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Homeland “Halfway to a Donut” Review (4×08)

16 Nov

Homeland - Episode 4.08 - Halfway to a Donut - Promotional Photos

“Nothing good can happen.”

It’s a cynical worldview, but in this line of work, it’s certainly hard to find much fault with that line of reasoning. Overall, the nation may benefit, but Homeland is oftentimes concerned with the ramifications of this type of work on individuals, on the people carrying out and participating in the fight. In the end, loyalties will be tested, lines will be crossed, and people will be lost, and people like Carrie Mathison will simply have to soldier on.

Carrie’s seeming collectedness throughout–Danes finds a nice balance between that collectedness and the demeanor of someone about to come unhinged–stands in direct contrast to what we’ve seen of her ever since Aayan was gunned down by Haqqani. It also reflects a changed Carrie, someone who finally sees the twisted ironies in the entire situation, someone who’s come around to Quinn’s view of their line of work. “How can saving someone’s life be the wrong choice?” she asks.

So, the episode certainly has some thematic resonance, and we get another instance of irony when we find out that it’s the U.S.’s drone that was used by the Taliban to locate Saul. However, more importantly, this is yet another really exciting, tense episode that features some wonderful performances. For the first time in what seems like forever, Mandy Patinkin gets some juicy material to sink his teeth into, and he does it like only he can. We see how resolute and strong-willed he can be, but we also see a Saul Berenson who’s trapped, who’s in a position very different from what we’ve seen from him before, who would rather kill himself than fall back into the clutches of Haissam Haqqani.

We also see a Saul who shares an indelible history with Carrie Mathison. The writers utilize our knowledge of that history to make the climactic sequence of the episode even more harrowing, even more intense, and it’s Homeland season 4 at its best. The moment in which Saul, out of sight, screams “YOU LIED TO ME!” is scary and heartbreaking, and Patinkin flexes his acting chops once more.

The episode also nicely cuts between that sequence and a scene in which U.S. and Pakistani representatives sneer at each other across a table. Lockhart is becoming more entertaining every week, and it’s interesting to note that here, he and Carrie are more clearly on the same side than they’ve ever been. It also seems as if someone from across the table–Aasar Khan–may turn out to be helpful. After all, he gives up Dennis Boyd as the person who switched out Carrie’s pills, and that’s where we stand as we head into next week.

Homeland is on a roll, and that’s very nice to see.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-That shot of the city lights against the night sky near the end is gorgeous. Great cinematography during that final scene in the rain, as well.

-Quinn’s not getting much to do this season, is he? At the beginning of the season, I certainly thought he would have quite a prominent role.

-That is some great cell service they got up there in the hills of Pakistan. I guess that’s just the power of Saul’s beard or something.

-I was afraid the show would spend half the episode talking about Brody or something. I’m glad I was wrong.

-We’re a long way from season one, and it’s good that the show is finally realizing that no, it cannot be the complex psychological character study it was back then. Homeland is reinventing itself as an exciting spy thriller, and it’s better off for it; it has a great momentum going here into the final third of the season.

Photo credit: Showtime, Homeland

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2 Responses to “Homeland “Halfway to a Donut” Review (4×08)”

  1. JustMeMike November 17, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    I thought it was the best episode of the season.

    We are certainly in agreement that the irony is that the very technology used in pursuit of the aims of the Americans is the very one which led to Saul’s recapture. I liked your remark about the ‘unbelievable’ cell service up there in the hills. And two – why haven’t the Ops people figured out that their eye-in-the-sky is a double edged sword which cuts two ways,

    While I liked that Aasir Khan has decided to be helpful – there’s still the question of why. We can look forward to him becoming a person in peril too. As for the last scene with Carrie and Khan – he called her, in the middle of the night and asked her to meet him (presumably to give up Dennis Boyd),

    Then he almost walks off without doing so. Carrie saved the situation by softening her stance. But I’m thinking – she had to trust him. If she had been lured out – ‘to be assassinated’ it would have happened immediately. Which is a bit crazy to even contemplate because she had already bee in Khan’s hands, both literally as well as figuratively. Since it didn’t go down like that – she should have been more amenable from the jump.

    Hasn’t Sunday night become all too crowded? Between Madam Secretary which I had to break off at 9:00 in order to watch The Newsroom which is in conflict with Homeland, then there’s The Good Wife at 10:00.

    I ended up watching Homeland on Monday morning, and completing Madam Secretary after that.

    • polarbears16 November 17, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

      Oh yes, Sunday has always been crowded. I guess that’s what happens when all the premium cable channels schedule all their shows on Sunday.

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