“I wont do that. I wont throw Carrie under the bus” – Saul
- Time-jump: At times they can feel more like a convenience – an excuse to reset a tangled mess – but the 58 day leap forward made sense within the context of the story. Importantly, we’re still in at the deep end and the impact of the attack is very present throughout.
- Oil Change: This was indeed a quieter start to a Homeland season, but it worked. At times last season the show became too haphazard for my liking, too unbelievable even within its own hyper-reality. For the most part “Tin Man Is Down” successfully reigned things in, put the world back on a more even keel, while Carrie and the CIA’s world hung by a thread.
- Aftermath: It’s pleasing to learn that Homeland still has a story to tell beyond the at times melodramatic love story. The follow-up to the Langley attack and the largely internal follow-through raised some intriguing questions and placed our heroes, namely Carrie and Saul, in compromising positions. How will Carrie handle being thrown under the bus by Saul? How will his new role change the man who has, for the most part, represented the second moral lens of the show? Can the CIA really be booted out of business? What would grow in its place?
- Gifted/Cursed: The season looks set to further explore the question of Carrie’s genius and that’s a very good thing in my book. Last season she was on her medication and probably wasn’t at her best. It elevates the ongoing question – does she have to embrace her ‘crazy’ and all its pitfalls to operate at her full potential? What are the personal and professional consequences of such a choice going forward? And is it really a choice once you’ve kissed the sky, however detrimental? Within all of that there’s the still-open Brody issue, the inevitable self-blame, the quest for redemption (for her and Brody), and the ultimate betrayal. She’s going to need to be at her best (or perhaps worst) to get through all of that.
- Consequences. This episode is packed with them, in fact it’s one big consequence. But I enjoyed some of the incremental events our characters had to deal with; Carrie’s betrayal by Saul (as mentioned), Quinn shooting first asking questions later; and Saul’s preparedness to give the kill order more for points than actual results.
- Genre Blend: While it was a quieter start it was nice to see the show blending the conspiracy, political, drama, thriller and spy-action pot – if it can continue to fuse these genres together in interesting ways then it should help the show feel fresh and give it added scope where needed.
- The Smile II: Last season’s premiere ended with a wickedly broken smile from Carrie. This time round it ends with a broken Carrie, smiling in utter disbelief at Saul’s betrayal. Intentional or not, it a nice contrast of where we now find our hero.
- Does anyone care about Dana’s love life? Haven’t we been here before? Life goes on, and we want the story to move forward in interesting, relevant ways, I just hope this isn’t a retread, and I hope the kid from Dexter has a more satisfying arc than he did on Dexter.
- I think it’s worth seeing how the Brodys are holding up, especially since Brody is still in play, but it wasn’t the most captivating catch-up. Their story inevitably feels detached and I could do without grandma. I do want to see where it’s going since I’d like to think it will bear fruit, but I’m not invested in their lives at this point and find them unsympathetic at the best of times.
- I wasn’t a fan of Abu Nazir’s arc last season, not least because it felt unsatisfying and a little ridiculous, even within the slightly tilted Homeland universe. However, while I still believe that arc and resolution could have been more satisfying, “Tin Man Down” makes his actions appear a more relevant and consequential. It brings his ‘sacrifice’ into focus a bit more now that it’s sparked an ‘internal war’ within the US government (though granted, the bomb itself perhaps contributed more to that).
- I didn’t miss Brody, which can be viewed as both a positive and negative (though I look upon it mostly as mostly a good thing). On the plus side, his presence was still felt through characters and events which maintained my interest. But I do wonder whether not missing him also has something to do with the implausibility of his arc last season? Time will tell.
9/10 Seriable Stars
Best Performer: Claire Danes (Carrie)
To be continued…