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‘Homeland’ season 3 premiere – React to Saul’s big reveal and Quinn’s big mistake

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Y’all, that Homeland premiere.

Instead of recapping the entire episode, RPW is trying something a little different with Homeland.  We realize that Homeland is one of those shows you can’t help but watch and ask, “okay, where is this going? what can happen next?”  Each week, we will be discussing our theories, no matter how outlandish, and providing an in-depth look into the episode.  Now, with that out of the way, let’s dive in!  If you haven’t seen this week’s Homeland stop reading, SPOILER ALERT!

The episode was cleverly titled ‘Tin Man is Down’ and we eventually found out that Tin Man is the codename for Quinn’s target in Caracas.  Initially, Quinn did not pursue his target because there was a child present.  Quinn’s inaction means that Saul must act — should they continue with just five targets, or trust Quinn to take down his target so they have all six, or abort the mission all together?  In the days leading up to the op, we see Saul twiddling his thumbs, unsure of whether to pursue the mission.  To really drive the point home, Saul has several discussions with his wife about his constant indecisiveness.  Now, Saul is forced to make a decision under enormous amounts of pressure while Quinn waits patiently for his instructions.  It’s an interesting juxtaposition to see a man who has spent days emotionally deliberating over a decision, weighing all the pros and cons versus a man who acts without emotion or thought — a Tin Man, if you will — that needs his orders.

Saul ultimately decides to move ahead with the mission and sends Quinn into the home of the Tin Man to take him down.  After eliminating his target, Quinn is sweeping the office and at the sight of a flashlight, shoots the impending threat.  That threat was a child.  That’s right, Quinn shot and killed the child.  The wide-eyed horror on his face as he checked the boy’s corpse can only mean one thing, is Quinn really a Tin Man?  At the last minute, he communicates with Langley, “Tin Man is down.”   Literally, he’s referring to his target.  Figuratively, could he be referring to his armor?

Now, I’m a firm believer that Quinn loves Carrie.  In the past, he’s only deferred from his mission of “killing bad guys” once.  Quinn seems to have a soft spot, and that spot is Carrie.  With this tragedy, will the rest of his hardened shell start to fade?  How will it affect his relationship with Carrie?

Speaking of killing bad guys…

Earlier in the episode, Carrie was bombarded by the investigative committee with a leaked DOD memo.  Later, she wakes up to find the following the headline on the newspaper; “CIA officer linked to Langley bomber.”  What the heck?  Naturally, she accuses Dar Adal of planting the story.  Saul responds to her accusations coldly.

THEN, it is Saul’s turn in front of the committee.  Unlike Carrie’s session, his testimony is broadcasted and in front of an audience.  Saul swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God.  Then he updates the committee of the “successful” ops and accuses them of conducting a witch hunt to place blame on the CIA.  When Lockhart tells him the op did nothing to restore faith in the CIA, that they believe it was orchestrated, convenient, and cowardly, Saul plays his last card.  He tells the committee that the CIA agent tasked with Brody (Carrie) was “unstable,” bipolar, and had a sexual relationship with Brody.

BOOM!

What the heck guys?  This is Saul.  He’s the good guy.  He’s Carrie’s protector.  Now, he’s throwing her under a bus.  While it probably would have been impossible to stop Carrie, Saul didn’t really try.  He and Quinn, if anything, enabled her relationship with Brody.  And if anyone begs to differ, I’d like to remind them of the time they listened to their sexual encounter through a wire.  They let this happen.  They let it escalate.  It’s not right.

Quinn enabled the Carrie/Brody relationship because of his emotional connection to Carrie.  I think that deep down he wants to see her happy and saw the potential there with Brody.  What was Saul’s reasoning for enabling the relationship?  To protect America?  To further the mission?

So far, the show has set up the government as the enemy and Carrie/Brody as the protagonists.  After his testimony, I found myself questioning Saul’s allegiance (think back to those “Pledge Allegiance” ads) to Carrie and to the CIA.  Did Saul act to save the CIA?  Is Saul the mole out to destroy Carrie?  What are his motives and why would he do this?

So, killing bad guys.  I’d like to remind everyone that Quinn has stated he “kills the bad guys.”  His dislike for Estes was never a secret.  And he was conveniently not at the VP’s funeral, and therefore not killed by the blast.  Guess who else wasn’t at the funeral?  Saul.

At the time of the bomb, Saul was on a ship with Abu Nazir’s body to conduct a burial at sea.  For the record, I don’t trust Quinn as far as I can throw him.  But, as previously stated, Quinn doesn’t make decisions, he simply carries out orders.  Saul is the man making the decisions.  Is it possible that Saul orchestrated the entire thing and worked with Quinn to frame Brody?  Was the plan all along for Brody and Carrie to die in the explosion too?  Is that why Quinn let Brody live?  Did guilt about the upcoming plans cause him to have emotions toward Carrie?With that in mind, is Abu Nazir even dead?  I mean, if Saul is the mole or double-agent, he could have easily faked the death and provided another body for burial.  This may seem outlandish, but just consider it.  Regardless, we’d love to have your feedback.  Do you think Saul is the mole?  Do you think Quinn and Saul are working together as terrorists?  How will killing a child affect Quinn?

Also, did anyone miss Brody?  I didn’t.  Is the Homeland team stealing a note from the Shonda Rhimes playbook?  Whenever she intends to kill-off someone she diminishes their screen time so the viewer gets used to not seeing the character.  Are they preparing us for Brody’s inevitable death?  Would you like to see Brody die?  Let’s face it, Homeland is Carrie’s story.  And the character shines brightest when she is on a witch hunt and ugly crying.  It seems like they’re setting it up so she spends season 3 investigating Saul and finding Brody.  Homeland is a feel-bad show, not a feel-good one.  Brody and Carrie will never live happily ever after, he kind of has to die.

Alright, let’s hear it!  What did you think of the season 3 opener?


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Game of Thrones 3×1 Recap


Welcome back Game of Throne watchers!  This is it, the highly anticipated Season 3 has officially started.  Was it everything you hoped it would be?  We recap it below; feel free to share your opinions in the comments sections!

House Stark

At the start of Season 3, we find the Stark family even more disjointed and distant as Winterfell now sits abandoned.  Did you notice the smoke at Winterfell during the opening credits?  Or how about the addition of Astapor (more on that later)?

The episode picks up moments after the Season 2 finale with Sam running as fast as he can in that shag carpet of a coat from White Walkers.  Sam finds one of his Night’s Watch brothers dead in the snow, CRADLING HIS OWN HEAD.  (Commentary from GOT Viewing Party:  Whoa, he’s holding his own head, that’s so badass.  And he looks like Jesus.) But there’s no time to dwell; the zombies are coming!  Thankfully, Ghost is there to attack the White Walker and the remaining members of the Night Watch set the creepy thing on fire.   It’s official; the White Walkers are coming.

Jon Snow makes it to the wildling camp called Frostfangs and it’s time for him to meet the King Beyond the Wall, Mance Raydar, but not before seeing his first giant.  After mistaking Mance for a wildling named Giantsbane and bowing embarrassingly, we finally meet the King Beyond the Wall and former Nights Watchmen.  Hello Cirian Hinds, welcome!  (Note:  Did anyone else watch USA’s Political Animals last summer?  He’s fantastic and I’m so excited to see him in this role!)  I’m already in love with Mance as he ever so observantly points out “The girl likes yah, yah like her back?” (Check yes or no).

Jon seems to prove himself to Mance (for now) when he reveals his search for freedom stems from the desire to fight White Walkers and the disdain he feels for the Lord Commander complicity with Craster’s baby-sacrificing ways.

Did you know notice Snow hobbling?  I tried to look for it but nothing stood out.  Kit Harrington hilariously broke his ankle after losing the keys to his London flat.  He fell from a window while trying to break in, inconveniently, right before filming was set to start.  His production schedule was pushed back as much as possible and body doubles we’re used for several walking or fighting shots.  I’ll be obsessively looking for clues to the injury all season, care to join?

Robb and Catelynn arrive at Harrenhal, the previous base for the Lannister army and brief home to Arya (there’s something sad about this, they almost had her!).  The soldiers are tired and frustrated, they want to fight, but the Lannisters continue to lead them on a wild goose chase.  The only opportunity for battle in the future would be at King’s Landing. Are we going to see the Stark vs. Lannister showdown soon?  I hope so.

At Harrenhal (now owned by Petyr Baelish), they find 200 dead Northerners.  Since Catelyn allowed Jaime to leave last season in exchange for Sansa and Arya, this only increases Robb’s rage towards his mother.  In his eyes, the blood of 200 men is on her hands.  Among the bodies, they find a survivor named Qyburn, something tells me he will be important later.

We catch up with Sansa at Kings Landing.  Her and Shae are watching the ships, Sansa is making up stories about the ships, where they’re going, and what it would be like to escape onboard.  Shae asks “why should I make up a story when I know the truth?” and Sansa replies “because the truth is always either terrible, or boring.”  Quite a change in Sansa, she’s no longer hopeful or optimistic.  Witnessing the evil at King’s Landing has changed her and now she’s just trying to survive.

Where is Bran?  Where is Arya?  I’m going to need an update on the rest of the Stark clan ASAP.

House Lannister

The Lannisters are back and badder than ever. We open with a touching scene between brother and sister, Tyrion and Cersei. Tyrion has clearly become a paranoid man, but who can blame him? His own sister attempted to murder him, she employs hundreds of spies, and his father hates him. Unfortunately, Tyrion didn’t realize the extent of that hate until he paid Lord Tywin a friendly visit. Tyrion tried to make it seem like the visit was driven by love, but really it was driven by greed. No surprises there – Tyrion is, after all, a Lannister. But Tywin cruelly reminded Tyrion that he is only his son by law, and that Tywin despises Tyrion and blames him for the death of his mother. Poor Tyrion. My heart broke for him as Tywin so callously dismissed him, but not without one last threat to Shae. Something tells me Tywin wouldn’t be as stupid as Cersei to collect the wrong whore.

I find myself once again admiring the work of Charles Dance. You may recall he similarly ripped into Jaime Lannister in Season 1, while ripping into a stag carcass. This scene last night felt oddly reminiscent of that scene, except this time the carcass was Tyrion. No one can deliver a powerful monologue quite like Mr. Dance.

Elsewhere in the Lion’s Den, King Joffrey and Queen Margaery find themselves in Flea Bottom [is this a reference to our beloved U.S. capital?!]. Margaery decided to stop her wagon to visit the children who are now orphans after the Battle of Blackwater. The scene was touching, and I sense she is somewhat aware of what the Lannisters are really like, and plans to do some serious damage control for their reputation and the throne.

The next time we see the Lannisters, Cersei planned a family dinner for herself and Joffrey, and Margaery and Loras. I must say, what an awkward family dinner! But this scene was fantastic. Not only did we have four major characters in one scene together [which is such a treat!], but we had King Joffrey freely making fun of Cersei and Margaery proving to be as perfect, if not more so, than Lady Sansa. I sensed tension and jealously brewing within Cersei. We all know Margaery wants to become Queen. Now, she is betrothed to the King of Westeros and the Queen Regent will soon no longer be needed. Cersei knows what Margaery is doing. Lord Tyrion may just be safe for now, as Queen Cersei just set her sights on a new threat.

The only Lannister we didn’t catch up with was Jaime, who is currently on route on King’s Landing with Brienne of Tarth. We need to find out what the Gorgeous Kingslayer is up to ASAP!

House Baratheon

Our favorite bearded captain, Davos ended up surviving the Blackwater Battle and is stuck on a pile of rocks. (Commentary from GOT Viewing Party:  OH HEYYYY, it’s that guy!  What is wrong with his face?  Is that fungus or really bad sunburn?)  Thankfully, he’s rescued by the pirate, Salladhor Saan.  From the pirate we learn that Stannis is licking his battle wounds at Dragonstone with his creepy witch lady.  They have been burning people alive for the Lord of Light.  Davos vows to takedown Melisandre and get Stannis on track (good luck).

Davos finally makes it back to Stannis (Commentary from GOT Viewing Party:  Stannis seems to have gotten a lot of gray hairs, no?) and wishes to discuss evil witch lady with him in private.  Tough luck man, us ladies are smarter than that. After pushing his buttons enough, Davos turns on Melisandre by drawing his dagger.  Stannis has Davos arrested.

What is this ladies game?  What does she get out of Stannis sitting on the Iron Throne?  Is our bearded captain going to be the hero that brings Stannis back?

House Targaryen

Say it with me now, DRAGONS!!!!!!!

Dany’s scenes were my favorite last night. The dragons looked incredible, her script was on point, and the special effects were amazing. Not only can the dragons swim (I was shocked!!) but they can catch gigantic fish, fry their food, and eat all in 5 seconds!  The dragons are growing quickly, and it’s no wonder considering their efficient diet. The Dothraki on ships was priceless – it’s like a ship full of babes!

Dany and her Khalasar soon landed in Astapor, another beautiful set location added to Game of Thrones. Dany is finally going to have to prove how far she will go to reclaim the Iron Throne. Dany found herself in front of The Unsullied – a eunuch slave army full of men who fear nothing, and apparently men that don’t need nipples. But The Unsullied are terrifying. Each one had to kill an innocent newborn baby in front of their mother to join the ranks.

Dany may appear to have the determination of a warrior, but she has the heart of a mother. She was noticeably bothered by the thought of 8,000 dead babies.  Now, she must choose whether to take on these fearless slave soldiers as her own, or dismiss them based on her maternal instincts.  Dany’s gentle heart again gets the best of her as a cute, young village girl rolls her a ball and playfully urges her to open.   Inside is a deadly scorpion, spider thing.  The girl smiles with her yucky mouth, revealing it to be a trick from the warlocks.  Luckily, Ser Barristan Selmy arrived just in time to save our Dragon from the deadly trick.

In Season 2, we saw Dany learn valuable lessons in trust. If she wants to survive Season 3, and become the Queen of Westeros, she needs to learn to keep her emotions in check. Her gentle heart proved to be her weakness in Season 1 when she trusted the evil witch which ultimately led to her losing Khal Drogo and her unborn child. If she keeps behaving as she did in last night’s episode, it could prove to be her ultimate weakness. To gain the loyalty of an army, even a slave army, Dany has to prove that she is strong and powerful like a true ruler, not weak and gentle like a woman. It’s time for Dany to embrace her ruthless side, and become the true Dragon.

I LOVED the scene where Barristan pledged his allegiance to Dany and I can tell that this will be a very pivotal move for her. This moment was also super emotional. It proves to her that there are still people who are loyal to House Targaryen in Westeros and that the Targaryen’s still have faithful servants in powerful places. If someone like Barristan Selmy supports her claim to the throne, who else in Westeros will do so? More importantly, will Barristan shed light on Jorah’s true reason for initially joining Dany?

One thing is clear, Astapor is a dangerous place and The Unsullied are terrifying. Dany needs to be smart and cunning to survive in this city. And, if she can prove that she is smart and powerful and become the leader of The Unsullied, can anyone stop Dany and her army from retaking the throne?

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quotes of 3X1:
“If I wanted to kill you, do you think I’d let a wooden door stop me?” – Cersei Lannister to her brother, Tyrion

There you have it! Season 3 has officially started and we can’t wait to see where it takes us. Did anyone else find the timelines confusing? The wildling story picks up right after Season 2’s finale, so does everything going on at Kings Landing. But, Dany’s dragons seem to be years older than when we last saw them?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the third seasons premiere (no book spoilers please!) in the comments below.

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark and Baratheon).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.


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Countdown to GOT Season 3 – #6

#6 Stannis Baratheon – “The Iron Throne is mine by right. All those that deny that are my foes.”

Lord Stannis

Ringing us in at #6 is the Lord of Light himself, Lord Stannis Baratheon. For those of you who may not recall, Stannis is the eldest younger brother of the late King Robert. Stannis believes that his claim to the throne as Robert’s heir is the strongest of all. The last we see of Lord Stannis in GOT Season 2, he was defeated by the Lannisters in the Battle of the Blackwater, and he fled King’s Landing. In his last scene of the season, we see Lady Melisandre showing Lord Stannis a vision in the fire – one that we assume shows Stannis defeating Joffrey and sitting on the Iron Throne. So, my #6 most anticipated moment of GOT Season 3 is finding out Stannis’ plans for the future now that he has suffered a great loss.

I must admit, I am somewhat concerned with how Stephen Dillane will advance the character of Stannis. Right now, I’m afraid he’s quite two-dimensional. I can see why Renly believed that the people didn’t want Stannis as their king – he is cold, heartless, and dangerous. Stannis assisted in murdering his only living family, and he has shown little regret over this act. He mentions Renly’s demise following his defeat of King’s Landing, but it seems as if what he truly regrets is losing the battle, not murdering his brother. Audiences can look forward to the introduction of Stannis’ sick wife and daughter in Season 3, so that may help change our perceptions of Stannis.

Despite my concerns, I placed Stannis at #6 because his presence in Westeros is still very, very important. He is the only true remaining member of House Baratheon, and he knows the truth about Cersei and her children. Stannis has the potential to truly change the game in Westeros, and I can’t wait to see what he does with that power!

Questions to consider when you can’t sleep in anticipation of the premiere:

1. Will Stannis muster enough strength to attempt to take the Iron Throne again?
2. Or, as readers of the book are probably wondering, will Stannis find a new calling as the rightful King of Westeros?
3. Did Davos Seaworth survive the wildfire explosion?
4. How will the Red Priestess effect the whole scenario? Will she, as Renly’s true murderer, stake a claim to the Iron Throne?
5. Will we ever find out exactly what Melisandre showed Lord Stannis in the fire?

And perhaps the most important question:

6. Is it Sunday yet?


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Countdown to GOT Season 3 – #10

In preparation for the highly anticipated HBO Game of Thrones Season 3 premiere on March 31st, I will be counting down by celebrating the 10 best quotes of season 2 and the most anticipated moments of season 3.

#10 Cersei Lannister – “The gods have no mercy. That’s why they are gods.”

Cersei-Lannister

Ringing us in with #10 is Cersei Lannister, portrayed by the great Lena Headey.  I don’t know about you, but Queen Cersei is the queen that I LOVE to HATE.  She is murderous, cunning, sly, manipulative, and beautiful.  Queen Cersei is a woman who knows how to get what she wants.  She realizes that being in power is the key to wielding power, and she doesn’t let anyone stand in her way.  We learned that quickly in Season 1 as we saw Cersei demand for the death of Sansa Stark’s innocent direwolf, Lady.

What I enjoy most about Queen Cersei is her ability to seem vulnerable and weak, yet insanely powerful and devious.  Some of the best moments of GOT Season 2 are shared between Cersei and Tyrion.  Who can forget when Lena Headey’s Cersei painfully reminds Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion of the biggest joke that he ever played on her (by killing their mother in birth).  And for fans of the book, you know the best, or shall we say the worst, of Cersei is yet to come.  So, my 10th most anticipated moment of Season 3 will be to see Cersei do what she does best – desperately attempt to hold on to her power and rule King’s Landing in medieval style and grace.

Finally, I want to point out Lena Headey is a superb actress who should be recognized for her skill as Queen Cersei.  Lena breathes life into Cersei and manages to make a cruel villain appear multidimensional.  While she has proven to be cruel and vindictive, Cersei has also proven to be loyal to her family and to love her children above all things.  She reminds us that Cersei was wed to a man she didn’t love, and was shipped off to serve him as a piece in her father’s game.  While I can’t honestly say I will ever root for Queen Cersei, I will root for Lena Headey to continue to portray Cersei so magnificently, and to remind us that a “Lannister always pays her debts”.

So what are your thoughts? Do you love to hate Cersei as much as I do? What are you anticipating most for Game of Thrones Season 3? Do you have any favorite quotes from the first two seasons?