Homeland season 8's Carrie Mathison has become the new Nicholas Brody
Homeland season 8 is the show's last hurrah for Carrie Mathison's Sherlock-level jazz epiphanies and side-satchel combo.
The show became a global phenomenon in its early days as it covered fears murky prisoner of war Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis) had 'turned' after being held prisoner by al-Qaeda.
The will-he-won't-he push and pull of these early moments are some of the show's best. Now things seem to have come full circle, as our hero's own trustworthiness has come into question. Can we actually trust Carrie anymore? Even she doesn't know.
At the close of season seven, Carrie was held prisoner by the Russians and denied her bipolar medication by Yevgeny Gromov, unless she spilled state secrets.Related: Why Homeland should do a ninth season without Carrie
Of course, Carrie being Carrie, she put her country first and refused. But this meant she descended into psychosis and has around 180 days of her life she can't account for.
"It took about 20 days for me to devolve into a not very helpful subject, but they kept at it for another week or so. After that, it's all either blank or a series of images" Carrie tells the government interviewer.
Despite Carrie working hard to recover the missing time in her memory, things are complicated even further as she fails a polygraph test. But is she lying to herself? Was she just nervous? Or is she unwittingly lying to the interviewer?
Carrie claims she "edits her own answers as she doesn't trust her own brain" and that's merely what the machine is detecting. But then the show's flashback adds yet another wrinkle.
We see Carrie tearfully clinging to Yevgeny in prison, begging him not to leave her. Seemingly in her damaged mental state she's become desperate for support and potentially even developed Stockholm Syndrome feelings for the brutal Russian officer.
During the season-eight premiere we also learn that one of Carrie's old assets in Kabul, Afghanistan has been publicly executed by the Taliban for being a traitor.
Is this the old asset Carrie admits revealing in her government interview? Did she think he was already dead when she wasn't lucid?
When the Kabul station chief confirms the Taliban and Russia share intelligence our hero is left with the sobering realisation that she might have endangered numerous assets, and even worse, have no recollection of who.
This powerful storyline has obvious parallels with disgraced soldier Brody, as we spent the early seasons desperately trying to ascertain where his true allegiances were.
It's a classic storytelling trope to end a story by mirroring its beginning, but Homeland has evolved their seminal 'is Brody bad?' format, as Carrie is now the ultimate unreliable narrator.
The flashbacks with Yevgeny are coming from Carrie and therefore could be totally wrong. In fact, the flashbacks themselves could have never happened at all.
While it's undoubtedly clear that when she's well, Carrie will put her homeland's security first - even before her daughter Frannie. But there's no accounting for what might have happened in the black hole of those 180 psychotic days.
Matters are complicated even further as we discover in episode two that Yevgeny has political immunity and breezily taunts Carrie as she remembers begging him not to leave again.
Somehow we can't see Yevgeny kindly filling in all the gaps for her over a vodka - and anything he does explain, will likely be even more lies. Let's just hope Russia has interview tapes, eh?
Things will undoubtedly get even more complicated as Homeland season eight unfolds, but now Carrie is facing her greatest challenge by becoming a bigger threat than Brody ever was: an unwittingly weaponised turncoat.Homeland season eight continues on Sundays at 9pm on Channel 4 and on Showtime in the US. Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit 'Like' on our Digital Spy Facebook page and 'Follow' on our @digitalspy Instagram and Twitter account.
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