Last night's premiere of Homeland was one of the best drama pilots of the season, setting up its bold premise with precision and confidence. It fills whatever gap 24's absence had left, but more important, it brings Claire Danes back to episodic television. She plays Carrie Anderson, a CIA agent with a mood disorder — and a real talent for espionage and intelligence gathering, if only her superiors would trust her instincts. But as much as Danes gives Carrie a brittle exterior and an underlying, creeping panic (or is that paranoia?), it's hard not to see little glimmers of My So-Called Life's Angela Chase in there. When Carrie uncomfortably watches surveillance footage of her main suspect having sex with his wife, it's hard not to think of the MSCL episode "Father Figures," where Angela gets a flu shot and considers having sex with Jordan Catalano. She's intrigued, but kind of put off, and feels a little guilty for even thinking about it as much as she has been. That wasn't the only moment in Homeland that overlapped a little bit with My So-Called Life. Here are some moments that made it seem like Carrie just may be Angela, all growed up.
Carrie said: "I betrayed my only true friend in the world today."
Angela said: "I wanted to hug Sharon, and tell her things, like how awful I felt, but, it was like I didn't have the right, because we weren't friends anymore."
Carrie seems to ice people out, and Angela pushes people away, too; both do so out of a fear of rejection and humiliation, though Angela's intimacy avoidance can be chalked up to normal growing pains while Carrie's seems to be more problematic. They both feel really guilty about letting their peeps down, though, even if Carrie's talking about her grizzly mentor (Mandy Patinkin) and Angela's talking about the perky Sharon.
Carrie said: "I just find it a lot easier not to screw things up with people I don't know."
Angela said: "If only there was a button somewhere that I could just push to force me to stop talking."
Believe in yourselves, Claire Danes characters!
Carrie said: "You don't believe me? Well, maybe I was wrong to believe you."
Angela said: "When you're not sure you trust a person anymore, say a person you really trusted, say your father, you start wishing they'd do something, like, really wrong, just so you could be right about them."
Both Carrie and Angela have trust issues, but Carrie is distrustful on a professional level, while Angela is simply learning that people are rarely as ideal as they seem.
Carrie said: "David's all about punishing me."
Angela said: "I loved Jordan Catalano so much, and talked about him so much, and thought about him so much, it was like he lived inside me. Like he had taken possession of my soul, or something."
Carrie's talking about her boss, and Angela's talking about her sort-of boyfriend, but both are talking about the guys in their lives that wield unusual — and seemingly capricious — power over them. Jordan even admits, courtesy of Brian Krakow's Cyrano-ing, that he has an "unconscious wish ... to punish" Angela.
Carrie said: Lots of jargony interrogation questions.
Angela said: "Is this like a game to you?"
Brian: "Um, hardly."
Angela: "But you admit that you were involved."
Brian: "I'm not admitting anything."
Even when she was trying to get to the bottom of who wrote her a love letter, Angela Chase knew how to ask leading questions. It's not easy to get Brian Krakow to flip, but she was right on the edge of it before Jordan showed up.
Carrie says: "Don't act so shocked, it can't come as a complete surprise."
Angela says: "Everybody's an act. Including you."
Carrie and Angela both distrust a lot of the people around them and might lack areas of confidence, but they're not pushovers — and they're not dumb. Both nimbly diffuse weird confrontations with people who know them well (Carrie with a co-worker, Angela with Brian) by turning the tables. "How can this be surprising to you, given that we know each other so well?" Carrie asks. "Don't act like you know me better than I know you," Angela warns.
Carrie said: All her illegal surveillance would be worth it "once [she] had some proof."
Angela said: "I didn't know what I was looking for. Some kind of proof. Something that would make it make sense for me to hate him."
If you snoop around anyone long enough, you're bound to find something incriminating. Works in high school when you're trying to recontextualize your parents, and works in the CIA when you're trying to violate everyone's civil rights.