Review: ‘Homeland’ – ‘Shalwar Kameez’

Senior Television Writer
10.12.14 34 Comments


A few thoughts on tonight's “Homeland” coming up just as soon as I bring doughnuts…

Last week's two-part premiere had its promising moments, and then its aggravating ones. “Shalwar Kameez” was another mix of good and bad, but the bad part is in many ways more worrisome than Carrie and Frannie's bathtub misadventure, because they speak more to the ongoing creative direction of the show.

Specifically, there is everyone at the CIA trying to drum it into Peter Quinn's thick skull that many of his problems are the result of him being madly in love with Carrie. Quinn keeps insisting, rightly, that this is ridiculous, but the number of people telling him otherwise – and the way that he reluctantly agrees to join Carrie in Islamabad, even though he is well aware of how deep his PTSD runs – make clear that the “Homeland” writers do not agree with him, and that we are heading for some kind of dysfunctional love story between Carrie and Quinn.

This is a reminder that so many of the series' missteps have come as a result of the creative team prioritizing the Carrie/Brody “romance” above all else. The Quinn talk here makes me think that the writers now think that love is such a fundamental ingredient to the show that they have to manufacture it out of thin air between their leading lady and the only age-appropriate male left in the cast(*).

(*) At least if it was Virgil, I might go along. Sadly, Virgil does not tag along with Max on the trip to Islamabad.

Carrie's arrival in Islamabad is more of a mixed bag. On the one hand, she's a horrible manager of people, and in her interactions with both her new staff and the ambassador, she frequently comes across more like Angela Chase than like somebody the CIA would entrust to run anything, let alone one of the most pivotal stations in the world. (Yes, she blackmailed Lockhart into getting the post, but he had already placed her in charge of two previous stations.) On the other hand, she successfully sets up the parallel station with Fara and Max, impressing Saul in the bargain; the scene where she basks in his praise is the most satisfying character moment she's had in forever.

Like I said last week, I'm bowing out of weekly “Homeland” reviews going forward. If they do something great, or something awful – both of which are possible with this show at any moment – I'll check in, but that's it.

What did everybody else think? You excited about Carrie and Quinn's romance, or terrified?

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