homeland | the final countdown | “grace” “If Carrie, ostensibly the hero of the show, continues to get sketchier and sketchier, Brody remains a fascinatingly sympathetic character even as he seems increasingly guilty of everything Carrie suspects.” –Scott Collura
homeland | the final countdown | “pilot” “As Carrie, Danes is all brittle edges and weathered glass. She looks easily broken, yet she’s deceptively strong. Those too close to her tend to get sucked into the cyclone, and her life is one lived on the jittery edge of sanity.” –Emily VanDerWerff
PREVIOUSLY ON THINGS CARRIE WORE THIS WEEK: Not much!
This week will be a lot more interesting. She wears a few things and even goes into her JAM PACKED closet. Let’s get going…
Well, kids. Here it is. The first known instance of Carrie wearing two t-shirts to bed.
If you’re counting, that means she’s wearing THREE layers, plus sweatpants, in what is supposed to be June in Virginia (and what was actually June in Charlotte). I hope they were running the AC!
The next day she’s dressing decidedly more weather appropriately. I absolutely love this sleeveless blouse. Firstly, she looks great in it. I like the extra detail of the black stripe down the side.
Very few people can rock a sleeveless blouse like Carrie Mathison. I also love that the literal second Carrie is allowed back into Langley she goes back to her de facto wardrobe of sleeveless blouse and black trouser.
Does anyone notice something strange about this photo? Perhaps that it looks like a Claire who’s about 4-6 weeks more pregnant than in all the other scenes before or after her little jaunt to the CIA? I had never noticed this before. This is really circa-2.05 or 2.04 Carrie, which is confusing, because 2.03 was actually shot after 2.04 (check the episode timeline in this video). So like… ???? When were those other Carrie scenes shot? Was there a massive break for Claire to go get a haircut?
Note the layers on the right side of her face.
And then we’re back to a pre-CIA look. There is just no way this episode was shot in a single span of ten days.
Anyway, here’s Carrie’s massive walk-in closet where everything is folded and hung up neatly and there are only two sleeveless blouses in it, both of which she takes out to put on (yes, more layers!). Look at that red sweater she’s clutching? Or the patterned blouse in front of that?? Holy shit, look at the short sleeve blouse in front of that! This is a hoax!!!
(Although I keep seeing these Instagram ads claiming that women only wear 20% of their wardrobe and Carrie Mathison is proof of that, apparently.)
It feels weird to talk about this outfit since it’s, y’know, the thing she decides she may want to die in. The whole thing is just sad. The faux engagement ring, the too-short skirt, the peep-toe (??) pumps. It’s all just very sad. I do like the top though.
I don’t buy in any universe that Carrie would have purchased this robe. Which is not a knock on the robe (hello, have you read any other post in this series?!) but rather a reflection of her complete disinterest in color. I’m gonna go with “got it as part of a promo offer after buying cosmetics at the mall.”
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.
Everyone, please buckle in for the ride of your life. Carrie’s season two wardrobe starts out ok but becomes gradually, fantastically more terrible.
Together we will chronicle every baggy pantsuit and bootcut jean.
Actually, this moment of ~Zen~ as Carrie gardens I find to be super interesting because this is basically the same thing she wore in “The Weekend.” I choose to think this is intentional. Her grey Converse sneakers are adorable.
I also love that Carrie decided to become a teacher in her “I need a low-stress job to occupy my time” phase. Teachers are fucking heroes (though I don’t actually believe teaching to be a low-stress job)! They all need 8000% raises.
I chose this shot because you can kind of see that Carrie is wearing tan peep-toe sandals with this ensemble, which is decidedly fall-like? Even though it’s supposed to be early summer? The timeline of season two makes no sense at all. I guess we just go with it?
This outfit is actually good though! The top is cute and it goes well with the sweater. Yes, we are giving credit for Carrie pairing a dark-wash jean with two neutrals but whatever! Grading on a curve and all that jazz. A-.
…that she sleeps in? Why is she sleeping in this? At least she didn’t wear two t-shirts to bed.
This travel outfit is nice though. The jacket is flattering, although she paired it with a BRIGHT RED top. I guess she really wanted to blend in? That scarf is really cute and THAT WIG DOES NOT LOOK REAL.
Why is the CIA’s budget for wigs approximately $24?
My fave detail in this episode is that Carrie is so nervous she sweats through that aforementioned bright red shirt. Poor Carrie.
And so here’s the outfit she changes into, which is also looks good on her. Claire Danes can really rock a double-breasted button down (which is apparently Carrie’s go-to overseas uniform) and white linen pant. Anyway, we’ll talk about this outfit next time because it’s literally the only thing she wears in the second episode. I also like her headscarf!
But the best thing she wears, by far, in this or any other episode (except for hat and probably black boatneck sweater) is THIS SMILE.
I can’t even look at this shot without smiling. It is contagious, it is infectious. The world snapping back into focus. That’s my girl.