“F–ck Yoouu, Saauul” – Carrie Mathison
Synopsis: Saul gets grouchy while following the money trail for those responsible for the attack on Langley. Elsewhere, Quinn has Carrie’s back and reminds us that he’s licensed to kill. Dana tries to out-adult Charlie from Revolution.
1. Dana’s Pursuit of Happiness was intimately explored throughout the episode with some satisfying results. It was interesting to see her deal with the overbearing scrutiny of her clueless, out of touch mother. The prospect of a repeat suicide attempt was never really there, but it was useful to see her revisit the scene of self-harm, serving this time as a touchstone for her desire to live. From tragedy, new hope has risen, and it’s interesting to compare her love affair to that of Carrie and Brody, although it does feel a bit forced. Is Leo really her true love salvation, or is Dana just an emotional survivor? Is there a difference in the Homeland universe? And what of Dana’s feelings towards her father, was she embracing or letting go while kneeling on her dad’s prayer mat? Questions, questions. I still have serious doubts about this storyline and its centrality, and Dana can be really annoying, but that’s not to say aspects didn’t contain merit.
2. Carrie Fighting Back. That’s exactly what I expect from our Carrie. While it was crushing to see her spirit crushed further by The Big Lie, this kind of extreme pressure should ultimately serve her and the story well. It was important to hear Carrie acknowledge that medicating dulls her senses, makes her less able to “see”. Like a superheroine stripped of her night vision (or something), even though that ability itself is like Kryptonite to her. Carrie’s internal/external imbalance remains one of the most compelling aspects of Homeland, if not the most. Now, with her physical and mental walls closing in even further, it only heightens the obstacles in her path and makes me root for her more in a way that doesn’t feel wholly contrived. Extra points to Claire Danes for that incredible chin quiver at the end. If chin quivers could kill..
3. Two Quinns Are Better Than One. He’s always been a bit of an aloof character, but here we see him emerge as both Carrie’s only ally and as the CIA’s best rottweiler in her absence, while also wagging a disapproving finger at Saul. These extremes of Quinn at least make him sort of interesting. I question how much he really cares about Tin Man’s son, but at least we have hooks into a potentially interesting aspect of the character. What does guilt really mean to Quinn and how exactly will he ‘handle it’?
1. Better Not Call Saul. Put people in difficult situations and you’ll see what they’re really made of. This seems to be true of Saul, who is beginning to make me question whether he was ever a moralistic lens at all. The way he attacked Fara over her head scarf was ridiculous and opened up an ugly side of his character. Irrespective of the pressure he’s under. He’s not only thrown Carrie under The Big Lie Bus but he’s prejudiced now too. Ugly, Saul. Within the context of the story, however, it should be interesting to see where we’re going with Saul. That’s not to say he was an angel, claims to be one or needs to be one, but it allows me to perhaps see him in a new, more realistic, light. Who is Saul Berenson, really? I’m interested to find out.
1. Playing Away From Home-Land. I appreciate the more measured, character-focused approach to this season, but there are degrees in everything. As such, I found this episode a bit dull at times. Within the positive character stuff, I was waiting for more bite that simply didn’t come. There’s a lack of overarching threat that might not serve this show well in the long run and Carrie wasn’t on my screen often enough. If Homeland can better marry character and epic plot, we’d really be onto something. Until then, it’s a bit hit and miss.
2. Dana Tell Me She Has To Be So Central. As noted above, Dana’s story in this episode wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, but it also carries the kind of melodrama that I often find off-putting, especially in a world where there are more interesting characters and events. I found myself questioning how much investment I should place in her troubles (I mean, really!) and I seriously question whether she needs to be thiscentral. Character development is appreciated, but when the focus starts turning away from those who really make the show tick then it starts to take away from the show in the long run. In other words, a Dana Dial Down might be in order if it’s not too late already.
3. Broken Saul. It remains to be seen whether Saul is ‘better’ as an obnoxious character. It perhaps serves where the writers want to take the story and could ultimately reveal a more truthful picture of the character. But there were moments in this episode were I felt certain actions surrounding his character were less than organic.
4. Come Back Brody, I missed you. Last episode was last episode. I felt the weight of his absence here. Perhaps it was the lack of a really tense and implausible office scene, but for a show that might eventually pull the trigger on Teflon Man, this isn’t such a good thing. Probably don’t have to worry about this for too long, but even when he comes back, it’s going to interesting to see how connected his story becomes.
8/10 Seriable Stars