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Cut to the girl sitting on the floor watching television as the radio newsman announces that the Pan Am Flight has crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland. The little girl practices a trill on her trumpet in her bedroom; she stands in a labyrinth wearing a dress and a lion mask. Presidents Bill Clinton and George H. Bush address the nation, emphasizing the words America , aggression , terrorism. The girl, now older and looking weary, opens her eyes. Panicked people run through the streets of New York City; a smoke plume rises in the distance over the Brooklyn Bridge.

But the most common comparisons Homeland must endure are to the show produced and written by its two creators, Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon: the Bush-era juggernaut While all the other operatives applaud, a shot of Carrie indicates that she has connected these two points — the turned American and the rescued soldier — into a line. Her supervisor Saul Berenson Mandy Patinkin explains the absurdity of her theory: why would an Al Qaeda leader plant intelligence within the US military and sacrifice 13 trained fighters just to introduce a turned American back into the system?

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Why not drop him near a checkpoint as if he had escaped? Because Abu Nazir is playing the long game, Carrie explains, so that no one will suspect anything. She installs it anyway. When he confronts her about it, she explains that she has been dealing with a mood disorder since her twenties. Well, maybe I am. Nicholas Brody is no lodestar, either.

Her questions are prodding.

here She asks him who his interrogator was and if has ever met Abu Nazir. She pushes more aggressively, asking him a second time. The next scene is a flashback: in a dusty room, a naked Brody hangs from the ceiling by a rope tied to his hands. Some unseen person cuts him down then Abu Nazir holds a bowl of water to his mouth. It remains unclear whether Brody is obscuring his participation in a violent terrorist plot or living out the effects of the physical and psychic damage he incurred during eight years of torture and captivity.

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For a time, the first season of Homeland uses these blank, unreadable spaces to great political and narrative effect. Within this liminal place, Carrie the government agent tirelessly works to protect the country and acts out a paranoid fantasy, while Brody the soldier lives as both a damaged man and the American organ of an Islamist radical.

I ran to her.

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I asked her for roses, and resisted my itch to get away, to prevent communication. I stood still, so she raised her eyes at me. I smiled at her, and she smiled at me and thanked me in a French that alternated with Arabic on her lips. I asked her name, then asked how she was doing. She told me what I then told everyone.

I told them that I knew her. Before our meeting ended, I told her about myself. How could I not tell her about myself after she had told me about herself? I had to tell her. So I told her my name, and what I did for a living. I laughed at my young age and at my obsession with it. She told me that when she was my age, she was the queen of the world. I smiled at her unrealistic but nice philosophy, and she smiled in turn at her unrealistic but comforting philosophy. An unspoken agreement between us stated that an emotional bond connected us both, and that her past is better than her present, and that my future is still ahead of me.

I felt like a child, said goodbye, and each of us went her way. Pain choked my heart then too. It choked it harder that time, but I knew why.

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She loves him. She adores her husband. She wants him to be comfortable and never blames him for anything. She blames the government and bad luck and the world and exhaustion, and bar owners at times and restaurant staffs other times, and she blames the Cuban blockade, and releases Lebanon from its responsibilities. She blames the situation, the past, the present, the future, and war. She always finds someone or something to blame but him.

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And he, he loves to be kept out of blame. She had married her current husband Prasanna, a month ago. She herself is a Buddhist. She told Prasanna that she had lost her virginity in a fling. I asked her: so a fling is more socially acceptable in Sri Lanka than getting married in Lebanon? She had her first date with Prasanna over the phone.

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They had one long talk and fell in love, especially after they exchanged pictures. She went to Sri Lanka and they got married. Then She left him there and came back to continue working here as a house cleaner. She still sends him new pictures every now and then. The first batch she sent was of their marriage day and of the day before, which she developed in Lebanon. I saw those pictures. In them, Koko was wearing magical dresses. Saris, colors, tight cloth wrapped around her belly, a stern look that rarely relaxed into a smile, and an expressive pose.

One picture remained fixed in my mind: Koko with her girlfriends the day before her wedding.