Ya know, it wasn’t until I sat down to write this that I found out tonights episode of Homeland was called “Game On”. Yep, that sums it up nicely.
Revealing a secret long con that is known only to a few can be a tricky things, like all moments when vital information is dispensed. When it comes to cons you run the risk of undoing or alienating audience members who were otherwise emotionally invested in what the plot was doing to a character. In the case ofHomeland it is doubtful anyone wanted to spend another minute with her in the hospital. Spy show especially are about the realness of fakery and there is no fakery in the utter despair found in the opening scene of the hospital. A solome low angle shot pulls out down the hallway, transforming it into a tyrannical prison that just tells you how low Carrie Mathison is. The night sequence where a screaming patient refuses her medications and writhes on the bed as 5 beefy orderlies hold her down certainly doesn't help. For a second I even thought Dan Fineberg vain hope that Homeland had gone the surrealist dream sequence route to be true. Nope just a very real scene in a place that is there to break you down and make you comply.
This show has a clear through line to 24 thanks to production staff and theme. Both of which hit on this idea that simply being a good soldier, another cog in the machine, will simply wear you down and leave you with nothing. The price of service. 24 was all about the passage of time, you got to see a lot of that in a very literal (the ticking clock) and plot sense. It was also about the passage of time and it’s effects you don’t see - the 20 months between 24 seasons 5 and 6 - leaving you with just vague hints of what happened to someone. Homeland hasn’t had many time skips, instead forcing us to sit through and get broken down along with Carrie as she does her duty.
You should have gotten me out of that hospital sooner she pleads with Saul during their night time meeting. Claire Danes making the frowniest of faces. Man she can really emote and act at least to someone who hasn’t had any training. There’s a truthfulness mixed with sheer exhaustion in the pleading look for love and affirmation she gives Saul. It’s that kind of character and well executed stuff that makes me give Homeland such slack. Yes, having Carrie kidnapped as leverage for Nazir to force Brody o hijack VP Waldins pacemaker is a convoluted ass plot (among other things). The end result of which was Brody standing over Waldin’s body and gaining vengeance for Issa. Like that stare was a nice payoff moment for character and nicely acted by Damien Lewis.
So when did Saul and Carrie hatch this plot to use the truth(Carrie <3 Brody long time) to mask the lie(the CIA disavows Carrie) and who knows about it? The way the series has treated Dar Adal (sidebar: can we all agree that’s just an evil ass sounding name?) you’d think Saul would keep him out of the loop. But this is the exact kind of deep cover hijinks he’d use. Not saying he knows/believes Brody is innocent but will at least see this as effective action. The when doesn't really matter, all that matters is it now gives Homeland season 3 much needed clarity of focus.
All of which is going on Majid Javadi aka The Magician. Who it turns out is played by Shaun Toub! This magical man has been both funding terrorist attacks AND skimming some off the top for himself. Using his majority ownership in a Venezuelan soccer team as a front to launder money. Where is this team? Caracas so suddenly Brody showing up makes some sense...I guess.
The scene in which they explain how it all works in an excellent montage of money changing hands was a nice jolt of energy. It felt like the show was alive again, like something was actually happening. Even if I have no idea the money laundering and all that actually works or have any idea who Majid Javadi is.
So now the A and B plots of season 3 are starting to intertwine, excellent. This can not be said for the C plot aka DANA AND LEO ARE TOTALLY IN LOVE SHUT UP NON BELIEVER! At least Dana taking selfies and sending them to her (at the time) mentally imbalanced boyfriend had an air of authenticity. You were just waiting for those to leak online, further humiliating herself and family. Nope, Leo is just a psychopath who may or may not have murdered his brother in a suicide pact...or something. It’s sketchy details that paint a clear picture that Leo is a psychopath and is not to be trusted (as if we trusted/cared about him in the first place). Dana lets off a line about how they are natural born killers in reference to the film of the same name. That couldn’t be further from the truth and it is cringe worthy when she says it. Maybe this leads them to start robbing banks and become a modern Bonnie and Clyde so they can have an ending like this.Homeland showrunners clearly love and understand most of the audience really like Morgan Saylor. They just have no idea how to give her something interesting/meaningful to character when it doesn't involve her interacting with Pappa Brody.
The Bits At The End
- If this show has a want to at least use Morgan Saylot than they clearly have no idea what to do with Morena Baccarin as Jessica Brody. Not even the awesome presence of Mike can make me care about Jessica feeling like a crappy Mom.
- No Brody this episode, I'll take that as a good sign.
- How great was that scene between Carrie and the partner?
- "I'm paid to make arguements not carry a flag." That describes lawyers way to well