Last week Showtime's award-winning drama about a CIA agent and her intermingling with terrorists, Homeland, premiered; however, unfortunately it aired smack up against the finale of Breaking Bad. My decision of which program to watch and which to DVR was made for me. But I have since caught up on Homeland and was pleased with the season opener.
Last season Homeland, I felt, lost a bit of its "oomf." The Carrie/Brody relationship went through one too many "will they, won't theys" and once they killed Abu Nazir and Brody declared allegiance to his home country, the plot had flattened. The end of the season saw Brody on the run for fear of being accused of bombing a memorial service at Langley that killed over two hundred people, mostly CIA officers.
Season Three begins with Carrie (Claire Danes) under questioning before official council on exactly what happened the day of the bombing. What did happen was Carrie and Brody snuck out to swap spit and after the bombing they hightailed it out of there. She may not know where Brody is now, but she certainly knows that she helped him get on his way. But the CIA is looking rather bad right about now having let half of their staff get blown to bits and so secrecy is key here.
Despite their success at eliminating six major players in the terrorism club, Saul (Mandy Patinkin), who now heads up the CIA, goes before the interrogative council and takes Carrie by one of her skinny little legs and throws her right under the bus. It was shocking, considering his affection for her, but then she did have an affair with Brody and she is off her rocker - and currently off of her meds.
I should also mention that Dana Brody (Morgan Saylor) has just gotten out of place where you send your kids after they try and kill themselves. She's got a lot on her mind. And what's on my mind is, what happened to Mike?
Episode Two of the season finds a livid Carrie doing what she does best when she hasn't taken her lithium in some time, she is flipping the 'eff out, and rightfully so. The media has outed her as having an affair with Brody, who is still at large. Carrie takes it upon herself to set the record straight to the newspapers. Before she can get her side of the story to the press, she is taken to the hospital for an analyzation of her mental state. That's how the CIA keeps a person quiet, they call you crazy. Sadly, in Carrie's case, she kinda, sorta really is.
Carrie is not the only person who is losing it. Saul has pulled in a new analyst to examine the records that were obtained during last episode's mission. The analyst happens to be a young Muslim woman who Saul dumps all of his aggravations and some racism on. His misdirected anger was out of character but then perhaps the weight of his new position and the internal struggle that comes with it, has thrown him off his game.
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The analyst has something that may help ease matters. She finds in the stolen documents bank account transfers that have been assisting terrorists. But after confronting the bankers behind the transfers, she is, again, called out for her religion. It's such an interesting dichotomy; when Muslim terrorists are the "bad guys," how do you react towards a Muslim "good guy?" Regardless, what she finds is that all signs point to Iran.
Dana is still struggling to fit back in with her home life. The show is spending a lot of time focusing on her issues, and that of Brody's family. I like the Brody's, Dana especially, but where are we going with all of it? Watching Dana lose her virginity with her new boyfriend isn't moving the plot along. I hope there is a point to it all.
Carrie is not helping herself at all. Rather than keeping her mouth shut and, you know, acting sane, she is getting progressively volatile and is eventually force-fed her medication. We end on a drugged-out Carrie, yet she still has the mental capacity to tell Saul to go screw.
Carrie's illness has always been her major adversary and this season they are taking it to a higher level. Her internal tensions are what make this show gratifying; the plot just builds on top of that. She is crazy but you understand what she's doing, but then you just want her to stop being crazy. But she's crazy! Like many of the best lead television characters of the 21st century, her inner strife makes you love her and hate her and sorry for her and frustrated with her and angry and sad all at once. It makes for good television. And as of now, this season is headed in the right direction.