Homeland‘s greatest success may be its complete and utter emotional manipulation of its viewers to the point where only afterwards and after much consideration does one realize how completely ridiculous what just happened was. Does anyone get through episodes of Homeland without getting close to hyperventilation? The suspense, the jump cuts, the unsteady cam, the music — everything builds to an unholy tremor of excitement and emotion, and we’re whipped around from place to place without time to even finish a game of Hearts with Chris! It’s all too much. But hit the jump to look at some of the cold, hard truths of Homeland once that emotion starts to wear away.
There have been questions since halfway through Homeland‘s first season about how it could sustain itself, and its trademark level of intensity and quality storytelling into the future. The questions remains unanswered. As much fun as Season Two has been, it hasn’t matched the brilliance of Season One. It has still given me heart palpitations and has probably lead to a rise in Xanax prescriptions across the board as it’s played out, but what about its substance?
Let’s break down some of the specifics of “Broken Hearts.” Nazir captures Carrie, and in their conversation she is mostly focused on just calling him a terrorist. While I applaud her saying how the word of the Prophet is perverted by people like Nazir, you would think she might have more to say to the man she has devoted her life to finding, who is now willing to just sit down and chat with her. Carrie carried her scenes well though, running from Nazir, swiping a cell phone, trotting away from the truck driver she snuck it from, then going back in to find him (of course). It was weird and almost funny, but still less ridiculous that anything else that happened this week. It was also classic Carrie in some ways, doing exactly what she shouldn’t be doing.
But then there was Brody. Oh Brody. Flop terrorist. Needs a magnifying glass to read serial numbers. Shouts the name of the number one terrorist target of his government repeatedly in areas where there’s lots of security. But it wasn’t Nazir video chatting with Brody on Brody’s government-issued Blackberry (something that phone can’t do) with his iPhone (did he stand in line for it?), no I think I wrote “game over” at the point when I saw the bubbly Skype font in the lower corner and realized that Nazir has a Skype account. He does realize that when he eradicates America that there will be no more of all that, right?
It wasn’t what happened (Carrie’s kidnapping, Brody getting the serial number, killing the Vice President, etc) it was how it happened. Brody’s poker face betrayed him this time as he felt the need to unburden himself to Walden in Walden’s final moments (a bit of a risk) as he stared at his chest being mesmerized at Death by Remote (though who wouldn’t?) Homeland what are you doing? It’s a good thing Nazir reads the New York Times I guess, because otherwise he wouldn’t have had the inspiration to kill Walden in such a creatively weird way, and he only took him out and not dozens of others which was different …
Brody did keep his word and swore on the soul of Issa, but does this free him from Nazir? And if so, where do we go from here? Brody’s family has all but disavowed him at this point, and once Nazir is captured or no longer needs him, his usefulness to the government is through. He and Carrie can’t ride off into the sunset, but what aspect of the domestic scene have we not explored yet? Brody and Jess’ relationship has already taken so many turns and been explored from so many angles, where is there left to go?
I will say without question that I loved “Broken Hearts” as I watched it, but after I calmed down for a bit the plot holes and absurdities began creeping in around the edges of my otherwise starry-eyed view. Homeland is an incredibly entertaining show, but it set a bar for itself (and had one set for it after the Emmys this year) that it may not be able to live up to in quite the way we expect. That may just be the nature of the choices it made in the first season and the corners it painted itself into, but it doesn’t diminish from the fact that it’s still a fun ride. And with only two episodes left in this season, we’re close to finding out where it all ends up.
Episode Rating: B
Check out a sneak peek at the upcoming episode of Homeland:
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Is Quinn there to find a mole? And does Estes think it’s Saul? It’s almost assuredly Galvez (I apologize for dropping the G for most of the season), since he was able to survive the attack and just as he shows back up Nazir is able to escape yet again.
— Can someone please buy Dana some new shoes?
— I usually really like Dana as a natural portrayal of a teenager, but her dialogue this week … “we killed our love. Like we killed that woman.” /facepalm
— “I miss the Cold War. I miss the rules.”
— Poor, useless character Chris. I love how he’s like a puppy who just loves everyone – Dad! Mike! Mom! Dana! Flatscreens!
— Nazir saying that he and Carrie had loving Brody in common …
— “Fuck your family. You don’t walk away from this.” – Walden, so we wouldn’t feel bad when Brody engineered his death then stood there and watched him die.
— “I’M KILLING YOU!” – Brody, cracking