Keep calm and Carrie on
High-functioning, heartbroken and hard to like. That’s Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison as Homeland hits season four.
STILL unpredictable. Still volatile. Still brilliant. Still bipolar. But Brody-less. That’s Claire Danes’ CIA Agent Carrie Mathison as season four of
Homeland opens. Danes warns, you can add “alarmingly high-functioning”, cold, exacting and impatient to the list as Carrie struggles to come to terms with seeing Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis) – her lover and the father of her child – publicly executed in season three’s brutally unforgettable finale.
Carrie had been first frozen out by the CIA, committed to an asylum, recruited as a double agent and then reinducted into the CIA to help orchestrate an assassination which ultimately resulted in the public hanging of Brody.
Season four opens in Islamabad and Kabul, with Carrie working at a dangerous CIA station in South Asia. Without her child.
Executive producer Alex Gansa has promised series four will “reset” Homeland to what the show knows best: action, intrigue and deep conspiracy.
For Carrie, that means publicly working with steely focus and privately denial – which sees her distance herself from her baby and her grief.
“It’s been a lot of seasons of trauma,” says Danes.
“Carrie’s past a certain threshold and her response is not so histrionic. In fact she’s kind of flatlined.
“She’s sort of alarmingly highfunctioning. There’s a lot of pain lurking beneath the surface.”
While flickers of vulnerability and humanity surface, Danes confesses “she’s not a lot of fun right now”.
Added to her profound loss is her guilt – to the point where she can’t face her own child.
“She led him [Brody] to his death. And she has this kid, who she’s just kind of deposited with her sister and is not really able to face.
“Ultimately her work this season is to … arrive at a place where she can accept her new reality as a mother and embrace her child.
“It’s very difficult being in the same space with her child. It evokes Brody,” Danes said in trailers promoting the new season.
“The reality is, even us mothers who love our children have complicated feelings about it.”
Danes knows it will, again, make Carrie hard to like.
“She’s not in a very flattering light. It’s just a new way to find her to be quite difficult,” she says.
“The band has got to snap. Sure enough I have to brace myself for the ride … it gets ugly.
“She’s in these high-risk territories where you’re not allowed to bring dependants,” she says.
“She’s forced to re-engage with the kid and she fails miserably, she just panics and finds a way to leave again.
“That’s one of the last taboos in our society – a woman who is not interested; doesn’t have maternal feelings towards her child.
“I think that’ll be very confronting for a lot of people.”
MONDAY, 9.30PM, TEN
In denial: Claire Danes’ Carrie is dealing with the loss of her lover by rejecting their child.