*334 weeks ago
PREVIOUSLY ON THINGS CARRIE WORE THIS WEEK: “The Smile” is the real “The Weekend” redux and the real “Redux” redux on account of Carrie kneeing someone in the balls.
As I mentioned in the last post, Carrie only wears one thing in this episode, which I think is actually pretty great, from a Carrie perspective at least (Brody sending a BBM that saves Abu Nazir’s life is absurd and funny if you just give in to this show being absurdly funny/funnily absurd).
It’s this green/grey/beige (greinge?) top with those khaki pants and a real heinous pair of brown shoes. Whatever! She looks very pretty in this episode. If I ignore the footwear I’d give it an A-.
I do think she changes her undershirt (thank God) – this episode takes place over a weird timeline of somewhere between 2 and 3 days.
So I guess there’s not that much to talk about. But this episode includes some wonderful Carrie moments (Claire acts her ass off, and I love that she gets to play like 400 versions of Carrie in the 45-minute span of the episode). Unsurprisingly, they’re both with Saul. And, for as much as I rag on Saul (and will continue to until he, y’know, owns up to his overall shittiness the last 6-7 years), I can’t deny or deflect that Carrie’s most interesting, affecting relationship over the course of the series is with this man. This confounding, perplexing, infuriating man. Maybe they’re made for each other, in that kind of friendship soulmate way. That kind of way where they’ll just be alone together for the rest of their lives.
I’m thinking specifically of the scene on the rooftop where Carrie has to convince Saul to trust her. Or, at least, some past version of her that maybe doesn’t exist anymore. Carrie keeps becoming new and different people as this series has gone on. I debate whether it’s like a reverse shedding-of-skin, Carrie growing new layers and bodies on top of each other. Or whether it really is a shedding of skin, peeling of layers, one after one, until we get down to her elemental being, who she is, the very core of her.
Then there is the scene as they are both waiting patiently by the phone for the Nazir operation to start. Carrie asks quietly why Saul stopped calling and he says he was having a negative outcome on her prognosis, reminding her of work (their work). “Did you ever think we’d be doing this again?” Saul asks. “I hoped,” Carrie says, and she smiles in that self-conscious Carrie way.
In so many ways these scenes are polar opposites of each other. The first is filled with Carrie’s frantic, anxious, pleading energy. The second is quiet, modest, and the moment becomes filled with things left unsaid–this strange acknowledgement that the universe has brought them together again, maybe for the last time.
But they’re both rooted in this relationship and in Carrie’s earnest, often misguided, misrepresented, and misallocated desire and push for goodness. I believe this.
The show has brought us and this character to a lot of uncomfortable, heinous, sometimes downright disgusting places. Places that made us hate and loathe her. I guess some of us remained stuck in that place. Watching this episode and seeing Carrie’s self-conscious, knowing smile when she admits she “hoped” she’d get to do this some day again with Saul, would get to be in the action, make herself useful, do something she believed to be righteous and good and true… it reminded me of this passage from Jacob Clifton’s recap of “Game On,” itself an episode centered around the fucked up soulmate relationship Carrie and Saul entered into together, the bargains they made, the goals and worldview they shared:
“A round-robin edit goes through the various medical facts, if you’re interested: They’ve titrated her lithium up to 1800mg, she’s doing okay in group and crafting, particularly ceramics, she’s a Helpful Hannah when it comes to delivering food on the ward, she’s a “good example for her fellow patients.” Which we missed, but it’s easy to believe. She gives such a shit about people, it’s amazing. Maybe her trainwreckiness, her patriotism, her heroism and her compassion all come from this same thing, this lack of ego that allows her to do a job that would have most of us suicidal in three months.” [x]
Some six years later, that passage has stuck with me. I think about it a lot. And I know some of you are probably thinking, “Carrie? Giving a shit about people? HAH!”
We could all argue for days (literally, we have) about Carrie’s various merits, about what she does actually care about, about her selfishness or selflessness, about her giving a shit or not giving enough of a shit, about how she uses people, how wayward she’s gone, how she’s not a good enough this or that. But I’m not really in the business anymore of convincing people that my Carrie journey is theirs or convincing myself that theirs is mine.
The most I can do now is give you all insight into what this character has meant to me, how I see her and why, in all the 400 and counting ways that she is.