The big question left after Brody’s return last week on Homeland was how the show would reintegrate him back into the fold. For most of this season, Homeland has done just fine without him — thrived, even. His return confirmed the show’s belief that we still care about him, but also seemed to suggest there would be a plan for him moving forward. In “Good Night,” we saw how that plan might begin to manifest, and while most of the action was predictable, it did give us the opportunity to see Brody acting like a marine again, rather than a basket case. Let the healing begin. Hit the jump for more.
There was talk this week on Twitter about Homeland being a great show, or just an entertaining one. It’s kind of a pretentious (no, it’s a fully pretentious) question, but it has its place. Homeland‘s first season was something we’d never seen before, and it gave the show a lot of cache, most of which was squandered in the second season when innovation gave way to melodrama. Homeland‘s first season was touted as being in the canon of Great TV, but its second (and now third) are not being given that distinction.
That distinction is significant, though, when deconstructing the series week to week. Is it worth lambasting it for its faults at this point, or just embrace what we are working with under the understanding that this is not, in many ways, the same show we started with? Because there are a lot of good things about Homeland. Quinn and Saul are the biggest ones, and Carrie can be, unless she’s weighed down by drama. Brody doing what he needs to do (like being bullheaded about going into Iran) is commendable and exciting. Dana Brody … cut it.
By that standard, which I’ve measured a lot of Homeland‘s season this year (i.e. “is it entertaining?”), “Good Night” kept things moving fast. The entire episode was very narrowly focused on this mission that Saul had concocted in which Brody would work with Javadi in Iran to take out the head of the Republican Guard. The variables and opportunities for things to go wrong were sundry, and most of what could go wrong did.
Still, it was a nice arc for Brody and Saul, both dealing with the unexpected in their respective corners. Saul had Lockhart and the White House involved in ways he didn’t expect (though Lockhart did stay pretty quiet), issues with tech, and of course the threat of the whole operation going up in flames, while Brody’s caravan was ambushed, blown up, and ambushed again.
Homeland did a nice job, too, of reminding us that Javadi is no friend, and there are no guarantees. There was the slightest chance that Brody wouldn’t make it to Iran, but so slight as to be imperceptible. We knew he was coming out of that truck, and we knew he’d make it over the border. What happens now though is interesting. Javadi killed Brody’s shepherd without a thought, proving that if things start to feel wrong, Brody could easily die. And yet, Brody is so much like a cockroach, surviving everything. When he tells Carrie she will have an extraction plan, we know she will. Even if it means putting Farra’s family in harm’s way, Carrie will do anything to assure Brody’s safety, and he knows it.
“Good Night” was about moving the pieces into place for Saul’s operation with Javadi and Brody, and it achieved that in a pretty exciting and blood-pumping way. Yet, Homeland couldn’t quite resist itself: to start the episode, Quinn confronts Carrie about the baby, which she says isn’t Brody. So there goes that theory. Unless she’s lying. Who knows or cares at this point? Now we go to Tehran.
Episode Rating: B
Musings and Miscellanea:
— “The trick is relaxing the goat before you slit its throat. Which is why [our comrade over there] has lockjaw and sore knees!”
— I like how Farra was trying to stay out of things by sitting by herself in the dark. Then of course Carrie asks for her to put her family’s life in danger. Join the CIA, lose everything!
— “Join Al Qaeda, see the world!”
— Saul having to refuse to kill his own men to prevent a diplomatic incident was another quietly political moment for the show, and I applaud it.
— I’ve never had Black Jack gum, and now I’m curious.