Even with the year break and 50+ days of in show time, Homeland is still in recovery mode from their explosive end to season 2. The CIA is under a congressional investigation for the failures that allowed former Congressman Chris Brody’s car to be used as a bomb. Punished by a lack of construction around the crater and remains of the old building. With Saul now placed at the head of a battered ship. The Brody household, Dana especially, is still in a state of denial over how everything has turned out. Carrie is still very much Carrie. Not taking her medicine and medicating in “alternative” ways, which are leading her down the same mania inducing destructive rampages. After one episode it seems safe to assume that Homeland is not giving up on having its grand, gigantic moments of drama.
Claire Danes acting has been on of the great things on Homeland. “Tin Man Is Down” doesn't have the great smiling moment, the subtlety is masked by multiple layers of stress that she must convey. This could be due to watching the SNL parody recently, but her acting just didn’t do it for me. Now in her defense what she is being asked to do will only become more apparent as the season moves on and our eyes grow more use to the facial ticks that can tell us just how honest Carrie is being. Being asked to lie a lot, while showing a glimmer of the truth or that internal conflict is a lot to do as an actor. Season 3 is going to force Carrie to tighten her lips considerably as she comes under fire from within what remains of the CIA and the public. The affair with Brody coming out a little over halfway through “Tin Man Is Down”. Which pushes her into a now classic Carrie blow up mode as she berates Saul in public, making you wonder how it is she hid her bipolar disorder from everyone for a decade. Or why she surprised and mad that Saul, pretty much, throws her under the bus during his testimony.
The emotional heart of this show has always been Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson. As the new Acting Director of the CIA, Saul is being pushed to make decisions he never wanted to make in the first place. Surrounded by other old spooks, like the now regular F. Murray Abraham, who thought they’d gotten out of the life. The still wounded CIA has the chance to take out 6 high ranking members of the group that perpetrated the CIA bombing. A mission not without caveats like a short time timetable and still green members. But mainly it’s the fact Saul still views the CIA as something other than an elite hit squad. “We aren’t assassins. We’re spies. We follow our targets and get them to give us bigger ones” he laments to his wife. Still with no other options he orders the op, each member with their own Wizard of Oz inspired codename. Most of whom get a metaphorical house dropped on them.
I can’t decide what makes F. Murray Abraham as Dar Adal appear the most devilish. Is it the subtle horns the remaining hair atop his balding head makes? The sharp gotee. The ever suggestive tone that comes with every word his mouth speaks. Or perhaps it is the constant framing of Dar Adal at Saul’s left shoulder that brings the devil at. Either way he would make a great stand in for William DaFoe in a car commercial.
It really says something about a show when Homeland has a well executed action sequence. And I didn’t really care about it. It’s a sequence that goes for all the expected and right plays to create tension in the viewer. Appreciation of the technical aspects aside, the whole thing felt rather rote to me. It was showing the kid in the car that pushed Quinn back, forcing him to infiltrate the house and pull off some Sam Fisher shit. As soon as we saw the kid, you just knew he was going to die no matter what. Low and behold Quinn takes out someone with a flashlight outside his targets door, discovering it to be the child he thought best not to blow up 5 minutes earlier. Peter Quinn is also the type of character that makes me doubt killing a child will greatly effect and that the show as a whole will just let it drift away. Just another casualty in the war on terror.
Morgan Saylor as Dana Brody has been a consistent bright spot in this show. With the right material Morgan Saylor can really act, giving you hope that one day the children portrayed on screen will all be as competent. Season 2 pushed her closer to her father with moments of great chemistry and put her in her own storylines, which were pretty dumb. The in media res nature of “Tin Man Is Down” really robbed us of possibly more excellent work by Saylor. Dana, having attempted suicide in the interim, is just now getting out of the hospital That whole setting just left me wanting more, especially compared to what is waiting her at home. Which is not a whole lot. The entire Brody family is still in shock and denial. The less said about her sexting her hospital boyfriend the better. Given the realistic nature of this thread the amount of facepalming “you are doing dumb things” is amplified. That whole hit and run thread was truly dumb. This is realistically dumb because you can see how that whole situation goes bad real fast.
The Bits At The End
Actor playing Chris hit puberty. He’s not like a giant. Physical change doesn't stop him from being annoying and worthy of mockery in ways only the internet can.
It’s really great seeing Saul’s wife back in the picture.
Bets on when Brody shows up? I’m going to guess late episode 3. Episode 4 minimum.