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What We Learned From This Week’s Painfully Dull Episode Of ‘Homeland’

By 10.14.13

Episode

If the purpose of “Tower of David,” the third episode of Homeland’s third season, was to make us actually miss Dana Brody, then consider it a wild success. /BRING BACK DANA. This episode was an absolute snoozer that imparted in 55 minutes the same amount of information it could’ve delivered in ten minutes. On the heels of a season in which the Homeland showrunners, Alex Gansa and Howard Shore, chewed through too much plot too quickly, they are clearly overcorrecting in response to fan reaction. Either that, or this is another case of Showtime executives meddling.

Executives: “There’s not enough Brody this season. Why don’t you devote an entire episode to him.”

Writers: “Well, but, you see, we can illustrate everything we need to say about Brody in half an act. Tops. HE SHOULDN’T EVEN BE ON THIS SHOW ANYMORE. Remember, we tried to kill him off already. TWICE.”

Executives: “OK, well how about this? Just stretch out that five-minute sequences into a 45 minute sequence. And then button it with a heavy-handed parallel with Carrie, and make sure to do so in such a way that even the dumbest Homeland viewer will understand.”

God, I miss Breaking Bad.

The first 30 minutes of last night’s episode were devoted exclusively to Brody and his re-entrance into the series, while the last 25 minutes were split between Brody and Carrie, although even then, the screen time heavily favored Brody. This shouldn’t be a bad thing. Brody is an compelling, sympathetic character, played by the brilliant Damian Lewis, and because we don’t know where Brody has been since escaping the United States after the Langley bombing, you’d think there’d plenty to catch up on.

Not so much, it turns out.

We’re never provided any information about where Brody has been since fleeing the United States. We pick it up in Caracas, Venezuela, where a man we don’t know with no known motive has Brody in the back of his truck, driving him to a group of Venezuelan gangsters, led by a man named El Niño, who fits the every stereotype you’d associate with a guy named El Niño.

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Brody has two bullets in his gut, and a $10 million bounty on his head — dead or alive. But El Niño has no interest in turning Brody in and collecting the money. He knows Carrie Mathison. How? We have no idea. All we know is that the gangsters take Brody back to an unfinished high-rise full of squatters in Caracas, set him up with a shady, underground surgeon, and treat his wounds. Brody’s healing process — which could’ve been edited into a 30-second musical montage set to “Eye of the Bengali Tiger” — is dragged out until the show’s 30-minute mark, at which point El Niño and his henchman locate the man who shot and robbed Brody and then throw him off the high rise, much to Brody’s dismay.

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