TV

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

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.

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.

Brody, in turn, vows to get escape, despite the fact that there is a bounty on his head, and that he’s instantly recognizable, even in Venezuela. With the assistance of Esme — El Niño’s attractive daughter — Brody escapes to a mosque thinking that, because he’s Muslim, he’ll be protected. Brody is wrong. The Muslim Imam turns on Brody, and brings in the police to pick him up. The police, however, only send a couple of guys, despite the fact that Brody is THE MOST WANTED FUGITIVE ON THE PLANET. Before the authorities take him, however, the Venezuelan thugs show up again and kill the cops, the Imam, and everyone else in the immediate vicinity.

From there, they take Brody back to the high rise, lock him up in isolation, and the shady doctor leaves him some smack to help him cope. Basically, Brody is back to where he was before the series started: Being held captive in isolation, only this time, he has heroin.

Meanwhile, at the 30-minute mark, we are finally afforded a Carrie scene. Over the course of the rest of the episode, we find out that Carrie is still crazy, she may or may not be taking her lithium, and that she is willing to say anything and act in any certain way she needs to in order to escape the psych ward. She really wants to speak to Saul, thinking that if she just apologized to him and told Saul that she was OK, she could leave psychiatric care.

No dice.

Near the end of the episode, however, a lawyer working “on behalf of a partner” avails himself and offers his services in order to help Carrie get out of the psych ward. Carrie basically tells the lawyer to go screw.

At the end of the episode, we see a shot of Brody, locked up and drugged, and a separate shot of Carrie, locked up and drugged. Essentially, the writers took a full episode to tell us that Brody and Carrie are in separate, but similar circumstances: Imprisoned by people ostensibly there to help them. That’s it.

Boo. Booooooooo. BOOOOOOOOO.

So what did we learn from this episode of Homeland? Besides the fact that Brody is still alive, and locked away in Venezuela, not much. Not much at all.

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