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Review: Homeland - State of Independence

After last week's white-knuckle affair, the latest episode of "Homeland" returns to the state of highs and lows that we saw in the premiere. While still one of the best shows on television, there are some clearly weak elements to the overall story that were glaringly exposed in Sunday's episode.

We open with Saul fleeing Beirut, sensitive memory card in tow. Clearly, Nazir is aware of the missing piece of evidence that threatens to expose his most valuable asset, and has his bought-off intelligence officers patting down the usual suspects in search of it. It's a great red herring sequence which further cements Mandy Patinkin's character as the unsung MVP of the series.

Back stateside, Brody and Jess have an emotional moment when she finds a speech he'll be giving to injured soldiers. It's... a little awkward when a speech intended for mortally wounded veterans revolving around how her husband was ready to die prompts Jess to lead Brody into the bedroom, but there we have it. Brody's adventures in Congress and clandestine terrorist operations are again the weak point of this season.
Again, the series veers back into forehead-slapping territory as Brody tasked with helping his Abu Nazir buddies. This time around, Brody is asked to take a compromised old friend, Bassel (the tailor from the first season), to a safehouse merely a few hours away.

It's unclear whether the tailor is truly exposed and to be taken to the safehouse or if he has been given orders to kill the surely exposed Brody. The opening scene with Saul would suggest the latter, but it becomes apparent frequently that the tailor Bassell is in fear for his life, that the "safehouse" is likely six feet under.
Regardless, I have to ask: how is it a good idea to ask a highly-visible Congressman/Vice-Presidential candidate who would in reality be SURROUNDED by national security and media to take part in such a highly sensitive task?

I can forgive the lack of realism for dramatic end, but what is meant to be a suspenseful collection of scenes driving a wedge into Jess and Brody's relationship verges into outright silliness. At one point, Brody's attempt to patch the wounded tailor up is interrupted with an ill-timed phone call from his wife. The only way this could have been sillier is if Brody had texted Jess "SRY 2 BUSY 4 SPEECH. HAVE 2 KILL TLR BUDDY TTYL". The intent is clearly to expose that the marriage between Brody and Jess isn't all wine and roses, that suspicion about their respective affairs is still alive and well despite their public image of American Hero and Loving Family. But I mean, we cut from a tearful, heartfelt speech given by Jess at the fundraiser to a room full of veterans to... Brody scrubbing himself down at a car wash.

Back to the strong point of the episode, Carrie gets a nice pat on the head from Estes and is summarily kicked to the curb. Once again, the high of the mission in Beirut is crushed by her sad reality, sending Carrie off the deep end and dangerously close to a tragic end. We end the episode with essentially the same reveal, though this time with an emotional Carrie baring witness to the cathartic piece of footage. It's a redeeming scene, just not enough to put it anywhere close to last week's stellar episode.

Final Grade: B-

- Homeland
- Claire Danes
- Damian Lewis
- Mandy Patinkin
- Morena Baccarin

Written by: kyleiam
Oct 15th, 2012, 1:18 am


Message Posted On Oct 15th, 2012, 5:36 am
To the reviewer. The speech leading to the bedroom was not ackward it made it perfect sense. Further expounded upon in the Jess's speech, Brody shared something intimate and meaningful in that speech inadvertantly creating a moment of intimacy between the two of them.
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