close reading

Lorrie Moore Is Not a Carrie–Brody Shipper

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison and Damian Lewis as Nicholas
Photo: Kent Smith/Showtime

The New York Review of Books has commissioned another of its delightful highbrow television essays, and Lorrie Moore — who wrote so lovingly about Friday Night Lights for the same publication — is back to discuss Homeland. Moore loved the first season; she was particularly moved by the Sergeant Brody flashbacks and the way Mandy Patinkin sing-talks his lines. She applauds Claire Danes for her lack of vanity. She thinks Dana is terrific, a “serious actress” in the making. But just like the rest of Homeland’s vocal fans, Lorrie Moore was not onboard with season two. More specifically, Lorrie Moore thinks the Carrie–Brody relationship is total nonsense.

“Awkward and unlikely love can be trumped by genuine sparks,” she writes, “but viewers will sense a lack of chemistry between Lewis and Danes, two otherwise gifted performers.” She finds everything about their connection implausible, but she really, really hated that icky-love cabin scene in the finale.

Give Danes and Lewis a country cabin, a roaring fire, and a bottle of wine, and we feel only anxiety. The confessing of life secrets seems therapeutic and expository rather than intimate, and Carrie’s irritated “You interrupted me” startles before the hearth. Creepy cello music in the background does nothing to assist.

Then she specifically refutes Alex Gansa’s bit about Carrie and Brody as star-crossed lovers.

This is not true: they lack mutual trust or any palpable erotic vibe. They are not bonded and they part without any persuasive anguish — or, rather, they briefly cling then separate, their anguish only sketchily enacted. There won’t be a damp eye in the house.

So don’t invite Lorrie Moore to your Homeland Slash Fic Conference. She’s not buying it.

Lorrie Moore Is Not a Carrie–Brody Shipper