Jay: So, where does Homeland go from here? Brody’s dead, Carrie’s both promoted and pregnant (with both assignments seemingly up in the air, for the moment), and the U.S. and Iran have signed a nuclear deal (in a scene that must have been shot very recently). I confess that it is difficult to imagine a scenario next season that would really keep my interest at this point.
As for the episode itself, I was disappointed, I think. I can’t put my finger on any specific flaw, other than the pervasive notion that this show has really meandered without any real objective for quite some time now. In Season 1, Homeland was about patriotism, family, and loyalty. Much of what happened that season can be analyzed via Brody’s relationships with other people: Carrie, his wife Jessica, his daughter Dana, his mentor Abu Nazir, etc.
But as Season 2 began to run off-track and then Season 3 continued the trend, I’m much less clear on what the show is “about” now. And while I’ve been predicting Brody’s death for quite some time, the fact that it’s now actually happened does raise a lot of questions as to how the series will proceed.
In some ways I think it would be best if they just stopped the show entirely here. What do you think? Continue reading “The Star” bows out on Homeland‘s Season 3 finale
Sam: So, what’s the over-under on Brody making it out of Tehran alive? Or Carrie, for that matter? Does it strike you as not coincidental that the two of them are in Tehran for the final episode? It seems rather likely that one of them (dare we say both?) might end up not making it out of Tehran.
Overall, this episode felt like a giant teaser for the finale, though. The entire episode seemed like a whole lot of tension over whether or not Brody would carry out his mission. While the twists were clever, they seemed reminiscent of what we’ve seen from Homeland before: Carrie goes rogue in a foreign country, the original mission goes out of whack, and then things end up okay somehow.
We’ve harped on this before as well, but Saul really cannot be surprised that Carrie flat out cannot take orders, right? I mean, even Dar Adal can tell him that. Why they continually send someone like her into the field (and into Tehran, of all places) is just absolutely ridiculous. I suppose it helps with the storyline, I guess.
What’d you think of this episode? Continue reading “Big Man in Tehran:” On Homeland, Brody’s past closes in
Jay: This was a riveting hour of television. And even aside from the theatrics of trying to get Brody across the Iraqi border and into Iran, the episode did well in other ways too — especially by avoiding some other pitfalls that could have easily induced some eye-rolling.
For one, I was cringing pretty hard as Carrie shouted at Brody over a secure line: I was just waiting for the moment when she’d scream, “I’m carrying your baby!” Perhaps the show’s writers realized that that would’ve truly been the moment Homeland would’ve jumped the shark. But it came perilously close.
Another nice little non-moment was the senator’s relatively reasonable behavior at the secret CIA site. You can often discern the quality of a show by the dimensionality of its heroes and villains. So the fact that Homeland has been gradually willing to portray the senator in a more sympathetic light is a good sign, methinks.
Personally, I could quibble a bit with the way that Brody’s vehicle looked like it had been utterly destroyed — occupants included — before they both miraculously escaped. But the moment actually turned out to be rather useful, as Brody’s Marine instincts clearly kicked in and he went from being a blubbering victim (as any of us would’ve been) to a man in charge instantly. I also liked the fact that Javadi killed Brody’s partner, which at least somewhat tempered the miraculous nature of their escape into Iran.
I’m a little less clear on what comes next. I tend to agree with some other predictors who are guessing that Brody isn’t actually the father of Carrie’s child — a point which she seemed to confirm to Quinn in this episode (although that could easily be a lie). On the other hand, if Brody’s fated to die this season anyway, it would make sense to have a mini-Brody born soon thereafter so as to provide Carrie some measure of solace, at least. (There, even more ridiculous theories for you.)
What did you think? Continue reading Brody lives on for another “Good Night,” as Homeland Season 3 nears its conclusion
Jay: So this episode may have been the best one all season. Granted, there were some pretty unbelievable parts, and some somewhat ridiculous time-warp moments (like the jarring “Sixteen Days Later” transition), but Brody’s return to the United States as a full-fledged human being (as opposed to a full-fledged junkie) breathed some life into what has otherwise been a subpar season.
Even Dana didn’t bother me as much in this episode. Alan Sepinwall hit all the right notes in his review already, among which were two important ones: 1) Dana works best when she’s in scenes with her father, and 2) Brody is almost definitely not going to survive this mission.
While I’ll probably miss him — and while the show may struggle to figure out how to move forward without him always lurking on the periphery — it’s probably about time he disappears. Even if he were to make it back alive, another season of him trying to woo Dana again probably isn’t a season worth watching.
Of course, Carrie continues to be reckless at all times, including a truly mind-blowing escape from the secret compound to take one of the world’s most wanted men to see his emotionally unstable teenaged daughter. What could possibly go wrong?
Fortunately, nothing did. But Carrie is getting increasingly hard to root for.
How would you rate this episode? Continue reading “One Last Thing” for Brody? Flashes of brilliance in Homeland‘s Season 3, Episode 9
Jay: Initial thoughts: not as great as all the reviewers promised. There was a flurry of Twitter activity suggesting that this episode would be a return to all things great about Homeland. But while some of the excitement returned, I’m not at all convinced we’ve reached any kind of turnaround.
First of all, you just knew Carrie was going to defy orders at the motel. Yes, I get that this is completely consistent with her character, but at some point it just gets tiring. I actually rolled my eyes when she got out of the van and started following Franklin. I understand that she’s impulsive and headstrong, but at what point does it become completely unbelievable that she could keep her job after so many betrayals? Similarly predictable was the fact that Carrie was clearly not going to die, no matter how ominous Dar Adal and Quinn tried to sound while warning her from continuing.
Mira’s lover being some sort of spy was decidedly less predictable, but I’m not at all persuaded that that plot point makes any sense. And speaking of nonsensical moments, Carrie being so open with her doctor about her job (referencing the “father” in relation to her work) was an absurdly risky moment in a series in which characters are supposed to be devoted to secrecy and information security.
Slightly more intriguing was Saul’s visit to Venezuela to visit Brody. It’s confusing on a few levels, actually: why was Saul so cagey with Carrie when she asked about his conversation with Javadi? And why the hell is he visiting Brody if he knows he didn’t do it? What could Brody possibly do for Saul now that he’s been shown to have been uninvolved with the bombing?
I guess I don’t see this as much of a step forward. Do you? Continue reading “A Red Wheelbarrow:” Sam and I chat about Homeland, Episode 8
Sam: As much as I enjoyed this week’s episode, why does so much of it seem like deja vu? A turned informant? Carrie fixating on “the truth” about Brody?
I feel like we know where the coming weeks are going to take us: Carrie’s going to go on a crusade to clear Brody’s name. I can hardly wait (yawn).
On the plus side, there were moments I very much enjoyed and appreciated: Quinn’s resigned conclusion after his talk with the detectives and Saul calmly walking the Senator (and Dar Adal) through his master plan and then promptly locking him in the conference room.
I’ve neglected my winners and losers of the episode thing for a few weeks, so let’s bring it back:
Winner: Saul, hands down. Nothing must’ve felt better than to lock the Senator in the conference room and then clicking the button that fogged up the glass. In your face, Senator!
Loser: Mira. I’m so tired of her pathetic character. She’s getting close to Granny-level of annoyance for me (Dana has her own scale). Just go run away with the other dude already.
Your thoughts on this week’s episode? Continue reading Homeland, Episode 7: Sam Lim and I discuss “Gerontion”
Jay: Well, the consensus — at least among the reviewers I read — seems to be that Homeland is drifting farther and farther from its Season 1 glory. While I tend to agree that this season in general has had more than its fair share of rough patches, I’m not as appalled as some of the reviewers. Not yet, anyway.
This week’s episode contained what was, for me, perhaps the single most shocking scene in Homeland history, when Javadi used a bottle to puncture to death his ex-wife, who had defected to the United States years earlier. That moment was so singly un-Homeland-like in its brutality that I almost couldn’t believe it at first.
It also raises many questions. First of all, why was Saul so hellbent on ensuring that Javadi not get into the house? This is especially bizarre considering the fact that, as Quinn and Carrie briefed him immediately after entering the property, Saul didn’t even seem to realize that Javadi’s ex-wife was even living there at the time. (Or am I getting the chronology mixed up?) Methinks there’s some more history between Saul and Javadi’s ex: something about the way Saul held up the picture of her earlier in the episode suggested a deeper backstory.
Speaking of possible romantic connections, whatever was left of Saul’s marriage is definitively disintegrated in this episode, while Carrie suddenly seems to be carrying someone’s child. The obvious implication is that it’s Brody’s, but weirdly the first guy I thought of was that rando from the liquor store in the first episode of this season. Given the way some of Homeland‘s plot twists have petered out so quickly this season, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if that happens again here.
What did you think? Continue reading “Still Positive” that Homeland‘s still got it? Sam and I break down Episode 6
Sam: Finally! The Homeland I’ve been waiting for is back. How can we not start at the end?
Did you see Carrie playing an undercover role here at all? Did she not seem off her rocker, for real? All the promos and stories so far this season have pitted Carrie against Saul, and I didn’t think for a minute they might be in on the whole thing together.
Damn it. Continue reading “Game On” for Homeland: the twists return
Sam: You know what I thought this week? Did Homeland start taking a page from The Americans?
Is it just me or has this season been super charged with emotional relationships so far? As you pointed out, the storyline with Carrie being off her meds and having to be committed again is not new. Nor is Dana’s bickering with her mom.
Having said all that, it does make sense that deep rooted issues like the ones they are dealing with aren’t “fixed” overnight. It’s just the heavy emphasis on relationships that’s taking away from the thrill of Homeland as a covert operations show that’s starting to get to me.
I’m going to try something new and share my winners and losers this week:
Winner — Quinn. I sort of panned him last week for not being a cold blooded assassin. But it’s exactly his heart that’s got him in the winner’s seat. Loved his confrontation with the bank big wig and his subtle defense of Farah (sp?).
Loser — There were a few candidates here, but I’m giving it to Saul this week. In the sense of character development for Saul, you could argue he actually belongs in the winners column. I put him in the losers column this week because of the racist and condescending bit he threw at Farah (hey, I get to make up the rules for my winners and losers picks, right?).
What were your thoughts on this episode? Continue reading “Uh…Oh…Ah…:” Sam Lim and I discuss an inexplicably-titled Episode 2 of Homeland, Season 3
Sam Lim: Where do we even start with the finale? Boy. Let me first say that it met — and exceeded — my expectations (not by a lot but enough). The beginning dragged out the way I expected a Carrie-Brody escapade into the woods would, even with Quinn right behind them (since they didn’t know). The fact that Quinn did not take out Brody and his subsequent reasoning (as explained to Estes…more on that in a minute) did not surprise me in the least; I expected that as much.
Before I make fun of Estes (again), I do think the conversations Carrie and Brody had in the cabin were really rather poignant. Here you have two very battered (physically and emotionally) individuals, and it’s like they can only be themselves and (almost) completely honest with each other. I say “almost” because Carrie — for all her ridiculousness — still has a shred of doubt about Brody (you see that look on her face after Brody found the gun? It was like a “Hehe. Let’s not play with guns now, dear” type of look), though he seemed to win her over fairly easily as always.
Now, as for Estes, gosh, what a tool. Everything always has to be about him. The sad part is there are real people just like him in real life. I suppose it’s part of what makes Quinn’s line to him somewhat schadenfreude-inducing: “I’m a guy who kills bad guys.”
The episode doesn’t really take off (action-wise), though, until Walden’s funeral, I thought. I particularly enjoyed the great ironies of Brody’s encounters at the funeral. First, he is greeted by Walden’s grieving widow, who is completely oblivious to the fact that the guy who basically murdered her husband is escorting her to her seat. Then there’s his handshake with Estes, completely unaware that the man had a hit out on him until less than a day before. I have to say…I chuckled.
Let’s talk plot flaws real fast, since they’re my favorite. Isn’t it sort of conspicuous when both Carrie and Brody leave the funeral early? And am I being too cynical to think it strange that the CIA building is absolutely deserted except for where the funeral is taking place (sure, Walden has deep ties to the CIA and the funeral might be on a weekend, but still, it’s the CIA!)? Carrie and Brody (both, again, with bright yellow visitor badges) just waltzed right into Saul’s empty office and probably would’ve engaged in a bit of inappropriate behavior in another man’s office had Brody not spotted his car. Speaking of which… Continue reading “The Choice” to stay: Sam Lim and I discuss the season finale of Homeland