Tag Archives: Nicholas Brody

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 “Tower of David” Review (3×03)

14 Oct

627-3

Wherever you go, people die.

Nick Brody is the reason for Homeland, but does Homeland even need him?

I’m not sure yet. The character and the actor are magnificent, but would the show have been better off if it had killed him already? There’s no way of knowing, and while I’m sure the writers can come up with something for him to do, it’s all a matter of how well they do it.

As for this episode, it’s a nice digression from the normal episode organization. The episode cuts between Brody’s and Carrie’s stories, drawing parallels between the two, albeit a bit heavy-handedly. Still, this works as a fitting end to our two main characters’ journeys, but I’m not sure if it works as an episode of this show because it’s not the end of their journeys. The show can still surprise me later, but the writers have written themselves into a hole, yet it’s one that is necessary given the road the characters have gone down. There really was no other way this could all turn out if neither died.

It’s a nice character study, that’s for sure. It’s necessary to focus on both Carrie and Brody because they’re simultaneously parallels and foils. The Tower of David represents everything Brody does not want it to be: the end of the line. In reality, it represents everything that he is: a scar that can never heal. Much like Carrie, he can’t come to terms with the fact that he’s got nowhere to go; he’s come full circle from his captivity in Iraq, now in a situation that’s strikingly similar to those miserable years. There truly is no escape, and that is exactly why this storyline can’t really sustain itself much longer, however compelling Danes and Lewis are. It’s time to bring in the aliens.

There are some intriguing scenes in this episode, though, something that seemed to be missing from the first two installments this season. First off, we have Carrie meeting a lawyer that seems to want to help her, but in reality is trying to manipulate her. She sees right through this; Carrie’s never been someone that can be manipulated by strangers, bad guys, and the like; her sharp instincts are always on in regards to those kinds of people. Where her weakness lies is with people she’s supposed to be able to trust: her own government, Saul, and even Brody to an extent. Her need to please those around her holds up blinders, not allowing her to see herself falling deeper into the hole those very people have dug.

Speaking of holes, both characters end the episode in both literal and metaphorical prisons. Brody’s been beaten down physically and emotionally; he’s the guy that always seems to survive, but hurts those around him. Now, all he can turn to is heroin. I’ve seen some grumblings around the Internet about this scene, but I believe it works; he can’t hold on any longer because he’s been holding on for years. As for Carrie, she still has a flimsy support group, but she’s only going to allow herself to work with Saul. She thinks that everyone else is out to get her. The thing is, Saul can’t risk working with her, and rightfully so.

It’s a beautiful closing shot, that’s for sure, but it’s one that suggests finality. I’m not sure where this is going. What is finality but a prison? We can always look for an escape, we can always move on, and we can never be satisfied.

GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Henry Bromell was a fantastic writer, and this is the last episode credited to him. RIP.

-No Dana this week, who’s probably off banging her boyfriend in the middle of a restaurant somewhere.

-No Jess or Chris, either. Nothing feels different. No Saul, either.

-I appreciate and respect the ambition of this episode more than I actually like it.

-Esme is like an Issa replacement. Of course, “Take me with you!” got a big groan out of me. She’s cute, though.

-I think the time with each character gets shorter as the episode goes on. It’s an interesting stylistic choice that culminates in a final quick shot of the two, and it creates a nice constricting atmosphere throughout.

-I enjoyed Brody’s captors.

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

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