Category Archives: TV reviews

Homeland (Series 1 & 2)

More twists than the Nürburgring.

Carrie Mathison works for the CIA. She hears that some US soldier who’s been held prisoner by some extremist group has gone over to the beardie side. Not long afterwards, Nicholas Brody is released from captivity. “He’s a mad beardie!” screams Carrie. A lot. “No,” Brody keeps saying in a flat monotone, and everyone believes him.

In fact, Brody is working for Abu Nazir, plotting to kill the Vice President, who gave the order for the drone strike that killed Nazir’s son, Aisa to whom Brody had become deeply attached. (Just as an aside, how is it that when Brody is rescued, he’s a dishevelled mess, but he was perfectly all right while he was teaching Aisa?) The cunning plan is to herd the VP and everyone to a safe room so that Brody can then blow himself up, but the bomb fails to explode, and then his daughter rings him, and he can’t go through with it.

Don’t worry about it, says Nazir. You can still be evil. “How?” asks Brody. Become a politician.

And so Brody ends up becoming a Congressman, and tipped as a potential Vice President.

There’s one small fly in the ointment. Carrie is temporarily reinstated with the CIA so that she can go and have a chat with the wife of a terrorist commander in Beirut, who has some information. In typical Carrie style, she shouts hysterically and runs into the house where the commander lives so that she can gather intelligence. It seems to be no more than his shopping list until Saul finds an SD card sewn into a bag which has the video in which Brody explains why he blew himself up (but never did).

Thus, the CIA turns Brody, although to save Carrie, he gives Abu Nazir the serial number of the VP’s pacemaker so that the beardies can hack into the man’s heart and kill him. Job done.

The CIA eventually get their man after Carrie rants and raves hysterically again, but he gets them back by blowing up Langley with a bomb. “What’s my car doing there?” says Brody. “That’s not where I parked it.” Oh, f… says Carrie, getting cut off by the explosion. You did it! You did it! she screams wildly. “No,” replies Brody in a monotone, and for once he’s telling the truth. They go on the run, and Saul is left in charge.

Carrie is a manic depressive, but has hidden this from the CIA. She ends up having sex with Brody. In one episode, Saul Berenson (Carrie’s mentor) suddenly declares that she loves Brody. Really? There’s no real chemistry between Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, and Danes has the wild-eyed loon thing down a treat.

Brody’s daughter, Dana, is also prone to Carrie-like mood swings and hysterical rants. I suspect the writers didn’t know what to do with the character of a teenage girl, thus turning her into mini-Carrie. The character seems to be constantly on the verge of rumbling her dad, and she discovers that he’s a Muslim (I note that Jessica Brody doesn’t confront him with a bacon sandwich).

Homeland is both compelling and ridiculous at the same time. It’s as if the writers sat around trying to think of more and more implausible plot twists. The character of Carrie gets more and more annoying as she rants and raves at regular intervals. “Don’t do it, Carrie!” says Saul. Does she bother listening? No. If she was a World War I general, she’d be telling her men to charge straight at the machine guns because bullets only sting a little bit.

While the plot twists may make Homeland compelling, they can feel relentless, and although art requires the suspension of disbelief, it has little power against eye-rollingly inane plots.

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