The Smile

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 9 USERS: A
Jackknife Juggernaut

Jessica: "Well, one of them is Finn Walden, who is my new BFF's son. And yours, Nick. I will not have my legacy as future Second Lady of the United States jeopardized simply because of our daughter's awareness about basic global politics and culture."

Brody, awesomely: "What did these dicks say?"
Jessica: "Let's stick with what Dana said. You're gonna love this."
Dana: "Okay, Dad. First of all, I'm real sorry. But I kind of blew your spot and told everybody you secretly converted to Islam. It's a new school! I get nervous!"
Jessica: "So like why would you say something like that? Just to guarantee that everyone at your new school thinks you're out of your mind? To make it impossible for me to show my face there? To blow up your father's relationship with the Vice President? Seriously, these are the only options I can fathom. Is this about getting attention?"
Dana: "I feel stupid, trust me. But the important thing is that nobody believed me..."
Brody: "Welllll..."

The beautiful Aristotelian unity of this show, when you glimpse it, is so enlightening. Like, part of the reason Jessica wasn't allowed to figure this out, until now, was because we had to balance our suspicion and bigotry against Brody's very appealing personality in order to make sense of things. Watching him pray, while seeing what a good American he is, kept us off-balance all season, and it no longer applies so Jessica can know now, it turns the story appropriately. I mean, even as we got further into his relationship with Nazir himself, there was still this feeling of, "But maybe his devotion to Islam really is a second thing. Connected, but not necessarily the result of brainwashing." Maybe it's me. But the attraction of Islam for a lot of converts, and for a lot of born enthusiasts, is that it provides a way of getting around your thornier existential questions with a sense of predestination you could compare to Plato's Republic: Everything is in its right place, and there is nothing bigger than God. In a world as upside-down as Nick Brody's life, being a Muslim would be even more attractive than being a Christian. It is a comfort. And that is a beautiful thing, to me. Not so much Jessica Brody, though.

Dana: "Dad, it slipped out..."
Jessica: "Say this shit to me one more time. And our daughter knows this about you? Like, cheating on me with Crazy Carrie wasn't enough, you've got secret deals with my one enemy in this house?"

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