I know, I know. I said I would be posting Homeland theories every week but I’ve been so frustrated with this season I just haven’t felt any inspiration, other than seeing Quinn (past Monday Man Candy, Rupert Friend) in the shower of course. Why have I been so frustrated you ask, let’s recap.
In general, this season has been pretty boring with a couple of peaks surrounded by a lot of really low valleys. First of all, I don’t care about Dana, Leo, or Jessica, and does Chris even exist anymore? We get it Homeland, as you kindly reminded us during a moment of viewer frustration, Dana is Brody’s moral tether. But did we really need to see her running away with Leo only to discover that he’s a sociopath responsible for his brother’s suicide? No. I get that it was to show Dana’s growth into a pessimistic adult and it led to her exiting the Brody home, but nobody cares!
Secondly, the pregnancy. Can we just not?
Lastly, what many considered the highlight of the season was the jaw-dropping twist that Carrie and Saul had been working together during the first few episodes. The plan was to make it seem like she was ousted by the CIA and available to act as a double agent to lure Iranian bad-guy, Javadi, into their grasp. Turn’s out Saul wasn’t throwing Carrie under the bus at all, she was driving said bus. I agree, this was an excellent twist but it kind of pissed me off. Since the first season, we’ve had the luxury of experiencing Homeland from Carrie’s point of view; her damaged and messed up point of view. But she’s our protagonist so no matter the incident, I’ve always been on Carrie’s side. When the larger plan was revealed and I realized that Carrie had tricked ME, the faithful viewer, it hurt! I felt like I couldn’t trust the show anymore. I’ve never trusted like 90% of the characters anyway, but I always felt like I could trust Carrie.
Regardless of my gripes and complaints, it seems the series is finally finding its footing in this season’s last act. Arguably the best episode aired Sunday night; let’s discuss what made it great:
1. Brody and Carrie
As much as I would like for it to happen for storytelling purposes, this week’s episode proved that it would be impossible for Homeland to kill off Brody. Every episode prior felt slow and uneventful. The second Carrie and Brody appeared on-screen together, in which was a full minute of painful silence, the tension and chemistry catapulted the show into another atmosphere. These two sizzle on-screen together and I can’t help but wonder if the earlier episodes felt so agonizing because of the lack of Carrie/Brody time.
2. We learn Saul’s full plan
As previously stated, Carrie and Saul worked together to turn Javadi, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard by proving he had committed treason. Now he’s back in Iran, supposedly acting as a double agent. Saul wants to use Brody to take out Javadi’s boss or “the single greatest impediment of peace,” says Saul. The idea is that Brody will be welcomed into Iran for his actions against the United States. He will be treated as a war hero (sound familiar?) and invited into boss-man’s inner circle. He’ll use this invitation to kill boss-man and then be extracted by a four-member team in a small city outside Tehran. From there, Javadi will climb the ranks and take boss-man’s place, allowing for Iran-United States relations to finally lead to peace negotiations instead of war.
The plan is a little too “make peace not war” for me. It’s too idealistic. It puts too much faith in Javadi who we saw murder his ex-wife with a bottleneck a few weeks ago. I agree with Carrie, it’s reaching, but at least we’re in the loop now.
3. Brody is back-back
Not only is Brody back, he’s back-back. After hitting what was surely rock bottom earlier this season, he’s now in probably the best shape we’ve ever seen him. As a key part of Saul’s plan, it is important for Brody to be drug free and in excellent condition. After a drug-induced detox, he begins training with a special ops team and after sixteen days, he’s in his best physical and mental state. It was great seeing such a tortured and scattered character actually motivated and focused.
Saul so easily looped Brody into his master plan, fellow Rock Paper Watch writer Ashley Foster brought an interesting theory to my attention: Is it possible that Brody has been manipulated by Saul since the very beginning? Like back to his days as a Marine, was he intentionally a POW to get in with Abu Nazir? I don’t think Saul would have condoned the death of the Vice President but its still interesting to consider. I call this the Homeland-complex, trust no one.
4. A few season one shout outs
During Brody’s detox-induced hallucinations, Tom Walker and Abu Nazir made special appearances. Did anyone else feel like this was Homeland saying, “Hey guys, remember these characters? Back with the show was really good?” It made me sentimental for season one and reminded me of everything Brody’s been through, making me feel protective of his character for the rest of the episode and probably the rest of the season.
5. Max and Virgil doing Max and Virgil things
Y’all, I love Max and Virgil. They’re like the Batman and Robin of Homeland. Maybe, Black Widow and Hawkeye from The Avengers is a better comparison since they’re more sideline characters, but whatever. Virgil is definitely Black Widow. Whenever Carrie or Saul has a plan, they are always available for the dirty work. Even though Virgil often questions Carrie’s motives, they usually follow her blindly and there’s something very sweet about that. This week, they were at Saul’s beck and call, sweeping Saul and Dar Adal’s homes for bugs. Max discovers the fishy computer mouse planted by Alan Bernard, Mira’s former lover—leading to our next point.
6. Saul is gonna make Lockhart his bitch
Alan Bernard, turns out, is an Israeli intelligence officer and is currently working for the great Senator Lockhart! With evidence in-hand, Saul goes after Lockhart requesting more time so he can finish this mission in return for not releasing the images and ending Lockhart’s career. Lockhart agrees to the terms after asking Saul why not release the images and permanently keep his position as the head of the CIA. Saul’s response, “Because it would humiliate my wife, Senator, and because it would damage the agency.” That’s the big difference between these two men. Lockhart doesn’t understand that they agency needs protecting; he sees this job as a simple change of power. Something tells me this blackmail isn’t over, is it possible that Lockhart will act as a puppet at the head of the CIA and Saul will continue to pull the strings?
7. Brody’s sidekicks
How awesome is Brody’s special ops team? Their patience during training, and relentlessness during his detox warmed my heart. And how adorable was it when the doctor one quizzed Brody on his relationship with Carrie? I don’t know, camaraderie always gives me warm and fuzzies. I hope we see a lot more of them in the upcoming episodes.
But what about Quinn?
Everyone’s favorite black-ops agent was pretty much missing this episode. He had one scene with Saul, Dal Adal, Max, and Virgil when they were discussing how to deal with Alan Bernard and Senator Lockhart. He had one line, “what would you like me to do?” Hold your horses Quinn, no need to shoot anyone in the arm. His little screen time in the episode proved to me that the showrunners don’t quite now how he fits the story with Brody back. I hope this doesn’t continue moving forward, he’s been the best part of Homeland lately.
What do you think of Homeland this season? Are you sick of any storylines? What are your predictions for Saul’s plan? Did you miss Brody? Should we write a petition for more Quinn shower scenes?