Tag Archives: homeland

‘Homeland’ Season 4 Finale or Silence is the Battlefield of Self-Reflection or War Is Over (And That’s Okay!)

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Last night’s episode of Homeland was brought to you by the letter S. S stands for Silence. And silence needs no explanation.

Cards out on the table: YES, I APPEAR TO BE THE ONLY PERSON WHO ENJOYED LAST NIGHT’S HOMELAND. (1) I have no shame in admitting it. (2) I was well aware throughout the episode that this may very well be the case. Like you I was waiting around in the silences between the silences for the proverbial shoe to drop. I tweeted at the time that “Every time someone steps into a car and smiles, I swear it’s going to blow up“. But alas, no one blew up. Nor did the CIA operative asking Quinn to join him shoot him in the back and face down into the community pool, either. Nor was Saul not poisoned by Dar Adal over Chicken and Waffles… But see, here’s the thing: I feared it. I imagined it. I wallowed in the expectation of it. In anxiety. In paranoia. We (the audience, as much as the characters) have been in the thick of a personal and violent war in the Middle East for months and in a state of unrelenting and impending horror and mistrust. The season (not the episode) built those expectations into our psyches, and successfully so. And now, it’s just over? Yes. Take a deep breath, and accept it. Eventually war ends. (And that’s a good thing.)

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that may develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which severe physical harm occurred or was threatened.  (source)

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‘Homeland’ 4.11 or “Failure Protocol” or Carrie Talks Someone Off A Cliff Part 3

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Last night’s episode of Homeland (“Kreig Nicht Lieb” — “War, not Love”) was brought to you by the letter B. B stands for Bummer. Was the entire penultimate episode of the season a bummer? No, but penultimate episodes have a reputation for being the strongest of a season, and this week Homeland showed a chink in it’s new shiny armor with a weaker, and slightly misguided hour of television. It wasn’t the worst episode of Homeland, or of the season, but the characters were all around inconsistent and several plot devices felt forced. In my best German pun, they were doppelgängers of the characters we’ve come to know and recognize. Also, yes, I totally called it last week that Dar Adal would be making a play for Lockhart’s position as CIA Director. I think.

So first issue: Carrie’s father’s death. It’s certainly believable that Carrie would be deeply affected by the news, however I would have appreciated something (even if it was very early in the season) to have built up the emotional impact of this considering that Carrie and her father have not been in contact in well over a year, nor has the matter weighed on her. Yes, Carrie is sad and Claire Danes is to chin-quivering what Meryl Streep is to accents, but it felt just a little cheap to throw an extraneous tearjerker in this episode. Did it make some of us cry? Sure. Did it have any meaningful impact on the season, characters, or plot? No. Therefore, cheap.

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Homeland 4.10 or Hillary Told Us From The Beginning or Carrie-lite is Alright

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Last night’s Homeland was brought to you by the later H. H stands for Hillary. Hillary of “you can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them not to bite your neighbors” fame. If you recall, we have heard Clinton deliver this line week after week all season long in the opening credits. You may or may not recall, however, the context in which they were originally spoken: to Pakistani officials in Islamabad in 2011 in relation to their protection of the Haqqani Taliban network which operates on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Sound familiar?

With that in the rear-view mirror, the Benghazi-like events of last night’s episode, entitled “13 Hours in Islamabad” (a direct reference to the book “13 Hours in Benghazi“), should ring even louder bells. Indeed, Homeland must have Dick Wolf on retainer because the “ripped from the headlines” feel of this season is stronger than ever before. Yes, it’s a television show but, these things are happening all the time and Homeland is pulling us cozy first-world civilians into the utter tragedy and helplessness that diplomats, intelligence, military, and third-world citizens have to suffer through in a state of war. And war doesn’t stop for love, and barely long enough for self-reflection. It just keeps going.

Speaking of love — confession: I respect and admire the hell out of this season of Homeland, and yet, week after week, I very secretly hope that in a fit of culpability and rage, Carrie will just bend Quinn over a desk and — well not exactly but you see where I’m going. Maybe I’m a shipper, or just a perv, but deep down it’s killing me that these two haven’t so much as touched one another all season… and yet I understand how very wrong it would be if they had by now. In fact, I’d like to thank the writers for sticking to the plot and not deviating into carnal melodramas. That’s what I have Scandal for.

Sunday night’s episode kept the ball of high-intensity action and drama rolling, and although the season isn’t over, the tragedy and truth to this week’s story should really strike a chord.

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‘Homeland’ 4.09 or Mathison’s Law: What Did Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong Again

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Last week’s episode of Homeland was brought to you by the letter C. C stands for Consistency. As in, consistent failure, but constantly kick ass episodes of Homeland.

(As mentioned in my previous post on The Affair, I was out of the country during the Thanksgiving holiday and unable to view/post for the most part last week. Thankfully for me, Showtime has taken a little break as well, and so I’ve taken that breather to ponder on the goings-on from the “explosive” 9th episode from the week prior.)

Yet another heart-wrenching week of didn’t-see-that-coming cliffhangers, and a sign that this season could be the strongest yet . Let’s quickly look back at the shockers from the last four episodes:

  • 4.06: Carrie sends Aayan to Haqqani, and he is killed in cold blood. Haqqani whips out kidnapped Saul from his car. Carrie nearly drops a bomb on them all and Quinn is forced to restrain her from quite literally pushing the button.
  • 4.07: Carrie is drugged, left roaming the streets in hysterics and hallucinating a shooting. She is taken prisoner where she hallucinates Brody and pours her heart out to him. Her hallucination is revealed to be HISIG Khan.
  • 4.08: Saul escapes Haqqani, but the CIA’s extraction plan is made. Saul almost blows his brains out amid the panic, Carrie promises him extraction, but he is recaptured anyway. Khan reveals Dennis as the mole to Carrie.
  • 4:09: Saul nearly ruins the prisoner exchange until Carrie again convinces him to stay alive. Their transportation vehicle is blown up in an ambush, while Haqqani is infiltrating the embassy through the underground tunnels Dennis has given up to Tasneem.

I’d also like to point out that despite those just being the final moments of the episode, the episodes as a whole have been rock solid. It’s old trick to have a so-so episode and just end with a bang creating a kind of narrative-amnesia (ahem, Homeland season 3) but I must say with the way everything has come together this year, I cannot blame the team of that this time around. With the tightly woven stories, and they way they mostly seem to be coming together, you would think we had been in the final stretch of the season, but no. Since the season opener and Sandy’s shocking death we’ve more or less never stopped freaking the hell out now, have we? Even when it slowed down and allowed us into the depths of Quinn’s pain, Saul’s regret, or Carrie’s darkness, you at least hoped that whatever they were going would come return with a vengeance as the season rolled along — and it has.

Saul’s self-doubt about leaving the CIA has certainly come full circle by now, dragging him to the deepest pits of despair, ripping him from his life, and quite literally looking into the eyes of innocence and evil all in one in that young boy. After Carrie’s “faux affair” with Aayan, his death, holding Saul’s life in her hands three times and a catharsis with Khan-as-Brody, it would appear she’s ready to accept that her job isn’t quite as important and benevolent as she tried to convince herself of when she left Franny motherless. Now, as for Quinn, that remains to be seen, and I take it will be fairly soon. For all the attention they put on his character’s state of mind in the earlier part of this season, I hope that his arc and the change in his character will have a large impact on the coming events, particularly since he and Lockhart are now in charge or figuring out what happened during the ambush and of controlling the impending infiltration of the embassy.

Oh and the big question? Could Carrie and/or Saul actually be dead? Seriously and permanently injured?

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‘Homeland’ 4.08 or #Saulute or There Are Only Wrong Choices

Carrie and Khan sitting in a tree?Last night’s episode of Homeland was brought to you by the letter H. H stands for Helplessness. The kind of helplessness you can only feel when the skies open up to reveal that “there are only wrong choices“. The kind of helplessness where the better alternative would have been allowing your mentor to blow his head off because, hey, there are fates worse than death. Namely, death wrapped in betrayal, torture, and guilt.

And speaking of being wrapped in… watching all those tiny red triangles swarm over the warm blue dot that was Saul Berenson, and drag him away like roaches on a cookie crumb whilst screaming for Carrie, was some new form of television torture. Particularly cruel and unusual punishment. Did anyone else go back to Sandy screaming for his life in the season opener? For a split second I even thought they would beat him to death right then and there, before realizing that was not at all their mission.

Before the breakdown, I just want to take a moment and give major props to the episode’s director, Alex Graves. From the moment that Carrie begins to smell something fishy in that briefing room to the moment Saul is recaptured, Graves pulled off twelve uninterrupted minutes of as high stakes and high anxiety television as I have felt since the last six minutes of that episode of True Detective or the Blackwater finale in Game of Thrones. If I had an award to give for the Best Placed Shot of that sequence, it would be the very silent cut from (A) Saul with a gun under his chin at the fountain to (B) the overhead drone footage of him from the ops room as Carrie and Co watch and wait along with the audience. Hopelessness. Helplessness. It was held for three seconds of sheer terror where one could just hear the gun shot and picture his tiny spec of a body collapsing. It’s pretty genius actually, using the assumption that showing someone’s brains being blown out in a tight shot is not likely, and faking the audience out with that “larger picture” shot almost in anticipation… and of a moment that never came. (Oh hai, HBO! It’s Showtime!)

This was an intense and very plot-centric week, and despite fabulous performances, the character development was minimal and/or pretty straightforward here, and that’s okay. Accordingly, I’ll be skipping the specific character discussion this week and taking a deeper look at what may be going on behind the story, instead.

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‘Homeland’ 4.07 or Whose Medicine Is It Anyway?

Episode 407Last night’s episode of Homeland was brought to you by the letter M. M stands for Medicine. As in the knowledge of Carrie’s medicines, which have proven quite useful to the ISI, and Haqqani’s which will hopefully help the CIA out just as much.

First, a digital round of applause for the cast and crew on Homeland this season who are beyond killing it. The dedication put into each episode for this fourth season was beyond what I expected at this point or ever at all on television. It’s beautiful. Claire Danes, wow. If there was ever a time for the inexplicably inactive Claire Danes Cry Face Tumblr to make a comeback, it’s right now.

Secondly, and in the words of the incomparable Joss Whedon: “Where do we go from here?” This episode changed the whole season, the way I see it. Forget tactical warfare, forget psychological warfare. We have crossed over into psychiatric warfare! (Sidenote: I wondered in last week’s post whether ISI would sabotage Carrie’s medication to make her go insane. Confirmed and yet surprised they took that route.)

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