THAT Speech In Full: Leon

Dr Anthony, you’ve psychoanalyzed for us in the past, and we’ve always been satisfied, which is why it’s very hard for me to come down here today. One of my men was psychoanalyzed today in your territory, and the chinks tell me the analyst was of the… Jungian persuasion. Now, wait, there’s more. You’ll love this. Not two hours later, a little twelve-year-old girl comes to my building, armed to the teeth with prescription pads and bottles of valium and lithium and with the sole intention of psychoanalyzing me and helping me overcome my issues through a course of therapy. And guess who comes to get her? The very same Jungian.

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The Matrix: Re-Rebooted

OR: The Matrix: Have You Tried Turning It Off And Turning It Back On Again?

Frood destroys your favourite film. Check the page marked Recurrent Phenomena for the rules/an explanation (sort of).

The year is 1999, the pinnacle of human society, with MyFace, Twatter, Big Brother and Michael Bay’s Transformers series yet to happen. Night-time and the rain and the shadows give the surroundings a carefully calculated noir feel. A young woman in a skintight vinyl catsuit is running for her life.

Hey baby, how do you get into that outfit? You can start by buying me a drink.

She’s a fiery redhead with a shapely posterior and a Glock. But her real weapon is a snarky mouth poised to destroy the ego of any male foolish enough to try stealing a kiss. That and a roundhouse kick that Chuck Norris would be proud of. Emma Stone’s Trinity is a geeky fanboy’s wet dream (even if she is only feigning interest in your online Starcraft campaign).

Chuck Norris isn’t in this film.

On the other side of town, a geeky fanboy is idly picturing a sardonic, foxy girlfriend type with whom he could share his Starcraft stories. He’s early 20s and single, which explains why he spends whole nights at a time on the internet, ‘researching’ conspiracy theories, chat rooms and hardcore pornography. But Jonah Hill‘s Neo is no ordinary 20-something with a wit quick enough to disguise dyspeptic hate bubbles as ‘quips’. He’s also an anagram of ‘one’, as in the One.

Right now all he knows is that in 1999 computers lack the processing power, and the internet the bandwidth, to give him filth in the quantities he desires. But it’s not all bad news as he’s found an internet friend; a hacker who wants to hook up in a shit nightclub and explain how there’s this enormous global conspiracy.

In 1999 the full horrifying extent of internet predators is unknown, so Neo agrees to meet him.

Do you believe in love at first sight? From the pitiful way in which he reflexively agrees with everything Trinity says, one can surmise that Neo does. Who knew girls could do computers? Especially quirky, mean ones who get all your pop culture references?

Way Trinity tells it, there’s a gnarly dude name of Morpheus who has all the answers. But before Neo can meet him, he’s kidnapped by a narc-looking government suit and two extras.

Agent Smith’s (William H Macy) had a bad day, bad year; hell – a bad decade. His department is under-resourced and overworked. He disagrees with the way management demands he do his job – all this bullying and violence isn’t him. He hates the city, the pollution, but most of all he hates the smell. His wife doesn’t respect him, barely talks to him and he’s certain that she’s having an affair with her dentist. Maybe he’s paranoid but there’s something in the way she says she’s “going to get a good drilling” that sets his teeth on edge. Besides, who visits the dentist every week?

Maybe it’s the polyester suit, air of unspoken sadness and hang-dog expression. Or the sense that all of life’s unfairness has been targeted at this one man. Maybe it’s because Neo is a callow youth with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the latest indie bands and feeling of unimpeachable cool.

Whatever, Neo’s offended by this cheap, small man. So he makes a decision that will change his life.

He ironically compares the suits to the Gestapo, so they seal his face up, stick a robot up him and dump him under a bridge. He’s found there by the team, a collection of pill-popping Eurotrash, all leather and vinyl and sunglasses.

Then there’s the pill-pushing leader. Neo’s never known crabby rage like it: a batshit crazy, wheelchair-bound drill sergeant prone to comments like “necessary? Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine? No, but I do it anyway because it’s sterile and I like the taste.”

Rip Torn may not be everyone’s idea of a wise guru, but his Morpheus peddles drugs and escapism with the best of them. He later teaches Neo to dodge wrenches, “if you can dodge wrenches, you can dodge bullets.”

Indeed.

Neo wakes up hairless in a bag of KY jelly, possibly the worst trip ever committed to celluloid. Welcome to the real world, kiddo. He gets flushed down the U-bend, an apt metaphor for something.

Unbelievably, despite never having used them before, his muscles aren’t atrophied into nothingness and he’s able to tread water until the team picks him up. And what a team.

First there’s Mouse, formerly an artist-in-residence for your average comic book house, which explains both the white rabbit girl and red dress woman from elsewhere in the movie. He’s played with creepy and sweaty competence by Steve Buscemi.

Tank and Dozer are freeborn men of Zion. They’re mo-capped CGI animations both portrayed by Andy Serkis – one as Gollum, the other as Captain Haddock. Rigorous studies have shown that pointless CGI boosts box office revenue by precisely 11,019%.

Next there’s Switch and Apoc, played by two actors of your choice from Grey’s Anatomy. They’re irrelevant but will get a misleading amount of screen time in the trailer. Hollywood still thinks in such binary terms as films for the girls and films for the boys, but recognises that some of the target demographic may have girlfriends. Or won’t leave the house without their mothers.

They’ll be attacked by…

In the matrix born and raised on a digital playground where he spent most of his days, chilling and relaxing and playing EA Sports basketball games outside of his school. A couple of software programs, who were up to no good, threatened to corrupt his program because he wasn’t exactly diligent when it came to updating his anti-virus. His mum got a-scared and packed him off to live with his auntie and uncle in Zion, which is near the planet’s core where it’s still warm.

Everyone else might be rocking an underfed, shaven-head-and-baggy-rags look made popular by the likes of Kate Moss back in the 90s, but Cypher prefers a more colourful palette, just one reason why he’s so desperate to get plugged back in. Also, other Zion folk don’t take him seriously as an artist.

Will Smith famously turned down the part of Neo to star in Wild Wild West. This haunts his portrayal of Cypher, motivating him to get back to a world in which The Matrix, and thus his professional embarrassment, doesn’t yet exist. Ignorance truly is bliss.

But the real shock for Neo is that Trinity isn’t quite who she says she is – she’s an avatar and the real Trinity is a bit…different. With hindsight, he should’ve known: who says ‘gnarly dude’ in 1999? Even ironically?

Morpheus, Trinity and the team have had trouble getting recruits. Luckily, Mouse is pretty good at creating improbably beautiful women in impractical outfits. Otherwise you’d be subjected to Jack Nicholson in skintight vinyl.

This is understandably confusing for Neo, who’s in love with Emma Stone-Trinity (or at least plans on saying that to get her into bed) but at least it explains how he can end The Matrix as Superman, end the trilogy as a literal Jesus Christ metaphor, and yet after all that, the matrix still exists even though he’s committed to destroying it.

Because then he’d have to face up to having whispered sweet nothings into Jack Nicholson’s ear.

Neo’s all set, but first Morpheus insists he needs to get his palm read by the Oracle, a maternal computer programme turned rebel. More pointless hippy drivel that Neo could do without.

The word maternal conjures up certain ideas – fresh cookies, a soothing voice, a steady hand with a band-aid. This is what Neo assumes. But he’s not encountered an angry, cornered mother defending her cubs.

And The Oracle is a mother, as in one mean mother. Just another thing that Morpheus and the team failed to mention. Consequently, Kathy Bates comes as a shock. There’s no spoon bending on her watch – cutlery costs good money. Now go on, get, y’hear?

You’re waiting for something, Neo, maybe your next life.

Well by now Neo’s really pissed off. Bad jumpers and lumpy baby food aren’t the worst of it. First he’s the messiah, then he’s a very naughty boy. He thought he’d met the girl of his dreams, turns out she’s the figment of someone else’s fevered imagination. When he fights Agent Smith, Trinity deadpans “How do you do that. You move just like they do.”

About the 62 year old Agent Smith.

And then, the irascible Morpheus, source of all Neo’s torment and rumbling stomach, has the temerity to get captured. The stage is set for a rumble in the concrete jungle….

Fin

Why all the anger? Why the nasty sexual undercurrent? Because The Matrix is a metaphor for the internet, duh. And to be fair that’s a slight improvement on pretending that it’s some kind of treatise on Kant, Plato, Descartes and Baudrillard, like the Wachowskis did.

There you go, internet. Any thoughts on the casting choices, vent spleens in the comments section.

Tom Cruise Jam

Jack Reacher is a drifter, a man of no driving licence or last known address. He’s also a highly decorated former military policeman rank of major. He’s a man with a past.

A beautiful young woman lies dead on the hotel room floor, the victim of a brutal gunshot wound. Misogynist self-help guru Frank Mackey is the only suspect. He’s on trial for his life. The prosecutor is Mitch McDeere, the latest wunderkind of the firm Bendini, Lambert and Locke; a young man with a very promising legal career ahead of him. The prosecution’s star witness John Anderton heads up Precrime, an infallible precognition unit that points the finger at Mackey.

The case is cut and dried. The only thing is – Frank Mackey didn’t do it.

There’s a conspiracy afoot, but even Mackey’s own brief doesn’t seem to believe him. The defendant’s counsel, a hotshot navy lawyer name of Danny Kaffee, is looking for the path of least resistance. Could it be that someone hopes it never sees the inside of a courtroom?

Ethan Hunt of government agency IMF seems to think so. Something about the woman’s murder doesn’t ring true. It puts him in mind of a series of murders carried out via taxi. It puts him in mind of a hit.

More to the point, a hit carried out by someone with a military background.

But there’s a problem – IMF won’t authorise an investigation, in fact stonewalls it. Hunt is concerned – this goes high up. To get to the truth he needs to go off the grid. He needs a man with savant-like investigative skills, a man who can handle himself in a fight, an unstoppable force. A man with a past. A man who doesn’t want to be found.

Trouble is Jack Reacher doesn’t want to be found.

But they don’t call it the Impossible Mission Force for nothing. As the body count mounts to include car dealer narcissist Charlie Babbit and ex-army bartender Brian Flanagan, it becomes clear that someone out there has a grudge. And his next victim: celebrity sports agent and potential future presidential candidate Jerry Maguire.

Together Hunt and Reacher must race against the clock, must face their respective pasts; must face a truth they perhaps can’t handle:

They know the killer.

Could he be the hotshot pilot, Maverick, or superspy Roy Miller, who both trained with Hunt? What of Captain Nathan Algren, alcoholic and samurai, investigated by Reacher? Or the troubled Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, likewise the former subject of Reacher’s attentions?

And just how is studio honcho (and Precrime investor) Les Grossman involved?

Luckily, they’re assisted by former special ops turned private sector hitman Vincent, a superlatively skilled assassin with a specialism in identity theft.

Produced by Tom Cruise, with a soundtrack by Stacee Jaxx and a twist you won’t see coming… Nominated for no Academy Awards: this is one shot you won’t want to miss!

In 3D!!!

Won’t Someone Please Think Of The Elves

This Christmas you might feel encouraged to think of those less fortunate, the lonely and afraid.  You might feel a vague sense of worry at the commercialisation of the Yuletide – concern at the rampant corporate greed that demands ever increasing levels of consumption on the part of you, cherished customer.

Well I say what about the rampant corporate greed of Santa Claus?

“St” Nick, as he’s known to his vulture capitalist amigos, works one night a year (for which he pays himself a huge bonus on top of his generous salary and perks package).  Ok, it’s a long night, spent zipping around the planet conferring gifts on the deserving boys and girls.  It’s a high pressure job, even without the nasty subtext of a rich old white guy, bulging sack in hand, creeping round the bedrooms of children.  For legal reasons, we must stress at this point that St Nick’s is an entirely above board pursuit.  He much prefers prostitutes.

But in this day and age, certainly in parts of the west, all it takes is for the innuendo to be made, preferably on Twatter.  And before you can say “public figure, he had it coming”, the court of public opinion has spelled finito for your professional livelihood and peace of mind.

Now at this point, someone out there in the ethereal realm known as internetville might be saying “Come on, he can’t work just one night a year.  He’s got to tally all the good and bad kids, oversee the wellbeing of the reindeer.  Then there’s the need to keep the sleigh maintained.  Not to mention, y’know, make sure all the toys are manufactured and properly allocated.  It’s a tough gig so pipe down.”

It is a tough gig, but Anti-Claus doesn’t do it.  No, he believes in the art of corporate management – he delegates.

It’s the elves doing all the work, making the lists, doublechecking the lists, the repairs and maintenance and the feeding and the mucking out of caribou shit.  And that’s the lucky ones.  For the rest: 20 hour shifts in a holly-strewn sweatshop, churning out microchips, dolls, videogames, action figures, you name it.  Crammed in there elbow to elbow, barely enough room to work, let alone stretch out for their contractually-mandated breaks for cigarettes and lunch that were cancelled back in 1978 and never reinstated.

Big Daddy Christmas claims to consider his elves to be his children, which means he doesn’t need to pay them a reasonable living wage, or give them access to a pension scheme or health insurance.  No, they simply get a father’s disappointment.

Every now and then one of the elves tries to start a union.

He or she is never seen again.

That’s why they sing – to keep a rhythm going to their work (increases efficiency), to release tension.  It’s not the holly jolly tunage you see in the movies though; it’s a low keening, blues-infused.  It’s the music of the enslaved and downtrodden.  It’s to rebel in the one small way they can.

And to add insult to injury, the food is just appalling – the staff canteen provides a thin gruel made of mashed up candy canes and whey protein.  And have you any idea how hard it is to find a decent tom kha gai in Lapland?

Now, about those reindeer.  A factory manufacturing goods and toys for such a vast swathe of children across the world is gonna’ create a lot of waste in need of disposal.  Some of it is toxic.  But proper disposal isn’t cheap.  And why eat into the profit margin when there’s a handy river nearby and shareholders to placate?

There’s a reason why Rudolph’s nose glows neon red.

But by and large the reindeer live like kings compared to the worker elves, toiling endlessly until their eyesight is shot and their fingers twisted and crabbed.  And when they fall off the pace?  When their injuries are too great to meet the quota?

There’s a reason why you never see old elves.

But to be fair, Santa’s running a company, not a charity.  Although he sometimes wishes he could be running a charity – you should see the tax rebates on those bad boys.  Giving feels good, especially when you’re giving to yourself.  Father Christmas’ motto.

How do I know all this?  Let’s just say it’s no coincidence that I’m under 4ft tall, have curly shoes and a penchant for brightly coloured tights.

So this year, when you’re chowing down on your turkey dinner with all the trimmings, please, think of the elves.

And give generously.

Book Challenge

The challenge…

Give a book you love to a total stranger.

The rules:

1)      You must genuinely love the book and want others to read it

2)      You must give it to a total stranger

3)      You mustn’t let on that you’ve been challenged or somehow been put up to going around giving out books, because that would spoil the act

There’s also an optional 4th rule – suggest that the recipient themselves give a book they love to a stranger.  But that’ll depend on individual circumstances.

__

If you happen to live in a place with a strong sense of community, full of helpful and friendly people, well done: you’ve won one of life’s lotteries.   Sadly, I don’t…

A series of events over the past few days have hammered this point home.  It started with my sister and I helping a disabled man off a train.  No real effort on our part, but he gave us a look like we were aliens, maybe even saints.  I don’t draw attention to this to be self-aggrandizing or pretend like I’m someone I’m not.  And while you could call it a random act of kindness I wouldn’t.  I call it basic human decency.

This incident played on my mind for a while.

Last night a man on the Tube gave up his seat (one marked priority for those less able to stand) for a heavily pregnant lady.  But only after he was embarrassed/terrified into it by a much larger South London-accented man with menacing tattoos.  He practically elbowed his way back into ‘his’ chair after the lady reached her stop.  Some people are just wrong ‘uns.

Of course the London Underground is notorious for its tales of petty commuters treating the place like some kind of chair-based warzone.

Between these two events, yesterday morning, again on a train, Johnny Foreigner threw a book at a fellow traveller, saying only “Take, is a gift.”   Well he smiled derisively and sneered off, lip a-curled.  Fellow traveller and his female companion burst out laughing in disbelief.  They were still chuckling as they wandered off, proud new owners of the slim paperback volume that Johnny Foreigner appeared to have intended as an insult.

I don’t know Johnny Foreigner, so perhaps I’m being unkind.  Perhaps he intended to commit a simple act of kindness, a recognition of common humanity.  Maybe he saw the other man and thought to himself ‘this looks like a man who would want and appreciate this book with which I have recently finished.’  I hope so.

Regardless of intent, the couple seemed to appreciate the gesture – if nothing else they had a little anecdote to share with their friends.

In my neck of the woods, basic human decency seems to be in increasingly short supply, which is a shame.  And so, inspired by Johnny Foreigner, this morning I resolved to give away a book to a total stranger.

After all, what was the worst that could happen?

After much thought, I chose Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, for no reason other than it’s damned funny and I thought someone might get a kick out of it.  After much toing and froing I selected my stranger, a slightly gawky, bespectacled gentleman in a fluorescent jacket.

“Excuse me,” I said, “I’d like to give you this,” tried to hand him the book.  Well he gave me a look like I’d just offered to buy his children.

Epic fail.

Not to be deterred I spent the next 25 minutes trying to give away a free book.  ‘No.’ was the typical, if austere, response.  Sometimes people stared at the thing in my hand like it was a syringe dripping with ebola virus, or a bag of anthrax.  I thought I might come off as eccentric, but people treated me as though I were criminally insane.  At one point I came close to grabbing someone and saying “Look, I don’t want anything, I’m not trying to sell you Jesus, I just want to give you a book.”

Jesus is apt here, because I was accused of trying to convert someone by stealth.

Finally, in desperation I decided upon one last stranger.  One more and I’d give up, further deflated.  I spied a middle-aged sort of chap, well-dressed with a nifty scarf.  It helped that he was actually reading a book.  So I sidled up to him – he gave me one of those slightly troubled peripheral glances you see so often in London.

“Excuse me,” I said, proffering up the book, “take this.  It’ll fit in your pocket (he had no bag) and you might like it.”

He took it, gave it a once-over and burst out with a charmed guffaw.  “That’s really very kind,” he said, “cheers!” and gave me a beaming smile of pleasant surprise.  I smiled back and walked off.

Now life has many questions and few answers.  But a book is a book.  This chap won’t ever know why I gave him a copy of Confederacy, but he might enjoy it, and if he does he’ll always have a story as to how he came into possession of it.  I made his morning, and in turn he made mine.

And so to you lot.  I’d be much obliged if you too would follow Johnny Foreigner’s example and give a book you love to a complete stranger for no reason other than it’s a stupidly easy thing to do, and rather sweet.  And I’d love to hear your own stories of book giving success and failure, too, so please do share.  oh, and tell your friends, see if we can’t make a movement out of it.

After all, if everyone indulged in random acts of kindness we’d all be in a better place.

Besides, tis’ the season of forced jollity and weeknight drunkenness, so it’s probably appropriate, even if you don’t actually ‘do’ Christmas.

On Becoming Freshly Pressed And Stuff

Something a little unusual happened to me today.  I checked my blog stats, which I’ve done with a fanatical obsession since I discovered how to do it.  Now on a really good day I might break double figures, which is both good and bad for my ever-expanding ego depending on your point of view.

Today it read 70-odd.  And it carried on going up.  Seriously, I’d had more clickety clicks today than some months.

Right at this moment I’ve had the same number of views as I did in the whole of August, and more than September.   No, scratch that, now more than October.  November is the only mountain still needs climbing, and I only got to that number by pestering countless people with comments.

Well I freaked, I mean you would, right?  4 views to…well.

Turns out the kindly WordPress folk fancied pressing my blog on Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared.  Freshly.   So thank you very much, WordPress folk, much obliged.  Now where do I get me one of them thar fancy buttons?

In all seriousness, I am incredibly touched.  Turns out there is some life beneath my crusty, cynical shell.  Wait, is that a heart I feel beating?  Surely not.  But being nothing if not a stereotype – think Hugh Grant from 4 Weddings without the charm, I can only express this gratitude, these…feelings… in the form of mildly self-deprecatory, weak-ass humour.

Luckily I wrote an Oscar acceptance speech some years ago that merits adapting:

First off, I’d like to thank my producers – you guys were the wind beneath my wings.  I stand here on legs of fire, as the king of the world, and without your savvy I couldn’t be here today. 

Secondly, I’d like to thank the director, for taking a chance on an unknown kid – I know we didn’t always see eye to eye and for what it’s worth I’m sorry for pulling that knife on you even if it was just a prop.  I’m also sorry I called you a specious cretin unworthy of my time, energy and thespianic genius.  But sheesh, we got there – you and me, the king and his…director.

I’d like to thank my co-stars – you guys!  Remember, we’ll always have Excelsior!! (pause here for impromptu giggle fit over the in-joke that awful woman came up with but she’s a Dame so you had to smile)

I’d like to thank my parents (start to tear up a bit), you…you really are responsible for everything.  My wife: I don’t know what I’d do without your guiding light (try and keep a straight face, no one needs to know you’re getting a divorce).  My kids (if I have any).

The sponsors, I know people didn’t necessarily ‘get’ what you do (see also: producers) but we’re so indebted to you, I’m so indebted to you.  You more than anyone else gave me the chance to showcase my craft, a craft I’ve been honing since I first saw myself in a unitard and thought “hey, you could be an actor with those calves.  And those glutes, wow.”

Last but not least, I’d like to thank the fire department, the good folk at Universal Studios Florida and the people at McDonalds for taking their time with those egg McMuffins without which I might never be tardy.

And lastly, actually lastly this time, I’d like to thank you.  Every last one of you – this Best Actor Oscar is for you.  You make it all worthwhile.  And if you want to be an actor, I say go for it – it’s the single most important and wonderful and vital thing that anyone could ever do. 

And remember: do or do not: there is no try.

Thanks.

Totally unexpected, made my year.

Why I Love Homeland

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

Previously on Homeland:

CIA Procurement Dept:  Guys we’ve got the new vehicles in for your stealthy ops.  You get a choice of enormous black SUVs with tinted windows, or massive vans.

CIA Operatives:  Won’t they be a little bit obvious?

CIA Procurement:  EXACTLY. It’s a double bluff – no one would think we’d be stupid enough to use vehicles that might as well come with “CIA Super-Secret Missions” written on the side.

CIA Ops:  That doesn’t make much sense.

Carrie:  Look, I know we’re in a race against time to stop a(nother) terrorist attack on our soil, but I don’t know this Quinn guy even though the CIA is a pretty secretive organisation so that’s not that unusual.  Check him out for me: I think he played Mr Wickham in Pride and Prejudice.  So I don’t trust him.  And he’s British, so, y’know, BAD GUY ALERT.

Virgil:  He’s British? Jeez why didn’t you say?

Carrie:  Back the fuck away, Sergeant Mike.

Sgt Mike:  Uh, I’m actually like a captain.  Or am I a major now? I forget.

Carrie:  Jeez you’re wet.  Yeah the show’s writers have been doing that too.  Who’s the mole from series 1, for example?

Sgt Mike:  They’ll pick that up again, maybe next series now that we’ve got to stretch this thing a bit more.

Carrie:  We got picked up for series 3?  Go us! Anyway, fuck off, Mike, Brody’s mine.  I mean ours. The CIA’s.

_____

Virgil:  Quinn’s apartment is well secured – he’s got coins on his windows and everything.  Also, it’s kind of empty except for this convenient photo and a copy of Great Expectations.  Is that some kind of clue?

Saul:  Gosh, I wonder who he really is.  Get your gimp to follow him.

Virgil’s Gimp:  ZOUNDS!! He got off a bus and crossed the street to get on another bus; I am confounded with shock at how slippery this guy is.

(does a massively obvious U-turn)

Virgil’s Gimp:  I will pull up by the side of the bus and photograph him in my black super-not-obvious van.  That he would undoubtedly recognise if he just looked out the window.

Saul:  Well I shook the trees by sort of cack-handedly talking to his ex. Totes deliberate, by the by, not a screw-up.  Trust the beard.  So he’s probably suspicious, but I doubt he’ll go so far as to look out the window.  Who’s he talking to?

Virgil:  I have some photographs.

Saul:  OM effin’ G he’s that guy from Amadeus.  He got all twisted ‘cause he couldn’t write music as well as some 5 year old, joined the CIA and now he black ops kills people.  Quinn must be black ops too.  I thought there was something off about him STABBING BRODY IN THE HAND that time, which isn’t in the training manual.

Meanwhile…

Sergeant Mike:  Carrie called me, you know, the crazy lady from the CIA who everyone inexplicably still trusts to go out in the field despite being the very definition of loose cannon.  Nice lady.  Anyway, I’ve got to take you somewhere real safe.

Jessica Brody:  Carrie’s a straight shooter; I don’t believe that she’s got you of all people to take me away in a stressful situation as a ruse to get us to bump uglies.

Sgt Mike:  The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind.  Great ass, by the way, you been working out?  I’ll get the kids.

Dana Brody:  Fuck you I won’t go.

Sgt Mike:  You don’t get to talk to me that way.  Now I’ve given you the smackdown, people might start to like me more.

Dana Brody:  Wow, you’re right, suddenly you seem less like a weak plot device turned unintentional comic relief.  Can we explore my hit and run subplot a bit more?

Everyone:  No, Dallas rang; it wants its plotlines back.  They threatened to sue.

Brody:  Roya, I’ve got the Veep to agree to do this thing with the returning soldiers and everything because that would be a really good way to announce me as his running mate even though I’ve only been a Congressman for 5 minutes and before then I spent 8 years in captivity and am probably all kinds of batshit crazy.

Roya:  Wow, it is quite fantastically unbelievable that you’ve managed to do exactly what we want even though we know you’re in bed with the CIA and your reliability and loyalty are suspect.  We’re not even going to question that.  By the by, this is an unsecure line BUT WHEN THE BOMB GOES OFF YOU NEED TO BE WITH ME.

Brody:  Ok.

CIA:  She’s just given a hint about the bomb; they definitely think Brody’s loyal and reliable.  It could be a ruse to distract us, but it might not be.

Later…

Chris Brody:  Wow this is a CIA safe house?

CIA Lady:  Yes it is, check that view. Do you know what that represents?

Chris Brody:  No?

CIA Lady:  Defence Budget, LOL.  You should’ve seen our Christmas party last year.

Sgt Mike:  Dana, because you were rude to me earlier, I’m gonna bang your mum.

Jessica Brody:  The kids will sleep in my room, you get the guest room. Don’t worry, I spiked their dinner so they won’t wake up; let’s get it on with some gratuitous nudity, Sgt Mike.

Sgt Mike:  Ok, but I’m leaving my PJs on.  Leave the light off.  And don’t you dare LOOK AT ME!

CIA Ops Assigned To Look After Brody’s Family:  I can’t believe they didn’t think we’d have the place completely wired up for picture and sound.  Who wants to see Morena Baccarin’s breasts?

Next day…

Carrie:  I can’t believe I’ve not been given much opportunity to show off my crazy face this episode.  It’s got its own Tumblr account.

Saul:  About that, we’ve got a really sensitive mission; I think you might want to be there?

David Estes:  Everyone, I’m sending Quinn out.

Saul:  Is that a good idea to send a CIA analyst on an FBI mission because the CIA can’t legally operate within the USA or at least it’s a grey area?  It’s not like he did a good job at the tailor’s in Gettysburg.  How is your stomach in which you were recently shot?

Quinn:  I’m fit as a fiddle.  It’s like it never even happened.

Estes:  Quinn’s wearing two hats which should make him extra super-secret and spyish, because they’re both fedoras.

Saul:  Ok fine, but my beard is bristling with indignation.  Anyway, let’s watch the screens peeps.  At no point will I or anyone else register the fact that Quinn is nowhere to be seen.

Shady-looking probable terrorists very obviously swap camera batteries between vans…

Carrie:  That battery weighs at least 200 pounds.  It must be a bomb or something.

Saul:  What’s that in metric?

Carrie:  OMG Nazir’s not there.  I can’t believe that he’s not there.  He should be there like he is for all his terrorist attacks, even though he never has before.  Sort of relieved though, there are a few more episodes to go this series, and if we wrap this up we might have to get back into that bullshit hit and run subplot.

Estes:  Quinn, best not shoot Brody in that limo you’re driving because it might ruin the upholstery.

Quinn:  Oh but I wanna’… fine.

Brody:  Quinn, what are you doing here driving this limo that I am just getting into on a day I know there might be a terrorist attack and might need watching and/or protecting?

Quinn:  We got EVERY SINGLE TERRORIST.  Except Nazir.  So just for right now I’m your best friend in the whole world.

Brody:  In no way do I feel threatened by that statement, even though you stabbed me in the hand.

____

I also love the lack of any actual security at Langley – the phone calls, loud conversations in corridors, the open plan CIA offices in which Carrie can walk right into some sort of ops hub wearing only a visitor’s pass.  THAT’s the mole, or rather, everyone who works there is – place is leakier than the Mary Rose.

Oh and: Brody: Jessica, I’m working for the CIA, you can’t tell anyone.

5 minutes later… Jessica: Sgt Mike, Brody’s working for the CIA, you can’t tell anyone, like I didn’t.

See also Quinn’s evidence board (he really loves The Wire), which is right there in Brody’s face earlier in the season even though no one trusts him.  That really makes no sense, but that’s how Quinn rolls.  Because he fucked with Lizzie Bennett’s emotions and lied about why Darcy hated him.

Shark well and truly jumped.

God Bless Homeland.