A quick review of tonight’s “Homeland” coming up just as soon as I want it to be us and appliances…
Both Carrie and Dana re-enter mental health facilities over the course of “Uh… Oh… Ah…,” but under very different circumstances. Dana is sneaking back into a place from which she was already discharged, to have sex with the boyfriend who gave her a new reason to live. (Hands up, everyone who expects them to break up in a few episodes and Dana to go into a spiral as a result.) That storyline’s problematic, because as much as I like Morgan Saylor, Dana’s major value to the show is as a foil to her father, and Brody remains MIA. As I said last week, I appreciate the attempt to illustrate the fallout for the Brody family, but this was too much time on one character I don’t care about at all (the boyfriend) and another for whom my patience grew very thin by the end of last season.
On the other hand, Saul having Carrie committed – and getting her father and sister to at least listen to his side (which in turn made Carrie think they were completely on Team Saul) – was some powerful stuff. And what made it work so well is how you can see the influence of both Dar Adal (who wants Carrie to be a scapegoat for the Brody fiasco) and Saul himself (who can recognize what a bad emotional place his friend is in) in the decision. This isn’t just a move to protect the CIA; as played wonderfully by Claire Danes throughout this episode, Carrie is so far out of control that she would need a telescope just to recognize the faint outlines of control. Being involuntarily placed in this hospital isn’t helping her paranoia – when someone like Quinn visits her out of genuine concern for what Saul is doing, she only reads it as another CIA move against her – and the final shot of her in the lounge, so drugged up she can barely get the words “Fuck you, Saul” out of her mouth, was devastating. This feels like a situation that’s going to be very hard to repair quickly, and I sure hope the “Homeland” writers don’t attempt to try that.
As for the rest, Rupert Friend struggled with his accent an awful lot this week (it’s especially noticeable whenever he whispers, like the scene where Quinn threatens the banker), and I’m taking a wait-and-see approach on Nazanin Boniad as Fara, the CIA’s new financial expert. “24” and the shows that followed it have made The Good Muslim In A World of Extremist Terrorists into an archetype bordering on caricature, and I hope that Fara turns out to be an actual character, rather than an opportunity for Saul and others to learn about tolerance, or a suspense device where we wonder if she’s really a mole for the new enemy.
What did everybody else think? And how does it feel to be two hours into the season with no Damian Lewis?
Dana on Brody’s prayer mat: trying to connect? to understand?