‘Brody, I want you to leave your wife and children and be with me.'”
Any notion that this is just about the interrogation is long gone.
By now, every warm-blooded female viewer is Team Brody. But things soon get a bit murky.
Episode six starts with Carrie and Quinn working together, and Quinn doesn’t want to bring Brody in to help even thought it’s clear that they need him. Carrie makes the case for it. “Okay,” Quinn concedes. “But don’t trust him—that’s all I’m saying.” Carrie is not happy to hear that. She wants to trust Brody, she wants him to be the good guy.
Brody is wary when he shows up at the surveillance center. He tells Carrie he’s taking pain meds for the “hole in my hand.” (Yeah, Quinn stabbed him during the interrogation. He was playing bad cop—or was it payback for Brody screwing Carrie?) Brody asks with disdain, “Is he here? Quinn?” Quinn looks over at him with equal disdain. Carrie stands between the two of them. rody and Quinn get into an epic shouting match when Brody discloses something he failed to tell them earlier. Carrie plays referee and pulls Quinn aside.
“That guy is a pathological liar,” Quinn says.
“No, it’s my fault,” says Carrie. “I didn’t press him in the debrief.”
“Oh, I wonder why that is,” Quinn says, calling her on what she said about wanting Brody to leave his wife and kids.
“And you put a knife through his hand,” Carrie retorts. “The difference being, what I did worked. So don’t worry about my objectivity—worry about your own.”
Later, Saul tells Carrie he’s concerned about her working so closely with Brody again. She says, “It’s not like before. I saw his suicide tape. My eyes are open—I mean, how could they not be?” Um, because you are a woman and we are blind when we are in love.
Carrie meets Brody in his car in a parking lot at Langley. She asks him to talk to his terrorist contact. Brody is annoyed and agitated. She touches his shoulder, reassuring him, and he says, “What is this? Sex? Understanding?” He’s cynical and unpleasant. He storms out of the car. She orders him to have his new phone on. She’s all business.
Brody’s conversation with his contactprompts Carrie calls Quinn, who is in the middle of searching the bomb-maker’s storefront with a team of agents. Quinn calls for reinforcements—he wants back-up. But it’s too late: minutes later, a group dressed in riot gear burst in and open fire with automatic weapons. Every man in Quinn’s team—including Quinn—is down. The men remove a large metal case from the wall, presumably a bomb. They leave, and Quinn, gravely injured, tries to sit up.
Carrie storms into Brody’s office, seething with rage. “Did you know?” He says, know what? She tells him seven men were killed. He says he had no idea. “Did you lie to me? Did you lie to me?” She is hysterical. He tries to calm her down and she screams “Don’t you touch me—don’t you dare!” The possible betrayal is more than professional, it’s personal. She breaks down crying, ultimately believing that he had not known about the ambush. Finally, she lets him comfort her, and she sobs in his arms.
Carrie, please—Quinn is spitting up blood! Get to his side – tell him you can’t fight this fight without him…something.
Luckily, Quinn survives without her. By episode seven, he has made a James Bond-worthy recovery and is propped up in his hospital bed strategizing with Carrie. By the end of their conversation he’s so pumped that he’s taking out his IV, says he’s outta there, and jumps out of bed. “They’re not discharging you,” Carrie says. “I’m discharging me,” Quinn replies. Then he drops his hospital gown, giving Carrie a full-on view of his, um, covert assets.
Meanwhile, the bomb is on the loose and the clock is ticking. Carrie has to keep Brody close. She meets him in the wooded grounds behind the ritzy compound where he’s attending a weekend Presidential fundraiser. He is tense and tells her about the conversation he had with the “real soldier” who “didn’t lose himself.” Brody tells her, visibly emotional, that “the worse part of it he believes I’m like him. That guy is who I could have been.” She takes his hand. They gaze at each other and practically leap into each other’s arms, kissing like their lives depend on it. It’s scorching.
“Hey—is this for real?” he says.
“Brody, I don’t know. And I don’t want you to feel used.”
He grabs her and starts kissing her again. “You know what? I do feel used...and played…and lied to. But I also feel good.” She smiles and it's clear she feels the exact same way. “Two minutes with you,” he says. “And I feel good. How do you pull that off?” Then he pulls back, looking at her warily, then with a mixture of anger and fear. He walks away.
With this episode, Brody is still a few steps ahead of Quinn in the Homeland Hottie sweepstakes, but there is no doubt Quinn is still in the game.
I can’t wait to see their next moves.
Jamie Brenner is the author of historical romance The Gin Lovers, an original e-book serial with St. Martin’s Press. Her latest novel, written under the pen name Logan Belle, is the erotic romance Bettie Page Presents: The Librarian, publishing with Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster at the end of November. Also writing under the name Logan Belle, Jamie is the author of the erotic trilogy Blue Angel, published by Kensington. She lives in New York City. For more, please visit www.jamiebrenner.com or follow her @jamieLbrenner.