We watch a lot of TV – some of it good and some of it…not so good. For the 2013 pilot season, we’re checking out a few series we won’t be writing on regularly, but may check back on throughout the season. Next on the docket: the third season premiere of Showtime’s Homeland.
Let’s bitch it out…
It was a real struggle to decide which Sunday night show to cover and I’ll admit that I may come to regret my decision to prioritize the campy/sudsy night-time soap Revenge over Homeland. I’d be lying, however, if I said that my decision wasn’t partially informed by how badly I felt burned by the second season. Is it petty to “punish” the show (and potential readers) because I was less than happy with the narrative decisions of S2? Perhaps…
Either way, S3 is here and we’re back to the Homeland of old. The emotional intensity is front and centre as the CIA recovers from the worst terrorism attack since 9/11 – the explosion that claimed 219 lives and sent Brody into hiding. The fall-out is steep: Carrie (Claire Danes) is the CIA’s scapegoat and she’s doing herself no favours by loudly proclaiming Brody innocent in front of Congressional committees by day and self-medicating with Tequila and strange men by night. Her mentor, Saul (Mandy Patinkin) is in a compromised position as the Acting Director of the CIA: on one hand he has to manage damage control, which means listening to the evil angel on his shoulder, Dar Adal (F. Abraham Murray, bumped up to series regular) while on the other hand he wants to support his fallen protegé.
There’s a recurring theme of indecision and impotence throughout this opening hour. Everyone tries to settle back into their lives, uncertain or unable to move forward because of what happened last season. This extends (in what is sure to be the most frustrating subplot for viewers) to Morgan Saylor’s Dana, who we are reintroduced to in the hospital following a suicide attempt. Although thematically it makes sense to touch base with the Brody family to see how they’re coping as Brody remains public enemy #1, it can’t help but feel frustrating when we cut away from the simultaneous six target strikes or Carrie crashing a CIA lunch to hear Jess (Morena Baccarin) moan about her lack of work experience at a Brody family dinner. Whether these characters ever feel truly relevant again is but one of the issues this third season will need to address as it, like its characters, makes steps towards recovering the public’s trust.
As first hours go, this is a good start. It will be interesting to see how Carrie reacts to Saul’s betrayal, whether the agency gains any traction with the latest “victory” (thanks in part to Rupert Friend’s Quinn’s efforts) and who the damn mole is (three seasons and counting!). We’ll have to see how things play out.
- It’s nice to see Tim Guinee has escaped from his recurring role on the torturous Revolution to appear as CIA lackey Scott Ryan. When will this guy get his own show?
- Also good to see Sam Underwood (Dexter) as Dana’s new love interest, Leo. It’s silly, but it took me a moment to realize it was him because I’m not used to seeing him look like a teenager with shaggy hair
What did you think of Homeland‘s return: did it win you back? Are you interested to see what happens between Saul and Carrie? Did you miss Brody? Do you care about the Brody family, or more specifically Dana (aka the Kim Bauer of Homeland)? Sound off below
Homeland airs Sundays at 9pm EST on Showtime. As with our other Quick Takes, we’ll touch base on occasion throughout the season should particular episodes merit attention