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Homeland “Separation Anxiety” Review (5×01)

4 Oct

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“All that suffering, and nothing changes.”

It’s the sad truth about espionage and terrorism: it’s a perpetual cycle of suffering and violence and death, a slow-changing situation in which our enemies are willing to do whatever it takes to kill us. And like Quinn bitterly asks near the beginning of the episode, “What strategy?” What exactly are we doing? We seem to be avoiding the brutal truths of foreign intervention, convincing ourselves that we’re always doing good work and always holding our people in the highest regard. In the end, though, people are going to get hurt, and the question becomes whether it’s worth it or not. What Homeland understands is that this battle against terrorism seeps into every little crevice of the government, that what we’re left with is an institution that sometimes behaves in similar manners as its enemies.

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Homeland “Long Time Coming” Review (4×12)

21 Dec

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“Let’s face it: not every choice we make is blessed with moral clarity.”

After three months of wonderful buildup, Homeland closes its season with a meandering finale that focuses on the worst aspect of the show: Carrie’s problems at home. Now, don’t get me wrong; that was fairly well handled early on in the show, but recently, it has become extremely derivative and grating. To close out such an exciting and compelling season like this is disappointing, to say the least.

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Homeland “Krieg Nicht Lieb” Review (4×11)

14 Dec

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“He will never get out. It makes him feel better to say he will, but then he goes back to doing what he does best.”

Once you’re in it, you’re never coming out, and so it goes with intelligence agencies, with cycles of violence, with foreign conflicts in general. Quinn’s story is one of a single individual attempting to enact justice wherever he feels like he must, but he also encapsulates the United States’s situation perfectly: he attempts to convince himself that he’s going to escape the game, but in the end, he keeps getting pulled back into conflicts perpetuated by our foreign policies. His own moral code chips away at him because he knows it’s inherently flawed, but when something huge happens–like Fara’s death–he awakens from his stupor and decides to go full on Jack Bauer. “There’s a Taliban flag waving over my head, and I can’t let that stand.”

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Homeland “13 Hours in Islamabad” Review (4×10)

8 Dec

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“There comes a point where you’re no longer responsible.”

“I’m not there yet.”

This season of Homeland has seemed intent on exploring the ramifications of spy work, the consequences that can result from drone strikes and failed diplomacy and a rapidly increasing death toll. The effects we’ve seen have been mainly psychological, but in “13 Hours in Islamabad”, Haissam Haqqani and his men bring the physical pain by shooting up a building that’s all about diplomatic relations, taking and killing hostages, and obtaining a list of assets to murder. The CIA usually carries out its missions in secret, behind closed doors, but now, Haqqani is forcing his way in.

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Homeland “There’s Something Else Going On” Review (4×09)

23 Nov

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“This is not who we are. This is not who you are.”

There’s an inherent contradiction in the War on Terror, a hypocrisy present in the “us vs. them” mentality stressed multiple times by Carrie in “There’s Something Else Going On”. “You think we behave badly?” she asks Dennis Boyd as she’s playing the Sandy video. “Well, this is how the other side behaves.” Later, as she’s pleading with Saul to get up, she spits out a damning “You sound like them!” However, what she doesn’t realize–or chooses not to acknowledge–is the fact that her own government’s actions are oftentimes no better than the actions of the other side. As a result, this is all a never-ending, screwed up mess of a situation, and it is almost impossible to take the moral high ground.

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

16 Nov

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“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.

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Homeland “Redux” Review (4×07)

10 Nov

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“Go ahead, say it. I sent him to his death.”

“We all did.”

When Quinn and Carrie clashed earlier in the season about the necessities of the job and about whether the end justifies the means, the former was the one who began to go off the deep end. Now, however, it has all circled back around to Carrie Mathison, and the abrupt crumbling of her earlier plan brings with it a world of confusion and pain and desperation.

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Homeland “From A to B and Back Again” Review (4×06)

2 Nov

Homeland - Episode 4.06 - From A to B and Back Again - Synopsis + Promotional Photos

“Take the shot.”

Before Aayan Ibrahim is gunned down in this episode, the story seems to be going in the direction we expect it to go: Aayan will find some way to stay alive, Carrie will continue to juggle her feelings for him a la Brody, and Haqqani will elude the Americans until somewhere around episode twelve. However, that’s not the case, and Aayan’s death is the jumpstart this season needs moving forward.

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Homeland “About a Boy” Review (4×05)

26 Oct

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“You’re the only family I have.”

The thing about Carrie Mathison is that for all her intelligence, for all her abilities to manipulate and extract the truth and expose who she wants to expose, she oftentimes gets in over her head emotionally. We saw it with Brody, and we’re now definitely seeing it with Aayan as well; she’s excellent when it comes to drawing him in, but at the same time, she may not realize that she’s drawing herself in, too.

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Homeland “Iron in the Fire” Review (4×04)

19 Oct

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“What I need is your help, not your goddamn foot on the brake.”

We’ve seen time and time again that Carrie Mathison throws herself into her work, that she’ll oftentimes do anything it takes to come out on top and to complete her mission. She’s faced the consequences of her stubbornness before, but she’s also been able to get results, and this season places her in a position in which the main opposition she would face–Washington–is an ocean away. This is all, simply put, her element, and the question being asked is: How far will she go? Whether that question still interests the audience is left up to us.

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