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What We Learned From This Week's Aggravating, Dana-Heavy Episode Of Showtime's 'Homeland'

When Langley was bombed at the end of last season, resulting in the deaths of nearly 300 people, and Nicholas Brody went on the lam and Carrie and Saul were left to pick up the pieces, the last thing I expected from a season three of Homeland was a series about Brody’s whiny, sulking daughter. What the #$@%? I’m willing to give the series some leeway in the first part of the season as it sets the table for the rest of the year, but in a show about the CIA, terrorism, and espionage, the last damn thing that I want My So-Called Life: Terrorist Dad edition. It’s mystifying, especially since the Dana storyline was the least popular among viewers in season two. Why does Homeland want to double down on Dana? Is this Kim Bauer all over again?

So Much Dana — “My Dad blew up the CIA; he killed 300 people; and it was all anybody talked about for a month and a half … what I did? [Attempt suicide] By comparison, it’s like nothing.” My sentiments, exactly, Dana. And yet, Dana’s shrink, like the show itself, insists, “It’s not nothing. It’s why were here.” Indeed, the Dana storyline takes up a good 40 percent of last night’s episode, and has seemingly nothing to do with the investigation into the Langley bombing. I’m willing, for now, to see where this goes, and how it ties into the major storyline, but I don’t see a great outcome. Dana pouts, then runs away, sneaks into the laundry room at her rehab facility, and sleeps with Leo, only to get caught by security guards the next morning.

She’s fixated on whether the bathroom was remodeled. Then she finally has it out with her mom and tells her that, because she’s banging Leo, she feels ALIVE.

But before the episode is out, she’s pulling out her Dad’s prayer rug and offering shout-outs to Allah.

How does this work into the main plotline? The two possibilities that I see are that, Leo eventually dumps her (because, duh, he was Zack in Dexter, so clearly he’s an asshole) and she takes a nasty turn toward religious extremism, or Leo has connections to the terrorist underworld and Dana ends up being abducted or used as leverage. Either way, it has all kinds of Kim Bauer echoes, meaning Alex Gansa learned nothing from 24.

The upside here, at least, is that Morgan Saylor is actually turning in a good performance for what is a thankless, annoying role so far this season.

Follow the Money — Elsewhere, Saul has brought in Fara (Nazanin Boniadi, who you may recognize from How I Met Your Mother) to investigate the the evidence that Quinn collected in the assassination and follow the money trail to see how it leads back to the Langley bombing. Going after international bankers is not one of the sexier plotlines, but putting an ambitious Muslim in charge provides some intrigue, especially one that flaunts her religion (at least, according to Saul). The fact that Fara has been on the job for only a little more than a week suggests that she could be a spy, but she certainly seems determined, and she gives good lip. “You know your bank? It’s been trafficking in human misery since the opium wars. It’s not a mistake. It’s not an aberration. That’s your business plan.”

Fara’s got moxie.

LEAVE ME ALONE — The showrunners seem hellbent on highlighting Claire Danes’ major strength as an actress: Act like a spoiled nutcase. She does an excellent job of telling the truth and undermining it with crazy.

She goes to a reporter and tries to tell her story, but Saul has her committed before she can reveal too much. Carrie, who is not on her meds, doesn’t help her case by ranting about CIA cover-ups and conspiracies. The last straw for Carrie is when Saul turns her own family against her, appropriately reasoning that CIA Agents should not be telling secrets. That’s not unreasonable. It’s a good way to get herself killed. In fact, while we don’t understand why Saul sold Carrie down the river during the Senate hearing, it’s fairly evident that he had her committed to keep Dar Adal from killing her.

I dunno, though. Carrie’s subplot seems designed more with another Emmy in mind that it does in keeping this season interesting. We already know Carrie is borderline nuts. We’ve seen it for two seasons. Do we really need to go through this ordeal again? The electroshock therapy wasn’t enough? It just seems like it’s a way to sideline Carrie, which wouldn’t be so bad if the alternative weren’t the Dana plotline.

Have a Little Faith — The most telling exchange in the episode was between Saul and Peter. I really wish Peter’s last name weren’t Quinn, because it’s hard not to equate him with Dexter’s Quinn, since both characters play a similar role: They are f*ck ups (and Quinn seems a likely future love interest for Carrie). At least, Peter Quinn is revealing a moral compass. He’s feeling guilty about accidentally killing the kid last week, and that guilt is compounded by what the CIA is doing to Carrie. Peter tells Saul that, once the mission is over, he’s out. Saul attempts to convince him that there is a master plan at play, one that benefits both the CIA and Carrie. “We’re on to something, and if it leads to where we think, it will have all been worth it.”

Will it, Saul? Will it be worth this?

—–

Body Count: 0, although Peter delivered a nearly lethal verbal beatdown on one of the bankers.

Brody Watch: We got an old picture, but that was it. However, it looks like Brody will finally be returning next week.

(Thanks to Chet Manley for the GIFs.)

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