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Pilot (episode)

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Pilot
Season 1 Episode 1 promotional
  Season 1, Episode 1
Written by: Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon & Gideon Raff
Directed by: Michael Cuesta
Production number: #1WAH79
Running time: 56 min.
Original airdate: October 2, 2011
Nielsen rating: 1.08

Sergeant Nicholas Brody is miraculously rescued after being held as a prisoner of war for eight years, however CIA agent Carrie Mathison suspects that he might be part of a terrorist plot to attack the United States.

SummaryEdit

In Baghdad, Carrie Mathison is frantically trying to meet with a condemned terrorist named Hasan Ibrahim who claims to have intel about an attack Abu Nazir is planning against the U.S. At the same time she calls David Estes in Washington, DC hoping that he'll commute Hasan's death sentence in return for information. Estes says he's unable to do that. At the prison, Hasan tells Carrie, "An American prisoner of war has been turned."

Later in Washington, Estes briefs his team about a successful special forces strike on an enemy base in the Korangal Valley (Afghanistan) that killed 13 militants. What's interesting is the rescue of Sgt. Nicholas Brody, a USMC scout sniper who, along with his partner Cpl. Thomas Walker (who died in captivity), had been MIA and presumed dead since early 2003.

Carrie tells Saul Berenson about Hasan's claim regarding a turned POW, which she presumes to mean that Brody is working for Abu Nazir. She believes that Nazir supplied the tip that led to the destruction of the base so that Brody would be found. Carrie requests that he be put under total surveillance: Bug his home, tap his phones, follow him everywhere. Saul refuses, saying he would need evidence to authorize that. Unfortunately, Carrie can't collect anything new since she's in the "penalty box", meaning behind a desk in Washington instead of in the field.

Brody is in Germany preparing for a debriefing, but first he phones his wife, Jessica. Unknown to him, she's in bed with Mike Faber at the time. After they talk, Jessica immediately returns home to their children, Dana and Chris, who weren't expecting her so early. She catches Dana smoking marijuana with her friend Xander. She scolds Dana and kicks out Xander before telling the kids that their father is alive.

An airplane flies Brody to Andrews Air Force Base, where he is to be given a hero's welcome and reunited with his family. While Jessica and the kids are out of their house, Carrie and two men named Virgil and Max enter. Apparently she is paying them herself to place "eyes and ears in every room", and afterward setup monitors in Carrie's place.

Meanwhile Brody is disturbingly ill on the plane, which threatens to ruin the photo opportunity David Estes had planned for his arrival. The Vice President arrives and thanks Estes for his work, saying that he scored points for promotion. Brody is reunited with his family and learns that his mother died four years earlier; he also meets the Vice President and addresses a group of Marines.

The surveillance crew moves to Carrie's apartment to set up the monitors. Max quietly expresses his worry to Virgil that they might be breaking federal laws for someone who is untrustworthy. A blue pill he found in a bottle of aspirin suggests that Carrie is trying to conceal the kind of drugs she's taking.

As Nick and his family leave Andrews AFB, Mike Faber catches up to them. As it turns out they're old friends and now that he's in military intelligence, he's there to arrange a follow-up debriefing between Nick and the CIA. News reporters accost the Brodys outside their home, where Nick lets them have another photo opportunity.

Carrie asks Saul to get her into Nick's debrief so she can ask him questions face-to-face. Saul reluctantly agrees on the promise that Carrie will behave herself. At home she finds that Virgil has completed setting up the monitors to watch the Brody home. In the evening she sees that Jessica answers the phone, but the caller hangs up and the number is blocked. When Jess and Nick get intimate, she's shocked by the scars on his body and he has sex with her, swiftly and forcefully, leaving her crying.

The next morning, Virgil arrives at Carrie's place to watch the monitors while she's at work. She goes to Nick's debriefing where he faces a panel of questions until finally coming to Carrie's. She asks why his captors kept him alive for eight years when he didn't seem to be of much use to them. She asks why Abu Nazir was never with him, seeing as Nazir would've been the go-to man for the kind of intel Nick could've supplied.

At the Brody home, Jessica prepares for a grilling party they're having that evening with Nick's friends from Bravo Company. Nick phones to say he'll be a little late due to the debriefing. Virgil listens in and knows that this is a lie, so he, Carrie, and Max follow Nick, believing he's going to meet a terrorist contact in Bluemont Park. Instead it turns out that Nick has simply arranged a personal conversation with Helen Walker, the widow of Cpl. Tom Walker. Nick tells her that Tom was beaten to death and claims he wasn't present. A flashback shows that this is a lie. While eavesdropping, Virgil confronts Carrie about the clozapine (an antipyschotic) pill Max found in her bathroom; she says it's under control and that no one else knows about it.

Meanwhile, David Estes chastizes Saul for putting Carrie into Nick's debriefing, saying that she tried to turn it into a cross-examination. Estes warns Saul that taking Carrie under his wing is risky for them both, because like him, Saul will find himself getting personally involved in her. Saul enters Carrie's home while she's out and sees that she's monitoring the Brody home. When she returns he tells her to hire a lawyer and report to the Inspector General. Carrie fails to justify her actions, so instead makes a failed attempt to seduce Saul – much like Estes had warned him about.

Mike confronts Jess alone at the party, arguing that they had been very close before Nick returned and now they don't even speak. Nick, seeing Mike and Jess talking alone, appears to be suspicious about how they got along while he was MIA.

Carrie goes out to drink and get laid that evening, lamenting her betrayal of Saul's trust earlier in the day. At the bar a TV is playing a news clip of Nick addressing the crowd at Andrews AFB, which leads Carrie to an epiphany. She wakes Saul and shows him that clip, and another from the photo op with Brody family in front of their home: In both Nick is tapping his fingers in a strange, repeated pattern. Saul agrees to put a cryptanalysis team on it.

A flashback shows Abu Nazir treated Nick kindly during part of his captivity. Nick also apparently beat his partner, Tom Walker, to death at Nazir's instructions. The last shot shows Nick gazing onto the U.S. Capitol with a bit of a smile.

QuotesEdit

An American prisoner of war has been turned.
I'm an American.
Nick Brody to his rescuers
An american prisonner of the war has been turned (...) he meant turned, working for Abu Nazir
It's just I am a little surprised Sir, Abu Nazir was in charge of coordinating attacks against coalition forces at the time. No one had more reason to sit down with the only two american POWs in his custody.
Carrie Mathison to David Estes during the crossed examination
I often wonder that myself
Nick Brody to Carrie Mathison as to why he was kept alive for eight years, even though "he stopped being a source of actionnable intelligence fairly quickly"
You know I love you Carrie, but I got to be honest, none of this make me feel better.
Virgil to Carrie Mathison when he asked her about the clozapine pills

CastEdit

StarringEdit

Guest starringEdit

Co-starringEdit

  • Israel Balderas as reporter
  • Michael Cole as Bo Hall
  • Vickie Eng as Elizabeth Chu
  • Jay Gates as Estes aide
  • Jeremy Harrison as Delta commander
  • Taylor Kowalski as Xander
  • Chris Rogus as photographer
  • Josh Segarra as Josh
  • Anthony Reynolds as Stuart Strickland
  • Chris Chalk as Tom Walker
  • Ali Suliman as Warzer Zafir
  • Yusuf Swade as Hasan Ibrahim
  • Jamil Huri as Iraqi officer
  • Byan Antir as prison guard

AppearancesEdit

By type 
Characters Creatures Events Locations
Organizations and titles Sentient species Vehicles and vessels Weapons and technology Miscellanea

Characters

Locations

Organizations and titles

Sentient species

  • Human (First appearance)

Background informationEdit

  • Showtime debuted the first episode online prior to its official cable premiere. This preview was edited to "TV-14" ratings standards, blurring and muting aspects of certain scenes. ("Pilot" 720p video at YouTube, "Pilot" video at IMDb)
  • Reception:
    • With 1.08 million viewers, the pilot episode was the most-watched premiere on Showtime since Dead Like Me eight years ago. ([1])
    • Metacritic tallied "universal acclaim" for the pilot, with 28 reviewers averaging a rating of 91% (second only to Breaking Bad season 4 for currently aired shows). ([2])
  • Jessica Brody tells her kids that she's at the movies with "Jody" when she's actually out with Mike Faber. In military slang, a "Jody" is a person at home who steals the soldier's girlfriend (or boyfriend) while they are at war.

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