Tag Archives: Dar Adal Homeland

Homeland “Good Night” Review (3×10)

2 Dec

Homeland-Good-NightI like how simple this episode is. It isn’t trying to do too much; it’s just a straightforward spy/suspense story, and while it obviously isn’t perfect, it strikes a nice balance between the character moments and the (still implausible but entertaining) operation. Homeland’s strength is taking us through these specific set pieces, a la The Weekend and Q&A.

Anyway–and I’ve said this ever since the inception of the storyline–this Brody arc is really implausible. So what, he’s just going to traipse into Iran with no plan and just kill the head of the Revolutionary Guard? Sounds fun. When Brody’s car essentially gets sliced in half, we don’t expect him to survive, but we do because we know he won’t die here (if that makes a lick of sense). Also–and this will be my final gripe about this–I find his quick turnaround into the badass Marine again a bit contrived.

Of course, the show’s yet again found some way to make this entertaining. The whole shootout sequence is very well shot for a nighttime scene, and when the episode strays away from the operation, there isn’t any forced political intrigue by way of an evil Senator Lockhart; although there’s a tension simmering between everyone, their actions here seem realistic and the interactions don’t seem all that meandering.

As for Carrie, I do think the Brody-Carrie stuff does have some good aspects, save for of course that awful “We have to abort!” line. I don’t think it descends into soap opera shenanigans TOO much here because 1) they play equally off of Carrie seeing the Marine in Brody as seeing the Lover in Brody and 2) Carrie realizes the “I have faith” line is bullshit and just a fantasy. Fantasy is Carrie’s greatest flaw, and it’s nice to see her recognize it here.

Carrie still does mind-numbingly stupid things, but this episode also helps reflect a bit of why she’s good, what with her manipulation of Fara. It’s not enough in the grand scheme of things, yes, but she and Patinkin are just able to sell her arc in this episode.

All in all, it’s another solid outing that has me looking forward to the final two episodes.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-The pregnancy stuff is as bad as I thought it would be; I find it hilarious that people have to keep reminding her of it: “So this operation is going to involve this and this and OH YOU HAVE A BABY INSIDE OF YOU!”

-I half expected Carrie to blow up in the conference room and start telling everyone the baby actually is Brody’s. “Look at this ultrasound, world!” she says, waving it in front of Saul’s face and pointing out the red hair she scribbled on it with marker.

-For some reason, every time they cut to Carrie or Saul chewing the gum, I got really annoyed.

-After the other guy went “I don’t have kids, you dumbass!”, I fully expected Brody to go “Yeah, same here.”

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

Homeland “Game On” Review (3×04)

21 Oct

627-11Just a few quick bullets coming up…

-So, the show finally has a direction now. With the reveal at episode’s end, we can finally kick the season into high gear.

-I’m not sure how I feel about the actual reveal, though. It’s implausible and, quite frankly, ridiculous, and it reeks of the writers playing a game with the audience. They had to come up with something to kick-start the season, and it seems almost as if they expect the twist to justify everything that’s happened so far and the audience to completely like Carrie/Saul again, even if it shouldn’t. The dynamic between the two has changed, and we need to see that later on; this season held off far too long on the expanding on Saul and Carrie’s relationship.

-On the other hand, the plot twist is necessary. The writers wrote themselves into a hole, and it’s intriguing where we’re going next. I don’t buy this being the plan all along, as Alex Gansa implied in a recent interview, but we’ll see where we go next.

-I’ve seen grumblings that if Carrie knew the plan, why she acts like she doesn’t: banging her head, refusing to meet with the lawyer, finding out her accounts have been frozen. Some of these I find strange, but it’s also very realistic that if she’s placed in a mental hospital, she’ll lash out. She actually has to deal with all this crap even though she really isn’t dealing with it, and she eventually questions whether or not the plan is real. That final scene is one in which she tries to find reassurance.

-No matter whether you like the plot twist or not, I’m sure we can all agree that the final scene is wonderful just for Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes alone. Fantastic work there for them both. The fundamental relationship of this show really isn’t Brody-Carrie at all; Saul’s the one that’s always been there for her, the one that’s necessary to her being. Brody’s more like a drug, someone Carrie gets pulled in by and can never escape from.

-I’m enjoying Saul and Fara’s dynamic, and I like how it’s incorporating the (not present in this episode) Brody into the proceedings. He’s connected to the home front, and it’s interesting to see where his character goes next.

-Saul’s using Dar Adal.

-Dana and Leo are now driving off to cemeteries to recite poetry. Jeez, this is terrible. I sense the writers are drawing parallels: Dana as Carrie, Leo as Brody to Dana and Saul to Carrie. However, Dana’s inherently more interesting when she’s interacting with those involved in the main plot. Hopefully she punts him off a bridge sometime in the season.

-Mike is here. Whatever.

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

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.

%d bloggers like this: