‘Homeland’: Let’s Tackle the Theory That Jenna Bragg Is a Russian Spy
As the final season of Homeland approaches its April 26 conclusion, many fans of the classic series are connecting dots and advancing theories with a fervor that would make Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) proud. And at this point in time, it’s all about who’s going to betray whom.
[Spoiler alert: Plot details through ‘Homeland’ Season 8 Episode 11 follow.]
So as Carrie freely admits she’d give up a prized U.S. asset operating within the Russian government, you can’t blame viewers for wondering who’s running a devious operation and keeping mum about it.
While there’s reason to suspect the motives of White House adviser John Zabel (Hugh Dancy) and Kabul CIA station chief Mike Dunne (Cliff Chamberlain) — and more reason to dislike these season 8 newcomers — both have fallen into the background heading into Homeland’s finale.
But we’ve seen the opposite with Jenna Bragg (Andrea Deck), just back from Kabul. After avoiding death at the Pakistan border, Jenna returned to Washington and became a key figure in Carrie’s life. For some Homeland fans, the developments confirm the theory that Jenna is a Russian mole.
The case for Jenna Bragg as Russian spy
When viewers first caught Jenna Bragg at the start of season 8, most probably thought, “Wow, how clueless can someone be?” It seemed inconceivable that someone so naive could hold a position in an intelligence agency. (“Maybe her character is a dig at the CIA?” I thought to myself.)
If Jenna wasn’t losing Carrie in Kabul, she was botching the staged interview with Samira Noori in embarrassing fashion in episode 2. Indeed, Jenna appeared so incompetent that fans began thinking she was playing an unseen angle.
Picking up that line of thinking, the argument makes sense by way of the season’s plot developments. If Carrie can’t slip Jenna, how can she (Carrie) continue meeting Yevgeny Gromov (Costa Ronin)? But Carrie does as she wishes throughout the season, and Gromov gains the upper hand.
Finally, just when you think you won’t ever have to see Jenna again, Carrie needs her help tracking down a U.S. asset inside the Kremlin. If Yevgeny were running Jenna as a Russian agent, he’d be waiting for this moment. And he would have gotten the lead he wanted.
Meanwhile, if Jenna were this moral figure going to warn Saul about Carrie’s latest operation, would a few comments by Saul really stop her? Or did Saul’s confirming the flight recorder story supply her with the information she needed?
Jenna could also just be a naive idealist
Sometimes, the answer is the one staring you in the face. Homeland is a spy show (an excellent one), and the members of the creative team know they can add drama and create doubt in viewers’ minds with a small comment (or a slight change in music).
So maybe Jenna Bragg is who she claims to be: a naive idealist who wanted to make a difference but can’t (for various reasons). Carrie Mathison outclasses nearly every one of her peers on the show, so there’d be no shame if Jenna can’t operate on her level.
And maybe Jenna saw Carrie in a new light after speaking with Saul. Instead of warning him about Carrie’s new operation (exposing the asset in Moscow) and mentioning how she gave up the Special Forces team, she’s decided Carrie can help the U.S. avert war with Pakistan.
Whatever the case may be, Jenna changed directions prior to walking into the tribunal. That might lead to Carrie exposing Saul’s agent, but things could easily slip out of control. If Jenna were working for Russia, Moscow would love the latter outcome.