TV Review: Homeland Season 3 Episode 4 – “Game On” (US, 2013)

homeland

Homeland is back for another year. I will be chronicling the journeys of Carrie, Saul and Brody throughout the third season of the best show currently on television. Spoilers within so don’t read before viewing the episode!

Previously on Homeland…

Saul has betrayed Carrie by ratting her out to the government. After taking her story to the press, Carrie is forcibly locked up in an institution. While there, she is visited by a shady gentleman who says he has a business proposition for her. With the help of a new analyst named Fara Sherazi (Nazanin Boniadi) Saul is on the trail of some American businessmen who have been making some dodgy bank details with some unknown terrorists. Dana has fallen in love with a boy she met while in rehab after trying to kill herself. And don’t forget Brody Damian Lewis, who is essentially imprisoned in a run-down apartment building in Venezuela.

Now onto episode 4.

The Plot:

Carrie is all set to be released from the institution. Her medical practitioners have deemed her fit for release, but the CIA isn’t ready to let her out just yet. Due to an appeal made by the organisation the mysterious man who visited Carrie is from, she is released, but is essentially on the run from the CIA. As a last resort, Carrie agrees to meet with his employer and hear what he has to offer her. Saul makes a breakthrough in his bank-deal investigation, bringing Javadi back into the picture. Meanwhile, Dana helps her boyfriend break out of the rehab centre and they go on the run together as Jessica frantically searches for her. So much plot, so little time!

The Good:

Due to the low-key nature of this episode, the performances can really take centre stage. I have previously mentioned how amazing Claire Danes is, so I won’t ramble on about her. But needless to say, she lifts the bar each week. It’s great to have Saul back this week. I haven’t enjoyed having him painted as somewhat of a villain in the past few episodes, and a clever revelation at the end of the episode means that I might get more of my beloved Carrie-Saul scenes in the coming episodes. Danes and Patinkin really are the best things about the show. Morgan Saylor keeps putting in great work as Dana, even though her new romance doesn’t really convince. Morena Baccarin continues to be underused but is effective in her limited screentime. Brody doesn’t appear in the show this week, and I am not complaining!

The Bad:

This episode was pretty tame. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it just wasn’t very exciting. It’s great that these characters are having a chance to breath, but the non-Carrie plot this week might have been a tad boring. As previously mentioned, Dana’s new relationship is pretty lame and her boyfriend is not likeable at all. But I’m really clutching at straws here because this show is incredibly solid each week.

The Ugly:

Can we please get rid of Saul’s associate Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham)? He’s clearly an evil bastard and he keeps messing things up for Carrie. But perhaps Saul isn’t as cosy with him as we first thought…

Verdict:

This is another restrained episode, but it is entirely watchable because of the brilliant performances from Danes and Patinkin. The final five minutes elevate not just this episode but also the previous one, as we are made aware that there has been more going on than we have been made privy to.

Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Homeland screens at 8.30pm Monday nights on Channel 10.