Homeland Recap: Soap Opera Spies

Carrie and Brody have turned America's favorite spy story into a bad romance novel.

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison and Damian Lewis as Nicholas "Nick" Brody in Homeland.
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All season long, Greg Otto and Tierney Sneed will be recapping Showtime's Homeland, and discuss what they're hoping to see in the rest of the season.

Greg: I guess we can't expect every Homeland episode to be good. And this one was far from it. If anything, we may talk about this episode as where the show ran off course.

Which ridiculous plot line do you want to discuss first? How the show ignores the CIA's ability to chase a private helicopter in northern Virginia airspace? How the most wanted terrorist in the world somehow snuck into the country behind the disguise of a simple shave? How a congressman disappears, has sex with a ex-CIA agent (while the CIA listens in!), and no one really does anything about it?

Or should we address the bigger questions, such as: What is the point of the hit-and-run subplot? Is Carrie Mathison slowly becoming Jack Bauer? Better yet: What did I just watch?

Tierney: I agree with you—this show may have jumped the shark. I kept asking myself, "Where does the show go from here," but not in a good way, it was more of a "how will this show regain my faith in it?" sort of way. I think Homeland has overplayed its hand with the plausibility of Carrie being both a brilliant spy and a psychological mess, among with many, many other problems that we could discuss. I will say I found Brody's epic meltdown at the beginning of the episode compelling—Damian Lewis must have borrowed Claire Danes's facial contortion coach. But it was all down hill from there—from the awkward CIA peeping tom gag to Mike stepping in as Jessica's knight in shining pajamas. This show just took all the underlying tensions running through the season and ran way too far with them, the exception of course being Dana's hit-and-run subplot. I was hoping it would run into Brody's trajectory in a much more explosive and surprising way than just providing a lesson in the advantages of being rich and powerful (i.e. you can buy your way out of a manslaughter charge). The only redeeming quality in that whole narrative was that I admired Dana's commitment to doing the right thing, no matter how the circumstances were working against her. Her father, meanwhile, was also put in a terrible situation, but is ultimately responsible for his own bad choices.

So can Homeland get back on track?

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Greg: If Claire Danes is holding crying lessons between takes with Damian Lewis, than Morgan Saylor is in on them, too. In one of her last scenes this episode, she implored the "use every muscle in your face to cry" technique that Danes has practically patented over the course of the show. They could start using those side sessions to discuss how they are going to rescue this show from the writers.

Is Dana becoming, using a term you have previously used, a "beacon of morality" the only reason for this hit-and-run subplot? I mean, great, the terrorist's daughter isn't evil. Do we really need that much of a storyline to prove it? And what else could this story prove? That the Waldens are slimy politicians? We know that going into this season.

I guess you could argue that the plot line is supposed to be "Brody's undoing wasn't his turning his back on his country, but turning his back on his family." But again, couldn't you say the same thing about last season? It's not like Brody was "No. 1 Dad" last season. So, what's the point?

As for getting back on track, I'll give this show the benefit of the doubt, as I did last season (I thought there were some holes in season 1, but I put my reservations aside because the rest of the show was so good.). But the holes that were poked in the plot last night were pretty big.

Tierney: I suspect Dana will become much more jaded and cynical in episodes to come. Perhaps we will see the return of pot-smoking, moody Dana—beacon of morality be damned!