TV Review: Homeland Season 3 Episodes 7-11 (M) (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 episodes!

Previously on Homeland…
Saul (Mandy Patinkin) has been successful in his plan to use Carrie (Claire Danes) as bait in order to snare Javadi (Shaun Toub), and he is now in the custody of the CIA.

The Plot:
Saul blackmails Javadi into becoming a mole for the CIA within the intelligence agency of Iran and sends him home. The CIA is preparing for the confirmation of Senator Lockhart (Tracy Letts) to become the new Director of the agency, so Saul is working against the clock to make headway with his operation before he is replaced. He travels to Rio to retrieve Brody (Damian Lewis) and convince him to undertake an incredibly risky mission in Tehran. The plan is to assassinate Javadi’s boss, allowing Javadi to take his position; effectively guaranteeing peaceful negotiations between Iran and the USA. Meanwhile Carrie is… um… still pregnant.

The Good:
Performances are solid here, as always. Even when the material is not up to the usual standard, each member of the cast continues to make this show endlessly watchable. Episode 11 (Big Man in Tehran) is the highlight of this block of episodes. It returns the show to the nail-biting suspense of the earlier seasons, and it’s great to see Carrie and Brody operating together out in the field. It’s also good to finally see some signs that Senator Lockhart is not an entirely irredeemable bastard. His ability to work somewhat pleasantly with Saul (albeit due to Saul blackmailing him) bodes well for an interesting Lockhart/Saul/Carrie dynamic next season.

The Bad:
It pains me to say this, but these episodes of Homeland were not particularly interesting and contained less enthralling material than usual. Also, despite her status as the show’s main character, Carrie takes a bit of a backseat in these episodes.  It is not really until episode 11 that she really has anything to do, and even then her role seems somewhat unnecessary. The award for most awkward and bizarre moment of the season goes to the use of a 1980’s training montage to show Brody overcoming a heroin addiction and getting back into shape for his mission to Tehran. This sequence really took me out of the episode and seemed incredibly out of place (not to mention incredibly unbelievable).

The Ugly:
The stupidity of Carrie’s actions get taken to a whole other level in these episodes. We are usually able to see the logic behind what Carrie does, but her ongoing “for Brody” excuse is wearing a little thin. Having said that, it was great to see Quinn (Rupert Friend) finally teach Carrie to follow orders.

Verdict:
This show has unfortunately become a bit stale in the last few episodes and is in need of a bit of a shake-up. News has hit that the Brody’s wife and kids have been downgraded from being series regulars for next season, so it seems that the show is moving away from the Brody saga. It will be a shame to lose these interesting characters, but it is necessary for the show’s ongoing success. Doesn’t bode well for Brody’s fate in next week’s finale does it!

Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Homeland screens at 8.30pm Monday nights on Channel 10.