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Homeland “Tin Man Is Down” Review (3×01)

30 Sep

627-1Consequence is a tricky subject to tackle. What exactly should we be punished for? How should we be punished? To what extent should a government that has let a terrorist slip out under its nose be punished? Homeland asks all these questions in a contemplative, melancholy season 3 premiere that completely scraps the frenetic pace of Season 2.

This is no doubt a good route to take, as last season descended into a world of plot contrivances that soured many peoples’ opinions of the show. We left off with Brody on the run, the CIA in pieces, and David Estes and Abu Nazir dead. The premiere, naturally, deals with the fallout of this mess; there are Congressional hearings and detrimental effects abound.

On the CIA front, Carrie is now the scapegoat, taking the full brunt of the blame for Brody’s escape. Danes is still magnificent here, conveying so much pain and guilt in just a few looks. Mathison’s own government has now turned on her; she’s not fighting for some hidden cause, and she can’t ever have the hope of being the hero anymore. This is Carrie’s biggest fear: having nothing to fight for but herself. She can continue to protest Brody’s innocence, but not even her closest ally has the luxury of listening to her. She’s truly trapped.

We also see the effects of the bombing on Saul, who’s now been promoted to head of the CIA. He’s now a much harder character that is slowly descending into a pit of darkness. Whereas before, he was mainly motivated by a sense of loyalty to his institution, he’s now spurred on by revenge. He seems defeated and determined all at once. There’s a wonderful dichotomy between Saul and Dar Adal, an intelligence operative that pressures Saul to cut ties with Carrie. Saul’s being backed into a corner here, much like with Carrie.

On the home front is where the episode mainly stumbles. Jess, Dana, and Chris were absolutely essential in season 1, as they represented one side of Brody’s moral dilemma. It was fascinating to watch the family slowly succumb to the pressures of his occupation and ultimate decisions, but now, the question arises of how interesting the family is without Brody. Sure, showing the aftermath is important, but we don’t exactly feel a connection with Dana or Jess (no one cares about Chris), and more importantly, we don’t feel their connection to Brody. Baccarin and Saylor are great actresses, but they don’t have much to work with. Still, I’m not going to be one of those people that blasts the scenes dealing with the consequences because they’re as much a part of the show as the juicy stuff.

a_610x408This is a show about how personal relationships are affected by a impersonal problems. Last year, like it or not, the Brody-Carrie relationship was essential to the show, both thematically and plot-based. Season 3 smartly removes Brody from the equation early on, but the question of whether he should still be on the show remains. Still, if season 1 suggests anything, it suggests that the guys behind Homeland can create a compelling character piece with spy undertones. Season 3 starts off slow, but hopefully it’s on the right track.

Grade: B-

Other thoughts:

-So Quinn is still here. His scenes feel a little shoehorned in, and I hope his character is expanded on later.

-Dana tried to commit suicide, and she now has a new boyfriend. I really hope we don’t go down another hit and run type storyline this season.

-Oh, how I miss the Carrie-Brody “The Weekend” dynamics.

-There’s an interesting new CIA agent played by Nazanin Boniadi.

-So, how’s Brody going to return? Hopefully he jumps out of Saul’s beard or something. Speaking of, nice beard-off between Saul and Adal.

Credit to Showtime and Homeland for all pictures. I own nothing.

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2 Responses to “Homeland “Tin Man Is Down” Review (3×01)”

  1. JustMeMike September 30, 2013 at 4:10 am #

    Still assembling my own thoughts. I missed the 9:00 PM screening and had to catch it at 11:05. The show just ended and now it is 12:08.

    Thanks for your well thought out and well reasoned review of Homeland – 03 x 01.

    jmm

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