Why the Son on â€˜Homelandâ€™ Will Grow Up to Be a Terrorist
Homeland nabbed a slew of Golden Globes recently. It's no wonder: Between rampant infidelity, terrorism, dirty politics, and murder, the Brodys are the Hindenburg of suburban families. Their story is tragic, sure, but it's impossible to not watch.
At least that's the case for the most part. As they say, every chain has a weak link, and for the Brodys, the go-to moment destroyer is Chris Brody, the innocent son who's painfully oblivious to the litany of life-threatening situations and hair-raising events this caught-in-the-middle clan endures on a regular basis. He's clueless about the disarray around him to the point that we sometimes wonder if he maybe just understands it all too well and is reverting to some earlier state of childhood, the age of 4, perhaps, as some kind of defense mechanism.
In an episode from Season 2, for example, the Brody family is put up in a fancy high-rise penthouse under CIA protective custody. While the rest of the family perfectly grasps the gravity of the situation -- that being the very real possibility that they will all be killed -- Chris darts around the new digs, marveling at the size of the televisions like he's been in a coma since 1999 and has never seen a flat screen before.
"A Sega Dreamcast? And a PlayStation?"
In the episode "Broken Hearts," with his father very visibly losing all semblance of his shit after receiving word of a kidnapping, Chris asks if they're going to finish the card game his dad frantically walked away from mere moments before as if something far more important had just happened, which, of course, it had. Dad shouts, "Not now!" and Chris lowers his head pathetically and sulks away, genuinely hurt and confused as to why his request to play cards has been denied.
The only time he's aware of anything is in the episode "I'll Fly Away," when he becomes aware that the Washington Wizards are beating the Miami Heat.
In a show that succeeds by making you feel the tension between the main characters, the idea that someone of sound mind and literally standing in the room where everything is happening for some reason can't feel it and process it like a normal person with normal-person feelings speaks to a much bigger issue ... somewhere.
Is it the writing? Is knowing what a child of 12 would say in a given situation as difficult as knowing what gift to buy a child of that age? We're honestly asking, because there must be an explanation for why this kid is so awful.
Too much liquor in the first trimester?
Even more baffling is the extreme juxtaposition between Chris and his sister, who, even though she's just a few years older, has damn near worked out every plot and storyline from Homeland all on her own, mostly by reading the casual glances her parents throw at each other and their respective adultery partners.
If we can't blame the writers for Chris and his clueless existence, what we should be doing instead is impatiently awaiting the magic moment when Powderkeg Chris finally explodes, because rest assured, it's coming. He's been ignoring all of the thoughts we know (or at least hope) he's been having and repressing all of the emotions he's feeling while going through psychological trauma of the highest order. He's deluded himself into thinking everything's not only fine, but that he's living in an episode of Leave It to Beaver, and he's the Beaver.
That's why, compared to other kids in dramas with messed-up families, Chris looks suspiciously well-adjusted.
Maybe it's the sweater vests?
Sally Draper from Mad Men is one pig-blood shower away from going Carrie on everyone. Walt Jr. from Breaking Bad doesn't know that his parents' mere existence is affecting tooth retention in New Mexico, but at least he's aware that his parents' marriage sucks. Meanwhile, Chris Brody hasn't picked up even the smallest scent that:
1) His mom was/is fucking his dad's best friend.
2) His dad was/is a terrorist.
3) His dad is fucking an unhinged CIA agent.
4) He's a potential terrorist target.
Chris swallowed all of that down with one big gulp, and now he's a psycho waiting to be set off.
When that happens, maybe Showtime will find him a home on Dexter, a show where emotionless sociopaths can feel right at home.