Category: by: sara

Between sea change and vicissitude, hyh is really expanding my vocabulary.

I can’t decide whether following Claire’s career all these years makes me feels smarter… or dumber. 



SAT vocab with the stars of Homeland 

What a nice tribute from Mandy to his Aunt June on Twitter. A message for us all, Ladies!!

Indeed! The tweet is here

Things Carrie Wore This Week*

*349 weeks ago

Well, folks…. it’s started. I just decided to watch the pilot this weekend. We’ll see if this actually materializes into something… y’know… consistent. But! I thought, while I was at it, I might as well catalogue all the VERY MANY things Carrie wears in the pilot. If nothing else, this will provide some context for just how far we’ve fallen. 

Hit it! 

I believe my exact words upon taking this screenshot were “she is a banana!” That’s all. Cute lil’ banana. 

For realsies, this shot is iconique and I love all the color. Carrie doesn’t really wear this much color anymore. The jacket looks great with her hair color and the scarf is very pretty. Another thing I thought while composing this is someone should catalogue all the scarves of Carrie Mathison, the same way I catalogue the many hats of Homeland. Homie is almost never without a scarf when she’s also wearing a coat. 

OK OK OK flash forward ten months. This outfit is quite something. First, that peacoat. I feel like Carrie hasn’t worn a coat that feminine (save the cream wrap coat from 7.10)…. basically ever since. Also, that bag! That’s a fancy little crossbody (of course, crossbody). 

One of the things I love about this show (and about my need to chronicle said love through this blog) is that I almost always pick up something new when I watch. Even with an episode like this, which I’ve probably seen 6-10 times. LOOK AT HER EARRINGS!!! I’d never noticed before. Those are some capital-E earrings if I ever saw ‘em. Damn, girl. 

I think this is one of two skirts Carrie has ever worn on this show. Full disclozh when I was watching I kinda sorta ~forgot that she came home from the one night stand (and the whore’s bath etc. etc.). Like… I didn’t forget but I was like “oh! oh my god! this happened!” Anyway that’s a pretty outfit and it is, in true Carrie Mathison style, completely devoid of color! 

Work Outfit #1. Please note Carrie’s work colleague to her right who shows up later in season seven as a completely different human. 

I LOVE THIS HAT. I love how Carrie and Saul are both wearing hats. Anyhoozles, this ensemble is typically black and grey. That hat, though. It is perfect. 

THERE IS THAT HAT AGAIN. Also, this jacket which I’d never really given a second thought, which is kinda cute. It’s got a weird little neck/collar though. What’s going on there? It’s like a cowl neck?? This is kinda like her “Marine One” jacket which means I automatically adore it. 

Underneath the hat and kinda-but-not-really “Marine One” jacket is Carrie in some dark wash denim and what I am just choosing to believe is a lululemon pullover. Carrie Mathison in athleisure. It is canon. 

Pajamas. These are actually acceptable pajamas. Note just the one shirt. I believe that a 32-year-old woman wears this on a quiet night spent illegally surveilling strangers. That sweater (is it a duster?) is cute. 

That shirt is actually green. A smidge of color. I also chose this shot because a) I think I used to have that couch and b) I don’t believe that a Carrie Mathison who can’t unpack her shit for 10 months has an indoor plant and has also hung those two pictures perfectly centered above her couch. Sorry. Don’t buy it. (That pop of orange color on the end table is cute though. But also unbelievable.) 

(I realize that 349 weeks ago some of this shit would have been TOTALLY believable, which is part of what makes watching this after seven seasons such a trip. So, yeah, I’m using my seven-seasons-later hindsight here. I think in the year 2011 we maybe believed Carrie was a bit more put together… to a point.) 

Chosen a) for the facial expression and b) because of the blue scarf. That’s a cute scarf! Someone get on this!! 

This is the full-length shot of Work Outfit #2. We are not talking about what transpires 30 seconds later. I will note Carrie matched three shades of grey/black together here. Good for you, Carrie! 

The scene where Carrie goes through a few outfit choices and has basically a full-on panic attack in her closet is one of my favorite ever scenes of this show and my favorite in the pilot. Did you know it wasn’t originally in the pilot? You can tell it was shot later, as Claire’s hair is a bit less layered and bit blonder here. Originally, the Carrie/Brody debrief scene ended with Carrie a lot more distressed and she had a breakdown on one of the Langley rooftops. They decided to have Carrie become less frazzled by Brody’s brazen stonewalling and lying in the debrief and took out the rooftop panic attack (which they later basically replicated in “Beirut Is Back”) and replaced it with this. I fully support this change! 

ALSO I think this is the top that Carrie wears in “State of Independence.” I appreciate that kind of continuity. 

I’m glad she took off this top–sorry, threw it on the ground in a huff. Girl, that’s not your top. 

Let’s take a gander at her closet. Once again, I do not buy ON ANY LEVEL that this is Carrie’s closet. I don’t buy that it would be this neatly organized (something we haven’t really talked about is how nice Carrie’s apartment/townhome is… I get that she’s the kind of person who doesn’t care about this shit, so she probably just bought the first thing she could find, but doesn’t it just seem… too nice at times?). I don’t buy that there would be TWO articles of red clothing. And MULTIPLE PATTERNS!! Look at that black/white one on the left. And then behind it that beige-ish striped thing? No way. Nice try, show. 

She ends up wearing ANOTHER cowl neck-y thing. It’s actually kinda cute on her. Also the bracelet! I don’t think Carrie Mathison has worn one since!

IJLTP and Carrie is a BUTTON. 

Blue scarf and peacoat AGAIN and a cute lil’ baby. Cute earrings. 

What happened, Carrie??!!


Re this ask from the archives you just posted, “If C&Q have sex this season, how would you like it to happen?” From what season is this? And at about what point in the season? (These are fun, by the way.)

That was a today in hyh post so it was from June 10, 2015. So not actually “from” any season but actually between seasons four and five and right as season five was starting to film in Berlin and during my weird “let Carrie be happy with her new German beau but also Carrie and Quinn should have an affair” phase.

That didn’t last long.

“Everyone’s not me.” ↳ Carrie Mathison in every episode…

“Everyone’s not me.”
Carrie Mathison in every episode | “Pilot”

I so appreciate your post. I also have been thinking of the arc of Carrie Matthison. I was stunned by Useful Idiot. Her walking that corridor, the familiar chanting, then flashes of each of her “failures”. She never said “I love you” to any of these men. Clarity – her acceptance of .. herself. She can’t have motherhood and THIS career. Your word calling is the better word. Her clarity is not only of her situation but of what she is capable of doing and what she is not.

Taking a long view of the series we get to see her try out & test her limitations; trying to discover herself. Isn’t that what we all do?

Thank you… you put it so well, in terms of Carrie testing out her limitations and understanding what she is capable of. I guess I don’t see anything wrong with that. I don’t see it as un-feminist that she can’t. 

From a more macro level, the overarching journey does seem to be Carrie’s discovery of where she belongs. Remember how she’d been back in Washington for about nine months in the pilot but her apartment was still filled with unpacked boxes? Or recall Franny asking her mother this season where they would go if they had to leave Maggie’s house. Where is Carrie’s home? And what is she protecting? My greatest hope for this last season is that those questions will be answered. 

On Carrie’s calling

Claire’s comments in THR, published today, about what drives and motivates Carrie, got me thinking about a really interesting and key shift in her journey that I’d not thought about before. As a foundation, here’s what she said:

Her driving force really is her patriotism, her devotion to her country. That’s tested in a lot of different ways, and she keeps returning to it. She wonders if she’s qualified to continue doing her work as somebody with her condition, and then we discover this season that maybe that’s not as much of an obstacle as her role as a mother. She has to really come to terms with that reality, which is obviously a very painful one. Her calling is real and powerful, and it’s something that she’s had to honor no matter what the cost, basically. There has been a lot of cost, [but] I think she’s not so afraid of her condition anymore. I think she used to believe that disqualified her from a human connection, but she is extraordinary. If she is careful about focusing her gifts, she can be very constructive, and if she’s not, she can be the opposite of that. There’s always that tension.

This got me thinking about the unique way in which both Carrie’s mental illness and her role as a mother were addressed this season, as well as how they both challenged Carrie and her devotion to “the mission.” 

When Carrie tells Brody, mere hours before his eventual death, that she believes she was put on this earth for their paths to cross, we understand for a brief yet monumental moment how she perceives her own purpose. Maybe it was originally about patriotism (“I missed something once before. I wont–I can’t–let that happen again”). In that moment, she seems to have convinced herself that it was all, ridiculously, left up to fate. If not for Iraq, if not for that prison cell, if not for… And on and on.

Since Brody’s death, and the potential dismantling of that understanding of what all this meant, much of Carrie’s journey–both personal and professional–has been about her arduous, at times frustrating, road to understanding her identity, her place, and her home. In other words: who is she, and where does she belong? This journey has mostly revolved around the quartet of mother, calling, illness, and connection. If Carrie could “have it all,” she would be a loving and caring mother, kick ass at work, maintain her mental and personal well-being, and share intimacy and love with someone who reciprocated. 

In season four, while she quells her new role of mother, she commits fully–and scarily–to the calling, becoming The Drone Queen. At the end of the season, she has an epiphany (after speaking to her own mother) that her illness doesn’t default her into a lonely, loveless existence.

In seasons five and six, she devotes herself to motherhood (and connection in various degrees) while trying to suppress the calling. She experiments with the direct relationship between the calling and her illness–i.e., the “super power.”  

It’s not until season seven that all these things converge and then combust. We talked at length this year about the ways in which the show was or was not making a statement about women having to “choose” between motherhood and careers, home and work. We asked, with exasperation, why couldn’t Carrie have all of it? And, indeed, she wondered the same things. She thinks, late in the season and with false clarity, that she is capable of it. (The intersection of Carrie’s illness, her devotion to the calling, and her own failures as a mother in “Clarity” make it one of the most important episodes ever of the series. In hindsight, it offers the best indicator of both the writers’ and Carrie’s understanding of her purpose and identity.) 

As time has passed, I’ve believed more and more strongly that the show actually wasn’t making a blanket statement about all women but rather a statement about the extraordinary circumstances of one woman: Carrie Mathison. Namely, that the supreme risk and self abnegation involved in what she does (in all she does) is what, as her sister says, she was “born to do.” And something that she’s been pulled to since childhood. 

(Indeed, I think the writers tipped their hand by showing all the ways in which Maggie–raised in the same house as Carrie–does have it all. “It” being: a loving husband, beautiful family, and successful career.) 

Nevertheless, it’s difficult to take comfort in her heroism and daring when we see the great human toll it takes on her and those in her orbit. We are meant to ask–constantly–at what point the ends are not justified by the means. Was Carrie’s tenuous sanity worth losing if it meant saving American democracy? What about Franny’s well-being? Could there have been another way? If there was, would it have led to the same outcome? The show has always been about the very real, very human stakes of the work Carrie does (and, to a lesser extent, war overall). 

The show has also always been about the choice (they even named an episode after it!), which Carrie must continue to make, time and again, between her “calling” and between “human connection,” as Claire terms it. They were the first points in the quartet that were emphasized, most notably in season one with Carrie’s not-really-a-question “I’m gonna be alone my whole life, aren’t I?” The show explores the ways in which they might be mutually exclusive (and not just for Carrie, but for Saul and Quinn, too). 

Which brings me back to “I believe I was put on this earth for our paths to cross.” In this single line of dialogue, Carrie doesn’t choose between one or the other. She ties them up together so that they are intertwined. The calling is the human connection. (Additionally, she’s pregnant with his child and earlier that season exploits her mental illness to get back to him. To her, they are all inextricably linked.)    

She says she sounds crazy. As the audience, we wholeheartedly agree. But Brody doesn’t. He says it’s not crazy. It’s the only sane thing left to hold onto. 

When Brody died, and in her grief, she did let go. How could it have been her sole purpose given the way it ended? Watch as she recoils from her daughter, later from Saul, then from Quinn. 

There was a line drawn after Brody died. On one side of it, a Carrie who understood who she was. We can scoff and roll our eyes and say she was deluded and out of her mind and HELLO HE WAS A TERRORIST. We may be right about all of those things. This may not be the final destination. 

On the other side of that line, however, is a Carrie who has flailed, who is lost, who struggles, who has tried various permutations of motherhood, calling, mental stability, and human connection–though never all at once–at the cost of a number of human lives. The possibility that they might all be tied together in some fantastical, fateful amalgam seems but a fleeting memory. 

It’s also a Carrie who has been indoctrinated into a different kind of a calling, the kind Quinn articulated clearly in his letter. The kind of purpose that drives out all else–your family, your health, your connection–the way darkness drives out light. 

hellyeahomeland: HOMELAND – season seven, par…


HOMELAND – season seven, part two
one poster per episode [insp]

Y’all, I haven’t been able to get into a Homeland fic in a…

Y’all, I haven’t been able to get into a Homeland fic in a really long time. I feel pangs of inspiration to write myself sometimes, but they quickly fade when I realize… hmm… maybe I really don’t have much to say right now in the fictional fictional realm. 

All of which is to say… “Little River Ledge” by our own prolific and talented @frangipaniflower001 is something of a miracle for me. Frangi’s basically the Queen of Homeland Fic but the level to which I’ve become not just invested but deeply, deeply moved by her story–considering my recent months-long apathy–is something I never expected. 

In “Little River Ledge,” Peter Quinn is alive (surprise!) and he cajoles all the various powers that be to let him house Carrie in an oceanside cottage on the coast after the events of season seven. Carrie is in, as we all know, very rough shape. She doesn’t talk, barely sleeps (and when she does, on a mattress in a closet rather than on the bed). Quinn watches her–he’s rehabilitating himself, still–giving her space and time and the silent encouragement he knows she needs. He’s been here before. So he knows how this goes. Quinn and a non-speaking Carrie are a fairly quiet pair, so a lot of the story thus far exists in these silent moments between them. And what a look here or glance there means. 

When there are words spoken, I find myself hanging on each one. They carry such weighty significance. I won’t spoil you but Carrie has a line at the end of chapter nine that almost caused me to pause in my tracks. The story plays with perceptions and what’s real and isn’t in a really interesting, clever way. After all, Carrie believed Quinn was dead. And then she lost her mind in Moscow. So who’s to say this isn’t all just an extension of that nightmare? (I promise that this isn’t where this story is actually going–though it is totally the greenpen ending!–but it’s the undertone of her complete disorientation.) 

I’m gonna wrap this up now because this is getting long, but just one more thing! One of the most important things I need in a fic is what I term generosity. By that I mean, empathy and honesty toward the characters and where they’ve been and how they are. It’s the kicker for me in everything I read.

Frangi’s fic has this generosity in spades–it shines through in every word. But what’s really surprising for me about my investment in it is that it’s told mostly from Quinn’s perspective. As he observes Carrie. As he tries to interpret meaning from the actions of a woman who is still, in a big way, lost in this world. And yet… he finds the beauty and the grace, the resolve and the courage, in each and every one of her actions and how she faces the long, steep uphill climb toward something resembling “square one.” 

For personal reasons, I can’t tell yet whether this fic has helped me heal and move on from the sadness and pain of the end of season seven or whether it’s kept me in that space (which might in itself be a form of healing, by virtue of just making me feel comfortable in it). This is no fault of the story’s, of course. But it’s my reaction to it, and how I’ve felt reading each chapter, wondering how this will play out next season. 

I used to wonder out loud, “gosh, why does Quinn love Carrie so much?” and was often met with a resounding chorus of “because of all the reasons we love her.” That’s the truth, and this story–after what we saw at the end of the season–pays tribute to that in a way that has been so thoughtful and genuinely, deeply moving. Please read it.

Claire will be on Seth Meyers Wednesday, the 13th. (Same day she’ll be on Live with Kelly & Ryan.)