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.
Tierney: You can't face time on a Blackberry! There are no skyscrapers in D.C.! OMG, are they pulling out a paper map?!
But in all seriousness, there were moments I really liked about this week's episode: Jess and Brody unable to make eye contact, realizing their marriage is irreparable; Carrie struggling to free herself from captivity, only to have her feet bound by Nazir; Brody laboring to put on his tie on the way into Vice President Walden's home.
It's in these pregnant pauses that Homeland finds its balance, and I wish it would a take pregnant pause in it's narrative at large. Critics have written that what separates Homeland from the Mad Mens of the television world is that it's not afraid to move quickly, and maybe the Mad Mens of the television world have conditioned me to expect a show to carve out a little more space for reflection and uncertainty. But I wish the whole thing would take a moment, and pick up some of the pieces it has left to rot on the side of the proverbial season-long road.
When Carrie turned on the jazz station in her car, I realized how long it has been since a Homeland episode referenced Carrie's love of jazz, and more importantly her mental illness that jazz became a symbol of in Season 1. I was kind of hoping that the car accident would have been a completely random event that would have launched her into a manic episode. I have complained before that Homeland has relied too much on the seemingly predestined (Saul finding the Brody tape in the bag, etc.), rather than give way to the random. But instead we got Carrie as Brody-bait—a potent plot point for sure (and one I should have expected, though I am annoyed Saul didn't figure out himself). I think there were some issues Homeland could have and should have explored before pulling that card.
What did you think of the episode? Is it all moving too fast for you as well?
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Greg: I was torn by the episode. Overall, I loved where the plot took us. We saw how vulnerable and powerful Brody can be in the span of five minutes, we finally saw Saul show some emotion, and we saw the crux of what drives each side of this fight during Nazir's confrontation with Carrie. I am genuinely intrigued with how the show ended, foreshadowing that we are truly headed into the dark unknown, and that we have reason to believe that anyone and everyone involved could be up to something nefarious.
However, with that being said, the artistic liberties this show takes have gone beyond the pale. It's to the point where I don't even become annoyed, it becomes comic relief. A U.S. congressman is video Skyping with the most wanted terrorist in the world, and the greatest intelligence officials our country has to offer haven't a clue what's going on Brody's phone. Not to mention the ridiculous sight of Brody with a BlackBerry in one hand, and a magnifying glass in the other, gathering intel for Nazir off info he apparently took from The New York Times. Is this always how covert terrorist operations work?
Tierney: I was surprised (in a positive way, for once) to see Brody stripped down to his desire to avenge Issa's death and take a stand against the administration's drone strikes in Walden's study. It had been so long since we knew what Brody's true motives were, under the cloak of all the different interests he was juggling. I would really like to see the show explore whether Carrie will rat him out for killing the VP. Such a question would tie together all the various strings left hanging along the way this season: her love for Brody vs. her love of country; her mental state vs. her colleagues' confidence in her; how Brody can continue his ridiculous cover. But I have a feeling the last two episodes will blow right past that opportunity, and move on to the next absurd twist.