Tag Archives: Homeland Season 3

Homeland – Horse and Wagon (S3, Ep9) and Good Night (S3, Ep10)

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I’ve combined these two episodes not only because I didn’t have the time to write two separate reviews, but because these were the best two hours of the season thus far.

Let’s just get this out of the way first: The plot and it’s developments are stupid and overly absurd.  Even for a show that’s supposed to go above and beyond, the plot is outrageous.  A lot of what happens is to serve the purpose of “what needs to happen for dramatic reasons.”

Carrie would have been fired too many times for her to still have that level of clearance.  Brody would never have been able to recover that quickly.  A miracle drug… really?  Sending Brody into save the day? Somebody has out stayed their welcome.  Saul’s wife’s “friend” has been running a long con spy op for the Senator?  Please.  Carrie taking him off base twice? No way.

But the reasons, despite these flaws, the show nailed it with these episodes are two simple word: simple and focused.  Sure the ideas were big, but the execution was simple.  Everything was completely focused.  Carrie and Brody.  Saul and his mission.  Even with locations and story lines it was cut down.  It only focused on the ongoing momentum at CIA headquarters.  Our time wasn’t wasted with frivolous plots, such as Dana.

Dana was even used appropriately.  Somebody had mistakenly decided that since she was interesting and engaging in scenes with her father that giving her a plot line of her own was a good idea.  We all know that to be false, but we were reminded of why they even had that idea in the first place.  Her scene with Brody in the hotel room was fantastic.  It was tense, scary, sad, happy, and just overall emotional.

Additionally, the acting in these episodes were top notch.  From Brody’s withdrawal, to Saul’s stone cold negotiating techniques, to Carrie’s balance of paranoid pregnant woman/calm presence to Brody, this was a solid two outing in Homeland world.

Is this my favorite season? No, but it is shaping up to be a successful back half of a season.  So, with two more episodes, let’s see it they can keep up the good work.

Keep on Watchin’

-Bryan

Homeland – A Red Wheelbarrow (S3, Ep8)

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This show is still pulling wacky punches and is becoming more an more silly with their twists an I’m starting to feel apathetic towards these reveals.

On the other hand, at least they’re trying to keep things interesting.  We learn that Mira’s hunk side piece is bugging their house, so he’s a spy?  I guess so.  He’s been spying the whole time? I guess so.  Okay.

I’m glad the show finally is addressing her pregnancy head on, especially her irrational behavior (the drugs, etc.).  The doctors would still have found she was pregnant through her blood test in the hospital, but oh well.  At least we know that she believes that Brody is the father.

Additionally, the Langley bomb plot felt like it had some gravity to it as the story unfolded.  All of the church scenes, the motel scene, as well as the Dar Adal restaurant scenes had a nice ebb and flow to them.  They pulled me in as much as they could at this point, so I can’t complain.

Other thoughts:

  • Any Dana-less episode is a good episode in my book… I mean blog.
  • Now that Brody is seemingly going to be appearing regularly on the show again, let’s hope it gives certain plots and characters a little more focus.
  • I have to say, I was rooting for Quinn to take the shot, so when he did, I was pleased, as Carrie is unbearable.  (Sometimes all she is seems to be unbearable.)
  • Whenever Saul has a minor victory, like having the Senator leave while he briefed the Secretary, is always a highlight.

Hopefully this means they’ll try a little harder with these last few episodes.  Brody’s return might be a good thing for all of this convoluted plot.

Keep on Watchin’

-Bryan

 

Homeland – Gerontion (S3, Ep7)

 

Homeland-GerontionHomeland isn’t doing what it usually does to me.  I know that’s a vague statement, so let me plunge further in.

Season one and most of two had me on the edge of my seat.  I was engaged in both the actually plot, built in mystery, the Carrie/Saul relationship, and the Carrie/Chemistry.  Season two built from that with the excitement of the tense “Q&A” episode and the outstanding acting from all of it’s participants.

This season, I’m just not into anything that’s happening on level more than: Well, I’ve been watching it for this long, so let’s just see what happens.

Dana’s life, while starting off with some promise, has just spiraled down a well of obsolete story telling.  Just because her scenes with Brody in the first few seasons were great, doesn’t mean she deserves her own sub plot. Carrie on and off her meds is nothing new and very unexciting, as is her pregnancy, which we know very little about.  All of this season’s ‘twists’ make me trust the show less, as I don’t know what is real and what isn’t, but this time I have no true investment.  At least in season one, the set up was that we didn’t know Brody’s motivation.  Quinn is a interesting character, but I wished I cared more.

Other thoughts:

  • This show made the mistake of taking Brody along for the ride.  He truly serves no purpose anymore and is dragging down the plot.  Granted he is barely on the show this season, but he isn’t relevant.  Hopefully this season can move on from his story, as it isn’t enjoyable when he’s not in the crosshairs.
  • This show usually finds some footing in the latter half of seasons, so I still have that TV viewer hope.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

 

Homeland – Still Positive (S3, Ep6)

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See, now that wasn’t so hard, was it Homeland writers?

Homeland is about Carrie and Saul and the intrigue of the CIA.  The past two episodes have focused and honed that aspect of the show that we haven’t missed Brody.  We know he’s out there, but we’re not too concerned about it all.

The more we deal with Saul and his past, the more interesting this show ends up.  From his broken relationship at home to his work miscues, Saul is by far the most interesting character on the show.  He is the heart and soul of all of this.

Some parts of the show still flounder, such as Dana and crew (her mom didn’t even ask for the address? I mean come on), but overall it seems like things are beginning to click again.

My favorite moment was Saul’s aggression in the last scene’s closing seconds.  His old enemy has flipped a switch in him and all of the pent up anger and sadness will most likely be directed towards him. We will see!

Other thoughts:

  • Quinn is very hit or miss for me as a character, so while he brings very little to the table, I still don’t mind his presence.
  • Carrie’s scenes with our new “bad guy” were excellent.  It’s so nice to see her in her spy world, feeling so confident.
  • Oh yeah, I guess she’s pregnant?  The episode title says it all.  Probably with Brody’s kid, based on how many tests she’s taken.  We’ll see how this plays out, but I am not happy with this development.  At least they tried to weave it all in with her concern for the crying baby in the house, but that could have been for a number of reasons before we learned her secret.
  • All I can say it, thankfully Dana isn’t preggers… or is she?
  • The murder sequence in the house was brutal.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Homeland – Yoga Play (S3, Ep5)

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If you accept that fact that Carrie and Saul were in cahoot the entire time, then this episode was pretty engaging.  It seems ridiculous that they planned this from the very beginning, but it is what it is and it helps from a plot standpoint.  This week drew from what worked in seasons one and two (the thriller aspect of things) and incorporated it well.  From the yoga cover to the final sequence, I was enthralled with what was happening in front of me.

Saul just can’t catch a break, can he?  He’s being pushed out as CIA director and his distant wife is being not so distant with somebody else.  At least we’re meant to believe that.  His speech to the CIA head incumbent was pretty excellent.  What will happen to his play when he’s not in charge?

In the past, Dana’s antics have at least tied into the major plot lines.  When she was in the car with the VP’s son and they we’re involved in a hit and run, it linked directly with how Carrie still had a handle on Brody.  When he tried to turn his daughter in, Carrie stopped it to show us how much she owned this poor pathetic man.  Now, aside from Jessica seeking Carrie’s help, which didn’t actually help, it only put Carrie and her mission in danger, it seems like a dead end plot.  She came home on her own after discovering her boy-toy’s lies?  Are we supposed to believe that Carrie would still do anything for Brody?  That she would help his wife and children?  I don’t know.  It just seems like a chunk of time wasted again by Dana.  At least the yoga stunt was pretty exciting.

For the first time all season, I’m actually excited to see what happens to Carrie next week now that she’s really on her own having been “abducted.”

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

 

Homeland – Game On (S3, Ep4)

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I was digging this week of Homeland.  The writers put Carrie, a once sympathetic character, into a hard and annoying place.  I really didn’t think they could ever recover this character.  She had been dipped so deep into her own psyche and had no handle on reality.  Season one was supposed to make us question if she was right or wrong or unstable or just lonely to the point of insanity.  This season is just her losing her mind.  Then the twist came.

…And you lost me.  I just don’t believe it.  Claire Danes is an excellent actress.  Carrie Mathieson is not a better actress than Danes.  If she is working still for Saul and the CIA, why is she crying away from Bennett?  It’s as if she’s acting for the Showtime cameras and not Bennet’s possible “hidden ones.”  I would believe that she would lose it a little in the “loony bin,” but when she was actually executing the portions of the plan that didn’t depend on her ignorance, I didn’t buy it.  I don’t think that she’d be as fragile as she was in the field.  The fact that they told it from her point of view with no hint of motive was a complete mistake on the writers’ fault.

By concealing her motives, most of the scenes from the past two episodes are just Danes emoting.  There were no stakes at all, but now that we know her motive, I feel cheated as opposed to excited.  When she was in the ward, I wasn’t connected to her at all.  It felt like a total detour for Carrie and her story.  In theory this twist should enhance those scenes in hindsight, but in a miscalculation on their part, I don’t care at all.  I feel like this twist cleans up the first few episodes, but creates so many more problems that it wasn’t worth it.  Patinkin and Danes are excellent in the final scene, but I can’t overlook plot for great acting, especially in a show like Homeland.  I actually didn’t miss Brody this week, as they didn’t bombard us with CIA mumbo jumbo and played on the intrigue of the characters.  Then the twist happened.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t DISLIKE the twist, I just think it was poorly executed.  By totally keeping us in the dark, we lost our sympathy for poor Carrie and Saul.  Hopefully in the coming weeks everything will be explained, like if the charade was set up from the beginning or when Carrie was already in there.

OH! And don’t forget about Dana!  Oh man! How about Dana’s situation… She’s so—oh wait… I don’t care… at all.  Not at all.

Keep on Watchin’

-Bryan

Homeland – Tower of David (S3, Ep3)

Episode

Welcome back Brody! But is it really a happy welcome?  This week’s episode explored Brody and Carrie each trapped in their own personal hell.

I think at some point we’re going to look back at this show and pinpoint this episode as the “Jump The Shark” moment.  They way they are handling Brody’s disappearance is so unenjoyable, that I am thinking of cutting my losses now and not watch any further.  Really? Addicted to heroin? This is how far we’ve come?  The episode started out promising, as Brody is brought into “surgery”, but like all of this season’s episodes, it gets repetitive very quickly.  Brody brings a body count where ever he goes, but I don’t want to be one of those dead too.  I understand what they are going for, but it’s missing the mark.

Carrie, attempting to deal with her psych ward imprisonment, is approached by a mysterious law firm who wants to help her.  Their intentions aren’t clear, but it can’t be good. I think one of the major issues I have in staying engaged in this season is that I’ve lost any sympathy or empathy I once had for these characters.  I have no emotional investment in them anymore, even after two solid seasons of emotional television.  My enjoyment of this show is plot related now and that quality has gone down.

While these two stories do work well as a foil to one another, the other characters were missed to balance it all out.

Other thoughts:

  • I just don’t believe that nurse would break the rules like she does, but, hey, plot called for it.
  • Really Brody, that’s the “sneak out” outfit you put on? A Bill Belichick cut off hoodie?
  • I also like Carrie’s house.
  • The acting is always excellent (Brody watching the thief get murdered or Carrie in the bathroom), but that may not be enough anymore.

This show needs to pick up the pieces quickly.  The further away all of the story lines move from each other, less the coherency the show has overall, and the faster it will shatter.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Homeland – Uh… Oh… Ah… (S3, Ep2)

Episode 302
Bum. Bum. I want to take you to. Bum. Bum. …CRAZY TOWN!

Just some quick thoughts on Homeland’s second attempt this season.

Snooze Fest!

As a viewer, I’m having a very hard time attaching to any one story line.  I don’t care about Quinn and his demons, I’m over “crazy Carrie” as we’ve seen her before, and Saul is just eh.  Of course there have been a handful of moments that I appreciate: Saul confronting Carrie’s family or the final moment, but I am not impressed with the first two episodes.  There are no stakes that I’m emotional invested in.

The closest story I’m to engaged to is Dana’s, especially her monologue in the “redone” bathroom. The thing is, they cut the scene too early.  We barely get to a see a reaction from her mother or a rebuttal.  It was a beautiful moment from a child who is hurting and we don’t get to really explore this relationship when the time is right.  How disappointing.

It’a amazing how much this show misses the presence of Damian Lewis.  He carried these first two seasons as a nice balance to Carrie.  When suspense, depth, and mystery are removed, what are we left with? Pretty much boring CIA stuff and a woman off her meds with no foil to ground the rest of the show.

This should have been an extended mini-series because it’s going downhill fast.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

P.S. If Dana is pregnant I am not watching the show anymore.

Homeland – Tin Man is Down (S3, Ep1)

Episode 301
‘The Bear’

Homeland, in its third season, has a lot to prove.  Season one was a great, intense, thought provoking season.  The sophomore effort was less desirable, as it projected too much of a ‘24’ feel.  However, it did redeem itself enough in the finale.  Now, as the manhunt for Brody commences, we can only ask that they keep the writing and plot grounded in a raw reality.

A committee investigating the Langley bombing is grilling Carrie, as Saul struggles with decisions that range from CIA work to home life.  On the civilian side of this affair is Brody’s family, struggling with the new spotlight that has been forced upon them.

Carrie, once again off her medication, believes that Brody was framed and has made it her own personal mission to find the true masterminds.  She admits that Abu Nazir outsmarted her and will not forgive herself for the 219 people who died in the bombing that she believes is her own fault.  Saul, now head of the CIA, is dealing with a rocky relationship at home, while balancing the questions of who to hunt at work.  It was very disconcerting to watch him overlook the monitors as his plan is executed. Saul ordered the death of the ‘easy targets’, going against what he believes in.  Visually, his nervous habit of  playing with his wedding ring was very appropriate in this episode.   Mandy Patinkin brings such a rich internal life to his character. Additionally, somebody is leaking CIA files to the press and council, which included Carrie’s private relationship with Brody, is released.  The episode ends with Saul throwing Carrie under the bus at his own hearing in an attempt to protect the agency.  All very interesting plot developments, but not the most engaging in the hour.

That distinction belongs to the Brody family trying to pick up the pieces of their broken home.   Dana’s off screen suicide attempt and that affect on the family, coupled with their financial troubles ,is a great juxtaposition to the CIA sequences.  How will they rebuild their family? How far will Dana continue to act out?  Can her mom and grandma successfully run and essentially fix them all?  Will the paparazzi and media break them before they tear themselves apart?  This is the story line I am most interested in seeing played out, as we can relate to their home life shake up on a real level.

In this episode, home life corresponds with the professional world in a way that most shows could never pull off.  The lack of hope, the overpowering feeling of fear, and overall indecisive nature of all the characters infuses itself into the story telling.  Pitting Carrie against the CIA again is old hat, but now without Saul on her side, the dynamic should be interesting.  I don’t know if I agree with the direction they are taking with this, but I am willing to go along for the ride.  Carrie has a new obstacle and may be drawn to Brody even more in this trying time.

Some Other Thoughts:

  • Keeping Brody off screen was much appreciated.  It’s always nice to see how somebody affects others with out their presence immediately felt.
  • F. Murray Abraham and Mandy Patinkin on screen together is pure gold!
  • Who is this, “The Magician?” It sounds like a bad guy on Dexter.
  • I really don’t care about Peter Quinn and the misdirection at the beginning of the episode was pointless.
  • How many children are going to die on this show to make a character second-guess their motives?
  • Mandy, your beard still impresses.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan